Weekly Dispatch: Feb. 10, 2022

February 10, 2022

News

Agents: Remind insureds to review their policies this month

The winter season—which includes Valentine’s Day—is a popular time of year for insureds to invest in big purchases, including jewelry, new electronics and getaways. In the excitement about their new commodities, insureds may forget that they need to review and adjust their insurance policies to make sure that their new investments are protected from loss-exposure. So, insurance agents should remind their insureds—before and after Valentine’s Day—to give them a call to discuss any financial changes in their lives.

Conn.: Hurricane Ida disaster declaration amended to include Fairfield, Litchfield

Gov. Lamont announced last week that the Hurricane Ida major disaster declaration was amended to include the approval of Fairfield and Litchfield counties for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance Grant Program. Municipal governments in Fairfield and Litchfield now are eligible to apply for federal reimbursement of 75% of the costs associated with uninsured damage to public infrastructure caused by Hurricane Ida last September, as well as costs associated with the municipalities’ response and emergency protective measures. Lamont also requested for Middlesex and New London counties to be included in the public-assistance program under the declaration and it still is pending review.

Conn.: CID records 59% growth in captive insurance companies in 2021

Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Andrew N. Mais announced on Monday that the Connecticut Insurance Department recorded a growth of 59% for captive insurance companies in the state. The CID approved 13 new captive insurers in 2021, which include new captive formations and the re-domestication of some captives to Connecticut from other states.

N.J.: Matt Platkin to serve as New Jersey attorney general

Gov. Murphy announced last week that Matt Platkin will serve as New Jersey’s next attorney general. Currently, Platkin is the chief counsel to the governor, and oversees an office of more than 20 attorneys who advise the governor on all legal matters, including legislation, executive orders and administrative regulations. Platkin’s nomination is with the state Senate for confirmation and he will assume his role of acting attorney general on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022.

N.Y.:  DFS’s new CE mandates, PIANY to have the education you need to comply

The New York State Department of Financial Services announced last November that it has finalized changes to the continuing-education requirements for insurance producers who do business in New York. These changes apply to producers whose licenses renew on or after Friday, April 1, 2022. Producers with licenses with a renewal date before Friday, April 1, 2022, will not be required to comply with the new requirements until their next license renewal. While the DFS has not announced which education classes meet the new standard, PIANY has been working to ensure it’s widely varying array of education classes will meet the new guidelines. Watch your PIA Northeast publications for more details as they become available. In the meantime, for more information on what we know about the CE requirements so far, see the Q&A that PIANY has compiled.

N.Y.: Gov. Hochul expected to end indoor mask mandate requirements today

Gov. Hochul is expected to let New York’s indoor mask requirement expire today. Businesses no longer will have to implement a mask or a proof-of-vaccination requirement for occupants inside their buildings. However, counties and municipalities—such as New York City—still may choose to require masks, and businesses in the state still can choose to require either masks or proof-of-vaccination upon entry of the building.

Northeast states brave frigid, snowy season

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced last week that—in preparation for single-digit temperatures over the weekend—he activated the state’s severe cold-weather protocol from Feb. 5-6, 2022. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy lifted the state’s storm-related state of emergency last week, which he declared on Jan. 28, 2022, before a snow storm dumped up to 8.5 inches on Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic and Union counties. And New York Gov. Kathy Hochul updated New Yorkers on Monday about an ice storm that left three quarters of an inch of ice last weekend in Ulster County, where 65,000 residents lost power. During the storm, Hochul deployed the National Guard and tree-cutting crews to support Ulster in its recovery. For many parts of the Northeast, this winter has been intense. To help you discuss the effects of winter storms with your insureds, PIA offers tools and services through its Storm Info Central and PIA Design & Print. For more information on Storm Info Central, email PIA’s Industry Resource Center. For more information on how PIA’s Design & Print can help you connect with your insureds this winter, email Design & Print Account Manager Calley Rupp.

Compliance

N.Y.: New York cyber compliance certifications due April 15

All insurance entities that hold a New York state insurance license are required to file a certification of compliance with the DFS by Friday, April 15, 2022, per New York’s Cybersecurity Regulation (23 NYCRR 500). If a covered entity has more than one insurance license, they must file different certifications of compliance for each license. Licensed agency employees are not required to file a certification of compliance, but they must file a one-time exemption. For cyber resources that can help you stay up-to-date on 23 NYCRR 500, access PIA’s Privacy Compliance Central. Do you have someone in your agency who is in the process of earning his or her insurance license? Remember: PIA Northeast has partnered with A.D. Banker & Co., to offer members prelicensing courses at a 5% discount.

Advocacy

Cannabis Safe Harbor passes U.S. House

On Monday, PIA National announced that the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act—a PIA priority—passed the U.S. On Monday, PIA National announced that the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act—a PIA priority—passed the U.S. House of Representatives last Friday with a 222-210 vote. If the SAFE Banking Act is signed into law, it would protect insurance agents and carriers from federal prosecution for doing business in states in which cannabis is legal. It was incorporated into the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength Act of 2022, the goal of which is to increase competitiveness in the production and trade of in-demand goods (e.g., semiconductors) in the U.S. The U.S. Senate passed a same-as version of the America COMPETES Act last June, known as the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021. However, there are differences between the U.S. House and U.S. Senate bills that must be resolved for this legislation to move forward.

PIA asks U.S. DOL to hold stakeholder meetings amid overtime-exemptions proposals

Last week, PIA announced that it joined a coalition of associations and related organizations to send a letter to the Wage and Hour Division in January, which requests the U.S. Department of Labor to hold stakeholder meetings ahead of its upcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The NPRM—which the U.S. DOL plans to issue this April—will propose updates to the Fair Standards Labor Act’s exemptions of executive, administrative and professional employees from its minimum-wage and overtime requirements. According to the letter, the stakeholder meetings—which would include representatives of regulated communities—would allow stakeholders to provide input to the U.S. DOL about the potential implications of changes to overtime exemption requirements.

N.Y.: Register to vote, enroll in political party by Feb. 14

The New York state primaries are coming fast, and if you want to vote in a party primary, you need to make sure you are enrolled in a political party by Monday, Feb. 14, 2022. Agents Advocacy Coalition has outlined what you need to do to enroll in a party and to register to vote if you haven’t already in N.Y.: Register to vote and enroll in a political party in time for New York’s primary elections.

Educating insurance agents

Understanding contractual risk transfers, ethics, WC and captives protect commercial insureds

To protect their insureds and their agencies, commercial-lines insurance agents should stay abreast of their clients and their clients’ businesses, on industry trends and on best practices for representing their agency, their carriers and their customers. Four significant arenas that can help agents stay vigilant include contractual risk transfers (i.e., indemnification agreements), ethics, workers’ compensation and captives. When agents stay up-to-date in these arenas, they can ensure that their clients aren’t exposed to risk, they can make responsible and informed decisions and they can stay prepared for when their clients file claims.

Events

April 27: Save the date: Long Island Regional Awareness Program at Crest Hollow

Register now

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

Celebrating 40 Years with Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies.
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