Michael McRaith, the openly gay director of the Illinois Department of Insurance, will be named to lead the new Federal Insurance Office, according to Business Week. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner made the announcement during a meeting of the Financial Stability Oversight Council in Washington, D.C., on March 17.
The Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law created the office last year to gather information on the insurance industry and to negotiate internationally on its behalf.
McRaith told Windy City Times that his responsibilities, by statute, include "assisting in international commercial agreements involving the insurance sector, [ and working ] with lead regulators of other financial sectors and industries to avoid the collapse that occurred a couple years ago." He also said that he would be working "with Congress and national policy leaders to assure that consumers are protected and that industries are fairly regulated, and that the regulatory system is a platform for development and growth in the insurance sector."
McRaithwho said he was "honored and humbled" when he found out about the federal positionadded that he would be working with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn through the end of this legislative session, which ends in May; he starts with the Treasury Department in June. "I'm excited about the great challenges ahead, but there's some sadness because working with Gov. Quinn and his team has been a great privilege for me," McRaith said.
Quinn named McRaith as the director of the state's insurance department in 2009. Prior to his appointment, McRaith worked 15 years in private practice as an attorney in Chicago, representing national and regional financial institutions, including insurers, in finance-related litigation.