McRaith to Lead New Federal Insurance Office

March 18, 2011

The Obama administration has named Illinois state insurance regulator Michael McRaith to head the new Federal Insurance Office.

McRaith, currently the head of the Illinois Department of Insurance, will run the Federal Insurance Office set up under 2010′s Dodd-Frank Wall Street and financial industry reforms to monitor insurers, but not to regulate them. The FIO will operate from within the U.S. Department of Treasury and will advise Congress on insurance issues, help lead U.S. efforts on international insurance issues, and advise various federal entities on insurers’ systemic risk exposure. The new insurance office will not have regulatory power. Insurance regulation will remain at the state level, for now.

“PCI applauds the appointment of Director McRaith to serve as the head of the new Federal Insurance Office

McRaith brings a wealth of industry experience to the new federal post having served as the director of insurance for Illinois and in various capacities in connection with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. McRaith also worked for 15 years in private practice as an attorney in Chicago, representing financial institutions, including insurers, before being named Illinois’ insurance regulator.

“As Director of the FIO, it will be vitally important for him to bring this expertise to bear in helping assure that the U.S. and global insurance regulatory systems are both effective and efficient and support vibrant and competitive private insurance markets,” said Ann Pusey, president and CEO of the American Insurance Association (AIA). “As we have worked with him in the past, we are committed to working with him in his new capacity to achieve those objectives so critical to the welfare of the U.S. and other countries.”

In addition to spearheading the newly established FIO, McRaith’s appointment fills one of two vacant seats on the Financial Stability Oversight Council, Pusey noted. “Having two individuals focused on insurance matters is better than one, but it remains critical that the Administration move to fill the last remaining seat on the Council,” she said.

“We are pleased that the Department of Treasury has listened to the calls from the insurance sector and congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle to fill this critically important position,” said David Sampson, president and CEO of Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

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