Nelson Levine de Luca & Horst, a Pennsylvania insurance law firm, today announced the opening of a Washington office in response to recent moves to expand the federal government's regulatory role in the industry's modernization.
Speaking by phone on a train en route to the District, Michael Nelson, a partner with the Blue Bell, Pa.-based firm, pointed to the "evolving discussion of how the federal government and insurance industry intersect," including a pending report from the Federal Insurance Office, as the main driving force behind the new location.
The "biggest focal point" he sees is "how much the federal government will involve itself in the insurance industry's day-to-day operations" through the FIO report. Authorized by the Dodd-Frank Act, the FIO acts as the primary contact between the insurance industry and the government, providing information to Congress and federal departments but not actively making policy or engaging in regulation.
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the FIO report on how best to modernize insurance regulation was supposed to be submitted on Jan. 21, 2012, but has been delayed. To date, the Treasury Department has not said when the report will be released.
While he would not divulge any specific names, Nelson said the firm's clientele list is long on the biggest names in the insurance business.
"I doubt there would be an insurer of any substance that we would not have represented," he said.
According to Nelson, the firm employs 66 attorneys in offices from New York to London. Located at 1455 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., the Washington office will initially be home only to Susan Stead, a partner in the firm's insurance regulatory and transactional practice. As the date for the FIO report to be released draws nearer, Nelson said, the firm likely will hire several attorneys with federal experience.