New Jersey insurance chief reportedly stepping down

by R.J. Lehmann on January 23, 2012

New Jersey Banking and Insurance Commissioner Tom Considine is set to step down next month to return to the private sector, Newark’s Star-Ledger newspaper is reporting.

If true, it marks a real loss for the Garden State, as Considine has made great strides in simplifying New Jersey’s regulatory processes for insurance and promoting competitive, risk-based rates in P&C insurance and reinsurance.

Considine’s departure would follow closely on the heels of other members of Gov. Chris Christie’s cabinet, including Attorney General Paula Dow and Division of Consumer Affairs chief Lori Grifa. According to the report, Considine Chief of Staff Ken Kobylowski’s has been bandied about as a potential successor to his current boss.  A former lobbyist with MetLife Inc., Considine reportedly has not yet said what his next job will be.

Although only in office two years, Considine can point to several significant accomplishments, perhaps most notably leading the NAIC Reinsurance Task Force to complete its work on long-sought reforms to the U.S. system of collateral requirements for non-U.S. reinsurers. Adopted by the full NAIC in November, the new model law and regulation scraps the states’ long-standing costly and protectionist system that required reinsurers not licensed in the United States to post collateral equal to 100% of their U.S. liabilities.

States that adopt the revamped models would instead evaluate non-U.S. reinsurers and apply a sliding scale of collateral requirements (in some cases, 0%) based on their financial strength and the reliability and transparency of their home jurisdiction.

In addition to drafting the model rules at the NAIC, Considine also successfully pushed New Jersey lawmakers to become among the first states (along with Florida, New York and Indiana) to adopt similar reforms. Signed into law in March 2011, the bill also made New Jersey just the second state, after Illinois, to permit domestic surplus lines insurers to write business within the state.

Considine also spearheaded legislation Christie signed in February 2011 that made the state a captive domicile (with two captives formed in its first year of operation) and worked to slash new product approval times by more than 50%.

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