Born in Latvia to father Evalds Kaufert and mother Lize Planics, Ilona Kaufet Klasons immigrated to Canada in 1951 before coming to the United States in 1960. She had initially thought to pursue a career in nursing, but once she had started in nursing school, she realized that the field wasn’t right for her. Changing her trajectory, she got married to her now late husband, Visvaldis Klasons, in April 1960 and moved to Baltimore, where their son, Eric, was born in 1963. When her husband got sick, Ms. Klasons decided it was time for her to start looking for work again, which led to her returning to school, first through night school and community college courses.
Finding that she had a knack for numbers, Ms. Klasons earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Towson University, then Towson State College, in 1974 and began her career with the Maryland Insurance Administration the following year. She would remain with the department until 1992, during which time she earned certification as an insurance examiner through the Insurance Regulatory Examiners Society in 1980. Spending a year as a manager for KPMG in Dallas from 1992 to 1993, Ms. Klasons was asked to return to the Maryland Insurance Administration in 1993 to help them get the department accredited, something she notes as a highlight of her career.
Another highlight for Ms. Klasons was being promoted to the position of associate commissioner for the Maryland Insurance Administration, a position she held until her retirement in 2000. She concluded her career as a regulatory consultant, operating in this capacity from 2000 to 2014. Alongside her primary responsibilities, Ms. Klasons also spent time as the president of the National Association of Managed Care Regulators from 1992 to 1994 and as the vice president of the Society of Financial Examiners from 1991 to 1992.
For her excellence, Ms. Klasons was presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. Previously, she had been featured in the 57th and 58th editions of Who’s Who in America and the 22nd and 23rd editions of Who’s Who of American Women. Today, in her retirement, Ms. Klasons spends her free time reading, traveling, sewing and doing volunteer work.