Bowman Named Ark. Insurance Commissioner

December 8, 2004

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has named Julie Benafield Bowman of Little Rock as the state insurance commissioner. The governor made the announcement during a Tuesday morning news conference at the state Capitol. Bowman will replace Mike Pickens of Little Rock, who’s returning to the private sector.

Bowman, 41, was appointed chief executive officer of the state Workers’ Compensation Commission in May 1998. Before joining the commission, she was the general counsel for the Arkansas Development Finance Authority from 1996-98, the attorney supervisor for the workers’ comp fraud investigation unit of the state Insurance Department from 1993-96 and a deputy prosecuting attorney in the state’s Sixth Judicial District from 1989-93.

“There were several outstanding candidates to take the position of insurance commissioner,” the governor said. “But Julie had a solid track record of managing a large state agency and of being an attorney. She brings years of experience in state government, a commitment to conservative business principles and excellent leadership skills. Mike Pickens has helped make Arkansas a national leader in properly regulating the insurance industry. Julie will be able to build on the great work Mike has done with the help of the quality staff that’s already in place at the Insurance Department.”

Bowman served on the Pulaski County Bar Association board in 2002-03 and is now serving on the board of the Pulaski County Bar Foundation. At the Workers’ Compensation Commission, she was reportedly instrumental in developing a series of seminars across the state for small business owners. She expanded the services of the commission’s health and safety division, redesigned forms used by the commission and revised several rules.

Bowman is a member of the executive board of the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions. She became president-elect of the organization in August. The IAIABC addresses concerns such as employee benefits, medical costs, education, adjudication, safety, self-insurance and legislation.

Bowman also is a past president of the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators. She was listed in 2001 by Arkansas Business as one of the state’s most outstanding leaders younger than 40.

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