A. Samuel Penn, the head of a special Governor's Insurance Commission to study insurance issues, has become the No. 2 person at the state's Insurance Division.
Insurance Commissioner John A. Donaho said he named Penn deputy commissioner so that Donaho can spend more time on policy and external matters. "We are very fortunate to find a man who has significant executive ability and exposure to the subject matter that we deal with," he said. The appointment is effective tomorrow.
William A. Fogle Jr., secretary of the Department of Licensing and Regulation, which is the agency that oversees the Insurance Division, said Penn brings "a wealth of ability and background to the position."
He will be filling a post that has been vacant for about a year and will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Insurance Division, Fogle said.
Penn, 56, retired in 1989 from a position as executive vice president of PHH Corp., a business management services company based in Hunt Valley. Penn became the executive-in-residence and member of the faculty at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, but is to resign from that position in connection with his appointment.
He is chairman of the Governor's Commission on Insurance. Fogle said the new position should not interfere with his chairmanship since the work of the commission is nearly finished. After several months of study, the commission made recommendations concerning insurance company solvency and fraud. In turn, these recommendations were incorporated into bills introduced on behalf of Gov. William Donald Schaefer.
"I am pleased and excited with the opportunity to work with the commissioner and all of the people of the division on behalf of the citizens of Maryland," Penn said.
Janelle Cousino, executive director of the Maryland Citizen Action Coalition, a group that has pressed for insurance changes, said Penn still "has a lot to learn" about insurance.
As members of the governor's insurance commission, Cousino and Penn took different sides of issues, with Penn often siding with insurance company representatives. But Cousino said there is a difference between making policy and enforcing regulations. "I don't expect him to look the other way," she said.
Early last year, Penn was considered for the new position of chief executive officer of the Pratt Free Library. But that appointment was withdrawn after Anna Curry, the long-time director of the library, said she would not accept an arrangement in which she would have to share her duties.