Alfred Gross, a former longtime Virginia insurance commissioner, died Thursday, on his 65th birthday anniversary.

Gross joined the Virginia Bureau of Insurance in 1981, because commissioner in 1996, and retired from the commissioner’s post in 2010. Jacqueline Cunningham took over as his successor Jan. 1.

Gross was born in Chicago. He had a doctorate in German literature and philosophy from the University of Kansas as well as a master’s degree in business from the University of Richmond, according to an obituary published in the Washington Post.

At the NAIC, Gross was chair of the Financial Condition Committee.

Susan Voss, president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., put out a statement expressing the NAIC’s sadness at hearing of Gross’s passing.

“Al was an invaluable asset to the NAIC and a mentor to many fellow regulators,” Voss says in the statement. “He was a leader in financial regulation and highly regarded internationally for his contributions. State-based regulation is better because of him.”

- Allison Bell

Other Al Gross coverage from National Underwriter Life & Health: