Edwin W. Patterson

Edwin W. Patterson

Dr. Edwin Patterson was the major force in the 1939 codification of the New York Insurance Law. This law is acknowledged as the model for many state insurance codes in the United States.

Dr. Patterson’s influence on insurance, both from a regulatory and a legal standpoint, grew from his authorship of two major books. His definitive work on administrative law as applied to insurance is, “The Insurance Commissioner in the United States.” In addition, he authored what many considered to be the most logical and useful text of its time on insurance law, “Essentials of Insurance Law.”

Dr. Patterson's concepts emphasized the relationship between the regulator and the regulated. He felt strongly that the public needed to be protected from the abuses of undercapitalized insurance ventures and poorly managed insurers. At the same time, he felt that the rules needed to be made fully known to prospective insurance entrepreneurs so that they would be forced to a position of strength before being licensed. This philosophy was reflected in his demand that the code be prepared in its entirety and then be presented to the insurance industry for its review and comment. In this way, those being regulated could see the full implication of the proposed legislation and comment on its impact on company operations.

He sought to encourage young people to a high level of performance and at Columbia University in New York he influenced large groups of students. He was named the Cardoza Professor of Jurisprudence at that institution.