Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Four directors to retire from Kansas Insurance Department

TOPEKA, KAN. — Sandy Praeger, Kansas Commissioner of Insurance, today announced the retirement of four of her division directors.

Leaving the office December 5 will be Marlyn Burch, life division; Neil Woerman, information technology; Steve O’Neil, consumer assistance; and Ted Clark, anti-fraud.

“The department is losing more than 125 years of outstanding service to insurance consumers and to state government,” Commissioner Praeger said. “We as Kansans owe them a tremendous thanks for their work in regulating insurance, educating consumers and advocating for them.”

An open house for the retirees will begin at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec., 5, at the Kansas Insurance Department office, 420 SW 9th, Topeka. Each division will host its own reception following open remarks by Commissioner Praeger.

Following is a short biography of the directors’ work at KID.  

Marlyn Burch — Burch will leave state government as one of Kansas’ longest-serving employees. He has been at the department since 1961, for a total of 53 years. He has served five elected commissioners during his tenure.

He joined KID as a life insurance policy examiner and became director of the Life Division in 1963. Burch has seen the department housed in three different locations during his state employment. He has served as the department’s unofficial historian, especially for the agency’s current building.

During his tenure, Burch was instrumental in working with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to establish an Interstate Compact to gain uniformity for life insurance products.

Steve O’Neil — O’Neil came to the department in 1987 after 12 years at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. He began as a policy examiner in the Accident and Health Division, but he moved to Consumer Assistance in 1988, where he was a consumer representative until being promoted to supervisor in 2005.  He has been the division director since 2013.

Neil Woerman — Woerman has been IT director at KID since January 2003, following a lengthy stint at the Attorney General’s office in various capacities, including chief of staff.

He began state service in 1978 in the Attorney General’s office and held three positions there before becoming Commissioner Praeger’s IT director in 2003. For KID, he served as the chair of the Information Systems Task Force for the NAIC.

Ted Clark — Clark, after a law enforcement career, joined the department in 2003 to become head of the newly-formed Anti-Fraud Division. He was formerly with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

A member of numerous state, regional and national anti-fraud organizations, Clark began his law enforcement career with the Topeka Police Department and later joined the KBI. He served at KID as the chair for the NAIC Anti-Fraud Task Force for eight years.

“The department has been extremely fortunate to have these men working for good insurance regulation for our citizens,” Commissioner Praeger said. “I have tremendous respect for these gentlemen and value highly their friendship and support during my time as commissioner.”