Debevoise Further Strengthens Insurance Regulatory Practice with Hire of Eugene Benger

13 January 2015
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP today announced that Eugene Benger has joined the firm as counsel in its New York office. Mr. Benger joins Debevoise from the New York Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”), where he served most recently as General Counsel for Insurance. He will be a member of the firm’s Financial Institutions Group and Insurance Practice.

The addition of Mr. Benger bolsters Debevoise’s insurance regulatory capabilities, a mainstay of the firm’s Global Insurance Practice. Debevoise has long been a leader in advising clients around the world on all aspects of insurance transactional, regulatory and litigation matters. The firm’s robust regulatory practice, benefitting from the expertise of over 20 partners and counsel, combines with a market-leading transactional insurance practice to serve clients' increasingly global needs.

During his tenure at the NYDFS, Mr. Benger advised senior officials, examiners and actuaries on insurance regulatory, legislative, employment and litigation matters, and participated in developing proposed legislation and regulations. He also played a leading role in reviewing holding company filings in connection with M&A transactions, including a number of high-profile acquisitions of New York insurance companies by private equity firms.

Mr. Benger joined the Office of the General Counsel of the former New York Insurance Department in 2009 and was promoted from Senior Counsel to Deputy General Counsel for Insurance in 2010. The New York Insurance Department and the New York Banking Department merged to form the NYDFS in 2011 and Gene advanced to his most recent position in 2013. From 2007 to 2009, Mr. Benger served as Counsel to the Commission to Modernize the Regulation of Financial Services, a blue-ribbon commission of Wall Street CEOs, government leaders and consumer advocates appointed by former Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer and then-Insurance Superintendent and current Debevoise partner, Eric R. Dinallo. Immediately prior to his time with the Commission, he served as Assistant Attorney General in the Litigation Bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General, a position he held from 2005 to 2007.

In light of the growing intensity and complexity of client needs in the insurance industry, Debevoise has strengthened its regulatory capacity around the world in recent years. Mr. Dinallo, the former New York State Superintendent of Insurance, joined Debevoise in 2010; Alexander R. Cochran, Marilyn A. Lion and David Grosgold were each promoted to partner in the insurance practice between 2013 and 2014; and international counsel Stuart Valentine joined the insurance team in Debevoise’s Hong Kong office in 2014. In joining the firm, Mr. Benger adds further experience and strength to the team. His practice will focus on the regulatory needs of insurers across the globe.

Mr. Dinallo, partner in Debevoise’s Insurance Practice, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Gene to Debevoise. In the current environment, it is crucial to have expert advisors who can cover the full waterfront of regulatory issues facing the industry. Gene broadens Debevoise’s already deep insurance capabilities, bringing with him significant experience working directly with the regulations affecting our clients. The NYDFS has become a highly active regulatory body for both foreign and domestic financial institutions, and our clients are sure to benefit from Gene’s experience there.”

Mr. Benger said: “Debevoise’s reputation as a legal advisor in the insurance industry is incomparable. I am looking forward to working alongside the international team to help clients navigate the evolving regulatory landscape that we face today.”

Mr. Benger began his legal career as an associate at a top U.S. law firm and served as a law clerk to the Hon. Nicholas G. Garaufis of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, before moving to another leading firm. Mr. Benger earned his J.D., summa cum laude, in 2001 from St. John’s University School of Law, where he was a member of the St. John’s Law Review and valedictorian. He received his B.A., magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, in 1998 from Brooklyn College. Mr. Benger is fluent in English and Russian.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a premier law firm with market-leading practices, a global perspective and strong New York roots. The firm’s Insurance Practice is comprised of M&A, Insurance Capital, Regulatory and Litigation groups whose lawyers regularly lead important strategic transactions and handle complex disputes for its global client base.