Gov. Rick Snyder signed an executive order on Thursday creating the Department of Insurance and Financial Services, formerly known as the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation, a day after announcing the move in his State of the State Address. The move is meant to reflect the prominence of insurance companies in Michigan.
Until the governor signed the executive order, OFIR had been part of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. DIFS will be the state’s 17th department.
MCUL & Affiliates CEO David Adams said credit unions and the other industries that are regulated by the department learned of move in advance of the governor’s State of State, but it was a surprise to all covered industries.
“We’re hopeful that the shift emphasizes the importance of the industries,” Adams said. “We look forward to continuing to work with Director Clinton in his new capacity.”
The Michigan Information & Research Service (subscription required) reported that current OFIR Commissioner Kevin Clinton would lead the department.
MIRS News reported that the new DIFS is described in the State of the State outline as being able to "create a business climate in which these industries are poised for economic growth and a regulatory environment that protects consumers while ensuring industry sustainability in a competitive market."
The focus of the switch is to raise the prominence of the Michigan insurance industry, which employs 150,000 Michigan residents and generates more than $9 billion in annual payroll.