Prior to becoming Commissioner of Insurance, Jim Donelon served the Louisiana Department of Insurance in leadership positions as chief deputy commissioner and executive counsel.
Donelon was born in New Orleans. He is a graduate of Jesuit High School, the University of New Orleans and Loyola School of Law. In 1986 Donelon received the Homer L. Hitt Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award for the University of New Orleans.
Donelon retired as the State Judge Advocate for the Louisiana Army National Guard where he held the rank of Colonel and received the prestigious Legion of Merit medal, among many other citations for his contributions during 33 years of military service.
In 1975 Donelon was elected Jefferson Parish Council chairman, and from 1981 to 2001, he represented Jefferson Parish in the Louisiana House of Representatives, where he rose to the leadership positions of chairman of the Committee on Insurance and co-chairman of the Republican Legislative Delegation. In 2001 Donelon joined the staff of the Department of Insurance, was appointed Commissioner of Insurance in February 2006, was elected to fill the unexpired term later that year and re-elected in 2007.
Donelon presently serves as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) Vice-President for 2011. Additionally, he serves on the executive committee of the NAIC and is chairman of its Surplus Lines Task Force. He is also on the board of directors of the New Orleans Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the Blood Center for Southeast Louisiana.
Donelon is married to the former Merilynn Boudreaux. They reside in Jefferson Parish. The Donelons are the parents of four daughters and the grandparents of five granddaughters and one grandson.