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Ario To Lead Pennsylvania Department

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A Mid-Atlantic state has recruited regulatory talent from the West Coast.

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell has nominated Joel Ario, administrator of the Oregon insurance division, to be Pennsylvania insurance commissioner.

Ario’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Pennsylvania Senate.

Ario, who has been leading the Oregon Insurance Division since 2000 and now is chairman of the health insurance committee at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., would succeed Randy Rohrbaugh, the acting Pennsylvania commissioner.

Rohrbaugh took over in February after Diane Koken, the former permanent commissioner, resigned. Koken is the immediate past president of the NAIC.

The move to Pennsylvania “is a great opportunity for Joel, but a significant loss for Oregon,” Cory Streisinger, director of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, says in a statement.

Rendell says he chose Ario for the commissioner post in his state because Ario “is a highly qualified and seasoned administrator with a strong and proven record of fighting to protect the rights and needs of consumers.”

Rendell cites Ario’s efforts to help Oregon consumers get health care prices and to streamline Oregon producer licensing and product review procedures as examples of why he would make a good commissioner in Pennsylvania.

Ario has a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College and a law degree and a divinity degree from Harvard University.

Ario is a former executive director of the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group.