The NAIC consumer representatives are pleased and grateful to present the 2019 Excellence in Consumer Advocacy Award to James Regalbuto, the Deputy Superintendent for Insurance at the New York Department of Financial Services. With this award, the consumer representatives express our heartfelt appreciation for to James for his work on behalf of consumers here at the NAIC and in New York.
As Deputy Superintendent for Life Insurance in New York for many years, James has been active in identifying and solving a variety of consumer protection issues for consumers of life insurance and annuities. There is not enough time to describe all the pro-consumer issues that James has been a part of, so here are a few highlights:
- Best Interest Standard of Care for Life Insurance and Annuities – James and New York have been at the leading edge of upgrading the standard of care for annuity consumers to a true best interest standard. In NY, the DFS not only adopted a true best interest standard of care for annuities, but extended it to life insurance.
- Cost of Insurance Increases – James and New York represent the only state to formally address the improper cost of insurance fee increases for universal life insurance through thoughtful rulemaking.
- Big Data in Life Insurance – James and New York represent the only state to collect information from life insurers about the sources and types of non-insurance data used for accelerated underwriting. As a result of this information gathering, James and New York issued important consumer protection guidance to insurers regarding the use of such data.
- Indexed Universal Life Illustrations – In addition to advocating for pro-consumer reforms of the NAIC Life Insurance Illustration Model and Actuarial Guideline 49 to stop the abuses in IUL illustrations, James and New York crafted a comprehensive regulation in New York regarding illustrations
- Consumer Information – James has been active in the NAIC Life Insurance Buyer’s Guide and Online Guide working groups, supporting the consumer representative efforts to upgrade and modernize the types of and delivery mechanisms for consumers to shop for and use life insurance products.
James brings a depth of experience and expertise to his work at the NAIC and in New York and, as a result, his efforts and arguments are substantive and fact-based. While informed by strong consumer protection values, James’s efforts rise above talking points and lead to meaningful and functional solutions.
We know that NY DFS Superintendent values James’ work. The NAIC Consumer Representatives want all who participate at the NAIC, the management at the NY DFS and, most of all, James, to know how much the we appreciate and value your diligent work and dedication. We hope to continue to work with you for many years on consumer protection issues at the NAIC and in New York.
James joins just a few other recipients of Excellence in Consumer Advocacy Award for senior insurance department staff – Joel Laucher of California, Bob Wake of Maine, Angela Nelson of Missouri and JP Wieske of Wisconsin.