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ISSUED: 5/25/2000 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

STATEMENT FROM SUPERINTENDENT LEVIN:

FINAL PIECE IN PLACE FOR APPROVAL PROCESS OF EMPIRE BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD CONVERSION

The Attorney General’s announcement of an agreement with Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, coupled with the Governor’s submission of a bill clearing the way for Empire’s conversion, puts the final pieces in place to move forward on the restructuring.

I urge the Legislature to act swiftly on the Governor’s proposed bill so that Empire can continue to protect customers and policyholders by ensuring that it is well positioned in the marketplace and sufficiently capitalized. The Department looks forward to reviewing the Attorney General’s agreement to ensure that it meets all regulatory standards set forth in the insurance law.

The Department’s regulatory oversight of the transaction is an ongoing process in which our first priority is to protect consumers. As we move ahead in the restructuring process, we will work closely with Empire and the Attorney General, reviewing appointments to the foundation and other related boards. The Department will also retain extensive regulatory authority over Empire and any newly created for-profit entities.

After holding public hearings, and making significant amendments to Empire’s original plan, the Department approved the restructuring in December of 1999.

Department of Financial Services

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