Weekly Dispatch: July 29, 2021

July 29, 2021

News

PIA Northeast’s Virtual Conference 2021 is available on-demand—and there’s something for everyone

Did you miss PIA Northeast’s Virtual Conference 2021 last month? Don’t worry—all of the content from the conference is streaming on-demand now for just $29. On-demand content includes education and professional development sessions, lifestyle seminars, featured speakers—including NBA star Walter Bond’s keynote address—C-suite and InsurTech demonstrations, and exhibit and sponsor halls. Note: You won’t be able to earn continuing-education credits for viewing the education sessions on-demand. Access Virtual Conference 2021 on-demand today.

Conn.: CID extends flex-rate filing until July 1, 2025

The Connecticut Insurance Department issued guidance last Friday on the recent extension of flex-rate filings. Flex-rate filing has been extended from July 1, 2021, to July 1, 2025. This type of filing allows insurers to file rates with the CID, which go into effect immediately—rather than waiting for the CID to review the rates and approve them. However, flex-rate filing cannot increase or decrease rates by more than 6% aggregate across the state, or increase rates more than 15% in any individual territory of the state. Additionally, there is a 12-month window, which means a carrier cannot file more than one rate change at a time.

Conn.: Lamont names new public health commissioner

Gov. Ned Lamont announced Monday that he is nominating Dr. Manisha Juthani to serve as the commissioner of the Department of Public Health. Juthani is an infectious-disease physician at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, and she specializes in the diagnosis, management and prevention of infections in older adults. Juthani will succeed Dr. Deidre Gifford, who has been the acting public health commissioner since May 2020 and who is the commissioner of the Department of Social Services. Gifford now will serve as the senior adviser to the governor for Health and Human Services, in addition to her role as the social services commissioner.

N.H.: NHID reminds insureds to notify producers when purchasing new vehicle

The New Hampshire Insurance Department issued a notice last week to remind consumers to notify their insurance agent or broker when they purchase a new vehicle. In New Hampshire, new vehicles have coverage for a limited period of time after they are purchased. Even though some auto dealerships offer to notify insurance companies or agents when an insured purchases a new vehicle, clients should not rely on the auto dealer to notify their insurance agent of the new purchase.

N.J.: Auto insurers required to disclose policy limits

Gov. Phil Murphy announced last week that he signed legislation (S-1558/A-3444) that requires automobile insurers to disclose policy limits if an attorney requests them under certain circumstances. Per the legislation, if an insurer receives a request from an attorney—who must be licensed in New Jersey—for the disclosure of the policy limits under a private-passenger automobile insurance policy that the insurer has issued to an insured, the insurer must provide it to the attorney within 30 days. The disclosure shall include the limits of all private-passenger auto insurance policies—and any applicable umbrella or excess-liability policies issued to the insured.

N.J.: Murphy signs legislation to provide $135 million in small-business relief

Gov. Murphy announced that he signed legislation last week to provide additional aid to small businesses in New Jersey as the state continues to provide support for them to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation will provide $135 million—administered by the Economic Development Authority—as part of its Phase IV Emergency Grant Program and N.J. Community Stage Relief Grant Program.

N.Y.: Schnepf named National Alliance CSR state winner

The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research announced Monday that PIANY member Sarah Schnepf, ACSR, of Mackoul Risk Solutions in Island Park, has been named one of its 2021 Outstanding CSR of the Year state winners. National Alliance chooses these state winners to compete against each other to become one of five finalists for the National Outstanding CSR of the Year Award. PIANY congratulates Schnepf, and wishes her luck.

N.Y.: Cuomo expands coverage for personal cell phones

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced last week that he signed S.4483/A.4672, which will allow New Yorkers insure their cell phones from damage, loss, theft or mechanical breakdown through their credit card, debit card or checking account. According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 97% of adults in the U.S. own a cell phone—85% of which are smart phones. Previously, state law did not allow credit or debit card issuers and banks to insure their customers’ wireless communication devices, but insurance for cell phones now is a service that these organizations can offer.

N.Y.: Cuomo streamlines application for rental assistance

Gov. Cuomo announced a new, streamlined application process for New York’s rent-relief program to help eliminate potential barriers for eligible New Yorkers to receive funding. Per the new process, documentation standards for both tenants and landlords are relaxed, and a new, streamlined process has been implemented for submission of arrears documentation for multitenant landlords. The new process went into effect Tuesday.

Vt.: Scott certifies for state and local fiscal recovery funds

Gov. Phil Scott announced last Thursday that Vermont has received 50% of its American Rescue Plan Act State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. That state’s certification for the funds was submitted on July 15, and payment was received on July 22. The funds include $524 million of state recovery funds and $29 million of local funds. Vermont is required to distribute the local funds within 30 days to eligible cities, towns and villages based on a formula established in the ARPA, so long as the award does not exceed 75% of the municipality’s budget, which went into effect Jan. 27, 2020. Additionally, the state may receive 50% of the $121 million in additional funds to redistribute to municipalities as a result of a special rule established in the ARPA that redirects county funds in states where counties are not considered units of general local government—such as Vermont. The state is awaiting a final determination from the U.S. Treasury that these funds should be distributed to the state for distribution to local units of government, in accordance with the special rule.

Advocacy

PIA submits testimony in favor of a public-private partnership for future pandemics

PIA announced last week that it submitted testimony in advance of the U.S. Senate Banking Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance and Investment’s hearing on future pandemic risk. According to the testimony, PIA is advocating for the use of public-private partnerships as frameworks for addressing future pandemics. Using public-private partnerships—like the one that exists currently for the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program—would be the best method to provide commercial policyholders with coverage for pandemics. Furthermore, it’s important to PIA that any framework to address future pandemics is affordable to businesses—including small businesses. PIA has participated actively in ongoing discussions about handling future pandemics with Congress. For updates on the conversation about frameworks for future pandemics, watch your PIA Northeast publications and the PIA Advocacy blog.

N.Y.: Agents Advocacy Coalition is governed by independent agents just like you

Management of Agents Advocacy Coalition is governed by a committee of seven to nine PIANY members, plus a NY-YIP liaison. Each director of the PAC exercises his or her judgment on behalf of Agents Advocacy Coalition—as long as it’s consistent with the role the PAC plays in supporting state legislators who represent the insurance industry. And, each director serves without compensation. So, not only are independent agents in New York represented by the best of the best, they are represented by volunteers whose sole mission is to amplify the voices of independent agents. Additionally, Agents Advocacy Coalition has an executive committee, which includes Chairperson Richard A. Savino, CIC, CPIA, Vice Chairperson Fred Holender, CLU, CPCU, ChFC, MSFS, and Treasurer Jason E. Bartow, AAI, CPIA. Do you have more questions about Agents Advocacy Coalition? Visit the Agents Advocacy Coalition frequently asked questions.

Technical

P/C insurers’ net income increases, combined ratio decreases

Verisk and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association released a new report, which indicated that private U.S. property/casualty insurers’ net income (after taxes) increased to $20 billion in the first quarter of 2021, from $17.9 billion in the first quarter of 2020. Growth was fueled, in part, by an increase in realized capital gains and a modest rise in earned premiums from a year earlier. However, their combined ratio—a key measure of underwriting profitability—worsened to 96.1% for the first quarter of 2021, from 94.9% in the first quarter of 2020.

N.J.: WC disability benefits rates revised for 2022

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced on its workers’ compensation page that workers’ compensation disability benefits rates have been revised for 2022—if injured workers are disabled for a period of more than seven days, they will be eligible to receive benefits at a rate of 70% of their average weekly wage, not to exceed 75% of the New Jersey Statewide Average Weekly Wage. The maximum Temporary Disability, Permanent Partial Disability and Permanent Total Disability benefit rate has increased from $969 to $1,065, effective Jan. 1, 2022. The minimum rate—20% of the SAWW—has increased from $258 to $284 for Temporary Disability and Permanent Total Disability (also effective Jan. 1, 2022), but the minimum Permanent Partial Disability rate remains at $35. For more information on historical benefit rates, visit Rates and Statistics on LWD’s workers’ compensation page.

N.Y.: DFS approves loss cost decrease; goes into effect Oct. 1

The New York State Department of Financial Services approved the filing submitted by the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board for a decrease of 6.4% in the overall loss cost level in New York state, effective Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Details of the filing, along with individual loss costs by classification, can be found in R.C. Bulletin 2543. Revised rating values for use with the New York Experience Rating Plan can be found in R.C. Bulletin 2544.

N.Y.: NYSIF modifies Safety Group Discounts, adds new endorsement and more

Recently, PIANY received an update from the New York State Insurance Fund about modifications that have been made to the Safety Group Discount and to the Preferred Risk New Business Discount. Additionally, NYSIF has introduced a new endorsement for clients who employ people who telecommute from outside of New York. NYSIF’s loss cost multiplier will remain the same for policies effective Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, and relief for interest on premium audit balances has been extended again. And, NYSIF has named its new director of underwriting.

Events

N.H.: Save the date for a symposium and wine tasting

PIANH is hosting the New Hampshire Symposium & Wine Tasting on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, at the One Hundred Club in Portsmouth. The event will include education sessions in the afternoon on flood and cyber insurance, and a wine tasting that runs from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Mark your calendars today!

N.J.: Insurance professionals bet on races, enjoy food and beverages, and network

The NJYIP Twilight Reception—held on July 16—attracted nearly 40 insurance professionals to the Monmouth Park Racetrack. Even amid hot temperatures, attendees bet on six races, mingled and networked in person, and enjoyed sandwiches and beverages. For information on future NJYIP events, see the NJYIP events calendar and watch your PIA Northeast publications.

Register now

Aug. 2: NY-YIP Golf Open

Sept. 14: CTYIP Golf Open

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