Former California chief deputy insurance commissioner joins Drinker Biddle & Reath


Legal firm Drinker Biddle & Reath has announced that former chief deputy commissioner and general counsel for the California Department of Insurance John Finston has joined it as a partner at the firm’s San Francisco office.

Finston is the second partner to join the insurance regulatory and transactional team within the firm’s Corporate and Securities Group in California this year, following the addition of his former colleague Dan Brown in March. Theresa Fitzgerald, formerly of Dentons, has also joined the San Francisco office as counsel.

Drinker Biddle & Reath said that Finston was a key policymaker at the California Department of Insurance (CDI) during an important transitional time in the insurance industry. In his role as chief deputy commissioner and general counsel, Finston supervised the 10 law bureaus advising the commissioner on litigation by and against the department. He also advised the commissioner on major insurance mergers, company insolvencies, guaranty association related matters, and numerous other corporate and insurance regulatory matters, and lead the department's efforts to address regulatory changes necessary to facilitate insurance market changes associated with the developing InsurTech sector.

Finston was also a prominent leader within the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), having chaired the NAIC Reinsurance Task Force, the Receivership Task Force and the Qualified Jurisdiction Working Group. He was also a leader in the modernisation of the Credit for Reinsurance Model Law and Regulation and was a key member of the team of state regulators that participated in the negotiation of the covered agreement between the European Union and the United States.

“John is one of a select number of lawyers in California and in the country who combine deep knowledge of insurance regulatory issues with extensive transactional experience,” said Andrew C. Kassner, Chairman and CEO of Drinker Biddle. “His understanding of the rapidly changing insurance regulatory landscape and his leadership within the NAIC, not just within the California Department of Insurance, will be a great asset to our clients, and our nationally recognised insurance practice.”

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