Senior Management

Last Updated: March 8, 2018

Picture of Commissioner Theodore K. Nickel.

Ted Nickel

Governor Scott Walker appointed Ted Nickel as Commissioner of Insurance for the State of Wisconsin on January 3, 2011.

In addition to supervising the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) staff and serving as the chief regulator of insurance, Commissioner Nickel serves as the final adjudicator of all administrative actions; co-vice chairs the Governor's Council on Financial Literacy; member of the Governor's Steering Committee on Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Testing and Deployment; supervises the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund, Local Government Property Insurance Fund, and State Life Insurance Fund; and serves on the Wisconsin Retirement Board.

Commissioner Nickel recently concluded his term as the 2017 President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). He currently serves on the Executive (EX) Committee, Government Relations (EX) Leadership Council, Health Insurance (B) Committee, and the Internal Administration (EX1) Subcommittee. He is co-vice chair of the Innovation and Technology Taskforce. He is a member of the NAIC American Indian and Alaska Native Liaison Committee and serves on several other NAIC task forces and committees. In addition, he chairs the Mortgage Guaranty Insurance (E) Working Group.

Commissioner Nickel is also a member of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS). He is a member of the Executive Committee, Audit and Risk Committee and Chairs the Site Selection Committee.

In August 2014, the Commissioner was appointed to the Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance which serves as an advisory committee to the Federal Insurance Office.

Prior to his appointment, Commissioner Nickel worked for almost 18 years as director of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs for Church Mutual Insurance Company in Merrill, Wisconsin. Commissioner Nickel has been actively engaged in insurance industry affairs in Wisconsin. He has served on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, including having served as chair. Commissioner Nickel served on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Insurance Security Fund and the Oklahoma Property Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association, as well as having served as a member of the Legal and Government Affairs Committee of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

Commissioner Nickel earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in finance from Valparaiso University.

J.P. Wieske

Commissioner Nickel appointed J.P. Wieske as Deputy Commissioner of Insurance for the State of Wisconsin in June 2016. Deputy Commissioner Wieske, subject to the general direction of the Commissioner, supervises the regulatory, public information and administrative functions of the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. As Deputy, he also exercises and performs the functions of the Commissioner in the Commissioner's absence. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Wieske served as the OCI Legislative Liaison/Public Information Officer (PIO) for 5 years.

Mr. Wieske brings more than 20 years of experience working in the insurance industry. He is the Chair of the NAIC's Regulatory Framework Task Force and has served as Chair of the NAIC's Network Adequacy Subgroup. As PIO, Mr. Wieske directed OCI's communication strategy including responding to press inquiries, supervising OCI's Web site, and editing OCI publications. As Legislative Liaison, he shepherded OCI's legislative agenda through the legislative process including bills relating to insurance company solvency requirements and bills impacting all lines of insurance.

Prior to his appointment as Legislative Liaison/PIO, Mr. Wieske served as the Executive Director of the Council of Affordable Health Insurance. In that capacity, he authored and co-authored numerous publications related to timely health insurance issues and testified on insurance issues in state legislatures across the country. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Political Science from Carroll College.

Elizabeth Hizmi

Elizabeth Hizmi was appointed as Legislative Liaison/Public Information Officer (PIO) in September 2016. Her duties include supervision of the legislative and public information and communications functions in the agency.

Prior to her appointment as Legislative Liaison/PIO, Ms. Hizmi served as the Division Administrator for Policy Development at the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). The Division of Policy Development is responsible for providing administrative support and policy guidance to professional regulatory boards and consultation about continuing education requirements and examination requirements for regulated professions in Wisconsin. The Division is also home to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), a tool to improve patient care and safety and to reduce the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs.

Ms. Hizmi also previously served as the Director of Gubernatorial Appointments in the Office of Governor Scott Walker. In this capacity, she was responsible for facilitating gubernatorial appointments to over 200 boards, councils, commissions and task forces.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Zach Bemis

Zach Bemis was appointed as Chief Legal Counsel in March 2018. He is responsible for providing legal counsel to the Commissioner’s Unit and overseeing OCI’s Legal Unit.

Prior to his appointment as Chief Legal Counsel, Mr. Bemis spent 5 years working in the legislature, including chief of staff to the Assembly Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Finance and legal counsel and advisor to the Speaker of the Assembly. In the Assembly Co-Chair’s office, he helped shepherd the 2017-19 Wisconsin State Budget through the legislature and also worked on the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse.

As legal counsel to the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Bemis advised on compliance with Assembly Rules, state ethics laws, open records and public meeting law, and the administrative rules process. He also has experience working in the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel.

Mr. Bemis graduated from DePaul University College of Law. While attending DePaul, he worked in the regulatory affairs for an energy company, in the Office of Legal Counsel at the United States Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, and at a law firm representing public sector clients. Mr. Bemis earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kate Ludlum

Kate Ludlum was appointed the Insurance Administrator for Funds and Program Management in March 2015. Ms. Ludlum is responsible for the oversight of the Local Government Property Insurance Fund, the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund, the State Life Insurance Fund, and all internal administrative duties including budget, accounting, human resources, and information technology for the agency.

Kate has more than 30 years of management, leadership and human resource experience. In 2011, Kate joined the Office of Commissioner of Insurance as OCI's Office Management Specialist, assisting the Insurance Administrator in a variety of capacities. Prior to joining OCI in 2011 she was employed by Verizon Telecommunications in various roles throughout her career.

Kate has a Bachelor's of Science in Management from Cardinal Stritch University and holds a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and a Certified Professional - Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-CP) certification.

Cari Lee

Cari Lee was appointed as Division Administrator of Regulation and Enforcement in February of 2016. In that role, Cari supervises both the Bureau of Market Regulation and the Bureau of Financial Analysis and Examinations. Prior to her appointment, Cari served as the Bureau Director of Market Regulation in the Division of Regulation and Enforcement. As Bureau Director Cari has overseen the regulatory activities of the bureau including market conduct examinations and analysis, rate and form filings, Wisconsin's Effective Rate Review Program, agent licensing, and consumer complaints.

Prior to joining the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, Cari served as the Director of Membership and Marketing for the Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (IIAW). In this position, she was involved in developing the group's strategic plan as well as annual budget planning, facilitated upgrades in the technical IT infrastructure, and worked on communication issues. She received national recognition for her work on behalf of the organization.

Cari has over 15 years of combined insurance policy and legislative experience working in the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly, in the office of former Wisconsin Governor, Tommy G. Thompson, and with several Wisconsin-based insurance associations.

Cari holds a degree in International Relations and minor in Economics.