10 Regulatory Figures to Watch in 2013

Richard Cordray Richard Cordray

It was a year ago that President Obama made a controversial recess appointment to install Richard Cordray to head the CFPB, and since that time, Cordray has moved quickly and quietly to build out the agency, including ramping up its enforcement of lenders and supervision of nonbanks. Since last year’s news that the Cordray-led Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wanted to crack down on force-placed insurers, the industry has been forced to pay more attention to the CFPB. But with only a year left in his tenure—barring an unexpected Senate confirmation of Cordray for the job—it’s unclear if Cordray will move even more aggressively in 2013. One potential factor is whether he plans to run for governor of Ohio, a move that could push Cordray to make an even bigger splash in his current post.

Photo courtesy CFPB

Mike Crapo Mike Crapo

The Republican Senator from Idaho, who is joining the Senate Banking Committee, has shown willingness to work with Democrats, and could hold leverage on important upcoming decisions as an arbitrator.

Photo courtesy the office of Rep. Crapo

Jim Donelon Jim Donelon

Currently the commissioner of Louisiana’s state insurance regulatory body, Donelon is the incoming NAIC president, debuting at the organization’s first national meeting of 2013 in April. He will replace Kevin McCarty, Florida’s state insurance commissioner, who’s term ended in December.

Photo courtesy NAIC

Brian Duperreault Brian Duperreault

Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. President and CEO Brian Duperreault will lead a 15-member committee established to provide advice to the FIO, which was created under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Photo courtesy Insurance Hall of Fame

Jeb Hensarling Jeb Hensarling

Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling, the new chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said he would push legislation to privatize the National Flood Insurance Program, which he said “is beyond broke.”

Photo courtesy the office of Rep. Hensarling

Jacob “Jack” Lew Jacob “Jack” Lew

All eyes shifted to Lew two weeks ago when he was nominated by President Obama to replace Timothy Geithner as the White House’s Treasury Secretary. Primarily brought in for being a budget guru, whether or not Lew and Obama will continue to push for reform in the financial sector remains top-of-mind for the industry.

Photo courtesy Bloomberg

Michael McRaith Michael McRaith

The pending Federal Insurance Office report, which was scheduled for release in January of 2012, and the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which expires at the end of 2014, are still two of the more important ongoing stories in terms of insurance regulation. Both of which McRaith will need to face.

“[FIO Director Michael McRaith will release a paper that is comprehensive and correctly points out the strengths of the current state insurance regulatory model in terms of the financial crisis and how insurance companies fared through it, and he will also use the opportunity to point out some of the weaknesses. What he concludes is the six million dollar question.”

Photo courtesy Don Pollard

Ben Nelson Ben Nelson

Newly elected CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Ben Nelson must continue the organization's attempts to craft a relationship with the Federal Insurance Office, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and the next influential regulator on this list.

Photo courtesy NAIC

Ronald Papa Ronald Papa

The former president of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters re-inserted himself into regulatory affairs earlier this month at the NAIC's annual meeting when he called out the industry in the wake of Sandy, saying that there were failures in preparing for and responding to disasters. Papa cited an example of a businessman with a $100 million policy with $5 million of flood coverage and a 5 percent deductible—the customer was told the deductibe applied to the entire policy, therefore, he was stuck with a $5 million policy with a $5 million deductible.

Photo courtesy National Fire Adjustment Co.

Ed Royce Ed Royce

Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) has complained about the delinquency of the FIO report and sent a letter to McRaith seeking more defined jurisdictions for the FIO and NAIC—some claim that arguments over jurisdiction between the USTR and NAIC are the reason why the FIO's report is so delinquent.

Photo courtesy the office of Rep. Royce