Weekly Dispatch: March 17, 2022

March 17, 2022

News

Conn.: Last call—Connecticut Convention is next week

PIA’s Connecticut Convention is one week away on March 24-25, 2022, in Hartford. Don’t miss out on this year’s best opportunity for you to network; to earn continuing-education credits with insurance experts Cathy Trischan, CPCU, CIC, CRM, AU, ARM, AAI, CRIS, MLIS, TRIP, and John Fear, CPIA, CISR; to see the latest insurance products at a brand new trade show; and to win prizes. Register now and get your name on our list. We know you won’t regret it.

Alert: New cyberthreats discovered, agents need to protect their agencies

The U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have discovered new cyberthreats that could impact the financial sector—which includes insurance agencies. Meanwhile, U.S. Congress passed the Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act of 2022, last week, which—if President Joe Biden signs it—would require U.S. entities to report substantial cyberattacks to CISA within three days and within 24 hours if ransom payments are made. Biden is expected to sign this legislation soon. Governments in New Jersey, New York and Vermont have responded to these threats with reminders for state agencies, businesses and individuals to comply with state and federal laws related to cybersecurity and to exercise caution; and with guidance that can help all U.S. individuals and businesses protect themselves from cyberthreats. To help member-agents identify and remediate their agencies’ cyber security weaknesses, PIA has partnered with Thomas H. Wetzel & Associates and TAG Solutions to provide the Cyber Risk Assessment (exclusive to all PIA members) and the Cyber Security Program (exclusive to PIA Northeast members), respectively. For updates on cyberthreats, CISA’s new reporting law, state responses and how agents can protect their agencies and insureds, watch your PIA Northeast publications.

Comprehensive understanding of commercial insureds makes agents’ jobs easier

To provide the best coverage and to strengthen their relationships with their commercial clients, insurance agents should ensure that they have the best understanding possible about each client. Agents can do this by considering several factors, including the business owner’s experience, the business’s loss-mitigation and business-continuity plans and how the business is operated overall. When agents understand their commercial clients thoroughly, they can avoid doing more work than they need—and can avoid serious obstacles when managing clients’ claims.

Late-winter snow may fall, but temperatures are on the rise

Last weekend, a late-winter storm dropped up to roughly five inches of snow on Connecticut and New Jersey, 10 inches on New Hampshire, 12 inches on New York and 11 inches on Vermont, and was followed by high winds and freezing temperatures. However, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration predicts that the Northeast could see temperatures as high as 71 degrees this weekend. This time of year, intermittent late-winter storms aren’t uncommon—but rising temperatures aren’t uncommon, either. As accumulated snow begins to melt, its runoff may result in flooding and cause severe property damage. 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 Flood Insurance Tool Kit and PIA Design & Print. For more information on the Flood Insurance Tool Kit, email PIA’s Industry Resource Center. For more information on how PIA’s Design & Print can help you connect with your insureds this spring, email Design & Print Account Manager Calley Rupp. Additionally, PIA-partnered The Hartford—a leading insurance company in the property/casualty industry—offers The Hartford Flood Program, which provides competitive commissions exclusive to PIA members for new business (20%), renewals (19.5%) and rollovers (20%). Access to this program includes online quoting, endorsements, policy issuance and free flood-zone determinations—to name a few.

N.H.: Home-heating oil spills not covered, NHDES helps insureds to mitigate costs

The New Hampshire Insurance Department announced Monday that it has received numerous questions from consumers in the state about insurance coverage for the cleanup costs associated with leaks and spills from home-heating oil tanks, which can amount to over $100,000. According to the NHID, there are no admitted carriers in New Hampshire that cover these leaks and spills. To help residents in the state to mitigate or to help cover these costs, the press release provides guidance on the Safetank Program and the Petroleum Reimbursement Fund Program, which are offered by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

UnitedHealthcare removes commercial health coverage from New York, Vermont facilities

The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation announced last week that, starting Friday, April 1, 2022, UnitedHealthcare—a commercial health insurance provider network—will no longer provide coverage for in-network nonemergency services from a variety of health care providers and facilities in New York and Vermont, including the Alice Hyde Medical Center, the Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, and the Elizabethtown Community Hospital in New York, and the Central Vermont Medical Center, the Porter Medical Center and the University of Vermont Medical Center in Vermont.

Advocacy

NFIP extended, RR 2.0 legislation introduced

The Biden Administration announced on Tuesday that the president signed The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 (H.R.2471), which extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s federal funding and authority through Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Additionally, PIA announced on Monday that it supports the Flood Insurance Transparency Act, which was introduced this week by U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy, M.D., R-La., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. The legislation would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency to publish the formulas used to calculate mitigation credits for policyholders under Risk Rating 2.0. The legislation also would require FEMA to release a tool kit that would be used to estimate the cost of insurance for new construction without compromising proprietary information.

N.J.: Meet NJPIAPAC Treasurer Lydia Bashwiner, Esq.

Recently, New Jersey PIAPAC sat down with its treasurer, Lydia Bashwiner, Esq., CWCP, NJWCP, of Otterstedt Insurance Agency Inc. Bashwiner is one of two women who lead the PAC in providing support to candidates and state legislators who represent the insurance industry in the New Jersey state Legislature. During her interview, Bashwiner shed valuable insight on how she became involved with the insurance industry—and how other women looking to start their careers in insurance can take the most important step toward success.

Technical

N.Y.: New York drivers’ licenses redesigned

Recently, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles announced that it will begin issuing new drivers’ licenses, permits and nondriver identification cards that incorporate upgraded security features. Effective last Thursday, DMV customers who apply for a new license or ID, and customers who renew or replace an existing document will receive the new document.

Educating insurance agents

N.Y.: Need to comply with the DFS’ new CE rules? PIA can help

Recently, the New York State Department of Financial Services announced new CE requirements that apply to insurance agents and brokers whose licenses renew on or after April 1, 2022. To get a jump-start of these new requirements, you can take classes this spring and summer with PIA instructor Mishell Magnusson, CIC, CISR, CPIA, AAI, FIPC, who specializes in providing training programs to insurance agencies. Upcoming classes with Magnusson include: New York Law 2022 on May 25, July 12 and Sept. 22.This class is approved for the new state regulations for flood insurance; insurance law, ethics and professionalism; diversity, inclusion and the elimination of bias requirements. Implicit and Explicit Bias; Equal Access to Justice will be held June 1, Aug. 16 and Nov. 10, and is approved for the diversity, inclusion and the elimination of bias requirement. Ethics and Professionalism will be held June 1 and July 28, and is approved for the ethics and professionalism requirement. Flood Insurance Licensee and Sale Through NFIP will be held on June 29 and Aug. 16, and is approved for the flood insurance requirement. And New York Insurance Law and Regulations will be held June 29, July 28 and Nov. 10, and is approved for the insurance law requirement. All of these classes will be available online or in private on-site sessions.

Register now

Wednesday, April 27, 2022: Long Island RAP

Tuesday, March 23: CTYIP Happy Hour

Monday, May 2, 2022: NJYIP Golf Open

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