Weekly Dispatch: July 22, 2021

July 22, 2021

News

Learn about a new member benefit for your agency

Introducing the PIA 401(k) Plan—a truly different 401(k) plan that gives you less liability, time savings and less responsibility. PIA has partnered with TAG Resources to bring your agency this new member benefit. Learn how it’s different at the PIA Member Benefit Forum: 401(k), which takes place next Wednesday, July 28, 2021, at 1 p.m., via video conferencing. Register today. Can’t make the live video conference? Sign up anyway and get the recording sent to your inbox.

Canadian border opening to vaccinated Americans

The Canadian border will open—after having been closed for almost 16 months—to fully vaccinated American citizens and residents, starting Monday, Aug. 9, 2021. The border closed in March 2020 as a means to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. When the border opens, any American citizen or resident who wishes to cross into Canada must be fully vaccinated (with a vaccine that the Canadian government accepts) at least 14 days before entering Canada. To keep you updated on the latest COVID-19-related news, see your state’s COVID-19 resource page at www.pia.org and watch your PIA Northeast publications.

Conn.: Lamont announces launch of online hub for young professionals in Connecticut

Gov. Ned Lamont announced last Friday that he has launched CTForMe, a new online hub focused on attracting and retaining young talent. The initiative includes a website and an Instagram account, which feature visual stories of young talent, entrepreneurs and professionals who live and work in the state. This content will be shared with young people across Connecticut and in surrounding states, and is designed to be a resource for them to start their careers in Connecticut. Do you have young, new hires that are just entering the insurance field? Consider registering them to be a member of the Young Insurance Professionals, which is available in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. For more information, email yip@pia.org.

N.J.: Murphy updates procedures related to NIMS

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday that he signed Executive Order No. 248, which updates the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management’s processes and procedures related to the National Incident Management System. In accordance with Federal Emergency Management Agency guidance, NIMS provides a comprehensive and standardized approach to incident management, and provides emergency management systems and protocols that guide how personnel work together during emergency events such as hurricanes, winter storms and pandemics. According to Murphy’s office, it’s important that emergency-response standards are updated regularly. The new executive order rescinds Executive Order No. 50 (2005)—signed by Gov. Richard J. Codey—which named NIMS as the standard for New Jersey in the event of all emergency incidents, and is now obsolete. PIA Northeast members who want the latest storm updates can access PIA’s Hurricane Info Central.

N.Y.: Cuomo announces $86.2 million in settlements from Tropical Storm Isaias

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced last Thursday that the New York State Public Service Commission has accepted the terms of settlements valued at $86.2 million regarding alleged violations committed by four New York utilities for failing to prepare for and respond to emergencies adequately, including Tropical Storm Isaias in 2020. These settlements are added to $72 million in settlements that were announced previously, bringing the total in settlements to nearly $190 million. Tropical Storm Isaias—which hit southeastern parts of New York last August—caused extensive damage to electric distribution infrastructure that led to lengthy power outages for approximately 900,000 New York utility customers. If Tropical Storm Isaias is any indicator of the importance of preparing for hurricane season, it’s imperative that you and your clients are ready. Hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, and it takes 30 days for a flood policy to go into effect. If you haven’t already, 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. For more information, email Calley Rupp.

Compliance

Conn.: Lamont signs legislation strengthening cybersecurity

Gov. Lamont announced last Thursday that he signed Public Act 21-119, which protects businesses from punitive damages if personal or restricted information is accessed, maintained, communicated or processed improperly, as long as such businesses have adopted and adhered to proper cyber security measures. The legislation—which goes into effect Friday, Oct. 1, 2021—is part of Lamont’s initiative to strengthen cybersecurity in Connecticut, which includes the establishment of a new information technology organization within state government that will centralize the coordination of the state’s IT resources by the Department of Administrative Services. Additionally, the initiative includes the creation of the state’s first chief information security officer, the position of which has been filled by Jeffrey Brown. It’s crucial that your agency is covered if a cyber event happens. Did you know that the average cyber claim payout is nearly $1 million? Protect your agency and your clients today with PIA’s cyber liability insurance.

Advocacy

Do you know these important political terms?

New Jersey PIAPAC is your resource for all things political in New Jersey—including articles on the elections and a glossary of political terms you should know as the general election in November gets closer. Plus, you can find out where your polling station is, learn more information about the candidates, and learn how to vote by mail.

Technical

Western General Insurance Co. is in a conservatorship

The California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles appointed California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara conservator of Western General Insurance Co., on May 26, 2021. Western General Insurance Co.—which is licensed in several states, including Connecticut, New Jersey and New York—was put into conservation after failed attempts to find a buyer for the company or its book of business to protect policyholders, claimants, creditors and the public. Lara will be doing a thorough review of the company’s books and records to determine if the company can be rehabilitated and can continue to do business as a financially stable insurance company. For more information, visit the California Conservation & Liquidation Office’s frequently asked questions about this conservatorship.

Educating insurance agents

Insurance and ethics—What’s the ‘right thing’ to do?

It’s imperative for independent agents to pay attention to business ethics. If you act unethically—even if it’s unintentional—you could tarnish your credibility as an insurance professional, you could hurt the reputation of your agency’s brand and you even could find yourself facing an errors-and-omissions lawsuit. Do you know the meaning of ethics? And, do you know ethics can be applied to the insurance field? To learn more, register today for Insurance and Ethics–What is the ‘Right Thing’?, which takes place Tuesday, July 27, 2021, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., with Mishell K. Magnusson, CIC, CISR, CPIA, AAI, FIPC. To sign up for this webinar, access your state’s PIA education schedule.

Register now

Aug. 2: NY-YIP Golf Open

Sept. 14: CTYIP Golf Open

Celebrating 40 Years with Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies.
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