Weekly Dispatch: Nov. 24, 2021

November 24, 2021

News

PIA Northeast is thankful for you

This time of year—just like all year—PIA thinks about you. Together, we make the insurance industry better. Thank you for your continued support. We wish you and your loved ones a happy and safe holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving.

Winter is here—and NOAA predicts a snowy Northeast

The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration predicts that the Northeast will see warmer temperatures this year, but above-average precipitation. To prepare, independent agents should review their clients’ policies with them so that they know what their coverage includes. Additionally, your insureds need to know that they need to purchase a National Flood Insurance Program flood policy if they want coverage for a flood claim. As you know, it takes 30 days for a flood policy to go into effect—so the time to start talking to your clients about flood insurance is now. To help you start the conversation, PIA offers resources through its Storm Info Central and PIA Design & Print. Storm Info Central provides members with state-specific updates and resources on topics such as storm damage, frozen pipes and fire safety. PIA’s Design & Print can help agents order materials to help their clients prepare for storm season. For more information on how Design & Print can help you, email Calley Rupp.

Be on the lookout for exclusions in commercial policies

Commercial policies from the excess-and-surplus market can expose your insureds to uncovered risks. To mitigate that possibility, agents need to be on the lookout for exclusions that are outlined in those policies. Common exclusions include not being able to work in New York state; or the absence of coverage for sexual misconduct and abuse. Negotiating with carriers about buying back coverage when there’s an exposure that you and your client need to protect is possible. But, do you know when to look for a different carrier? And, what if new exclusions appear on a commercial policy that weren’t there before?

COVID-19 continues to put pressure on rates and profitability

The Insurance Information Institute announced last week that research it conducted with Milliman shows that the property/casualty insurance industry will run at an estimated 101 combined ratio for 2021, which is slightly worse than the projection from three months ago. The estimate indicates that the catastrophe losses and uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic are putting pressure on rates and profitability—which Triple I predicts will continue for 2021-23. However, premium growth still is expected in the next two years.

Conn.: Gov. Lamont announces easier way for businesses to interact with state government

Gov. Ned Lamont and Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill announced yesterday that the state’s business registration system has been upgraded and now is fully integrated with Business.CT.gov, Connecticut’s business portal that serves as a one-stop shop for business and entrepreneurs to navigate state government requirements as effectively and quickly as possible. The integration allows business owners to log-in to fewer places when they do business with the state. Now, instead of logging in to a separate registration system after creating a checklist at Business.CT.gov, entrepreneurs have a built-in experience.

N.H.: State increases benefits to help home heating costs

Gov. Chris Sununu and the New Hampshire Department of Energy announced last week that benefit amounts for the New Hampshire Fuel Assistance Program have increased as a result of highly inflated national energy costs. Benefit amounts will increase 60% over last winter’s benefit rates, from $253 to $2,250, up from $158 to $1,575 last year.

N.Y.: U.S. Treasury approves funding for homeowners

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced last week that New York is the first state in the U.S., to receive approval from the U.S. Treasury for the Homeowner Assistance Program. The program will distribute nearly $539 million to assist homeowners who are at the greatest risk of foreclosure or displacement. Additionally, it will mitigate financial hardships associated with the pandemic by preventing homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, and loss of utilities or home-energy services.

Advocacy

U.S. House passes reconciliation spending bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.5376—known as the Build Back Better Act—last week, with a 220-213 vote. If the U.S. Senate passes the bill without making changes to it, it would allocate roughly $1.75 trillion in spending over a 10-year period. Additionally, the bill would include several new tax provisions, it would forgive all of the NFIP’s existing debt, it would direct funding to support flood mapping and it would provide $600 million for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to develop a means-tested affordability program for NFIP policyholders whose household incomes are less than or equal to 120% of their area’s median income. As a result of PIA’s advocacy, the bill did not include provisions that would have required financial institutions and other providers of financial services to track and submit sensitive information to the Internal Revenue Service; did not include provisions that would have reduced or repealed the 20% deduction for S corporations; did not include provisions that would have increased taxes for small-business owners; and did not include provisions that would have allowed the federal government to oversee state workers’ compensation programs. For updates on the Build Back Better Act, watch your PIA Northeast publications.

Technical

N.J.: 2022 workers’ compensation overall rate level drops 5.3%

The New Jersey Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau received approval from the Department of Banking and Insurance for a rate revision of -5.3% , which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2022. The revision is applicable to new and renewal policies. Originally, the rating bureau filed for a 4.9% decrease for rates and rating values, but the DOBI mandated a further reduction of 0.4%. For details on this revision, access NJCRIB’s Circular Letter No. 2019 and Manual Amendment Bulletin No. 504.

N.Y.: NYSIF introduces new Risk Control Resource Center

The New York State Insurance Fund launched a new Risk Control Resource Center. It developed this online safety resource and training portal to help businesses keep their employees safe. NYSIF online account holders now have access to a host of valuable information, tools and training, including: industry-specific safety manuals; tips on how to reduce/manage accidents and injuries; online safety classes for employees; employee training videos; and ergonomic and hazard communication resources/training materials. Additionally, businesses can request site inspections, safety consultations and other risk control services. PIA recommends that you encourage your clients to go to NYSIF’s website to take advantage of this free innovative resource. To access the NYSIF Risk Control Resource Center, the policyholder can log in to the online account and click the link from the landing page.

Educating insurance agents

Know more than the basics about workers’ compensation

To prepare commercial clients for when an employee gets injured at work, independent agents can take a closer look at workers’ compensation, disability, and health coverages—and how those insurances work together. Additionally, they can review case studies in which common law impacted the outcome of workers’ compensation claims. Sometimes, there are distinctions in workers’ compensation claims that lead courts to rule based on those precedents. When this happens, it gives agents the opportunity to know more—about the coverages they supply to their insureds, and how those coverages may affect their commercial clients if they are faced with a workers’ compensation claim.

Events

Conn.: Register for InsurTech Hartford’s ecosystem event

InsurTech Hartford is hosting InsurTech Ecosystems & Platforms on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., in Hartford. At this event, independent agents can learn about the importance of ecosystems and how to build platforms that support ecosystem growth. And, you’ll get to network with your fellow insurance colleagues, too. PIACT and CTYIP members will receive a $10 discount when they sign up. Register today.

March 24-25: Save the date: Connecticut Convention at the Hartford Marriott Downtown

Celebrating 40 Years with Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies.
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