Governor Scott Walker appointed Ted Nickel of Merrill, Wisconsin, as Commissioner of Insurance for the state of Wisconsin on January 3, 2011. The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance regulates the business of insurance in Wisconsin. The office has a staff of 153 and is responsible for examining industry financial solvency and market conduct, licensing agents, reviewing policy forms for compliance with state legislation, investigating consumer complaints and providing consumer information. In addition to its regulatory duties, the office administers the State Life Insurance Fund, Local Government Property Insurance Fund, and Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund.
Prior to his appointment, Commissioner Nickel worked for almost 18 years as director of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs for Church Mutual Insurance Company in Merrill, Wisconsin. Commissioner Nickel has been actively engaged in insurance industry affairs in Wisconsin. He has served on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, including having served as chair. Commissioner Nickel served on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Insurance Security Fund and the Oklahoma Property Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association, as well as having served as a member of the Legal and Government Affairs Committee of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. Commissioner Nickel also worked in the administration of former Governor Tommy Thompson.
Commissioner Nickel served on the Northcentral Technical College District Board of Trustees for six years. While there, he served as secretary/treasurer and participated on a CEO recruiting committee. He chaired the Merrill Parks and Recreation Committee and was vice chair of the City Plan Commission.
The Commissioner was elected secretary-treasurer of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in December 2014. He currently serves on the Executive (EX) Committee, Cybersecurity (EX) Task Force, Governance Review (EX) Task Force, Government Relations (EX) Leadership Council, International Insurance Relations (EX) Leadership Group and the Internal Administration (EX1) Subcommittee. He chairs the Audit Committee and the NAIC/Industry Liaison Committee and is vice chair of the Consumer Participation Board of Trustees. He is a member of the Life Insurance and Annuities (A) Committee, Health Insurance and Managed Care (B) Committee, NAIC American Indian and Alaska Native Liaison Committee and serves on several other NAIC task forces and committees. In addition, he chairs the Contingent Deferred Annuity (A) Working Group, Mortgage Guaranty Insurance (E) Working Group, and the Health Care Reform Regulatory Alternatives (B) Working Group.
In August 2014, the Commissioner was appointed to the Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance which serves as an advisory committee to the Federal Insurance Office.
Commissioner Nickel earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in finance from Valparaiso University.
Governor Scott Walker appointed Dan Schwartzer as Deputy Commissioner of Insurance for the State of Wisconsin on January 4, 2011.
Deputy Commissioner Schwartzer, subject to the general direction of the Commissioner, supervises the regulatory, public information and administrative functions of the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. As Deputy, he also exercises and performs the functions of the Commissioner in the Commissioner's absence.
Prior to his appointment, Deputy Commissioner Schwartzer owned his own government relations and association management firm that worked with both corporations and trade associations from a variety of industries. He served as executive director for the Wisconsin Employee Benefit Advisors Association, executive director for the Wisconsin Economic Development Association, as well as executive director for the Independent Business Association of Wisconsin.
Deputy Commissioner Schwartzer is a licensed insurance intermediary holding property, casualty, life, accident and health insurance licenses. He has over 25 years of experience in insurance, health care financing and business issues and over 12 years of experience in government relations and association management.
Deputy Commissioner Schwartzer earned his Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University.
Mr. Wieske was appointed Legislative Liaison/Public Information Officer in October 2011. His duties include supervision of the legislative and public information and communications functions in the agency.
Mr. Wieske brings 18 years of experience in working in the insurance industry, particularly in dealing with health insurance issues. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Wieske served as the Executive Director of the Council of Affordable Health Insurance. He joined the Council in 2003 as the Director of State Affairs. The Council is a research and advocacy association of insurance carriers that is active in individual, small group, health savings accounts, and senior markets. In this capacity, J.P. has led the Council's state advocacy efforts and regularly testified before state legislatures across the country. He has also co-authored several publications related to timely health insurance issues. Prior to his work with the Council, Mr. Wieske was the Senior Government Affairs Specialist of a Wisconsin-based insurer.
He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Political Science from Carroll College.
Mollie Zito was appointed Chief Legal Counsel in November 2012. Her duties include providing legal counsel to Commissioner Nickel and Deputy Commissioner Schwartzer as well as oversight of the OCI legal department.
Ms. Zito brings a wealth of legal and policy experience to her position and a variety of perspectives. Ms. Zito has worked with the provider community, the federal government, as well as a small health insurance company. Most recently, she served as a Senior Legislative Attorney for the American Medical Association focusing on state laws governing insurance and provider contracts. As counsel to U.S. Senators Charles Grassley (Iowa), John Thune (South Dakota), Jon Kyl (Arizona), and John Cornyn (Texas), she concentrated on legislative issues affecting Medicare, Medicaid, insurance, and public health issues. Ms. Zito also served as Assistant Vice President and Counsel at the Trustmark Companies located in Lake Forest, Illinois, which provides group health and life insurance as well as benefit management services.
Ms. Zito earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Law.