Kevin Gaffney is the new commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, Gov. Phil Scott announced Friday.
Gaffney had been serving in the role on an interim basis after former commissioner, Mike Pieciak, resigned in May to run for state treasurer.
Scott also announced Friday that he had appointed Emily Brown as the department’s new deputy commissioner of insurance.
“It’s a big responsibility, but a big honor at the same time,” Gaffney told VTDigger in an interview Friday.
Gaffney was previously deputy commissioner of insurance and has worked in the department since 2007.
“I know the staff well, perhaps unlike many commissioners that came through the ranks, so I know we’ve got a lot of dedicated people,” he said.
The department’s function is to protect consumers while ensuring that financial institutions operate responsibly.
Gaffney said he is most proud of his work on a workers’ compensation study that helped to reduce insurance rates for high-risk jobs by over 50%. He also helped to secure a record $1.8 million settlement with a company that was charged with offering inadequate and unauthorized student health insurance to Vermont college students.
“These are things that DFR is looking closely at to protect consumers,” he said. “It gets the attention of the marketplace to act in a more compliant manner.”
Brown was previously interim deputy commissioner of insurance. Before that, she served as director of insurance regulations and director of rates and forms.
“I’m really excited to move into this role,” Brown said. “I’ve been in the insurance division for about six years, so I’ve been working with a lot of the same people. I think it’s going to be great.”
During her nearly seven years at the Department of Financial Regulation, Brown’s work has largely focused on health care policy.
“My goals are really to keep going in the direction we're going,” Brown said. “I think we've been doing some strong work with consumer protection lately and our market conduct team has been looking into some important issues, so just trying for consistency and making sure that we keep doing the important work of protecting Vermont consumers.”
Looking forward, Gaffney said the department hopes to focus on expanding knowledge about climate risk and resiliency, cybersecurity, evolving technology and financial literacy outreach.
“We are here to protect individuals, whether it's banking securities or insurance or captive insurance issues,” Gaffney said.
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