Weekly Dispatch: Aug. 12, 2021

August 12, 2021

News

Conn.: Gov. Lamont requests agricultural disaster declaration after Elsa

Gov. Ned Lamont announced last week that he has submitted an agricultural disaster declaration request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the State of Connecticut as a result of the damage sustained to farmers from the impact of Tropical Storm Elsa in early July. Before this type of request can be submitted, Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt and senior members of his administration had to tour agricultural facilities and farms throughout the state to examine the damages and crop loss that occurred. Once Lamont’s request is approved, farmers in all eight counties in the state will be eligible for certain federal disaster assistance programs—such as emergency loans—to cover production losses they experienced as a result of the storm. Tropical Storm Elsa was a clear indicator of the importance of preparing for hurricane season, and 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.

Conn.: Municipalities permitted to enforce masks

Gov. Lamont announced last week that he signed Executive Order No. 13A, which provides municipal leaders with the option to require masks in indoor public places within their respective towns and cities for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. According to Lamont’s office, Lamont issued the order at the request of municipal leaders who wanted to return to the universal mask requirements that were implemented at the start of the pandemic, but Lamont does not see a necessity for the entire state to return to universal mask requirements at this time.

N.H.: NHID holding legislative review next month

The New Hampshire Insurance Department announced Tuesday that it is holding a legislative review on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, noon-1 p.m., via Microsoft Teams. The review is open to the public and will provide an opportunity to hear from regulators regarding important new statutes, rules and legislation that were acted upon in the 2021 legislative session, and will include a review of what is to come in the 2022 legislative session. To register for the webinar, email Andrew.E.Demers@ins.nh.gov.

N.J.: Gov. Murphy updates moratorium on evictions, provides more rental assistance

Gov. Murphy announced last week that he signed Executive Order No. 249, which updates the moratorium on evictions established under Executive Order No. 106 (2020). The new executive order aligns with legislation (S-3691) that was signed last week, which updates the moratorium to continue to protect residents most impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. S-3691 provides comprehensive housing eviction prevention and utility assistance, appropriating $500 million for the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program and $250 million for utility assistance, both programs of which are administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

N.Y.: Launched: Excelsior Pass Plus

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced last week the launch of Excelsior Pass Plus, which expands travel and commerce opportunities for New Yorkers by enabling compatibility between New York state’s Excelsior Pass platform and the SMART Health Cards Framework. The Excelsior Pass already has generated three million passes, and provides digital proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results. Excelsior Pass Plus will allow users to upload their COVID-19 vaccination credentials securely to VeriFLY, and through American Airlines direct flights to the Bahamas, France, Greece, Italy and Spain, and to indirect flights to El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras and Puerto Rico. The list will continue to grow, as partnerships facilitating access to more countries are in development. This is important because it will allow New Yorkers to travel internationally for business or as tourists, with secure and verifiable proof of their vaccination statuses. To download your Excelsior Pass, visit your smart phone’s application store. Once two weeks have passed since your second Moderna or Pfizer shot, or two weeks after your Johnson & Johnson shot, your vaccination status can be verified through the Excelsior Pass.

Vt.: Distribution of local fiscal recovery funds announced

Gov. Phil Scott announced Tuesday that cities, towns and villages expecting to receive American Rescue Plan Act Local Fiscal Recovery funds should receive their payment in the next few days. The state disbursed the first payment of $29 million to 274 eligible local governments on Monday.

Compliance

Conn.: CID issues new bulletins and repeals others

The Connecticut Insurance Department issued Bulletin IC-45 last week, which repeals Bulletin IC-43. According to Bulletin IC-45, Gov. Lamont signed Public Act 21-157 on July 12, 2021, which made amendments to the provisions of Connecticut General Statutes Section 38a-38—related to the Insurance Data Security Law. The amendments to Section 38a-38 include adjustments to the definitions of terms such as authorized individual, consumer, cybersecurity event, encryption, to name a few. And, each licensee must implement an information security program no later than Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, in order to comply with the amended statute. In addition to repealing Bulletin IC-43, Bulletin IC-45 also rescinds Bulletin IC-25, which was issued Aug. 18, 2010, and Bulletin MC-23, which was issued June 13, 2017.

N.H.: NHID reminds insurers to comply with insurance law

NHID Commissioner Chris Nicolopoulos issued a bulletin to remind insurers that they must comply with N.H. RSA 402-J:14 (I), which requires insurers to appoint insurance producers who are acting as the agent of the insurer. This reminder comes after the NHID became aware of at least one insurer in New Hampshire that had failed to appoint the producers that were selling its products. Violations of this statute provide penalties of up to $2,500 per violation.

Advocacy

Conn.: State prepares for cannabis sales and elections

As the summer winds down, Connecticut is preparing for the regulation of cannabis sales since recreational, adult-use cannabis was legalized on July 1, 2021. Additionally, the state is readying for a special election—in which Republican Ryan Fazio, Democrat Alexis Gevanter and independent candidate John Blankley will run to fill Sen. Alexandra Kasser’s, D-36, seat. And, Sen. George Logan, R-17, is challenging U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., for her seat in the Connecticut congressional delegation in 2022.

N.Y.: The 2022 election and redistricting are getting closer

As the 2022 election year approaches, Agents Advocacy Coalition is preparing for a busy year. And, 2022 is a redistricting year. After the census every 10 years, each state must use that data to redraw its election districts. Since more than 20 million people moved out of New York in the last decade, the state lost a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, so there will be only 26 districts in the 2022 election instead of 27. Additionally, there could be changes to the state Assembly and state Senate districts if the New York Redistricting Commission deems it necessary to change those districts, too. Currently, the commission is on a statewide tour to get public input about how the districts should look.

Technical

N.Y.: Revised WC loss costs take effect Oct. 1, 2021

The New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board submitted a filing to the New York State Department of Financial Services in May for an overall loss cost decrease of 6.4%. The DFS approved the filing, and the decrease goes into effect Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. The decrease is accompanied by updates to individual classifications, terrorism and catastrophe, loss cost multipliers, assessments, benefits, rating elements, the Payroll Limitation Program and the experience rating plan.

Educating insurance agents

After tragedy strikes, agents are concerned about coverage

On June 24, 2021, Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla., partially collapsed in the middle of the night, claiming 98 lives and injuring several more. The cause of this tragedy still is uncertain, but the structural integrity of the building is the suspected culprit. Following this event, insurance agents are concerned about how industry standards from ISO—and how condo association and unit-owner coverages—will respond if their clients experience a collapse, too. To best protect your clients and ensure that they are covered, it’s critical that you review your clients’ coverages with them, and it’s imperative that you understand the potential limitations your clients’ condo association puts on them.

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