1965 - 2015:
Paul Cohen Remembers


The year was 1965 and I was working at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in New York when I accepted a position with the New York State Department of Insurance. I began working at the Department on June 10th at a salary of $5,700 which was a whopping 10% more than I was earning at Met Life.

In 1966 I was assigned to the Property Bureau and, shortly thereafter, assigned to conduct an examination of Marine Office of America, an association of insurance companies that wrote marine risks worldwide. I remember reviewing claims that were ongoing and dated back to World War I. A ship had exploded in the Brooklyn Navy Yard killing several men and in 1966 their widows were still collecting on benefits from this accident. I recall asking the claims manager what he did to try to settle these claims. He informed me that he ran a dating service on the side and had been successful in closing several of these claims in the past. I remember thinking what a strange profession I was now in.

During my first 25 years with the Department, I was a field examiner and examiner-in-charge for many major examinations conducted by the Department. The one I remember most was the examination, in the early 1970s, of American International Underwriting Overseas; the world underwriting arm of AIG. As the business written by AIUO was spread over more than 90 countries, I learned quite a lot about how the insurance business was conducted worldwide and especially through the London Market.

During the course of the AIUO examination it became necessary for me to spend a significant amount of time in its London Office as organizational records were maintained there. Llittle did I know that 20 years later, in 1995, the knowledge I acquired in London would lead to the Department asking me to conduct the first and only examination of Lloyd’s by United States regulators. As a result of the Lloyd’s examination, which found Lloyd’s not to be in compliance with our regulations by $19 billion, regulation of alien reinsurers by U.S. regulators as well as foreign regulators changed forever.

In 1989, I was promoted to Supervising Insurance Examiner in the Property Bureau and that is where I can be found today still sharing with other examiners the knowledge of insurance and insurance regulation that I have accumulated over all these many years.

However, if asked what my fondest memories are over my 50 years with the Department, the answer would always be the memories of all the wonderful people that I have been lucky enough to have met and had the opportunity to get to know, both in and out of the Department.

Paul Cohen