News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Abbie Hudgens will oversee the new Workers’ Compensation Division starting July 1.
Hudgens will serve a six-year term leading the revamped Workers’ Compensation Division in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD).
“I want to thank Abbie for taking on this new opportunity with the workers’ compensation system in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “Abbie has experience in both the public and private sectors and at the state and local levels, giving her an incredible depth of knowledge of the system. She played an integral part in shaping this reform effort, and I appreciate her willingness to serve.”
The governor’s workers’ compensation reform legislation, HB 194/SB 200, simplifies the system while allowing employees to receive benefits faster and return to work sooner, bringing increased predictability to the business environment. Hudgens, a Tennessee native, has worked with the state since 2011 when she began at TDLWD, focusing on workers’ compensation.
“I am deeply honored that Gov. Haslam has given me this opportunity to be part of the next steps in making Tennessee’s workers’ compensation program better for both employees and employers,” Hudgens said. “I am committed to building on the momentum we have with the passage of the reform bill to make workers’ compensation an important part of why Tennessee is the best place in the Southeast to work or employ workers.”
Hudgens, 67, received her bachelor’s from the University of Memphis and earned her Master of Public Administration from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Before coming to the state she was the risk and insurance manager for Metro Nashville, the risk and benefits manager for the City of Knoxville, and a consultant in private practice.
She has been president of the national Public Risk Management Association, president of the Knoxville Risk Management Society, and Tennessee Valley Employee Benefit Council. She was a founding member and later chairman of the board of the Healthcare 21 Business Coalition and served for a number of years as the public sector representative on the Governor’s Workers Compensation Advisory Council.
She and her husband, Ed, live in Nashville. They have two grown children.