Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Corporate Secretary
GNY Insurance Companies
Thomas D. Hughes is Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Corporate Secretary to Greater New York Insurance Companies, where he reports directly to the CEO and President on matters ranging from the corporate affairs of the companies to intricate matters of insurance coverage and appellate practice. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. John’s University, where he teaches a course on Metaphysics, immediately before which Tom was an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York Law School, where he taught Legal Writing and Reasoning, Contracts Drafting, and Drafting Corporate Documents (a course he created). Tom has also been retained by a major law firm to serve as an arbitrator in reinsurance arbitrations and meets with members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives and their staffs concerning key pieces of insurance-related legislation.
Tom holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the New School University, an LL.M (General) in Trial and Appellate Practice from New York University School of Law, a J.D. from New York Law School, an M.Phil. in Philosophy from the New School University, an M.A. in Philosophy from the New School University, an M.A. in Philosophy from Columbia University, an M.A. in Theology from Fordham University, and a B.S. in Criminal Justice from St. John's University, cum laude, where in 1972 he founded the St. John’s Criminal Justice Association (which has been in continuous existence to this day). Tom has also earned the Charter Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation.
Tom spent 10 years as an Investigative Specialist in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Foreign Counterintelligence Division. During his first year in the Bureau Tom received a rare commendation from the FBI Director for his counterespionage work “with respect to a matter of great interest to the Bureau and the Nation.” Upon leaving the FBI Tom accepted a Law Clerk position with the Honorable Joe J. Fisher, United States District Judge, Eastern District of Texas.
Before joining the Greater New York Insurance Group, Tom was the Deputy Solicitor General in New York in charge of the Attorney General’s New York City Appeals & Opinions Bureau. In that capacity, he briefed or argued notable United States Supreme Court cases, including New Jersey v. New York, which decided the question of which state has sovereignty over Ellis Island, and Vacco v. Quill, where the Supreme Court upheld New York’s law banning physician-assisted suicide. He has also briefed and argued important cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and in the New York State Court of Appeals, including Argo v. Greater New York Mutual Insurance Company, which captured national attention when the New York Court of Appeals, adopting Tom’s argument, refused to follow virtually every other state in overturning an important principle of insurance-contract law. The New York State Legislature would take the extraordinary step of passing a law that overturned the holding of the New York State Court of Appeals in Argo. Tom has discussed his cases from the Attorney General’s Office on CNN, CBS, WNYC, BBC, WBIS, and National Public Radio, and in local and national newspapers.
Tom delivered the keynote address to judges and lawyers in the Suffolk County Catholic Lawyers Guild and has given legal-writing seminars to legal personnel from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and to Assistant Attorneys General from the New York State Attorney General's Office. Tom has spoken at insurance and banking seminars across the country in addition to publishing articles on anti-money-laundering and New York State Labor Law. Tom authored a chapter entitled “Viewing the Role of General Counsel for a Property-Casualty Insurance Company in a Non-Mechanistic Universe” for a book on best practices for insurance companies, and delivered the opening remarks for an event sponsored by the College of Professional Studies at St. John’s University for Homeland Security and Cyber Security professionals.
Tom was one of two honorees at the October 2018 Israel Bonds Insurance Division luncheon attended by nearly 300 insurance professions. Tom gave a speech detailing the success of the Israel Bonds Insurance Division, following which Mr. Asaf Shariv, senior Israeli diplomat and political advisor, thanked Tom for his support and praised his speech.
In May 2019 Tom received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Collins College of Professional Studies, and in April 2006 he received the Criminal Justice Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University.
In 2008 the President of St. John’s appointed Tom to the Advisory Board of the Collins College of Professional Studies, where he serves to this day. Tom also serves on the Dean’s Leadership Committee at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Tom and his wife Elizabeth have two children, Kathleen Elizabeth, 29 who is married to Thomas Merante, and Brittany Anne, 23.