Weekly Dispatch: Nov. 4, 2021

November 4, 2021

News

Take NUPC’s survey on today’s insurance challenges

Once again, the NU Property & Casualty Magazine has partnered with PIA National to survey PIA members to get a better understanding about the challenges that face today’s insurance agents. The survey, which can be filled out anonymously, is available until Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. Take the survey today—it will take only 10 minutes to complete.

Conn.: CID licensing operations suspended

The Connecticut Insurance Department’s online licensing operations have been shut down temporarily while the state transitions to State Based Systems, a web-based National Association of Insurance Commissioners application that supports state insurance regulation functions. This shut down began yesterday. Insurance licensing operations will become available using SBS on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at 8 a.m., and the National Insurance Producer Registry will begin accepting online submissions that day, at 10 a.m.

Conn.: President Biden approves disaster declaration

Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Saturday that President Joe Biden approved his request for a Major Disaster Declaration as a result of the damage caused by Hurricane Ida in September. As part of this approval, the Federal Emergency Management Agency Individual Assistance Program is available to residents in Fairfield and New London counties, and the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations. Additionally, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is available to the entire state. Lamont’s request for the FEMA Public Assistance Grant Program still is pending. 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 and Attorney General Tong applaud PURA approval of Eversource

Gov. Lamont and Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced last week that they applaud the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority approval of the $103.4 million Eversource accountability plan that they announced earlier last month. The approval of this plan will increase local accountability and control, and return $103.4 million back to Connecticut families following significant deficiencies in the utility’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias.

N.J.: Gov. Murphy lifts storm-related State of Emergency

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that he signed Executive Order No. 273, which lifts the storm-related State of Emergency. The State of Emergency was declared on Oct. 25, 2021, in Executive Order No. 272, in response to the nor’easter that impacted the state last week. Executive Order No. 273 went into effect on Nov. 1, 2021, at 5 p.m.

N.Y.: Paid family leave expanded in New York

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday that she signed legislation (S.2928-A/A.06098-A), which expands New York’s Paid Family Leave legislation to allow caring for siblings. Previously, employees could not take leave to care for a sibling with a serious health condition.

N.Y.: Legislation signed to protect employees from retaliation

Gov. Hochul announced last week that she signed legislation (S.4394-A/A.5144-A), which protects employees from retaliation from their employers if they report illegal or dangerous business activities. Specifically, it enhances protection for private-sector employees. According to the law, the definition of employee is expanded to include former employees—which protects employees who may have been retaliated against post-employment. Additionally, the legislation expands the definition of retaliatory action to include actions—or threats to take actions—that would impact a former employee’s current or future employment adversely, and to include contacting or threats to contact immigration authorities. The statute of limitations for retaliatory action also was extended to two years to ensure that proper action can be taken against retaliatory actions.

N.Y.: Gov. Hochul announces funding for preparedness

Gov. Hochul announced last week that more than $251 million in federal funding has been allocated to help communities in New York prevent, respond to and recover from manufactured and natural disasters, and emergencies. The funding—provided by FEMA through its FY2021 Homeland Security Grant Program—supports regional homeland security preparedness efforts, including planning, organization, equipment, training and exercise activities, protection, response and recovery capabilities.

N.Y.: Gov. Hochul announces flood project to begin in Canarsie; completed in Newfane

Gov. Hochul announced last week that the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery will begin construction on a $14-million project to protect the most at-risk sections of Fresh Creek’s shoreline in Canarsie, Brooklyn. The project will help the community adapt to the effects of climate change by reducing flooding during future storms and rises of sea-level, and help the area recover more quickly during future storm events. Additionally, Hochul announced that a $14-million flood resiliency project for Newfane in Niagara County has been completed.

N.Y.: New legislation ensures redistricting fairness

Gov. Hochul announced last week that she signed legislation (S.5160-B/A.229-C), which amends Section 34 of the Municipal Home Rule Law to ensure that county redistricting is subject to state and federal constitutional requirements, ensuring fairness and equity, regardless of any local law in contrary to these requirements. Often, county governments have attempted to manipulate redistricting for the political advantage of the party in power. This legislation would ensure the end to that practice, and promote the fair and nonpartisan drawing of lines based on specific guidelines consistent with the U.S. Constitution and New York State Constitution.

Compliance

N.Y.: COVID-19 designated under NY HERO Act again

New York State Commissioner of Health Howard Zucker announced on Sunday that the designation of COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under the New York Health and Essential Rights Act has been extended until Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. The NY HERO Act requires all employers to implement workplace safety plans in the event that the New York state commissioner of health designates an airborne disease as a highly contagious, communicable disease that presents a serious risk to the public. Additionally, employers in New York were required to provide these workplace safety plans to employees by Sept. 4, 2021. To learn more about the NY HERO Act—and what the new law requires employers to do—watch NY HERO Act Part I, NY HERO Act Part II and NY HERO Act–Workplace Safety Committee on the PIA Northeast News & Media, media gallery.

N.Y.: What do the CE changes in New York mean?

Recently, the New York State Department of Financial Services announced it has finalized changes to the continuing-education requirements for insurance producers, which go into effect Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, for producers whose licenses renew on or after April 1, 2022. To help you prepare for these changes, PIANY has compiled a list of frequently asked questions about these new requirements.

Advocacy

PIA sends letter to Biden opposing tax-reporting provision

Last week, PIA joined a coalition in sending a letter to President Biden, detailing its opposition to a tax-reporting provision in the U.S. House of Representatives reconciliation package. If the reconciliation package is signed into law with this provision, financial institutions and other providers of financial services would be required to track and submit information on all inflows and outflows—including cash—of every account that grosses $10,000 or more annually, to the IRS. Originally, the proposal would have required this financial tracking for any account that exceeded $600. However, this adjustment to $10,000, would not reduce the scale of this new IRS program significantly. According to PIA, this requirement would create a liability for anyone whose bank account balance exceeds $10,000, because it is unclear how the IRS will store, protect or use this information. To help voice PIA’s lack of support for this proposal, the national association encourages agents to contact their federal legislators to express their opposition.

N.Y.: What happened to PIANYPAC?

For PIANYPAC’s 40th birthday, the PIANYPAC Committee wanted to update the organization, and rebrand it to better resemble the PAC’s mission and values. Agents Advocacy Coalition—formerly known as PIANYPAC—represents the PAC’s focus on supporting lawmakers who understand the issues that affect the New York insurance industry, and the independent insurance agents who embolden it. For more questions about Agents Advocacy Coalition, visit the Agents Advocacy Coalition FAQ page.

Technical

N.Y.: WC assessment rate decreases for 2022

The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board announced on Monday in Subject No. 046-1467, that the standard-premium assessment rate for workers’ compensation policies that renew on or after Jan. 1, 2022, has decreased from 11.8% to 10.2% for the year. This change is in accordance with Workers’ Compensation Law Section 151, which states that the WCB shall establish an assessment rate for all employers by Nov. 1 of each year.

Educating insurance agents

Learn more about coverage for employment-related practices

Employers should have effective loss controls in place before they purchase employment practices liability insurance. However, the hardening market for this coverage shows that rates and retentions for EPLI are increasing. To help their clients from a risk-management standpoint, independent agent need to offer a point of difference about EPLI to their clients, along with explanations of insurance coverage, defense payments and coordination of other insurance policies. To do this, you need to understand the coverage exposures your clients may be encountering.

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Nov. 9: NJPIAPAC Trivia Night

Celebrating 40 Years with Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies.
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