NOLHGA 36th Annual Meeting (October 10-11, 2019): Speakers
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Mark J. Backe
Vice President, Insurance & Operations Counsel: The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company

Mark Backe is the Vice President and Insurance and Operations Counsel of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. In this role, he oversees a team of attorneys responsible for providing counsel relating to the company’s manufacture and servicing of its insurance products; advertising and marketing; client services; vendor risk management; information protection and cybersecurity; and digital solutions for the company’s clients, employees, and financial representatives. He also serves as the secretary to the Distribution and Technology Committee of the Company’s Board of Trustees.

Mr. Backe joined the company in 2001 as an Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Secretary. His practice has recently focused on state and federal regulatory issues; regulatory reform initiatives at the state, federal, and international levels; guaranty association issues; and governance matters. Prior to joining Northwestern Mutual, Mr. Backe was General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for United Government Services, LLC, a Medicare fiscal intermediary and a subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield United of Wisconsin. Before that he served as a Staff Attorney and Assistant Corporate Compliance Officer for the Wisconsin Blue Plan. He began his career as a Litigation Associate with the law firm Godfrey & Kahn, S.C., in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Marquette University and his Juris Doctor degree, with honors, from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Mr. Backe has been active within the ACLI as a member of the Receivership Committee, the Insurance Regulation Committee, the Global Regulatory Modernization Committee, and in other roles. He has served on the Boards of several state guaranty associations, and he currently serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Organization of Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Associations. He represents Northwestern Mutual on the Board of the Illinois Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association, and he is also a director of the Wisconsin Equal Justice Fund. He lives in Milwaukee and has two adult sons.


Aaron Ball
Senior Vice President, LTC Solutions, Worksite & IDI: New York Life Insurance Company

Aaron Ball is the Senior Vice President leading New York Life’s long-term care (LTC) insurance and linked benefits businesses, worksite business, and individual disability income business. He is responsible for the overall operation of these businesses, including development of new products and markets and management of the ongoing performance of the in-force portfolio.

Mr. Ball joined New York Life in 2015. Prior to joining the company, he was a Senior Vice President with Genworth Financial and held roles as both the LTC Product and In-Force Leader and General Counsel and Government Affairs Leader for LTC. In these roles, Mr. Ball was responsible for managing the development of LTC products and services, managing the in-force portfolio, and providing legal and regulatory counsel to the LTC business. In addition, he was responsible for the leadership of government relations and regulatory initiatives related to LTC.

Prior to Genworth Financial, Mr. Ball was Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer for AmSouth Investment Services and Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of M&T Brokerage.

Mr. Ball earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Political Science from Loyola University Maryland. He also earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Baltimore with a concentration in Banking and Finance. Mr. Ball is a graduate of the Advanced Leadership Program from the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for LTC Re, the reinsurance company managing the Penn Treaty insolvency.


Richard P. Bowman
Associate General Counsel: New York Life Insurance Company

Richard Bowman is an Associate General Counsel with New York Life Insurance Company. He is presently a member of New York Life’s Office of the General Counsel Annuities Practice Team, where he provides legal guidance regarding product development, service, and compliance matters on fixed and variable annuity products. His practice also focuses on insurer solvency matters as well as market conduct and regulation. Previously, he served as a product and regulatory attorney for New York Life’s traditional and variable life insurance business and as a regulatory attorney for the company’s Office of the Corporate Secretary.

Mr. Bowman serves as Chair of the Receivership Committee of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). He is Chair of the Delaware Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association, Secretary/Treasurer of the Massachusetts Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association, and a Director of the Life Insurance Company Guaranty Corporation of New York. In addition, Mr. Bowman serves as a member of the National Organization of Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Associations (NOLHGA) Communications and Coverage/Claims Committees (including as former Chair of the Hybrid LTC and Trust-Owned Annuity Coverage/Claims Subcommittees). He is a company representative to the Life Insurance Council of New York (LICONY) Replacements Subcommittee.

Mr. Bowman earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland. He holds a Master’s professional degree from Boston University and a Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law.


James C. Capretta
Resident Fellow: American Enterprise Institute

James Capretta is a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies healthcare, entitlement, and U.S. budgetary policy as well as global trends in aging, health, and retirement programs. He spent more than 16 years in public service before joining AEI. As an associate director at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2004, he was responsible for all healthcare, Social Security, welfare, labor, and education issues.

Mr. Capretta is also a senior adviser to the Bipartisan Policy Center and has served on the Advisory Board of the National Institute for Health Care Management since 2011. He has an M.A. in public policy studies from Duke University and a B.A. in government from the University of Notre Dame.


Lee Douglass
Executive Director: Arkansas Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association
Former Senior Vice President, Law & Governmental Relations: Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield


Lee Douglass served as Senior Vice President of Law and Governmental Relations and was the Chief Legal Officer for Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield. He joined Arkansas Blue Cross in 1999 as the company’s Vice President of Law and Governmental Relations and served as the Chief Legal Officer until his retirement in 2017. He represented the organization and its affiliates on legislative issues at the state and national levels. He maintained oversight and management of legal services related to litigation and regulatory issues affecting Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates.

Mr. Douglass is a former state Insurance Commissioner, Deputy Insurance Commissioner, and Chief Counsel with the Arkansas Insurance Department (1988–1997). He also served for eight years as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Sixth Judicial District in Little Rock for the office of the Prosecuting Attorney.

Mr. Douglass was the former Chairman of the Arkansas Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association and also served on the Board of Directors of the National Organization of Life and Health Guaranty Associations (as Chair in 2016). He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Arkansas guaranty association. He is a member of the Arkansas Bar Association and the American Bar Association. He also is a Past President and Vice President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and has a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville. He is admitted to practice law in Arkansas, Federal District Court, and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.


Thomas F. English
Incoming Chair: NOLHGA Board of Directors
Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel & Chief Insurance Counsel: New York Life Insurance Company


Thomas English is Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, and Chief Insurance Counsel for New York Life Insurance Company. In that role he serves as chief counsel to the company’s Insurance and Agency Group, which includes all the company’s insurance and annuity businesses, along with its distribution system. Mr. English has been employed as in-house counsel in the life insurance industry since 1983. He began his career at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, rising to Vice President and Associate General Counsel before joining New York Life in 2000.

Mr. English is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, New York, and the District of Columbia and before the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He is the Past-President of the Association of Life Insurance Counsel (ALIC) and former Chair of the Board of MIB Group, Inc. He currently serves on the Board of the National Organization of Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Associations (NOLHGA) and on committees of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI).

He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University. He and his wife, Peggy, have four children and reside in Stamford, Connecticut.


Peter Gallanis
President, NOLHGA

Peter Gallanis became President of the National Organization of Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Associations (NOLHGA) in April 1999. NOLHGA was formed in 1983 to coordinate the activities of its 51-member state guaranty associations and their member companies (comprising the entire U.S. life and health insurance industry) in connection with insolvencies of multi-state life and health insurers. Mr. Gallanis is generally responsible for all the financial, legal, strategic, educational, communications, and administrative services that NOLHGA provides to its membership.

Before joining NOLHGA in 1999, Mr. Gallanis was the Special Deputy Insurance Receiver for the State of Illinois, where he managed the administration of approximately 80 insolvent domestic insurers of all types. Prior to that, Mr. Gallanis was a partner in a large law firm in Chicago, where he was in private practice from 1978 through 1991.

Mr. Gallanis also served as Adjunct Professor of Insurance Law at the DePaul University College of Law in Chicago from 1992 until he joined NOLHGA in 1999. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1975 and a law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1978. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois.

Mr. Gallanis has frequently participated in trial and appellate court receivership proceedings, both on behalf of parties and as amicus curiae. He has lectured and published often on insurance topics in the United States and abroad. In addition, he has testified on insurance matters before a number of courts, state legislatures, the Congress, the NAIC, the IAIS, and FSB.

Any comments by Mr. Gallanis during this program are made solely for the purpose of facilitating open and wide-ranging debate on a variety of topics. His comments may not represent the views or positions of his current or former employers, or any past, present, or future clients, and such comments may not reflect the personal views or positions of Mr. Gallanis on any particular issue.


Caryn Glawe
Partner: Faegre Baker Daniels LLP

As a partner on Faegre Baker Daniels’ insurance team, Caryn Glawe advises the insurance industry on state and federal regulatory and transactional matters, counseling insurers, HMOs, and related entities across the country. She has particular expertise in insurance company insolvency and receivership proceedings. She has worked on several complex, multi-state life, health, annuity and long-term care insurance insolvencies and advises on guaranty association coverage issues.

Ms. Glawe works on acquisitions, holding company structure development and transactions, compliance audits, company formation, producer licensing/compliance, and a variety of regulatory matters. Her regulatory experience allows her to work with insurance departments nationwide.

Ms. Glawe has a J.D. from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and a B.A. from Butler University. She serves on the Boards of Directors of the Center for Leadership Development and the Indiana Bar Foundation, is a member of the Federation of Regulatory Counsel, and is Chair of the Hiring Team for FaegreBD’s Indianapolis offices.


Michael Gugig
Vice President of State Government Relations & Associate General Counsel: Transamerica

Mike Gugig is Vice President of State Government Relations and Associate General Counsel with Transamerica, positions he’s held since he joined the company in 2016. In that role, he leads Transamerica’s state government relations function nationwide for all products. His portfolio includes (among other things) public policy relating to producer standard of care, insurtech, the group capital calculation, data security, and privacy.

Mr. Gugig’s experience working for and representing life insurers spans more than 20 years. Before joining Transamerica, he was the General Counsel of Genworth’s long-term care insurance business. Before that, he was in private practice representing numerous life, disability, and LTC carriers in litigation and regulatory matters and in connection with numerous other issues on a nationwide basis.


Julie Mix McPeak
Shareholder: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Julie Mix McPeak, the former Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI), focuses her practice on insurance law and insurance regulation issues. She has more than 25 years of legal and administrative experience in state government and was the first woman to serve as chief insurance regulator in more than one state, having also served as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Insurance (KOI). Her experience also includes practicing law in the insurance group of a large U.S. law firm.

Ms. McPeak has deep knowledge and a network of strong relationships in both the insurance industry and Tennessee and Kentucky state governments. In 2018, she served as President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), and she has served on the NAIC’s Executive Committee since 2013 in a variety of leadership roles. She also served as Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors.

After being appointed Commissioner by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam in Jan. 2011, Ms. McPeak was reappointed in January 2019 by Gov. Bill Lee. Her achievements in her role as Commissioner of TDCI include the accreditation of TDCI by the NAIC; creating and implementing a free smoke alarm program, resulting in the distribution of more than 198,000 smoke alarms across the state; the modernization of Tennessee’s captive insurance laws, resulting in Tennessee domestic captive insurance companies exceeding $1 billion in written premiums in 2017 for the first time; and streamlining the process of issuing professional licenses, enabling Tennessee professionals to obtain their license in a more timely and efficient manner.


George Nichols III
President & CEO: The American College of Financial Services

George Nichols is the 10th President and CEO of The American College of Financial Services. He comes to The College after a 17-year career with New York Life, most recently serving as Executive Vice President in charge of the Office of Governmental Affairs, reporting to the CEO and Chairman, which encompasses all state, federal, and international legislative, regulatory, and public policy issues at the company. He also was a member of New York Life’s Executive Management Committee, which comprises the company’s senior executive leadership and assists the CEO in setting policy for the company.

Mr. Nichols’s extensive career serving the financial services profession, both in the public and private sectors, makes him uniquely qualified to lead the country’s largest accredited, nonprofit educator dedicated to the financial services profession.

Prior to joining New York Life, Mr. Nichols was the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Insurance, where he regulated the state’s $10 billion insurance industry and was recognized for his expertise in health insurance reform and financial services integration. Before that, he was the Executive Director of the Kentucky Health Policy Board; Vice President of Marketing for Athena of North America; Executive Director of Product Development of Southeastern Group, Inc. (dba Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kentucky); Executive Officer of Central State Hospital in Louisville; and Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Mental Health/Mental Retardation Services.

Mr. Nichols was Kentucky’s first African-American insurance commissioner (1995), the first African-American President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (2000), the first African-American elected to New York Life’s Executive Management Committee (2006), and the first African-American to lead The American College of Financial Services (2018). He currently resides in the Philadelphia area with his wife Cynthia Jean (CJ). They have three adult children: Courtney, Jessica, and George IV.


William P. O'Sullivan
Senior Vice President & General Counsel: NOLHGA

William O’Sullivan serves as chief legal officer for NOLHGA and manages NOLHGA’s Legal Department. As Senior Vice President and General Counsel, he is responsible for advising NOLHGA’s Board of Directors, senior management, Members’ Participation Council, and individual guaranty associations on legal issues and policy matters germane to the operations of the organization. He also serves as the staff contact for NOLHGA’s Legal and Coverage/Claims Committees and as the staff contact/project manager for a number of insolvency task forces.

Mr. O’Sullivan joined NOLHGA in 1995 as Vice President and Counsel and was named to his current position in 1998. Prior to joining NOLHGA, he was employed in the corporate law departments of Prudential Capital, a subsidiary of the Prudential Insurance Company of America, and KTI Energy.

Mr. O’Sullivan received his B.A. in economics from the University of Virginia and his J.D. from Boston College Law School.


Keith Passwater
Managing Director: KTPassCo

Keith Passwater is Managing Director of KTPassCo, a healthcare strategy, finance, and actuarial consultancy. Previously, he was Senior Vice President of Corporate Finance and Chief Actuary at Anthem, Inc. In this role, he led cost of care quantification, enterprise financial planning, and actuarial. He also built the Finance shop for a new division of Anthem, the Diversified Business Group. Prior to this role, Mr. Passwater was focused on Anthem’s commercial and individual ACA pricing strategies, working closely with the business operators in Anthem’s 14 Blue states to achieve profitable, growing performance within the new regulatory framework.

Mr. Passwater holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Actuarial Science from Ball State University. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. Also, he is privileged to serve on the Board of the National Organization of Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Associations (NOLHGA).


Mike Polakowski
Vice President & Chief Actuary: BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina

Mike Polakowski is the Chief Actuary for the largest health insurance company in South Carolina, leading actuarial support across all health lines of business including large group, small group, individual, Medicare, Medicaid, dental, vision, and reinsurance. He is responsible for the overall pricing, valuation, and forecasting of these businesses.

Mr. Polakowski joined BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina in 2017. Prior to joining the company, he was a Regional Vice President and Actuary with Anthem, leading commercial actuarial support for Anthem’s West Region of California, Colorado, and Nevada. Prior to his work with Anthem, Mr. Polakowski was an Associate Actuary and Financial Associate for ING Reinsurance, where he held roles in valuation and forecasting of life reinsurance.

Mr. Polakowski earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics & Statistics from Colorado State University. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.


Bob Ridgeway
Senior Government Relations Counsel: America’s Health Insurance Plans

Bob Ridgeway is Senior Government Relations Counsel for America’s Health Insurance Plans. His focus is on state regulatory matters and the NAIC, with an emphasis on cybersecurity and privacy legislative developments, group capital requirements and calculations, long-term care insurance and insolvencies, and the impact of international insurance regulatory efforts on American insurance regulation.

Mr. Ridgeway previously served as a state prosecutor and later as Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel at the Arkansas Insurance Department. He has a B.A. and a J. D. from the University of Arkansas. He has two grown daughters and one grandson, and he and his wife live in a rural area outside Little Rock, Arkansas, with retired horses and two dogs too lazy to bark at prowlers.


Jake Sullivan
Montgomery Fellow: Dartmouth College; Senior Fellow: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Jake Sullivan is a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College and a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He served in the Obama administration as Deputy Assistant to President Obama and National Security Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. He was previously the Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State, as well as Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He helped lead the secret diplomacy that paved the way for the Iran nuclear deal in 2015.

Mr. Sullivan also serves as Co-Chair of National Security Action, a leading national security advocacy organization, and as a Trustee of the International Crisis Group. He has written commentary on U.S. foreign and domestic policy in a range of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, and Democracy Journal.


Kent Sullivan
Commissioner: Texas Department of Insurance

Kent Sullivan was appointed Commissioner of Insurance by Governor Greg Abbott in 2017. He oversees the Texas Department of Insurance, which regulates the industry and protects consumers in the second-largest insurance market in the nation and the eighth largest in the world. The agency has almost 1,300 employees and an annual budget of more than $110 million. He also serves as a member on the Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance for the Treasury Department and as Vice Chair of the Financial Committee for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Mr. Sullivan has more than 35 years of legal experience and was a partner in several major private law firms. He previously served as a justice on the Texas Court of Appeals, a state district court judge, and First Assistant Attorney General for the Texas Office of the Attorney General. He has served on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors, the Texas Center for the Judiciary Board of Directors, the Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee, and the Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas as well as the Houston and Austin Bar Associations and is a life fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.

Mr. Sullivan received Presidential Citations from two Texas Bar presidents, including one award for his work as Vice Chair of the Pattern Jury Charge Committee, where he emphasized the need for plain language in jury instructions. The committee also received a ClearMark Award from the national Center for Plain Language.

Mr. Sullivan received his law degree and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia.


Susan E. Voss
Vice President of Government Relations, American Enterprise Group, Inc., and Chair of NOLHGA Board of Directors

Susan Voss grew up in Fairfield, Iowa. A lifelong Iowan, she graduated from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, with a BA in History. She attended Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington, receiving her JD in 1981. She worked for 31 years in Iowa state government, with the last 20 at the Iowa Insurance Division.

During her time as an insurance regulator, Ms. Voss was instrumental in creating a system of mediation services for homeowners during the floods in 1993 and 2008 that devastated thousands of homes in Iowa. She was a member of several health-care reform committees in the mid-1990s, culminating in small and individual health insurance reform statutes in Iowa that were the basis of model legislation at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). She served as First Deputy Insurance Commissioner from 1999 to 2004. In 2005, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack appointed her Iowa Insurance Commissioner. She served as Commissioner for three Governors—two Democrats and one Republican. She was elected by her peers as an officer of the NAIC in 2007 and served as its President in 2011. She was the Chair of the Market Conduct and Regulation Committee as well as the Principles-Based Reserving Working Group. She also served on the Life and Annuities Committee, the Financial Condition Committee, and the Financial Regulation Standards and Accreditation Committee.

Ms. Voss was a member of the International Insurance Committee at the NAIC and chaired the committee in 2012. During her tenure on the committee, she represented state insurance regulatory interests at the OECD, ASSAL, EIOPA, CIRC, and the IAIS. She was the insurance representative at several Strategic and Economic Summits between China and the United States.

Ms. Voss worked closely on legislation included in the Dodd-Frank Act to exempt certain annuities from SEC oversight. Throughout her tenure as Commissioner and particularly during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, she met regularly with Treasury officials to affect better regulatory cooperation and understanding of financial issues. She testified before Congress on several occasions regarding state-based insurance regulation. Ms. Voss has received several recognitions over the years including Des Moines Business Record Woman of Influence, Simpson College Hall of Fame, Fairfield High School Hall of Fame, and her recent induction into the Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame in 2013. After providing insurance consulting services for about a year, she joined American Enterprise Group, Inc., as Vice President and General Counsel.

Ms. Voss serves on the Board of Directors of the United Fire Group, Inc., a property-casualty insurance company. She is also a member of the Board of the National Organization of Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Associations (NOLHGA).
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