Ex-PHH executive named to state insurance post


A. Samuel Penn, chairman of the Governor's Commission on Insurance and a former executive at PHH Corp., has been named the state's deputy insurance commissioner, filling a post left vacant for more than a year.

The hiring of a No. 2 official at the Maryland Insurance Division, the agency that regulates the state's insurers, had been strongly recommended by legislative analysts and division officials, regulators said.

"I need it," said Maryland Insurance Commissioner John A. Donaho, whose former deputy resigned early last year. "We just simply cannot take care of everything that is happening on the state scene and the national scene without additional help."

Although the administration had delayed appointing a new deputy, citing budget constraints, a heightened concern over the increasingly complex industry made it clear that the post should be filled, said Paul E. Schurick, spokesman for Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

The deputy insurance commissioner has a posted annual salary of $61,393, said Jacqueline Lampell, a spokeswoman for the Department of Licensing and Regulation, which includes the Insurance Division.

As deputy, Mr. Penn, 56, would be handling the day-to-day management of the division under Mr. Donaho, who was appointed by Mr. Schaefer nearly two years ago.

"He brings really a wealth of experience and background on the management side to the Insurance Division, and that's what we need to complement John [Donaho] right now," said William A. Fogle Jr., the department's secretary.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Mr. Penn serves on the boards of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Sinai Hospital. He has headed the insurance commission, a panel specially created to examine a range of insurance issues, since its formation in April.

He also has been executive in residence at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland since May 1990.

Before joining the Baltimore college, Mr. Penn had spent 21 years at PHH Corp., a Hunt Valley-based business-services company. He left PHH as an executive vice president in charge of national and international strategies for a wide range of businesses.

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