Senior Leadership

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Last Updated: August 31, 2023 

Commissioner Nathan Houdek

Nathan Ho​udek

Nathan Houdek has served as Commissioner of Insurance for the State of Wisconsin since his appointment by Governor Tony Evers in January 2022. He previously served as Deputy Commissioner of Insurance for three years under former Commissioner Mark Afable.

Commissioner Houdek serves as the state's chief regulator​ of insurance and oversees the operations of the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. He is also chair of the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund Board of Governors and a member of the Wisconsin Retirement Board and the Wisconsin Insurance Security Fund (the state's guaranty fund) Board of Directors.

As a member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Commissioner Houdek currently serves as vice chair of the Financial Condition (E) Committee, chair of the Financial Stability (E) Task Force, the Accelerated Underwriting (A) Working Group and the Health Innovations (B) Working Group, as a member of the Life Insurance and Annuities (A) Committee and various task forces and working groups. He is also vice chair of the Governance Committee of the Interstate Insurance Compact Commission.​

Having spent over 20 years working in state legisla​tive and regulat​ory affairs, Commissioner Houdek has extensive experience finding solutions to complex public policy and regulatory challenges across all lines of insurance. He has held several senior-level roles in the public and private sectors, including serving as a principal at one of Wisconsin's largest public affairs and business consulting firms and as chief of staff to a former minority leader in the Wisconsin State Senate.

Commissioner Houdek grew up in northern Wisconsin and earned his BA and MBA degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is actively involved with the Madison Public Library Foundation.

Rachel Cissne Carabell​

Rachel Cissne Carabell​ is the Deputy Commissioner of Insurance​ at OCI. As Deputy Commissioner, Rachel Cissne Carabell is responsible for the overall operations of OCI and actively participates in NAIC activities and engagement with stakeholders. She is a member of the state’s Group Insurance Board and the Governor’s Birth to Three Interagency Coordinating Council.

Deputy Commissioner Cissne Carabell is an experienced health insurance and employee benefits expert who has held leadership roles in both the public and private sectors throughout her career. She brings more than 20 years of experience to OCI. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. 

Amy Ma​lm

Amy Malm is the Administrator for the Division of Financial Regulation at OCI. Since 2017, Amy has served as the bureau director of financial regulation. She is responsible for overseeing company licensing, financial analysis and examinations, and the solvency of insurers licensed to do business in Wisconsin. Amy started at OCI in 2001 as a financial examiner.

Before joining OCI, Amy was a revenue agent with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue in the Delinquent Tax Unit assisting taxpayers in resolving past-due taxes. Amy also has experience working in the private sector as an accounting assistant for a home health agency while obtaining her degree.

Amy earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Upper Iowa University. She is also a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Examiner through the Society of Financial Examiners, and an Associate in Risk Management – Enterprise-wide Risk Management. In 2021, Amy earned the designation of Professional in Insurance Regulation from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Amy serves as a member of several NAIC committees. 

Jesse Patchak

Jesse Patchak is the Director of the Office of Operational Management. In this role, Jesse is responsible for the financial management of OCI which includes budget, finance and accounting, receivables, and procurement. He oversees project management as well as the Information Services Section which is a shared service with the Department of Administration and includes all IT services including help desk, applications development and support, security, email, and network management.

Jesse brings many years of service with the State of Wisconsin. Prior to joining OCI, Jesse worked as a project portfolio manager at the Wisconsin Department of Justice where he worked to develop a data-driven prioritization and resource allocation methodology that maximized enterprise skill sets. Before that, he worked as a budget analyst at the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation.

He holds a Lean Six Sigma certification and earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a minor in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse.​

​Rebecca Reb​holz

Rebecca Rebholz is the Administrator for the Division of Market Regulation & Enforcement at OCI. Rebecca is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Division of Market Regulation and Enforcement. This includes market analysis, industry and consumer issues, rate and forms filings, as well as the agent testing and licensing process. Before her current role, she served as the OCI bureau director of market regulation since August 2016. Rebecca worked as an examiner and a senior examiner in the Property and Casualty Section of Regulation of Enforcement at OCI for 17 years.

Rebecca is also active at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). She is particularly interested in innovation and technology in the insurance sphere.

Rebecca holds an associate degree in Computer Programming/System Analysis from Madison College, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sarah Sm​​​​ith

Sarah Smith is the Director of Public Affairs at OCI. She is responsible for overseeing communications, public outreach, and legislative affairs.

Before joining OCI, Sarah was the Communications Director for Senator Patty Schachtner and has previously served as the Chief of Staff to State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski. 

Sarah also serves on the Dane Co​​unty Board and the Sustainability Committee for the City of Monona.

Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts in History as well as a Master of Science in Educational Policy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kristina​​​ Thole

Kristina Thole is the Director of the Office of Administrative Services. Kristina is the key contact for all OCI employees as their human resources liaison. She is responsible for all personnel management and human resources processes, policies, and procedures. In close coordination with the fund managers, she supervises and​ administers the direction of the State Life Insurance Fund and the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund. She is responsible for the administrative support staff and other administrative functions. 

Prior to joining OCI, Kristina worked at the Department of Administration in the Division of Personnel Management (and its predecessor the Office of State Employment Relations), for over nine years. She has significant experience with HR policy interpretation, development, and implementation as well as in recruitment and selection activities. Before joining the State of Wisconsin, she worked in HR in the private sector in the insurance and health care industries.

​Kristina holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources (S​PHR) designation. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a minor in English from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

Lauren U. Van Buren

Lauren U. Van Buren w​as appointed as Chief Legal Counsel in January 2023. Van Buren ​served as an attorney at OCI for over five years prosecuting administrative actions with a focus on financial advisor fraud, securities fraud, and life insurance suitability. She has been active with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, with a focus on the use of big data and artificial intelligence.