Thursday, October 31, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today selected longtime Oklahoma City attorney Robert H. Gilliland and Denise Engle, a deputy insurance commissioner, to serve on the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission. Their appointments are effective Nov. 6, 2013.
Gilliland, of Oklahoma City, is a veteran attorney. His practice is concentrated in the area of business litigation in both state and federal courts, including oil and gas litigation, contract litigation, environmental litigation, products liability and securities litigation.
“Robert Gilliland brings a wealth of legal experience that will serve him well as he works to help craft a fair and efficient way to deal with injured workers on the job,” Governor Fallin said. “I’m delighted he has agreed to serve on this important commission.”
Engle, of Canadian County, will step down as a deputy insurance commissioner at the Oklahoma Insurance Department in order to accept the appointment to the Workers’ Compensation Commission. During her tenure at the Insurance Department, Engle directed operations of multiple divisions including rate and form compliance as well as licensing and education. She also led workers’ compensation initiatives, regulated multibillion dollar insurance product policies and oversaw continuing education requirements for 150,000 insurance professionals.
She also worked 14 years for Express Services Inc., where she served as risk manager and directed a $31 million workers’ compensation program.
“As deputy insurance commissioner, Denise Engle understands how important it is for Oklahoma to develop a workers’ compensation system that reduces costs for businesses while treating workers fairly,” Governor Fallin said. “In addition, she has dealt with a wide array of workers’ compensation issues while working in the private sector. She will be an enormous help in improving the way Oklahoma treats injured workers and developing a more efficient and effective system.”
The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission was created this year with the passage of Senate Bill 1062, the state’s landmark worker’s compensation reform law. It is to be made up of three members, each appointed by the governor. The governor earlier appointed Troy Wilson to serve as commission chairman. Confirmation of each is required by the Oklahoma Senate.
SB 1062 changes the workers’ compensation system from a judicial system to an administrative one. The three commissioners will develop emergency rules for the system, which will start up Feb. 1.
Gilliland has been an attorney with the McAfee and Taft law firm in Oklahoma City for 40 years. After his admission to the Oklahoma Bar Association in 1966, Gilliland served four years as a captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Army.
Gilliland holds the distinction of being one of only a handful of lawyers in the United States to be selected for continued inclusion in “The Best Lawyers in America” since the publication's debut in 1983. He has also been perennially named to the “Oklahoma Super Lawyers” publication.
Gilliland earned a bachelor’s degree at Texas Christian University and his law degree from the University of Oklahoma.
“I look forward to serving the state of Oklahoma and the workers and employers of this state as we transition to an administrative workers’ compensation system,” Gilliland said. “We will do our best to implement a system that is fair to all concerned while streamlining the process so that employees with work-related injuries or illnesses receive appropriate medical treatment and fair awards without unnecessary delay.”
Engle, before being named deputy insurance commissioner in 2011, served as president of Engle Risk and Insurance Services, an insurance and risk consultancy that managed large loss litigation and liability claims adjustment. She is a chartered property casualty underwriter (CPCU).
Engle received a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma City University.
She said she is honored to be appointed to the workers' Compensation Commission.
“It is a brighter day in Oklahoma as we work together fulfilling the promise of workers' compensation reform,” Engle said.
Gilliland will serve a four-year term and Engle will serve a two-year term. Wilson, appointed in August, is serving a six-year term.
SB 1062 calls for the governor to appoint all three members, with one appointment recommended by the speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, recommended Engle.