Weekly Dispatch: Sept. 30, 2021

September 30, 2021

News

Conn.: Gov. Lamont raises awareness of new rear seat-belt law

Gov. Ned Lamont, the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the American Automobile Association announced Monday that state law will require all automobile passengers in Connecticut—no matter their age—to buckle up, even if they are in the back seat. This law goes into effect tomorrow.

N.J.: Employers required to provide hiring preference to certain injured employees

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday that he signed A-2617/S-2998 last week, which requires employers to provide hiring preference to employees who have reached maximum medical improvement following work-related injury. Under the new law, employers are required to provide a hiring preference for any existing, unfilled position offered by the employer, to any employee who has reached maximum medical improvement and who can’t return to the position he or she held previously, following a work-related injury. The law does not apply to employers with fewer than 50 employees. The law goes into effect immediately.

N.Y.: Additional counties and undocumented New Yorkers eligible for Ida assistance

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced last Friday that additional counties have been added to the major disaster declaration as a result of the flooding from Hurricane Ida. The counties that are eligible for federal assistance now include Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan and Westchester counties. And, Bronx, Kings, Nassau, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk and Westchester counties also qualify for individual assistance. Additionally, Hochul and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that $27 million is available for undocumented survivors of Hurricane Ida, who don’t qualify for recovery assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 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.

Advocacy

U.S. senators send bipartisan letter calling for RR2.0 delay

Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Bill Cassidy, R-La.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss.; John Kennedy, R-La.; Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.; and Roger F. Wicker, R-Miss., wrote a letter last week to FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell requesting that she delay the implementation of the National Flood Insurance Program’s Risk Rating 2.0, set to go into effect tomorrow. According to the letter, the senators have asked for a delay in the new rating methodology because they “are concerned with how the program has been constructed, presented and begun to be implemented,” and concerned with reports indicating that nearly 80% of policyholders will see a rate increase in flood insurance with the new rating methodology. PIA also sent a letter to Criswell earlier this month, indicating the same concerns. Based on this information—and FEMA’s failure to answer PIA’s questions about RR2.0—PIA is requesting officially that Criswell postpone the implementation of RR 2.0 until April 1, 2022. For more information about RR 2.0, watch the RR2.0 page on the PIA Advocacy Blog and watch your PIA Northeast publications.

U.S. Senate blocks NFIP extension

The U.S. Senate did not pass a continuing resolution on Monday that would have extended the NFIP for nine weeks, until Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. The continuing resolution—which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week—also would have provided the government with more federal funding until that same date. If the U.S. Congress cannot agree on a continuing resolution that will extend the NFIP’s operational authority and federal funding, both will expire today at 11:59 p.m. PIA continues to advocate for a longer extension of the NFIP, beyond its annual Sept. 30 expiration. To that end, PIA has issued an action alert to Congress, asking it to extend the NFIP beyond midnight tonight. PIA members are encouraged to use this action alert to send a message to Congress, requesting the NFIP’s extension. For more information on the extension of the NFIP, watch the NFIP page on the PIA Advocacy Blog and watch your PIA Northeast publications.

Cannabis safe harbor passes U.S. House

The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act—as part of the National Defense Authorization Actpassed the U.S. House of Representatives last week. The SAFE Banking Act would protect insurance agents and carriers from federal prosecution if they conduct cannabis-related business in states where cannabis has been legalized. Additionally, the bill would make it easier for banks to offer financial services to the cannabis industry. For more information, watch the Cannabis Safe Harbor page on the PIA Advocacy Blog and watch your PIA Northeast publications.

Technical

N.Y.: Changes coming to the state’s experience rating program

Watch a video recording on upcoming changes to the New York Experience Rating program, which was presented at the 2021 Workers’ Compensation Forum.

N.Y.: You can read NYSIF’s annual report

The New York State Insurance Fund has released its 2020 Annual Report. In the report, agents can find financial highlights for the Workers’ Compensation and Disability funds, learn about NYSIF’s business initiatives and read NYSIF’s independent auditors’ report—to name a few.

Educating insurance agents

Do you have questions about RR 2.0? PIA is here to help

The NFIP’s RR 2.0 is set to go into effect tomorrow. Do you have questions about RR2.0? For more information, watch the latest episode of The Break, and access the RR2.0 literature on PIA Northeast News & Media.

Ethics are important to independent insurance agents—do you know why?

As an independent agent, it’s critical that you act responsibly and ethically in order to ensure that your clients are protected. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to ethics, too—like what influences our personal ethics, and what kinds of approaches to decision making you and others take. Bottom line, you have an obligation to your insureds—and your agency—to know your ethical responsibilities and to practice them.

Register now

Oct. 26: PIANJ Golf Classic

Oct. 28: NJYIP Halloween Spooktacular

POSTPONED: PIANJ Women’s Leadership Alliance Advocate to Win

CANCELED: CTYIP Fall Brewery event

Berkshire Hathaway Guard Insurance Companies protecting your business and employees with their Workers' Compensation.
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