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November 27, 2002

L&I names Illinois insurance veteran to head state's workers' comp system

TUMWATER - Robert J. Malooly, a 30-year veteran of the insurance industry, has been selected to run Washington State's industrial insurance system. Malooly, 54, who rose from claims adjudicator to Chairman and CEO of the Industrial Commission of Illinois, was chosen by Director Gary Moore, following a nationwide search. Moore said Malooly was chosen for his knowledge and experience in the insurance industry.

Malooly will take over the leadership of the Insurance Services Division in January, replacing Douglas Connell, who is retiring after 28 years with the department.

"We were looking for someone who knows insurance well and has a proven track record," said Moore. "Bob has considerable experience working with business and organized labor."

Malooly has been employed in the private sector since 1996. Prior to that, he headed the Industrial Commission of Illinois under Gov. James Thompson. Malooly was chosen by Governor Thompson to implement a broad package of legislative reforms to Illinois' workers' compensation program.

Before directing the Industrial Commission, Malooly was part of the executive management team that Governor Thompson picked to restructure the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The agency had a history of operational and financial problems. As part of the turnaround, the budget was balanced and deficits were eliminated in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.

Malooly began his career in 1970 as an unemployment insurance claims adjudicator in the Department of Employment Security. In 1983, he was chosen to set up the agency's first actuarial office. His job was to provide dependable financial estimates, which put him in the middle of a debate between business and organized labor over the amount of money needed to fund the unemployment compensation program.

For the past six years, Malooly has been an officer in several private companies that provide actuarial services and rating services to Illinois' workers' compensation system.

"This is an exciting challenge for me, in one of my favorite parts of the country," said Malooly. "You've got a well-run system, and I look forward to building on what Doug Connell and the staff in Insurance Services have accomplished."

Malooly will manage an industrial insurance division that provides workers' compensation coverage to about 1.9 million workers and 163,000 employers in Washington State. Another 400,000 workers are employed by companies that are self-insured. Each year, the state fund provides about $1.4 billion in benefits to workers injured on the job.

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