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New York State to Get a New Top Insurance Regulator

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What You Need to Know

  • Adrienne Harris is a Columbia University alumna who worked in the Obama White House and at the Treasury Department.
  • She has been a general counsel at a title insurer.
  • Bill Michalisin, the new actuarial group head, also went to Columbia.

New York is getting a financial services regulator who could serve as the national gadfly in chief for insurance regulation.

New York’s new governor, Kathy Hochul, who recently took over from Andrew Cuomo, has nominated Adrienne Harris to succeed Linda Lacewell as superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services. The state’s superintendent oversees insurers along with other financial institutions.

Harris is already serving as the state’s acting superintendent.

Harris has been a public policy professor at the University of Michigan and a principal investigator for the Gates Foundation’s Central Bank of the Future project.

Earlier, she was a specialist assistant for economic policy under then-President Barack Obama. While at the White House, she was chair of the Interagency Fintech Working Group  and the Obama administration’s Distributed Ledger Technology Task Force.

She was also a senior advisor to the treasury secretary.

She has a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University, a master’s degree in business from New York University and a law degree from Columbia University.

The New York superintendent post is especially important in the world of insurance regulation, because New York state sometimes splits from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ consensus and applies different rules. Some life insurers have responded by selling in every state but New York, or by establishing separate affiliates that focus solely on the New York state market.

In recent years, New York state has been especially active in efforts to apply strict annuity sales standards and to take a cautious approach to implementing principles-based reserving.

The American Academy of Actuaries

Another organization with a major role in shaping insurance regulation and other forms of financial services and social services policymaking, the American Academy of Actuaries, also has a new leader.

The Washington-based group has named William Michalisin to be its executive director.

The group has about 19,500 members. It aims to provide actuarial information to public policymakers.

Michalisin has a background in auditing and in running groups for auditors.

He previously was the chief operating officer at the Institute of Internal Auditors.

He has also worked for Accenture and Deloitte.

He has a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University and a master’s degree in strategic communications from Columbia.

Adrienne Harris (Photo: LendingClub Corp.)