FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

J. Lee Covington II

Insured Retirement Institute
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Washington , DC, USA


J. Lee Covington II
Senior Vice President and General Counsel

As Senior Vice President and General Counsel of IRI, Lee Covington leads the association’s legal, legislative and regulatory strategy at the federal and state level, including all efforts before the new administration, Congress, SEC, FINRA, state legislatures, and state insurance and securities departments. Mr. Covington joined IRI in March 2009.

Prior to joining IRI, Covington served as a co-leader for the National Insurance Practice at an AmLaw 100 global law firm, Squire Sanders and Dempsey in Washington, DC. During his time at the firm, Mr. Covington advised insurance company and broker clients regarding regulatory and compliance issues, including state and federal life and annuity suitability regulations, transactions and formations, class action and other insurance related lawsuits, legislative and public policy issues, insolvencies, run-offs and restructuring strategies, and captive insurance issues. He has extensive experience with clients undergoing large multi-state market conduct examinations and investigations.

Covington’s experience includes regulatory consulting as a senior member of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ National Insurance Advisory Practice. He also served as Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance, where he was, among other leadership positions, a member of the NAIC Executive Committee as Chair of the Midwestern Zone, Vice Chair of the NAIC Market Conduct and Consumer Affairs Committee, and one of the lead negotiators for the NAIC before the Congress on Gramm Leach Bliley and numerous other federal legislation. He was a principal author of the Statement of Intent to Modernize State Insurance Regulation, as well as the Interstate Insurance Product Compact Model Act, and led the implementation of SERFF as the one stop national rate and form filing system. As Vice Chair of the NAIC Market Conduct Committee, Mr. Covington was one of the primary architects of the plan to streamline and coordinate market conduct examinations across the country. 

He was an active member of the NAIC Life Insurance and Annuities Committee, Chair of the Regulatory Re-engineering Committee, and a member of many other key NAIC Committees. In a cover article in Best Review and within the industry, he was recognized as one of the most progressive regulators in the country and was the first Ohio Insurance Director to receive the Ohio Big I's Independence Bell Award.

Mr. Covington has testified four times before Congress, most recently regarding regulatory modernization issues related to the House Financial Services Committee’s draft SMART Bill. Mr. Covington is a recognized authority on the impact of regulation on class action lawsuits. As Ohio Insurance Director, he filed more than 10 amicus briefs or intervention actions throughout the country when class actions threatened to change the rules and regulations upon which insurers relied.

As receiver for 16 insolvent insurers, Mr. Covington reorganized the Ohio Liquidation Office, resulting in an unprecedented US$260 million early access payment to guaranty fund members and other creditors. He led an aggressive plan to close liquidation estates that benefited policyholders, guaranty fund members and creditors.

Covington serves on the Board of the Griffith Foundation for Insurance Education. He is a member of the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Insurance Regulation and a former board member of Journal of Insurance Regulation. Mr. Covington began his legal career serving as law clerk to United States District Judge Jimm L. Hendren.

Mr. Covington is a graduate of the University of Arkansas, where he received both a B.S.B.A in Banking and Finance and a Juris Doctorate. 

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