On 5 January 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York delivered his initial State of the State address, outlining his vision for New York in the upcoming years. During this speech, the Governor addressed the consumer protection and financial regulatory aspects of his plan to transform New York’s economy. He stated that he intends to merge the state’s banking and insurance departments in an effort to save taxpayer money and streamline regulation. The Governor indicated that he believed that the state’s departments of banking, insurance, and consumer protection could all have done a better job of protecting consumers and regulating Wall Street. Governor Cuomo then went on to state that demarcations between banking and insurance do not exist in the marketplace, and that artificial boundaries between the departments are allowing certain activities to fall through the cracks in regulation.
New York will not be the first state to house multiple branches of financial regulation under one combined unit. For example, in Florida, the Financial Services Commission overseeing banking, securities and insurance was created by the Florida legislature in 2002. New Jersey’s Department of Banking and Insurance is comprised of three main units including the Division of Banking, the Division of Insurance and the New Jersey Real Estate Commission. Roughly half of the 50 states have an insurance commission that is combined with another financial regulatory commission or have an insurance division that is incorporated into a broader financial oversight body comprised of smaller, parallel divisions.