Your network of knowledge for insurance regulation.
Follow IRES on LinkedIn Follow IRES on Twitter Learn more about IRES on YouTube Follow IRES on Google Plus

2017 Candidate Bios

Candidate Bios

Kenneth Allen, AIE


Ken joined the California Department of Insurance, Rate Regulation Branch in 1989. In September 2016 he was promoted from a Supervising Insurance Rate Analyst (Bureau Chief) to the Deputy Commissioner of the Rate Regulation Branch and is based out of the Los Angeles office.

Ken graduated from California State University Fullerton in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics. He earned his CPCU designation in 1996, became an IRES member in 2000, and currently holds an AIE designation through IRES.

Elected to the IRES Board of Directors in 2013 and becoming a member of IRES’ Executive Committee in 2014, Ken has served on the following IRES committees: Accreditation & Ethics Committee since 2007; Vice Chair of the Membership & Benefits Committee in 2013‐14; Chair of the CDS Committee in 2014‐15; and Chair of the Meetings & Elections Committee from 2015‐16 to present. He is also IRES’ currentPresident‐Elect.

Ken, his wife, and daughter (age 13) greatly appreciate living in Southern California as they often take advantage of the area’s many amenities for relaxing and enjoyable family outings. He is part of a small group that has had season tickets with the Anaheim Ducks since their inaugural season and he attends major league or minor league baseball games always looking to add to his list of different stadiums visited. And with his new responsibilities, Ken will being travelling to San Francisco regularly to keep connected with the Rate Regulation staff based in that office, so he is currently accepting suggestions for any good restaurants in the City by the Bay!

Holly Blanchard, AIE, MCM


Holly is the President of Regulatory Insurance Advisors, LLC (RIA) and has over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, with a majority of those years as an insurance regulator. Holly brings extensive ACA and overall regulatory expertise. Beginning with the passage of the ACA in 2010, Holly was a significant part of the Nebraska Department of Insurance team that led implementation of the ACA in Nebraska. Additionally, as a previous Administrator with the Nebraska Department of Insurance, Holly worked closely with other states and HHS to initiate the requirements of the ACA. Beginning in 2013, Holly was the key oversight officer on several multi-pronged contracts, including CCIIO PFR and MEC reviews, as well as multiple state exams.

With this experience, Holly is well versed in the requirements of the ACA, and is also very knowledgeable on how state laws interplay with the federal requirements. Holly is a Past-President of IRES and a current member of the Board of Directors. She is the chair of the State Chair subcommittee, and an active member of theCDS, Education, Membership and Benefits and the Meetings and Elections Committees.

Ben Darnell, MCM


Ben Darnell began his insurance career in 2006 as a Rate Filings Services Specialist at Amerisafe, Inc. in his hometown of DeRidder, Louisiana. In 2007, Ben left Amerisafe and began working at the Louisiana Department of Insurance in the Property and Casualty Form Filing division. In 2013, Ben began working in the Market Conduct Division at the Louisiana Department of Insurance. Then in  2014, Ben decided to become a contract Market Conduct Examiner and began working with Examination Resources. Ben is currently a board member of the Insurance Regulatory Examiners Socieity(IRES) where he serves as Vice Chair of the Meetings and Elections Committee and was previously State Co‐Chair of the local Louisiana IRES chapter.

Ben holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management – Entrepreneurship from Louisiana Tech University and a Master of Business Administration from Louisiana State University. Ben also
obtained his MCM designation and is currently pursuing his AIE designation. In his spare time, Ben enjoys watching sports, being outdoors, and spending time at home in Prairieville, Louisiana with his wife, Tara, and 2 year old son, Will.

Uma Dua, MCM


Uma is a seasoned pharmacist with a true business impact. She graduated with a Pharm.D. from the University of the Sciences of Philadelphia (USP) and a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from The University of Pittsburgh. Uma also held her MCM certification in good standing from IRES since 2014.

She has an established track record for improving productivity and delivering results, including C-suite executives. Uma has held positions as a pharmacist in a wide array of arenas including, retail pharmacy, drug information, clinical, healthcare IT/revenue cycle, project management, managed care (including specialty pharmacy), and government (Affordable Care Act or ACA/Medicaid).  She is well versed in opioid addiction and treatment, including performing interrogatories, which enables her to be versatile and deliver results that are measurable and that support business goals.   Uma has held several positions in pharmacy, utilizing her clinical knowledge and operational knowledge to increase efficiency. 

Currently, Uma is working for INS performing Market Conduct Management (MCM) reviews regarding ACA, as well as Mental Health (MH)/Substance Use Disorders, for major Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) via the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. Uma has also worked for other Departments of Insurance, performing reviews of the proper utilization of medications in managed care organizations as it relates to opioid addiction and proper treatment.

Prior to this, Uma worked at Cigna as a Clinical Program Manager. Clinical Pharmacy Program Development – Affordable Care Act (ACA) Federal and State Exchange business.  Uma was involved in IFP formulary development and compliance.  She was responsible for designing, developing, and implementing clinical pharmacy programs and strategies that are applied across Cigna's Federal and State Exchanges.  She was responsible for working collaboratively with cross functional teams and a broad set of matrix partners to ensure timely execution of deliverables.

Prior to this, Uma worked as a Prescription Drug Benefit Specialist-Pharmacy consultant responsible for reviewing the Essential Health Benefits (EHB) benchmark plan review for managed care organizations in the FFM direct enforcement stats per the ACA, including non-discrimination reviews, that include the Clinical Appropriateness Tool (CAT) review, Formulary Outlier Review, and Treatment Protocol Calculator (TPC).  She performed policy form reviews with a primary focus on the review of prescription drug templates, drug testing justification forms and other related documents for both the individual and group markets as it relates to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).   She performed interrogatories and MCM reviews of the ACA , including opioids and MAT/MMT, MH/SUD.  She was responsible for assessing discrimination of all QHPs & Non-QHPs per ACA as it relates to BAD, DM, RA, Schizophrenia, & HIV/AIDS, MS, HCV, Breast Cancer, and Prostate Cancer.

Prior to this, Uma has worked as a Pharmacy Sales Consultant in a managed care organization, a Business Solutions Consultant in several revenue cycle organizations, as well as Retail Pharmacist for a major retail chain. 

Katie Dzurec-Dunton, MCM   


Katie has recently accepted a new employment opportunity making her ineligible to sit on the Board of Directors.

Katie Dzurec‐Dunton is the Director of the Compliance and Enforcement Division in the Oversight Group at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Prior to becoming a federal regulator, Katie was the Director of Compliance and Regulatory Affairs at Maine Community Health Options. From 2011 to 2014, she was an assistant research professor at the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at the Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute. Her earlier experience includes serving as outreach and communications director at the Maine Bureau of Insurance and as a legislative aide at the Maine Legislature. She holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Maine, and a law degree and bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon.

Pieter Williams, MCM


Pieter is the General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer for Regulatory Insurance Advisors LLC (RIA). Pieter has 14 years legal experience with federal and state health insurance laws and  egulations, 16 total years of legal experience and 10 years of senior-level management experience.

Pieter’s health insurance related legal experience spans identifying emerging legal issues, analyzing new laws and regulations, determining applicability, proposing new laws and regulations,  advocating for clients’ positions, influencing public policy and providing guidance for implementing and/or complying with laws and regulations. Further, Pieter has at least strong years of experience with state and federal legislative and administrative processes for creating and amending laws and regulations.

Pieter has strong knowledge of federal and state requirements applying to ACA coverage, HIPAA excepted benefits and other federal and state health programs. In recent years, Pieter successfully led efforts to: 1) monitor, analyze and influence federal and state ACA legislation and regulations; 2) provide counsel to clients concerning applicability of the ACA and exchange funding; 3) promote HIPAA excepted benefit compliance; 4) influence federal Dodd-Frank Act financial regulation as it relates to the insurance sector; and 5) influence National Association of Insurance (NAIC) matters. Pieter frequently engages federal and state regulators, legislators and policymakers to advocate for client’s interests and achieve desired outcomes. Pieter also frequently provides strategic guidance and management oversight for complex legal, regulatory, legislative and business matters. Pieter’s work typically involves a high degree of leadership, independent contribution and collaboration with clients.

Additionally, Pieter is recognized nationally as an expert regulatory counsel for health, life and insurance financial matters and presents on these topics frequently at national conferences. Pieter is an active participant in health insurance matters involving the NAIC and is a current member of the Board of Directors for the Insurance Regulatory Examiner’s Society (IRES) where he is the co-chair of the MCM/AMCM Committee, and an active member of the CDS, Education, and the Meetings and Elections Committees.