New York’s financial regulator promoted Scott Fischer to be the state’s top insurance watchdog, a position that involves overseeing about 1,700 companies with more than $4 trillion of assets.
Fischer, 44, a former corporate attorney, was named executive deputy superintendent for insurance, reporting to Maria Vullo, the acting superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, the regulator said Thursday in a statement. Laura Evangelista was named deputy superintendent for insurance and will report to Fischer.
The New York role is one of the most important regulatory posts in the industry, given the size of the market and the department’s reputation for strict oversight and capital standards. Former DFS Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky worked to crack down on intra-company life insurance transactions that he said could mask risk.
Lawsky, who stepped down in 2015 after extracting more than $6 billion in settlements from financial institutions over four years, also demanded increased policyholder protections when private-equity firms purchased insurers.
“We welcome Scott and Laura, with their deep insurance and legal backgrounds,” Vullo said in the statement. “Together they bring invaluable government and industry experience to the pool of talented professionals.”
Fischer was the special deputy superintendent at the New York Liquidation Bureau, where he helped oversee the wind-down of more than 25 domestic insurers and managed a staff of more than 200. He previously worked at the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development in London, and as an assistant attorney general in New York. He received a bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College and a law degree from New York University, according to the statement.
Evangelista previously worked as vice president and assistant general counsel at Nausch, Hogan & Murray Inc. She has a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College and a law degree from Hofstra University.
U.S. insurers are regulated by individual states, rather than by a national overseer, and smaller jurisdictions often follow the lead of the most prominent departments. Regulators weigh companies’ requests for rate increases, protect consumers against abuses and make sure insurers have enough capital to back policyholder obligations.
Robert Easton previously led the New York insurance division before stepping down last year, according to Richard Loconte, a spokesman for the department.