Weekly Dispatch: Dec. 2, 2021

December 2, 2021

News

Office parties: Think beyond the venue and food

Holiday parties are a great way to boost morale and show appreciation to employees. Nevertheless, there are a few general considerations that employers should be aware of, notwithstanding the current pandemic environment, when considering how to throw an office party this season. For example, if attendance at your office party is mandatory, do you know how your hourly employees need to be compensated? Or, do you know how your workers’ compensation policy would react if an employee is injured while attending your festive occasion? While these tips are great reminders for your agency, they also are sharable with your clients this holiday season.

A look at this year’s above-average Atlantic hurricane season

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, which ended on Tuesday, was above-average and the third most active on record for named storms, with 21 storms forming this year, trailing only 2020 (30) and 2005 (28), according to the Insurance Information Institute. This year’s 21 named storms included seven hurricanes, with four of the seven reaching major hurricane (Category 3 4, or 5) intensity. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an average hurricane season has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

N.Y.: Gov. Hochul announces completion of flood resiliency projects in Orleans County

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday announced the completion of a $1.7 million resiliency project on Lakeshore Road in the Town of Carlton, Orleans County, as part of the state’s Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative. Past ice pressure and severe storm damage has eroded the bluff adjacent to Lakeshore Road, which not only created hazardous situations on the road, but also posed risks to public utilities and nearby private property. To remedy this, the project addressed erosion issue and strengthened shoreline protection, through the installation of an onshore riprap revetment system with regraded slope. In addition, the area between the revetment and the slope was vegetated to minimize potential erosion loss and protect the toe of the bluff. Improved stormwater collection and landscaping along the roadway also will help to reduce flooding during extreme precipitation events.

Compliance

Due soon: Sexual harassment prevention training for employees who do business in New York

New York state law require most employees in the state to complete sexual harassment prevention training by the end of each calendar year. PIA offers online courses to satisfy these requirements. Agents in New York—including agents who do business in New York—can take the New York sexual harassment prevention course on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. This training is due by Friday, Dec. 31, 2021.

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

The New York State Department of Financial Services finalized changes to the continuing-education requirements for insurance producers whose licenses renew on or after April 1, 2022. These changes went into effect last month. PIANY has compiled a list of frequently asked questions about these new requirements, which is updated as necessary. A recent addition: If a producer—whose licenses expires on or after April 1—renews his or her license prior to April 1, does the producer need to meet the new requirements? See the answer.

Advocacy

NFIP set to expire Friday—call to action

If Congress doesn’t take action, the National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at midnight. It received a short-term extension back in September. 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 the current deadline. PIA members are encouraged to use this action alert to send a message to Congress, requesting the NFIP’s extension. 

PIA objects to FIO’s Request for Information

PIA announced last week that it sent a letter to Federal Insurance Office Director Steven Seitz, expressing the association’s opposition to a Request for Information that the U.S. Treasury issued in September. The U.S. Treasury issued the RFI as part of its investigation on the insurance sector and climate-related financial risks. It contained 19 questions on which the public could comment, including how the Federal Insurance Office should collect, assess and disseminate data to interested stakeholders, and how it should publicize the results of the investigation into specific areas of climate-related risk. Since 2016, one of PIA’s top priorities has been to repeal the FIO because, as the FIO gains more power, the more likely it is that it could remove states’ authority in the insurance industry. As a result of PIA’s advocacy, legislation was introduced earlier this year in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate that would repeal the FIO. For updates about PIA’s advocacy against the FIO, watch your PIA Northeast publications.

N.Y.: PIANY advocates to make photo inspections optional

PIANY is advocating for private-passenger photo inspections to become optional in New York state. Legislation—S.6028/A.6877, introduced by Sen. Neil D. Breslin, D-44, and Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski Jr., D-96, respectively—already was introduced in the state Legislature to address this issue. To prepare for the 2022 legislative session, PIANY has visited state legislators as part of its District Office Visits program, to educate them about this issue and to encourage them to co-sponsor this legislation. Additionally, PIANY has provided state legislators with testimonials that the association collected from PIANY members and their clients about their experiences with photo inspections and with the new CARCO app. To help PIANY in its efforts to advocate for the passage of these bills in next year’s legislative session, watch your inbox. Shortly, you will receive an email from PIANY that will ask you to contact your legislator about the photo-inspection requirement. And, watch PIA Northeast’s Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter channels to share the campaign online. To participate in PIANY’s District Office Visits program, email PIA Northeast Government & Industry Affairs, or call (800) 424-4244.

N.J.: State elections might be over, but the work never is

Even though the 2021 New Jersey state elections are behind us, the legislative work for PIANJ is just beginning. The association has several legislative priorities—including legislation that would give agents in New Jersey access to legal defenses for alleged malpractice—that it wants to tackle in next year’s legislative session. Luckily, 82% of the legislative candidates that New Jersey PIAPAC supported this year will be in Trenton to hear the policy debates about these priorities—and it’s all thanks to you. For updates from NJPIAPAC and PIANJ, watch your PIA Northeast publications and follow PIA Northeast’s Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter channels.

Educating insurance agents

The vase is broken, now what? Commercial-lines claims

The best time to prepare yourself and educate your clients about claims and how their policies will respond is before a claim happens. Commercial-lines insurance policies are nuanced, and they can leave even the most experienced insurance professionals scratching their heads. If your clients have claims that involve some of these coverage issues—debris removal/pollutant cleanup and removal; covered property; vacancy; ordinance or law; third party over (i.e., general contractor, subcontractor and the subcontractor’s employee); expensive property broken by an employee (the vase); assault and battery; and cyber and bodily injury—how confident are you that their commercial-lines insurance policies would cover the loss? Do you know what endorsements should be avoided, and which are necessary to strengthen your clients’ coverage? Have you had these conversations with them? During her Commercial Claims Scenarios course on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., instructor Cathy Trischan, CPCU, CIC, CRM, AU, AAI, CRIS, ARM, MLIS, TRIP, will discuss the various claims associated with a number of scenarios. This online, continuing-education course has been approved for CE credits. For more information, or to register for this class, log on to the PIA Northeast education schedule.

Events

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

ICYMI

Last week: 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.

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