Austin, TX – The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) announces its chief deputy commissioner and new leadership for its Administrative Operations, Life and Health, and General Counsel divisions.
Jessica Barta is TDI’s new General Counsel. Since 2014, she has served as the Public Counsel for the Office of Injured Employee Counsel (OIEC). Before Barta’s appointment at OIEC, she spent four years at TDI as the Workers’ Compensation Legislative Liaison and Assistant Director of Government Relations. Prior to her state government service, Barta was General Counsel for Great American Financial Resources, Inc. She received her law and bachelor’s degrees from Indiana University. Barta will start her new role Feb. 1.
Melissa Burkhart is the new Deputy Commissioner of Administrative Operations. Burkhart joined TDI in 2000 and worked in Property and Casualty and Regulatory Policy before moving to Administrative Operations. For the past five years, she has served as the Associate Commissioner of Procurement and General Services for TDI. Burkhart received a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University.
Debra Diaz-Lara is the new Deputy Commissioner of Life and Health. Diaz-Lara joined TDI in 1999 as an insurance specialist. She has served as the director of the Managed Care Quality Assurance Office and the Associate Commissioner for Life and Health. Before coming to TDI, she worked for a commercial health insurance plan and in hospitals and physician offices.
Dan Paschal is the new Chief Deputy Commissioner. Paschal was TDI’s Deputy Commissioner for External Relations and, prior to that, served as a deputy commissioner at the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Before joining TDI, he worked at the Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas House of Representatives, and the Governor’s Office. Paschal is a licensed attorney and graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston Law Center. He’s a veteran of the U.S. Navy Reserve, where he served as an intelligence officer.