Eric Dinallo (Photo: Debevoise & Plimpton)

Guardian Life Insurance Company of America is hiring a high-profile former insurance regulator to run its legal affairs and compliance team.

Eric Dinallo, a lawyer who served as the New York state insurance superintendent during the Great Recession, from January 2007 through May 2009, will succeed Tracy Rich as Guardian’s general counsel.

(Related: Guardian’s Top Annuity Sales Executive Says the Excitement Is Back)

Rich, 65, has been Guardian’s general counsel since 2009. He will be retiring from the post of general counsel but continue to serve the company in an “of counsel” role, Guardian says.

Dinallo has been a partner in the financial institutions group in the New York office at Debevoise & Plimpton L.L.P. since 2010.

Guardian, a New York-based mutual life insurer, generated $1.5 billion in operating income in 2016 on $12 billion in premiums and deposits. It ended 2016 with $66.5 billion in assets under management. It’s a major player in the disability insurance, dental insurance and vision insurance markets as well as in the life and annuity markets.

A Philosophy Major

Dinallo earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Vassar College and a law degree from New York University.

He went on to work as an assistant district attorney in New York County, from 1995 to 1999, then ran the New York state investment protection bureau for former New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, from 1999 to 2003.

He oversaw regulatory affairs for Morgan Stanley from 2003 to 2006, and for Willis Group Holdings from 2006 to 2007.

He began his stint as New York state’s insurance superintendent shortly before the beginning of the Great Recession, at a time when insurance regulators were just starting to talk about the possibility that insurers might be taking on too much risk through credit default swaps and securities lending operations.

Toward the end of his time as New York state’s insurance superintendent, he worked with the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on shoring up American International Group Inc.

—-Read Guardian Speaks Up for Whole Life in New Video Series on ThinkAdvisor.

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