Vermont’s Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, who was sworn in to a third two-year term last Thursday, will reappoint Susan L. Donegan as commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation (DFR).
Shumlin defeated Republican Scott Milne by a vote of 110-69 in a joint legislative session last Thursday, after failing to win a majority of the popular vote in November forced state legislators to decide the winner.
“In the general election last November, we did not have a majority winner of the candidates,” Donegan told Insurance Journal. “In Vermont, under our constitution, a candidate has to win 50 percent of the vote plus one vote, and none of the candidates secured a majority.”
“In that event, the legislature then gets to vote for the governor, right when the new legislative session starts which was last Thursday,” said Donegan. “So last Thursday morning, when the legislature convened, they held a vote and Gov. Shumlin won re-election with 110 votes.”
“I’ve been the commissioner for Gov. Shumlin for the past term, and I can confirm that he is going to reappoint me as commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation for the next term,” said Donegan. “I am very pleased. I am honored and I think it’s good that we can have that kind of consistency here in Vermont.”
Donegan said her current term technically doesn’t end until the end of February. “So I expect what I will receive before then — to make sure there is no gap — is that there will be appointment papers sent to me to reflect an appointment for another two-year term,” she said.
The DFR supervises traditional and captive insurance companies and their representatives, state-chartered banks and credit unions, licensed agents and brokers, and all other non-depository financial institutions, as well as securities broker dealers and investment advisors. “So I am the commissioner for all of the financial services sector here in Vermont. Each one of those sectors have priorities clearly, but one of the things that’s always overarching for the financial services regulator is to really do two things and to try to do those two things well,” said Donegan.
“One of them obviously is to continue to have good consumer protections in place and make sure that financial products are available to consumers and support accessibility to the financial markets,” said Donegan.
“We also know that those companies are important to our economic foundation. Banks and credit unions and insurance companies and securities firms and investment advisors — they also employ people here in Vermont and contribute to our communities,” she said. “So I am always trying to balance being a thoughtful regulator with companies — not being a burdensome regulator and overly regulating, but making sure that our consumers are protected. So I think I will continue to do that. That’s a pretty good formula, I think. And I think we’ve been seeing a great deal of success.”
“I truly believe in public service and I hope that I’ve been serving Vermonters well and continue to do that,” said Donegan.
Donegan worked at the DFR from 1985 to 1990 and was the department’s first director of securities regulation. She was later counsel to the commissioner and hearing officer at the Massachusetts Division of Insurance from 2008 to 2011. In 2011, she returned to Vermont to become deputy commissioner of the Insurance Division at the DFR. She was appointed commissioner in January 2013.
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