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Gaul named Deputy Superintendent with responsibility for Life

Special Counsel Matthew J. Gaul has been named the New York State Insurance Department’s Deputy Superintendent for the Life industry, Superintendent James J. Wrynn announced today. Gaul succeeds Kermitt J. Brooks, who will remain First Deputy Superintendent and second in command of the Department.

Gaul’s responsibilities include overseeing the licensing, examination and regulation of all life insurers and related entities, and oversight of the State’s public pension funds.

“Matt has been a valuable asset to this Department during his tenure here, first with the Blue Ribbon Commission, and then as Special Counsel,” Wrynn said. “As a member of the senior leadership team, he has led the charge to advance the New York Insurance Exchange and worked closely with Kermitt on the producer compensation disclosure regulation, the most progressive consumer protection of its type in the nation. I am confident that under his leadership, our Life Bureau will continue to demonstrate the exemplary commitment to innovation and consumer protection that has earned it a sterling reputation.

“Kermitt has done a stellar job steering the Life industry through this economic crisis while performing his duties as First Deputy Superintendent. He was asked to combine two very difficult and demanding portfolios during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and he responded with great distinction,” Wrynn continued. “His legacy thus far already includes groundbreaking regulatory advances. The life insurance industry in New York is better positioned for growth today because of his efforts, and the Department and New York State have benefited greatly from his work. I value Kermitt’s counsel highly and look forward to continuing to work closely with him in his position as First Deputy as we move to implement some of the new initiatives we have undertaken.”

Deputy Superintendent Gaul joined the Department in December 2007 as Special Counsel to the New York State Commission to Modernize the Regulation of Financial Services, a “Blue Ribbon Panel” of Wall Street CEOs, government leaders and consumer advocates appointed by former Governor Eliot Spitzer and former Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo. In December 2008, he became Special Counsel to the Department.

Gaul joined the Department from the New York State Attorney General’s Office where he served most recently as Chief of the Investor Protection Bureau, leading a staff of 50 charged with enforcing the New York State Securities Law, commonly known as the Martin Act. As an Assistant Attorney General, Gaul also spearheaded former Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s investigations of Marsh & McLennan Companies and American International Group among others.

Before joining the Attorney General’s Office in 2004, Gaul was a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison where he focused on criminal and civil securities fraud matters.

Gaul graduated from Yale College (with distinction in Political Science) and Loyola Law School in Los Angeles (magna cum laude and first in his class). Following graduation from law school, Gaul clerked for the Hon. Terence T. Evans of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Hon. John S. Martin, Jr. of United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Brooks was named First Deputy Superintendent by former Superintendent Dinallo in January 2007. As First Deputy, he is the second in command of the Department, overseeing the functions handled by the Deputy Superintendents of the Department as well as the operations of the agency. Brooks served as Acting Superintendent of the New York State Insurance Department from July 4 to August 20, 2009, the first African-American to head the Department.

While overseeing the Department’s Life Bureau, Brooks has been a leading voice for consumer protection and regulatory modernization. As First Deputy Superintendent, he managed the effort that led to the Department’s earning National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) accreditation. He briefly served as Chair of the NAIC Life and Annuities Committee. Other notable successes include:

  • The adoption by the NAIC of a new method of calculating the value of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) held in insurers’ portfolio: In addition to providing a more accurate measurement of risk, the adoption of this new method marked the first time any U.S. regulatory body took action to reduce the role of the traditional rating agencies, whose performance in rating structured securities has been cited as a major contributing factor to the economic crisis.
  • Proposed producer compensation disclosure regulation: This regulation, now in the final steps of the regulatory approval process, for the first time will ensure that consumers are fully aware of the role of an insurance agent or broker in an insurance transaction, and can get information on the compensation to be paid to that agent or broker if desired, all while allowing the agent or broker flexibility in presenting compensation information.
  • A new law adopted in New York regulating the life settlement industry: Previously, this growing industry had been completely unregulated, leaving both consumers and investors without protection.
  • Variable Annuity Commissioners’ Annuity Reserve Valuation Methods: Implemented a new reserve standard designed to improve statutory reserving for variable annuity products with guaranteed death and living benefits. The adoption of a new regulation in New York using this methodology means reserving standards are consistent nationally.
  • Protecting consumers’ right to travel: The NAIC implemented this proposal, protecting consumers from being denied life insurance coverage simply because they traveled to certain countries – such as Israel – insurance companies would designate.


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