Weekly Dispatch: April 15, 2021

April 15, 2021

News

Hurricane season begins June 1: The time to plan is now

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners published a survey last week, which shows that the majority of homeowners are concerned about climate- and weather-related threats. According to a press release that the Insurance Information Institute issued last Thursday, the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season forecast is above average. To put this into perspective, a typical year has 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Last year, there were a record-setting 30 named storms that developed in the Atlantic. Thirteen of those storms became hurricanes—six of which became major, defined by wind speeds reaching Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. If this year is anything like last year, it’s best to be prepared. Hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. As you know, it takes 30 days for a flood policy to go into effect, so the time to start talking to your clients about this vital insurance coverage is now. To help you start the conversation, PIA offers resources through its Hurricane Info Central and PIA Design & Print. Hurricane Info Central is a one-stop shop for all your hurricane-related tools, including state-specific insurance department information, and pertinent QuickSource and Ask PIA resources on topics such as hurricane deductibles, flood policies and more. PIA’s Design & Print can help agents order materials to help their clients prepare for hurricane season, too.

COVID-19 boosts interest in life insurance

Do you sell or are you thinking about selling life insurance to grow your agency’s business? The Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association conducted a study earlier this year, which shows that 31% of participants said they were likely to purchase a life insurance policy in the next year—as a result of the pandemic. Of the 31% who said they’d likely purchase life insurance, 45% of the consumers were millennials (ages 22-40). According to the study, 43% of millennials are concerned about the financial burden they will place on their families should they die unexpectedly without insurance. Additionally, LIMRA’s study includes top misconceptions about life insurance, which include that life insurance is too expensive, that workplace insurance is adequate, that life insurance is too difficult to buy and that life insurance isn’t necessary until the consumer is older. Interested in designing materials that will help you educate your clients about the importance of life insurance? PIA’s Design & Print can help you.

N.J.: Gov. Murphy signs funding bill for small businesses

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that he signed A-5446, which provides $15 million in federal COVID-19 relief aid for small businesses throughout New Jersey. The bill—sponsored by Sens. Linda Greenstein, D-14, and Joseph Lagana, D-38; and Assemblymembers Joann Downey, D-11, Andrew Zwicker, D-16, and Sterley Stanley, D-18—provides aid in the form of grants to small businesses, and is part of a five-bill, $100-million relief effort to help New Jersey’s small businesses and nonprofits recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.Y.: Gov. Cuomo and state Legislature finalize FY 2022 budget

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York state Legislature announced last week that the state has finalized a $212 billion budget for FY 2022—almost two weeks after the deadline. Notable provisions include $2.4 billion in relief for renters and homeowners, and $1 billion for small-business recovery. Tax increases to wealthy New York residents and New York businesses fund the increase in this year’s budget. These increases will impact many insurance carriers and could affect policyholders adversely. For more information on New York’s finalized budget and how it could impact the insurance industry, see the post on PIA Northeast News & Media.

Compliance

Agents licensed to do business in N.Y.: Cyber compliance certification due today

The deadline to submit the certification of compliance to New York’s cyber security regulation is today. If you are licensed to do business in New York, you must comply with the New York cyber security regulation. Recent reports have shown that companies are being fined for failure to comply with the regulation. Are you in compliance? Watch the latest The Break video for details on how to submit the certification and for access to the New York State Department of Financial Services portal to submit the certification.

Advocacy

Conn.: Legislature’s joint-favorable deadlines loom

The Connecticut Legislature’s joint-favorable deadlines are approaching. Joint-favorable deadlines are the dates by which the Legislature’s committees must send bills out with a joint-favorable report, which sends them straight to the floor of the state House or state Senate for action. The Senate Insurance and Real Estate Committee’s joint-favorable deadline was March 25, 2021, and it reported over 30 bills. Additionally, legislation that would legalize sports betting and iGaming was reported out of the Public Safety and Security Committee. In the next few weeks, attention will shift to the Appropriations Committee and the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee—the state’s taxing and spending committees. You can read more about this on PIA Northeast News & Media.

N.Y.: You now can send recurring donations to the Agents Advocacy Coalition

The Agents Advocacy Coalition has a new option for donating to your PAC: recurring, monthly donations. When you give monthly donations, you are helping ensure that the Agents Advocacy Coalition has a steady income from which to donate to state legislators who represent and support the insurance industry, and who work with PIANY on its 2021 legislative priorities. To sign up for monthly donations, go to the Agents Advocacy Coalition donation page and select “Subscription” under “Select contribution type.” Choose the amount you want to donate, and then your credit card will be charged that amount each month until you decide to cancel it—just like any subscription service.

Technical

N.Y.: Payroll cap and maximum-weekly WC benefit to change, effective July 1

The New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board issued Bulletin 2536 last Friday. According to the bulletin, the payroll cap under the New York Workers’ Compensation Construction Employment Payroll Limitation Program will be increased from $1,450.17 to $1,594.57 per week for policies with effective dates on and after Thursday, July 1, 2021. According to provisions in the 2007 Workers’ Compensation Reform Act, this limit is adjusted every year based on changes in the average weekly wage as calculated by the New York State Department of Labor. Additionally, the maximum workers’ compensation weekly benefit is two-thirds of the statewide average weekly wage, so the maximum weekly benefit will increase from $966.78 to $1,063.05, on Thursday, July 1, 2021.

Register now

PIA & You: An Overview of PIA Member Benefits

Did you know that as a PIA property/casualty member agency or brokerage, you also may be a member of PIA National? Whether you’re new to PIA or need a refresher about how to maximize your membership, PIA National is offering a member-benefits overview to highlight all your PIA-member benefits available at the national level, on Friday, April 23, 2021. PIA National offers a wide range of programs and products to help your agency succeed, grow and save money. During this webinar, you’ll learn about: business-building tools; insurance products; agency management tools; and tools from The PIA Partnership. Register now. If you can’t attend the live webinar, register to receive a recording the next day. The PIA & You: An Overview of PIA Member Benefits webinars will occur on the fourth Friday of the month. If you are an affiliate agency member, you can upgrade to a PIA National membership—call PIA Member Services at (800) 424-4244 to start receiving these benefits directly.

Sign up to sponsor the NJYIP Golf Open

There still are sponsorship opportunities for the NJYIP Golf Open, which takes place on Monday, May 3, 2021, at Knob Hill Golf Club in Manalapan. Sponsoring is a great way to advertise your agency—you can get your agency’s name on event items like sunglasses, golf tee or green signs, or even a beverage cart. Register to sponsor at the NJYIP Golf Open today. Email NJYIP Coordinator Jill Krynski if you have questions.

Celebrating 40 Years with Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies.
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