On December 31, 2008, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe announced the appointment of Jay Bradford as the new Commissioner of the Arkansas Insurance Department. Bradford has served as the Director of the Arkansas Division of Behavioral Sciences for the last two years. He has over forty years of experience in the insurance industry, thirty of which he spent at First Arkansas Insurance Group as founder and Chairman. Bradford has also served more than twenty years in the Arkansas Legislature where he has acted as both Speaker Pro Tempore of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

Bradford will replace Julie Benafield Bowman, whose resignation was effective on December 31, 2008. Chief Deputy Commissioner Lenita Blasingame will serve as the Interim Commissioner until Bradford’s appointment takes effect on January 15, 2009.