New Insurance Commissioner | Arkansas Blog

New Insurance Commissioner

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Former state legislator and insurance executive Jay Bradford will be the new state Insurance Commissioner starting Jan. 15. Gov. Beebe announced the appointment today. Bradford has been director of Behavioral Sciences at the Arkansas Department of Human Services, which runs the State Hospital,  for the past two years.

Bradford replaces Julie Benafield Bowman, who resigned today. Lenita Blasingame will serve as interim director until Bradford is sworn in.

Text of Beebe's announcement is on the jump.

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Beebe will appoint Jay Bradford of Pine Bluff as Commissioner of the Arkansas Insurance Department. The appointment will take effect on January 15.

For the past two years, Bradford has served as Director of the Division of Behavioral Sciences at the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Prior to that, Bradford worked in the insurance industry for more than four decades, including 30 years as founder and chairman of First Arkansas Insurance Group in Pine Bluff. Bradford also served more than two decades in the Arkansas Legislature, chosen both as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

Bradford will replace Julie Benafield Bowman, whose resignation takes effect today. Beebe will appoint Lenita Blasingame of El Paso, a 43-year veteran of the Arkansas Insurance Department, to serve as Interim Commissioner until Bowman’s term officially expires on January 14. Blasingame will return to her position as Chief Deputy Commissioner once Bradford is sworn in. Bradford's appointment will expire January 14, 2013.

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