The Risk and Insurance Management Society says it is concerned that the proposed merger of New York state's Insurance Department with other state financial regulators could hamper the consumer protection that the Insurance Department provides.

According to press reports, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo will propose that the insurance and banking departments be merged into a single financial regulation unit. The plan is part of Cuomo's response to the state's projected $10 billion deficit.

"The Insurance Department has the necessary expertise to understand and regulate the insurance industry," said RIMS board member John Phelps in a statement the industry trade group released today.

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