John Finston, most recently Chief Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel for the California Department of Insurance, has joined Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP as a partner residing in the firm’s San Francisco office.
Mr. 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.
Mr. 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, John 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.
Mr. 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 modernization 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 recognized insurance practice.”
Prior to his public service, Mr. Finston was chair of SNR Denton's Insurance Regulatory Practice Group. His practice has focused on representing insurers and reinsurers, brokers and others involved in the industry as well as industry associations on mergers and acquisitions, transactional business restructuring, alternative risk transfer mechanisms, insurance insolvency and regulatory matters.
“John is deeply immersed in the California insurance market, which is the country’s largest and a key venue for growth in many areas including the exploding InsurTech sector,” said Neil K. Haimm, Chair of Drinker Biddle’s Corporate and Securities Group. “His knowledge of industry issues and regulations throughout the country will benefit both our U.S. and non-U.S. clients greatly and we are thrilled that he and Dan have brought their wealth of combined experience to our firm.”
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP is a national law firm with more than 635 lawyers. The firm provides client service in corporate and securities, litigation, government and regulatory affairs, health care, products liability, corporate restructuring, investment management, labor and employment, life insurance and annuities, intellectual property, employee benefits and executive compensation, environment and energy, white collar defense and corporate investigations, trust and estates, and real estate.