Lingle names DCCA heads

Attorneys J.P. Schmidt and Lawrence M. Reifurth were named to leadership positions within the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) today by Gov. Linda Lingle. Schmidt will serve as the state’s Insurance Commissioner, while Reifurth will serve as deputy director under director Mark E. Recktenwald.

Schmidt, who worked for Maui County as corporation counsel when Lingle was mayor, will leave his current partnership with the Maui law firm of Crockett Nakamura & Schmidt at the end of the month. As insurance commissioner, he will oversee Hawaii’s insurance industry, including licensing, rate change and policy filing reviews, and complaint investigations.

“In the eight years that J.P. served the people of Maui County as corporation counsel and deputy corporation counsel, he consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic, integrity and sound judgment,” Lingle said. “I know he will show the same dedication as our state’s insurance commissioner to create a fair and open environment that encourages investment and competition in the insurance industry, while also looking out for the best interests of Hawaii consumers.”

Reifurth, meanwhile, has worked with the DCCA before, as deputy attorney general from 1989-1994 and as insurance commissioner in 1994. Today he works with the law firm Oshima Chun Fong & Chung.

“Although Larry has been in private practice in recent years, he has demonstrated his commitment to public service and the department’s mission by his earlier work for the state,” Lingle said. “His experience with the department, and his familiarity with its various divisions, make him a valuable addition to our team.”

Schmidt is a graduate of University of California Los Angeles and University of California Davis Law School. He is a member of the Hawaii and California state bars and the Maui County Bar Association. Reifurth is a graduate of Marquette University, the School of Law and the J.D. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

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