RICHARD E. STEWART
(West Virginia & Queen's 1955) (4 November 1933 - 13 October 2019)
Richard E. Stewart died at age 85 on October 13. Mr. Stewart graduated summa cum laude from West Virginia University where his father was president of the University, after which he earned Congratulatory First-Class Honors in Roman Law at Queen's College Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Following Oxford, he served in the U.S. Army providing legal assistance to soldiers of the U.S. Army 43rd brigade of Hawaii which had been distinguished for its bravery during WWII. He then earned his jurisprudence degree with honors from Harvard Law School in 1959.
He was the Superintendent of the New York State Insurance Department from 1967 to 1971, and became a leader in insurance in the United States and recognised internationally.
He initiated legislation that transformed insurance regulation in New York State and nationwide. Among his innovations were an exploration of the potential of no fault auto insurance, establishing an insurance pool to make essential fire insurance available to residents of urban ghettos, a program to make auto insurance more widely available, to protect consumers against insurance cancellation and against loss due to insurer insolvency and changed property liability insurance rate regulation to an open competitive and antitrust basis. Governor Nelson Rockefeller described Stewart as "the best Superintendent of Insurance in the history of the State."
He went on to be Senior Vice President and General Counsel of First National City Bank, now Citibank and Citigroup. In 1973, he became Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Chubb & Son. In 1981 left to start his own firm, Stewart Economics, Inc., a consulting firm that specialised in insurance and insurance regulation. His major work became consulting for legal teams involved in major controversies such as water pollution and the national breast implant cases.
He was a member of the Special Panel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Presidential Campaign Practices (1974) and the United Nations Panel of Experts on Transnational Bank Failure.
He was a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and of the National Academy of Social Insurance. He was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Associates, The Century Association in New York City and the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C.
In 2006, when he reduced his work load, Mr. Stewart began a new life in San Francisco where he became involved with the effort to protect the city's waterfront from over-development. He played a major role in a pair of ballot measure campaigns in 2013 and 2014 known as the "No Wall on the Waterfront" where voters overwhelmingly rejected excessive waterfront height increases and approved permanent waterfront preservation rules. He now leaves a beautiful and protected waterfront for all to use and enjoy.
Besides his varied and consequential achievements, positions and accomplishments were his extraordinary memory of past events and people, keen, sharp intellect, wide-ranging, broad comprehension of current issues and ability to place them into historical and even philosophical context, and despite his increasing health problems, remain upbeat, acknowledging his frailties but never complaining about them or letting them interfere with his life, remaining and continuing to have a very positive outlook on life and a confidence in the people around him including his doctors and their medical interventions. He was always willing and interested in trying new things and embracing the newest technological innovations with an almost child-like fascination and pleasure in so doing.
Mr. Stewart is survived by his two cats, Kitzmiller named after his childhood cat, and Lionel, and his wife and scuba diving companion Barbara Dickson Stewart.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle.