TRENTON—The state Senate has confirmed Metuchen resident Douglas A. Wheeler as the new director of the Division of Insurance.
Wheeler had been nominated by Gov. Jon Corzine in May. He replaces longtime division Director Donald Bryan, who retired June 30.
Wheeler, an attorney who formerly served as the Department’s Chief of Staff and Assistant Commissioner for Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, has been serving in an acting capacity since March.
“During Doug’s previous tenure here, he was a strong leader and a decision maker, particularly in the drafting and implementing of major auto insurance reform in 2003,” said state Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Steven M. Goldman. “His skills; knowledge and leadership will help fill the gap created by the departure of Don Bryan, who has been an institution and a model public servant here for decades.”
Wheeler, 37, of Metuchen, said his return to the department after an absence of more than three years was like a homecoming.
“I have a passion and a strong commitment to public service,” he said. “Some of the most pressing government issues today are the oversight of insurers and the financial services industry, consumer protection and health care reform. They are even more important in this tough economic climate.”
Wheeler, a 1996 graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law, served as an attorney with two law firms; Schwartz Simon Edelstein Celso & Kessler, of Florham Park, and Meyner and Landis, in Newark, before joining the New Jersey Senate as staff counsel in 2002. In that post, he participated in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation into racial profiling.
He was named Assistant Commissioner, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at DOBI in 2002 and was appointed Chief of Staff in 2005. He held both posts until 2006 when he joined National Atlantic Holdings Corporation and the Proformance Insurance Co. of Freehold, where he served as vice president and then general counsel.
Wheeler, a native Philadelphian, lives with his wife, Margo, and two children.
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