Ex-policeman to head state insurance fraud unit


Ronald A. Sallow, a 21-year veteran of fighting insurance fraud, has been named to head the state's new effort to curb the criminal activity that pumps up insurance costs.

"I want to do this job," Mr. Sallow said yesterday. "My whole career has been geared towards this job."

The 49-year-old former police officer and detective will head the state's new insurance fraud unit at the Maryland Insurance Administration. He will have the title of associate commissioner for the state insurance fraud unit.

With a staff of 18 and a $2 million annual budget -- paid for by the state's insurance industry -- the bureau is responsible for the state's most aggressive effort to stem a problem that is estimated to cost Marylanders $1.35 billion a year.

Created by the General Assembly during its last session, the unit is part of Gov. Parris N. Glendening's bid to bring down insurance premiums. A smaller existing fraud unit in the governor's office will be consolidated into the new office.

Maryland Insurance Commissioner Dwight K. Bartlett III said Mr. Sallow was selected for the $72,500-a-year post after 100 applicants were screened. "Ronald Sallow had the exact requisites that this vital position needs at this time," he said.

A Baltimore native, Mr. Sallow had been director of the special investigations unit of Agency Insurance Co. of Maryland Inc., a company that specializes in providing car insurance to higher risk drivers.

A Baltimore city police officer and detective from 1967 to 1974, Mr. Sallow first dealt with insurance fraud from 1974 to 1984 when he was an investigator in the white-collar crime unit of the Baltimore state's attorney's office.

Subsequently, he spent four years as an investigator and supervisor at the Insurance Crime Prevention Institute, an industry-funded investigative agency, and then headed a special investigative unit of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund from 1988 to 1993.

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