Weekly Dispatch: Feb. 18, 2021

February 18, 2021


Hacks highlight need for security while employees work remotely

Earlier this month, hackers tried to poison a Florida water treatment facility after they gained access using dormant remote access software. While the hack was caught quickly, this and other events highlight the importance of staying on track of a business’s cybersecurity practices—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, while many employees are working remotely. Remember the three C’s of telework: Cybersecurity, Confidentially and Compensation, a related article written by PIA Northeast’s Director of Government & Industry Affairs Bradford J. Lachut, Esq. can be accessed in the September 2020 issue of PIA Magazine. Additionally, PIA Northeast offers members cyber liability products, let us navigate your coverage needs with precision. Our team of insurance professionals works to provide your agency with competitive coverage that fits.

Conn.: Potential next steps for reopening

Gov. Ned Lamont announced Tuesday that his administration is thinking about expanding the capacity of private, social and recreational events at commercial venues beginning Friday, March 19, 2021. This expansion likely will include an increase to 50% capacity for indoor events, capped at 100 people. For outdoor events, the expansion likely will include a 200-person cap. The effective date of this expansion is to-be-announced, and is dependent on the continued stability in the state’s COVID-19 metrics. To keep you updated on the latest COVID-19-related news, see the PIACT COVID-19 resource page and be sure to read your PIA Northeast publications.

N.J.: State to follow federal government’s lead to enhance PPP loan benefits

In an effort to aid small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy and State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio announced last week that New Jersey will follow the federal government’s lead in allowing Paycheck Protection Program loans to be tax exempt at the state level. This will enable recipients to deduct business expenses that were paid with the tax-exempt loan proceeds, thereby enhancing the tax benefits of the loans. To keep you updated on the latest COVID-19-related news, see the PIANJ COVID-19 resource page and be sure to read your PIA Northeast publications.

N.J.: Supreme Court favors injured worker at event

The New Jersey Supreme Court held in Goulding v. NJ Friendship House Inc. that a worker who suffered injuries while volunteering at an employer-sponsored event was entitled to benefits. Under N.J.S.A. 34:15-7, an injury “arising out of and in the course of employment” is not compensable if it is sustained during “recreational or social activities.” This statute applies to “recreational or social activities,” not “recreational or social events.” If an employer-sponsored event is designed with the purpose of benefiting the employer’s clients, and an employee volunteers to help facilitate the event, the event cannot be deemed a social or recreational activity as to that employee.

N.Y.: State insurance board appointments announced

Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell announced yesterday that the New York State Department of Financial Services has appointed members to serve a three-year term on the New York State Insurance Advisory Board. Members of the board include representatives of the insurance industry and consumer advocates, as required by state. According to Lacewell’s office, “The [advisory board] is composed of a diverse group of experts who will provide their insights to help DFS carry on its mission to protect consumers and regulate the insurance industry.”

Vt.: Gov. Scott extends state of emergency

Gov. Phil Scott announced on Monday that he has extended the COVID-19 state of emergency until Monday, March 15, 2021. All previous addendums to the state of emergency remain in place to continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and ensure economic protections remain in place. Since the extension, the state began Phase 3 of its vaccine distribution strategy, which allowed Vermonters age 70 and older to register for vaccine appointments on Feb. 16. To keep you updated on the latest COVID-19-related news, see the PIAVT COVID-19 resource page and be sure to read your PIA Northeast publications. Recent updates include: Scott announces new COVID-19 travel and gathering guidance.


Conn.: CID issues data-security bulletin

The Connecticut Insurance Department issued Bulletin IC-43 last week, which changes the effective date of Bulletin IC-42 to Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Bulletin IC-42—which was issued last summer—provided licensees with guidance for compliance to the new provisions of Connecticut’s Insurance Data Security Law. The new provisions establish standards applicable to licensees of the CID for data security, the investigation of a cyber security event, and notification to the CID of such event.

N.J: Business interruption bill reported out of committee

Legislation that would require insurers to disclose whether certain policies have business interruption pandemic coverage passed the state Senate Commerce Committee on Feb. 11, 2021. The bill (A-4805), which has passed the state Assembly unanimously, would require an authorized insurer to provide a disclosure stating whether the policy provides coverage for global virus transmission or pandemic coverage prior to issuing a new policy or renewing an existing policy. Additionally, the Department of Banking and Insurance would be required to publish a one-page summary on its website. Details of the summary are found here. This legislation was amended in committee to apply only to authorized insurers. In addition, a sunset provision was added whereby this act would expire 30 days after the effective date of any similar federal legislation.

N.Y.: DFS announces cyber security fraud alert

The DFS issued a cyber security fraud alert on Tuesday to all of its regulated entities. The alert describes a widespread cybercrime campaign to steal consumers’ nonpublic information from public-facing websites that transmit or display redacted nonpublic information. The hackers are attempting to use the stolen information to apply for pandemic assistance and unemployment benefits fraudulently. The DFS reminds its regulated entities to report theft of consumers’ nonpublic information, pursuant to its cyber security regulation, to the department immediately. Let PIA Northeast help you and your agency. If your agency does business in New York state, you are required to comply with the state’s cyber security regulations. PIA Northeast members have access to the cybersecurity regulation tool kit, which is part of PIA’s Privacy Compliance Central. More …


N.J.: The benefit of giving to New Jersey PIAPAC

Why give to New Jersey PIAPAC? This is a question our donors are the best at answering. One of our 2020 New Jersey PIAPAC donors says: “I donate to the PAC so that the voice of the independent agency channel is heard in Trenton, and the needs of our clients and our agencies are recognized and considered when passing legislation or implementing regulation.” When you donate to New Jersey PIAPAC, your money goes to support state legislators who work with PIANJ to implement agent and business friendly legislation and support or sponsor PIANJ legislative priorities. Join us today and help make your voice heard.

N.Y.: PIANY-priority term-life bill introduced

Sen. Neil D. Breslin, D-44, introduced legislation (S.4559) earlier this month that would exclude certain life insurance policies from the Regulation 187 (11 NYCRR 224) requirement. The legislation would exempt term-life insurance from the requirements of Regulation 187 when the policy is worth $1 million or less. PIANY has received feedback from its members that this regulation has caused insureds to refrain from purchasing life insurance policies—life-term policies in particular—because the insureds are unwilling to provide the level of information necessary to satisfy the regulation. As a result, many consumers have put off or delayed purchasing this insurance, which is critical for family financial protection. This bill is one of PIANY’s 2021 legislative priorities. The association will continue to advocate for this common-sense change to the burdensome requirements of Regulation 187. More …Track this and other bills with the PIAdvocacy bill tracker.

N.Y.: PIANY urges DFS to amend cyber requirements

PIANY joined a coalition of industry associations requesting the DFS to address inactive licensees who don’t produce insurance business in the DFS’s New York’s cybersecurity frequently asked questions–producers. Specifically, the coalition wants the DFS to remove cyber compliance requirements for these licensees, because they don’t produce insurance business. More …


N.J.: MSO introduces ACV option for roofs

The Mutual Insurance Office Inc. introduced a new optional MPL 144 Actual Cash Value Loss Settlement–Roof Coverings endorsement, for use effective Monday, March 1, 2021. When replacement cost coverage applies, the endorsement modifies loss settlement provisions for roof coverings to an actual cash value basis for damage caused by wind or hail.


ICYMI: Help PIA understand how the hardening market affects your business

If you haven’t completed PIA Northeast’s Market Trends Survey, now is the perfect time. If you’ve already taken the survey, thank you. Please share the link with others in your agency, so they can fill it out, too. Your answers to seven questions about pricing, underwriting rules, and market availability will give PIA Northeast valuable input on how current market trends are affecting you and your clients, as well as allow us to continue tracking the trends of the marketplace.

Register now

N.J.: Join PIANJ for an interactive Q&A on E&O for agents

PIANJ will host a Deep Dive Forum on the current state of the errors-and-omissions market—specifically for independent agents—on Thursday, March 18, 2021, via video conferencing. The expert-led discussion will cover E&O issues that independent agents face, and it will allow attendees the opportunity to ask the questions they may have on the topic. There is no cost to attend this event; to reserve your spot, sign up today.

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