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Executive Staff

Meet the Commissioner

James Dodrill - Commissioner

James A. Dodrill

West Virginia Insurance Commissioner

James A. Dodrill was appointed Insurance Commissioner by Governor Jim Justice and assumed the office on March 4, 2019. Commissioner Dodrill is responsible for the overall regulation of the West Virginia insurance market as well as protection of the State’s insurance consumers. He oversees the mission of the Offices of the Insurance Commissioner in promoting a healthy, competitive and solvent insurance market with ample consumer protections as well as consistent administration of the insurance laws and regulations of West Virginia.

Commissioner Dodrill is a 1982 graduate with honors (Summa Cum Laude) of Marshall University, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He earned his Juris Doctorate degree from the West Virginia University College of Law in 1985, where his class ranking was 18th out of 119 graduates.

From May, 1985 until late 1999, Commissioner Dodrill was in private practice in West Virginia, during which time he also served as an assistant prosecuting attorney, municipal attorney for three West Virginia municipalities and tried, as first-chair trial counsel, dozens of felony and misdemeanor criminal cases and civil cases (personal injury, wrongful death, governmental liability, civil service, insurance coverage, insurance bad faith, and others) in the state and federal courts of West Virginia. Commissioner Dodrill also participated in numerous appellate matters in multiple state and federal appellate courts that resulted in eight published appellate decisions.

From 1999 to 2019, Commissioner Dodrill was Corporate Claims Counsel for The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, responsible for corporate claims litigation and risk management as well as supervision of high exposure/special complexity insurance-related legal matters involving conflicts of law, multi state/multi party claims, appellate actions, and bad faith/extra-contractual institutional litigation nationally, as well as government relations and legislative affairs. He served for six years as Chairman of the West Virginia Insurance Federation, has testified before the Council of the District of Columbia on insurance matters, and has worked on insurance regulatory and legislative matters not only in West Virginia, but also in South Carolina, Maryland and other states. He also authored training materials, conducted numerous insurance claims and litigation management courses, and was an approved property and liability insurance instructor. Commissioner Dodrill is admitted to the practice of law before the United States Supreme Court, the U. S. Courts of Appeal for the Fourth and Sixth Circuits, the U. S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia and the Southern District of Ohio, and the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

Commissioner Dodrill is also a veteran and served in the first Gulf War in 1991. After 21 years of service in the U. S. Air Force and Air National Guard, he retired in 1998 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He has continued to serve in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the official auxiliary of the U. S. Air Force, and in October 2018, he was promoted to Colonel and appointed to a four-year term as Commander of CAP’s West Virginia Wing. Commissioner Dodrill’s uniformed service totals more than 40 years.

Commissioner Dodrill and his wife, Terri Payne Dodrill, reside in Putnam County, West Virginia. They have three children and two grandchildren


 


 

General Counsel

Erin K. Hunter

General Counsel

Erin K. Hunter has been General Counsel for the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner since March 31, 2018.  From January 25, 2019 through March 3, 2019, she also served in the role of Acting Insurance Commissioner. 

Erin was initially hired into the Insurance Commissioner’s Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement Division in 2012 as an associate attorney.  In that role, she handled a myriad of insurance related investigations and administrative proceedings, including consumer complaints, tax assessment disputes, financial solvency actions, company licensing actions, market conduct actions, and insurance agent/producer licensing actions.  As General Counsel, Erin provides legal advice to the agency and is charged with managing all legal issues affecting the agency, including general regulatory policy, outside litigation, administrative actions, public inquiries and outreach, state administered workers’ compensation fund claims, workers’ compensation employer compliance and enforcement, legislative developments and rules implementation, staffing for various boards and councils, Freedom of Information Act inquiries, and other agency personnel, administrative and contractual issues.  

Erin attended West Virginia University where she graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees in English Literature and Political Science. She then attended West Virginia University College of Law where she received her Juris Doctorate degree in 2003.  Erin has continued her professional development by obtaining designation as a Professional, Academy of Healthcare Management (PAHM) through America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and received a certificate in Insurance Regulation through The Institutes.   She is continuing her professional development training and has also undertaken various other courses regarding flood insurance, insurance law, and workers compensation.  Erin resides in Hurricane, WV, with her husband and daughter.


 


 

Assistant Commissioner, Regulatory

Tonya Childress Gillespie, CPA

Tonya Childress Gillespie is the Assistant Commissioner, of the Regulatory Divisions for the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner.  She is responsible for the Company Analysis and Examination Division, Agent Licensing and Education Division, Consumer Services Division, Rates and Forms Division, Health Policy Division, Claim Services Division, Research Division and the State Agency Workers’ Compensation Program. She has been with the Offices of the Insurance Commissioner since December 2005.  Prior to joining the Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, she was the Director of the Rating Services Division of the West Virginia Workers Compensation Commission and worked in private industry.

Mrs. Gillespie is a graduate of West Virginia State University, where she earned undergraduate degrees in accounting and management.  She is also a Certified Public Accountant.  She resides in South Charleston with her husband David and their daughter.

Assistant Commissioner, Finance

Melinda A. Kiss, CPA, CGMA

Melinda Ashworth Kiss is the Assistant Commissioner of Finance for the Offices of the Insurance Commissioner(OIC) in Charleston, WV. Ms. Kiss is both a certified public accountant (CPA) and a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). Ms. Kiss has been employed with the OIC since 2006, where she oversees the accounting, financial reporting, budgeting, investment and procurement functions of the agency. She also oversees the Workers’ Compensation Office of Employer Accounts, an area responsible for self-insurance regulation and employer compliance with WV’s workers compensation laws.

Prior to her employment with the OIC, Ms. Kiss served as the Chief Financial Officer of the WV Workers’ Compensation Commission and also worked in the private sector in public accounting.   A lifelong resident of West Virginia, Melinda was born and raised in Beckley, WV and is a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School. She attended West Virginia University and Concord University obtaining a Bachelor of Science Degree with an accounting major.  Melinda is a member of the State Society of CPAs, the Charleston Chapter of the WVSCPAs, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and serves as a representative on the WV Investment Management Board. She is a past recipient of the WV Society of CPA’s “Outstanding CPA in Government Award” and she is active in several charitable organizations.  She and her husband, Bob reside in Charleston with their two children.

Human Resource Director

Debbie Hughes

Debbie Hughes is the Human Resources Director for the WV Offices of the Insurance Commissioner.  Debbie Hughes has worked for the State of West Virginia for 26 years.  She began public service in 1992 for the WV Attorney General’s office in the Environment and Energy Division.  In 1995, the Division was moved in-house to the WV Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Office of Legal Services.  She began her human resources career in 2005 as the DEP’s EEO/Grievance Coordinator and Chief Privacy Officer.  She was promoted in 2008 to an Administrative Services Manager position, responsible for the daily operation of the DEP’s Classification and Compensation Unit.  She left DEP in July 2015 to accept the Human Resources Director position for the Offices of the Insurance Commissioner.  During her state tenure, Ms. Hughes has participated on several statewide projects, such as the Plans Project, wvOASIS HR/Payroll project, and several privacy initiatives.  She has conducted training in all facets of employment practices, such as equal employment laws, grievance procedures, hiring practices, privacy policies, classification and compensation plans, and Kronos timekeeping. 

Ms. Hughes has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and an Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies from the University of Charleston in Charleston, West Virginia.  She currently resides in Charleston with her husband and son.