The Debevoise Global Insurance Practice has long been distinguished by insurance regulatory capabilities of the highest quality. The firm advises clients on the regulatory aspects of their most important transactions and counsels boards of directors and senior management on the regulatory developments that most significantly affect their businesses.
The practice’s regulatory capabilities are closely intertwined with deal work, litigation and corporate counseling. As a result, our transactional lawyers bring a fluency in the relevant regulatory constraints to the structuring of deals, and litigators work closely with transactional lawyers to evaluate potential risks in a transaction. This interdisciplinary approach stands our clients in particularly good stead as they lead the charge for technological innovation in the insurance industry.
The firm has particular experience in New York Insurance Law and in matters before the New York State Department of Financial Services. Clients benefit from the expertise of Erica Dinallo, former New York State Superintendent of Insurance, and Eugene Benger, former General Counsel for Insurance at the New York Department of Financial Services, among other talented team members.
Insurance companies routinely face company-specific inquiries and investigations from regulators or require advice on significant business issues with potential regulatory implications. These investigations and issues require deep industry experience and a sophisticated understanding of state regulatory regimes. Debevoise regularly represents insurance companies in response to allegations by various insurance regulators, state attorneys general, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of the United States Attorney, the New York Department of Financial Services, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other government agencies. These representations have included handling internal investigations and civil litigation relating to:
- violations of RESPA;
- nontraditional ownership of insurance companies;
- forced-place insurance;
- retained asset accounts;
- contingent broker commissions;
- annuity suitability;
- allegations of market timing and late trading; and
- nontraditional insurance products such as finite risk policies.
Our insurance industry clients frequently receive ongoing information requests from their domestic and non-domestic insurance regulators. We have extensive experience in advising on content and positioning of responses to these requests. In addition, our team has many years of experience working closely with the DFS and communicating clearly to the DFS our clients’ needs and concerns.
Our team plays an integral role in counseling our deal lawyers on M&A transactions, as well as reinsurance transactions, reserve financings, pension risk transfers, and the regulation of captive reinsurers. We also assist clients with the formation, capitalization, and reorganization of insurers and reinsurers. Our knowledge of the regulatory sensitivities at play in these transactions is unrivaled, and the cross-practice integration of Debevoise attorneys ensures that such issues are always addressed by an expert in the field.
Our team has also been close to a number of notable restructurings and insolvencies in the insurance industry space. As a result, we are able to bring this expertise to bear in evaluating the regulatory risks of possible restructuring options both in the context of transactions and as a stand-alone option.
Advice to Strategics
The practice’s regulatory team regularly advises insurance groups of all sizes on a range of regulatory matters, with a particular focus on interactions with the New York Department of Financial Services. These matters include ordinary course interactions with regulators as well as discreet matters such as regulatory investigations.
Advice to Non-Strategics
As non-strategic entities, including players in the private equity space, increasingly enter the insurance sector, our team frequently gives advice to such clients on regulatory concerns relating to entering the insurance sector and maintaining positive ongoing relationships with the applicable state insurance regulators.
Our team, in combination with Debevoise’s Cybersecurity team, is following closely developing regulations surrounding big data, accelerated underwriting and other emerging areas that impact our insurance and InsurTech clients. We have given a number of webinars on these topics and advise a broad set of clients with respect to these issues.