Archive for the ‘Insurance/Reinsurance’ Category:

The Interns and Sister Mary

Last Summer the Insurance Federation of New York (IFNY), an organization whose members represent a diverse group of insurance professionals in the Metropolitan New York City area, implemented an extraordinary internship program in partnership with the charitable organization Yes!Solutions.  Under the program, six motivated high school students from extremely difficult backgrounds and circumstances, were exposed to the working environment and people at participating insurance companies and professional firms over an eight-week period.  My Insight Column in the April 22, 2013 issue of Insurance Advocate magazine ( discusses this program and its value not just to the interns, but to the industry as wellClick here for a pdf copy of the column.  For more information on the IFNY Intern Program including information on how you can help, I urge you to go to the IFNY website at 

While IFNY’s sponsorship was invaluable to making the program possible, the other half of the story is Yes!Solutions, one of the alter egos of a very extraordinary woman, Mary Lanning.  It was Mary, an insurance industry lifer as well as a nun in the service-oriented Sisters for Christian Community,  who developed, promoted, implemented, sold, cajoled, monitored, prodded, corralled and shepherded the program, the interns and the industry participants.  It is impossible to fully explain or comprehend the magnitude of all that Mary does for our industry and for those in need.  Back in 2002, one of Mary’s innumerable friends, Meg Fletcher, wrote a wonderful bio of Mary for Business Insurance magazine.   Anyone interested in reading this bio to get more of an inkling of this incredible woman and her work, click here.

When is a Release Not a Release?

The Insurance Division of the New York Department of Financial Services has proposed a regulation severely limiting the use of releases in the settlement of both first party and third party claims.  The consequences of this proposal, in particular how the regulation places the interests of third party claimants above those of policyholders, are the subject of my Insight column in the October 15th issue of Insurance Advocate entitled “When is a Release Not a Release?”  Here is a link.

While we’re on the subject, how about we agree that it is OK to refer to the Insurance Division of the New York Department of Financial Services as simply the NY Insurance Department, NYID or NYDOI as in the old days?  Like those of us that still refer to the Met Life Building in Midtown Manhattan as the Pan Am building although it has not borne that names since 1981.  Unfortunately, the NY Insurance Division of the DFS does not lend itself easily to an acronym, although Superintendent Lawsky has acknowledged that the DFS is lovingly referred to as Doofus in some quarters.  So how about I-Doofus for the insurance division? Like the classic I Claudius?  Just a thought.

Domestic Excess Line Carrier — An Oxymoron?

Excess and surplus line insurers have historically been defined as “non-admitted” foreign or alien companies that can only write risks through licensed excess line brokers, and only on risks that have either been rejected by “admitted” carriers or meet other specific statutory requirements.  Legislation proposed in New York would allow the creation of domestic excess line insurers, joining two other states, Illinois and New Jersey, which allow such entities.  My Insight column in the September 10, 2012 issue of Insurance Advocate magazine entitled “Domestic Excess Line Carrier – an Oxymoron?” explores the pros and cons of the proposed legislation and why this apparent contradiction may actually be beneficial to the industry, its customers, investors and regulators.  A copy of the column is available from my website at