New York Superintendent of Insurance Gregory Serio is stepping down and Gov. George Pataki will nominate Howard Mills, former Republican assemblyman from Orange County who lost the recent race for U.S. Senate against incumbent Sen. Charles Schumer (D), to be the next superintendent.
Serio has served as the state’s insurance chief since first being nominated by Pataki in April 2001. He succeeded the late Neil D. Levin, who left the top insurance post to become executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Serio has reportedly taken a job in the private sector, although details are unknown at this time.
The New York State Senate must confirm the appointment of Mills. The Senate, which returns in early January, is controlled by Republicans.
A lifelong Republican, Mills began his career in public service as an aide to Congressman Benjamin Gilman. He was elected councilman in the town of Wallkill in 1989, winning a second term in 1991. He served as director of development at Mount Saint Mary College from 1991 to 1993, while an adjunct instructor of geography.
In 1994, Mills began his tenure as supervisor of the Town of Wallkill where he won reelection twice.
Mills was first elected to the New York State Assembly in 1998, representing portions of Orange and Rockland Counties. He has served as deputy minority leader of the Assembly and on many of the committees during his three terms.
In the Assembly, Mills has advocated for reform in Albany and has been critical of the New York budget adoption process.
Outside of politics, Mills has worked as a business consultant to the telecommunications industry and is currently the business development and public relations officer for the Myles Financial Services Group in Florida, N.Y. where he has worked since 2001.
Mills is a Major in the New York Guard where he has served since 1999. He was briefly called to active duty in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and was awarded the Defense of Liberty medal for his service.
Prior to his appointment as superintendent in 2001, Serio served for six years as first deputy superintendent and as general counsel of the insurance department for three years.
Previously, Serio served from 1989 to 1994 as chief counsel to the Senate Standing Committee on Insurance, and as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and Deputy Majority Leader.
Serio has been instrumental in the efforts to bring captive insurance companies to New York, to streamline the product approval process, to bring on-line electronic processing of new and renewal licenses and to implement New York’s Healthy NY program. Additionally, as superintendent, he has directed the development of the state’s disaster coalition and insurance emergency operations center and the development of the Health Care Roundtable, a forum for the debating of significant health insurance and health policy issues.
Before entering public service, Serio was associated with the Long Island law firm of Rivkin, Radler, Dunne and Bayh and has also served as of counsel to the Albany law firm of Crane, Kelley, Greene and Parente. In addition, he has also served as adjunct professor of public administration at C.W. Post College of Long Island University.
“Greg Serio deserves an enormous amount of credit for the outstanding job he did as Superintendent of Insurance,” Pataki stated. “From the launch of our nationally-acclaimed Healthy NY program to our successful efforts to crack down on auto insurance fraud and streamlining the agency’s operations for consumers and the business community, Greg has played a critical role in every important insurance initiative we have advanced.”
The Superintendent of Insurance is responsible for the monitoring and
regulation of more than 1,000 insurance companies with cumulative assets exceeding $2 trillion. The position also includes oversight responsibility for more than 100,000 brokers, agents and financial intermediaries and the management of approximately 1,500 department employees.
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