John F. Finston

Phone: (415) 591-7574 (415) 591-7574


John F. Finston is a former General Counsel and Deputy Insurance Commissioner for the State of California who advises clients on insurance-related financial transactions, with a focus on highlighting and resolving insurance regulatory issues.

John’s practice involves representing reinsurance companies, insurance companies and insurance associations in mergers and acquisitions, transactional business restructuring, insolvency, and regulatory matters. He has extensive experience in transactional matters, and frequently advises corporate clients with respect to their rights against insurance company receivers and property/casualty insurance guaranty funds in the event of the insolvency of their insurers.

While General Counsel and Deputy Commissioner of the California Department of Insurance, John was deeply involved in policymaking and led the Legal Branch of the Department, which involved supervision of more than 140 attorneys, legal assistants and staff. He was active in a number of state, national and international insurance regulatory matters, and under his leadership as General Counsel, the Department had many notable litigation victories on behalf of consumers.

John represented the Department in interactions with many of the state’s largest insurer licensees, addressing compliance matters, developing new regulatory approaches, and providing advice. He also played a key role in advising the Commissioner on major health and other insurance mergers, insurance company insolvencies, guaranty association related matters, and a host of other insurance market, consumer protection and regulatory matters. In addition, John assisted the Commissioner and the Department's Legislative office by providing expertise in support of the Commissioner's legislative initiatives, and opposing legislation that was inconsistent with prudent regulatory principles or had the potential to have an adverse impact on California consumers.

At the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), John was a nationally recognized leader on international insurance issues and reinsurance and receivership law and regulation. He chaired the NAIC Reinsurance Task Force, the Receivership Task Force, and the Qualified Jurisdiction Working Group, and was a leader in the modernization of the Credit for Reinsurance Model Act and regulations. He also actively participated in the negotiation of the Covered Agreement between the U.S. and the EU as a direct participant in the negotiations and as a technical advisor to the state insurance regulators participating in the negotiations.


  • Centene – Health Net Acquisition: Led the legal team conducting regulatory investigation and negotiating settlement agreement, which led to approval of the transaction by California.
  • Market Conduct Investigations: Led the team that investigated market conduct regulatory violations of several major insurers and brokers, and negotiated multimillion-dollar settlement agreements and regulatory correction plans to address violations.
  • Cigna/Anthem and Aetna/Humana Mergers: Led the team that prepared the Commissioner for an investigative hearing that resulted in a report and letter to the Department of Justice opposing both mergers.
  • Tower Insurance Group Consolidation and Liquidation: Led the initiative that resulted in an agreement among six insurance commissioners to consolidate the eight insurance entities of the Tower Insurance Group into a single insurance company to facilitate an orderly liquidation of the group in a single, coordinated proceeding.
  • Merced Insurance Company Demutualization: Led the team of lawyers and financial analysts that evaluated and eventually approved the demutualization plan of Merced Mutual Insurance Company.
  • Allianz Insurance Group: Participated in the Supervisory College and Crisis Management Group of regulators analyzing and approving the recovery, liquidity and resolution plans of Allianz Insurance Group, which were required because Allianz was designated a Globally Systemically Important Insurer by the Financial Stability Board.
  • California Representative on the Supervisory Colleges for Allstate Insurance Group, AmTrust Financial Services, Farmers Insurance Group, Zurich Insurance Group and Allianz Insurance Group.


Bar Admissions

  • California
  • New York


  • Saint John's University School of Law, J.D., 1980
  • Johns Hopkins University, B.E.S., 1977


  • Federal Crop Insurance Corp., Board of Directors (2013-present)
  • National Center for International Schools, Board of Directors (2006-2018)
  • NAIC Reinsurance and Receivership Task Force, Chair (2014-2017)
  • NAIC Qualified Jurisdiction Working Group, Chair (2013-2016)