Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner


The Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner is the head of the Iowa Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC).

The Governor of the State of Iowa appoints the Commissioner, subject to confirmation by the State of Iowa Senate. The Commissioner serves a six-year term. The Commissioner must be a lawyer admitted to practice law in Iowa.

The Commissioner oversees administration of the Iowa workers' compensation system by DWC. This includes issuing administrative rules, orders, and appeal decisions.

Commissioner Joseph S. Cortese II

Gov. Terry E. Branstad appointed Commissioner Cortese. He was confirmed by the Iowa Senate, and serve a full term from 2015 through 2021.  In 2021, Gov. Kim Reynolds appointed Commissioner Cortese to serve a second term. The Iowa Senate confirmed him to serve a second term, from 2021 through 2027.

Commissioner Cortese was a lawyer in private practice for over 30 years prior to his appointment. Before becoming Commissioner, he practiced workers’ compensation law at the Des Moines law firm formerly known as Huber, Book, Cortese & Lanz, where he was a partner.

Commissioner Cortese received his Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and earned his J.D. with honors from Drake Law School. He is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association, Polk County Bar Association, Iowa Association of Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, and was a founding member of the American Academy of ADR Attorneys.


To view orders issued by the Commissioner, click here.


To view decisions issued by the Commissioner, click here.