Weekly Dispatch: Sept. 23, 2021

September 23, 2021

News

Update: New Jersey and New York persevere following Hurricane Ida

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced over the weekend that Warren County has been designated for individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, following the impact of Hurricane Ida. If you or your clients are underinsured and live in Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Union or Warren counties, Murphy recommends that claims be filed as soon as possible. Additionally, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced last week the opening of two new disaster recovery centers in Nassau and Suffolk counties, which will provide information, assistance and help for New Yorkers who were impacted by the storms and flooding caused by the hurricane. For state-specific updates following the recent tropical storms and recent flooding, PIA members can access PIA Northeast’s Hurricane Info Central. Do you have a question about the recent storms? PIA members can email the Industry Resource Center, or call (800) 424-4244.

Conn.: Gov. Lamont calls General Assembly to special session about COVID-19

Gov. Ned Lamont announced yesterday that he has issued a proclamation that calls the Connecticut General Assembly to meet in a limited special session beginning Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. The purpose of the special session is to approve renewals of the declaration of public health and civil preparedness emergencies that were issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to legislative leaders, Lamont announced that he intends to renew these declarations through Feb. 15, 2022. Currently, they are set to expire on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. According to Connecticut law, the state Legislature must approve these renewals. 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.H.:  Gov. Sununu requests federal disaster declaration

Gov. Chris Sununu announced Monday that he requested a major disaster declaration from President Joseph R. Biden and federal emergency assistance for the damage that occurred in New Hampshire as a result of the storm that occurred July 31-Aug, 2, 2021.

N.Y.: DFS proposes regulation to improve transparency in lending to small businesses

Acting Superintendent of Financial Services Adrienne A. Harris announced Tuesday that the New York State Department of Financial Services proposed a new regulation that would improve transparency for small businesses seeking commercial financing. According to the proposed regulation, companies that offer commercial financing in amounts under $2.5 million would need to make standardized disclosures about the terms of credit. This additional transparency would help businesses and individuals understand and compare the terms of different commercial financing offers. Currently, there is no standardized federal framework for how lenders provide information about offers of commercial financing. As small businesses work to recover from the financial crisis caused by the pandemic, increased transparency can help them make better decisions.

In memoriam: Bob Shanley, longtime PIACT officer, director

PIACT is sad to report the sudden passing of Bob Shanley, longtime PIACT officer and director. Bob served as president of PIACT in 1995-96, and he volunteered on nearly every PIACT committee, most recently as a member of the Legislative/Business Issues Committee. He also served as national director for PIA National for six years. Services will be Thursday, Sept. 23, at Holy Infant Church in Orange, at 11 a.m. Masks will be required. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Knights of St. Patrick, PO Box 185127, Hamden, or The Associated Irish Societies, PO Box 9078, New Haven. Bob is survived by his wife, Donna and children, son P.J. (Whitney) and daughter Erin (Nuala). He also is survived by his grandchildren Caitlyn, Colleen, Ronan and Maeve, and his brother James (Betty Elizabeth).

Compliance

Conn. and N.Y. employers: Is your agency compliant with your state’s sexual harassment prevention laws?

If you are an employer in Connecticut or New York, it’s important that your agency is compliant with each state’s respective sexual harassment prevention laws. Compliance with these laws includes information that you must distribute to your employees about workplace sexual harassment, and information about regular training that you and your employees must take to stay updated on workplace sexual harassment prevention. However, Connecticut and New York  have different course requirements for employees in each state. If you are in Connecticut, but you have employees in New York, they must comply with New York’s sexual harassment prevention law. PIA offers training about these requirements on a regular basis so you can ensure that your agency is in compliance. To register for these webinars, access your PIA Northeast education schedule.

Advocacy

U.S. House bill would extend NFIP and federal funding

Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-Conn., introduced H.R.5305 in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, which would extend the National Flood Insurance Program and fund the federal government for nine weeks, until Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. Currently, the NFIP and the continuing resolution on which the federal government is operating are set to expire Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. If Congress doesn’t extend the NFIP, then the program will not have the authority to issue new policies or renew existing policies. However, the program usually has continued to adjust and pay claims that arise out of flood losses during lapses. But, the roll out of Risk Rating 2.0 on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, may complicate this issue. For updates about the extension of the NFIP, watch the PIA Advocacy Blog and watch your PIA Northeast publications.

PIA opposes tax reporting requirements

PIA announced Monday that it—along with several business groups—wrote to the U.S. House of Representatives to oppose a proposal that would impose a requirement on small businesses in the U.S. to report broader tax information. Specifically, small businesses would be required to track and submit information on the inflows and outflows of every account above a threshold of $600 per year in the business to the Internal Revenue Service. Not only is this another burdensome requirement for small businesses to endure, but it could create more liability for small businesses because it is unclear how the IRS will store, protect and use this kind of personal financial information. For updates on this issue, watch the PIA Advocacy Blog and watch your PIA Northeast publications.

N.Y.: Gov.  Hochul issues proclamation for special election

Gov. Hochul announced last week that she has issued a proclamation declaring that a special election will be held on Election Day—Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021—to fill vacancies in the 86th Assembly district and the 30th Senate district. These vacancies need to be filled because Assemblyman Victor M. Pichardo, D-86, has resigned, and Sen. Brian A. Benjamin, D-30, is now serving as New York’s lieutenant governor. When elections in New York take place, it’s especially important for independent agents to pay attention because it’s crucial that candidates who represent and support the insurance industry get elected. But, Agents Advocacy Coalition knows that you are busy. That’s why it’s the PAC’s job to pay attention for you—and help more candidates who are sympathetic to the insurance industry win a seat in the state Legislature.

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Oct. 6: PIANJ Women’s Leadership Alliance Advocate to Win

Oct. 14: CTYIP Fall Brewery event

Oct. 26: PIANJ Golf Classic

Oct. 28: NJYIP Halloween Spooktacular

Celebrating 40 Years with Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies.
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