Jay Bradford was appointed Insurance Commissioner January 15, 2009, by Governor Mike Beebe. Bradford brings more than four decades of experience in the insurance industry, including 30 years as founder, chairman and former principal shareholder of First Arkansas Insurance Group, a statewide network of independent property and casualty agencies. Customer service and consumer protection have been hallmarks of his career. Prior to his appointment, Bradford served for two years as the director of the Division of Behavioral Health Services within the Arkansas Department of Human Services. He served in the Arkansas Legislature for 24 years, where he was chosen speaker pro tempore of the House and president pro tempore of the Senate. He also served as chair of the Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee in both bodies.
Some of the highlights of his service in the Arkansas Legislature include serving as chief sponsor of the Tobacco Settlement Funding Bill, legislation that resulted in Arkansas being the only state in the nation to mandate that all settlement monies be used for health care. He also served as lead Senate sponsor of breast care legislation, which resulted in millions of dollars being made available for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. Bradford sponsored legislation creating a license plate highlighting the variety of wildlife in Arkansas which, to date, has generated more than $11 million for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. These funds are dedicated to the purchase of lands for public use and scholarships for students majoring in conservation. In 2011, Bradford was appointed to the board of directors of the National Alliance Research Academy.
Bradford is a distinguished alumnus of both Subiaco Academy and Henderson State College (now Henderson State University) where he earned a bachelor's degree in economics and psychology. He was inducted into the Henderson School of Business Hall of Fame in 2013. He is a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), and holds an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.