New York Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo will be leaving the post on Feb. 1, 2019, she announced in a statement Wednesday.
She will likely be replaced by Linda Lacewell, the chief of staff for the recently re-elected Gov. Andrew Cuomo, according to sources in New York.
The governor’s office did not comment on any pending appointment but said in a statement to ThinkAdvisor thanking the superintendent for her service that Vullo “has been a fierce advocate for New Yorkers at a time when the federal government has chosen to put corporations before people. From helping secure billions of dollars in bank settlements over currency manipulation to taking decisive action to safeguard our right to health care, Superintendent Vullo has been an invaluable member of the administration.”
Vullo stated she was “especially proud to have led DFS in cybersecurity,” pointing to the regulation promulgated in March 2017 that became the national standard for banks and insurers.
She also spoke of victories in protecting women’s rights “in the face of federal assaults, ensuring transparency of pharmaceutical costs and promoting responsible and state-regulated fintech companies.”
Vullo has also put in place principle-based reserving (PBR) with a special New York twist.
She announced Dec. 10 an emergency regulation to begin the implementation of PBR effective on Jan. 1, 2020, with guidelines that allow New York, if needed, to go further in its reserve demands than the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ model.
PBR is a qualitative valuation model for life insurance products that is designed to prevent
companies from holding what they feel are redundant or too much in reserves, freeing up cash.
Among the pending matters before the DFS is a decision on the Genworth Financial-China Oceanwide merger.
Lacewell was formerly chief risk officer and special counselor to Cuomo before leaving to become executive director of the Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 at the Chan Soon-Shiong NantHealth Foundation in Santa Monica, California. She returned in November 2017 to Cuomo’s office as his chief of staff.
Lacewell has health insurance oversight experience, having overseen the public pension fund pay-to-play investigation and the out-of-network health insurance investigation as a special counsel to then-state Attorney General Cuomo. She also helped in various capacities to set up the first DFS after the combination of the state banking and insurance departments almost a decade ago.
Lacewell was the architect of OpenNY, an open data initiative, according to her online government bio.
She also successfully prosecuted Mafia hit man Salvatore “Sammy Bull” Gravano almost two decades ago. Lacewell has health insurance oversight experience, having overseen the public pension fund pay-to-play investigation and the out-of-network health insurance investigation as a special counsel to then-state Attorney General Cuomo.
Vullo was nominated to the DFS role by Cuomo on Jan., 21, 2016, and confirmed by the New York State Senate six months later. She was a law firm partner and also served as executive deputy attorney general for the economic justice division in the New York State attorney general’s office under Cuomo.