Weekly Dispatch: April 14, 2022

April 14, 2022

News

Get ready to rock—register for PIA Annual Conference now

PIA Annual Conference hosted by PIANJ and PIANY will be held June 12-14, 2022, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. Featuring a stellar set list, the event will include a VIP pass to an all-star trade show, outstanding continuing-education sessions from three of PIA’s top instructors, plenty of networking opportunities—including a networking lunch with global futurist Jack Uldrich and a nighttime beach party with live music from the GoodMan Fiske Band. Insurance producers from all over New Jersey and New York are flocking and you should, too. Register for PIA Annual Conference today and save 20% with early-bird pass. Interested in sponsoring, exhibiting or advertising?

Increase Law & Ordinance coverage for homes in flood zones

Did you know that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s substantial damage rule applies to any building damage—not just flood damage? Even common homeowners policy perils such as wind or fire damage could trigger the requirement for a home to be restored into flood compliance. Substantial damage occurs when the total cost of any repair or reconstruction equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure prior to the loss. Often, that is very costly and necessitates the house being elevated above the Base Flood Elevation. According to the rule, after a covered peril on the homeowners policy occurs, ordinance or law coverage will pay the additional cost to bring the property to flood mitigation code. To help insureds in Special Flood Hazard Area zones make sure they’re covered, insurance agents should advise them to raise the ordinance or law limits on their homeowners policies.

Most medical debt to be excluded from credit reports

Recently, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion announced that, starting Friday, July 1, 2022, paid medical collection debt no longer will be included on consumer credit reports. These measures will remove almost 70% of medical collection debt trade lines from consumer reports. Additionally, the time period before unpaid medical collection debt would appear on consumers’ report will be increased from six months to one year, which will give consumers more time to work with insurance and/or health care providers to address their debt before it’s reported on their credit file. Last week, Vermont Commissioner of Financial Regulation Michael S. Pieciak stated that, while many Vermont-based financial institutions had a practice of discounting the impact of medical debt in lending decisions already, this move from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion is welcome.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is designated National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Distracted driving—including the use of electronic devices—is dangerous, illegal and costly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—across the United States, distracted driving killed 3,142 people in 2019 (a 10% increase from 2018). In the Northeast, according to the New Hampshire Office of Highway Safety, there have been 42 fatal crashes with distraction or inattention as the primary causation from 2014 through 2020. In New Jersey, data shows that driver inattention accounted for more than half of all crashes recorded in the Garden State from 2011 through 2020, and for nearly a third of fatal crashes during that period. And, between 2016 and 2021, distracted drivers caused 1,167 crashes, 182 injuries and 23 deaths in Vermont, according to the state’s Highway Safety Office. In Connecticut and New York, current statistics related to distracted driving deaths are not readily available.

N.Y.: Hochul announces FY 2023 budget agreement

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced an agreement to address key priorities in the Fiscal Year 2023 New York State Budget. The budget is designed to bring relief to New Yorkers recovering from the pandemic and launch New York’s economic comeback. It includes: tax relief for middle-class New Yorkers and small businesses; the suspension of fuel taxes; billions of dollars to rebuild the health care workforce, support for home care workers; increasing funding for and access to child care; and a record investment in clean energy infrastructure, climate resiliency and preservation.

Nominate an Outstanding CSR of the Year

Each year, exceptional insurance professionals are chosen by The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research to represent their states and compete to become The National Outstanding CSR of the Year. This prestigious award—regarded as the foremost national award of its kind—recognizes the contributions and commitment of those who serve clients within the insurance industry. Nominate your best customer service representatives and account managers for this award. The competition is open to any insurance CSRs or candidates primarily responsible for customer service regardless of affiliation or professional designation. Candidates may nominate themselves. The deadline for submissions is Sunday, May 1, 2022.

Advocacy

Brown Jackson confirmed to U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the 116th associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court last Friday. Jackson was nominated by President Joe Biden in February and is the first Black woman justice to sit on the high court. Over her career, Jackson has worked as a Supreme Court clerk, a public defender, the vice chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and on the U.S. court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Read the related statements from the governors in Connecticut and New Jersey.

Conn.: Signed legislation expands absentee ballot eligibility

Recently, Gov. Ned Lamont announced that he has signed legislation (Public Act 22-2) to expand two of the six statutory reasons under which voters in Connecticut can qualify for an absentee ballot during an election, primary, or referendum by allowing out-of-town commuters and caretakers of those who are ill or have a disability to vote by absentee ballot. The legislation removes more restrictive language on these qualifications from state statutes and better aligns state laws with the standard that is set in the state constitution.

N.Y.: Gov. Hochul issues proclamation for special election

Last week, Gov. Kathy Hochul issued a proclamation declaring that a special election to fill the vacancy in the 58th Assembly District will be held on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. The special election will fill the vacancy created by Nick Perry, who will serve as U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica.

Educating insurance agents

N.Y.: New classes that meet the DFS’ new CE requirements are available online and in private on-site sessions.

N.Y.: New risks in the virtual world at Long Island RAP

During the first few months of the pandemic, the phrase the new normal was everywhere and it was meant to describe what things would be like going forward. It was meant to describe what we have always done, but would be done differently than it had in the past. For the insurance industry, that means that we have left the pro-rata wheels, legal pads, calculators and five-drawer file cabinets in the past and have moved forward with comparative raters, e-signatures, scanners and cloud-based client management systems. While the who we serve has stayed the same, the how has changed forever. What is the risk to your personal and commercial insurance clients if their digital identities and information are compromised? What can be done to protect them? To find the answers to these questions attend Cyber Liability & Data Breach: Don’t Be Compromised! You can learn more about identifying cyberrisks and implementing new procedures to protect sensitive information and to avoid E&O claims when you attend Errors & Omissions—Real Risks in a Virtual World. Both classes will be taught by John Fear, CPIA, CISR, at PIA’s Long Island Regional Awareness Program on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

ICYMI

N.Y.: Cyber security certification of compliance due tomorrow

All insurance entities that hold a New York state insurance license (i.e., covered entities)—including nonresident licensees—must certify their compliance with New York’s Cyber Security Regulation (23 NYCRR 500) for the 2021 calendar year by tomorrow. The filing is required for all licensees that aren’t covered by another covered entity’s information system. Licensees must file their compliance certifications through the New York State Department of Financial Service’s web portal. To help insurance agents who do business in New York state stay up-to-date on 23 NYCRR 500, PIA offers cyber resources through its Privacy Compliance Central. For more information on how to comply with the cyber regulation, access Certification of compliance: A guide in the PIA QuickSource library and the DFS’ Cybersecurity FAQs for producers and individual licensees.

Register now

Monday, May 2, 2022: NJYIP Golf Open
*All golf spots filled; dinner tickets still available.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022: WLA Meet the Author: Advocate to Win

Tuesday, June 14, 2022: NJYIP Fun Run

Tuesday, June 21, 2022: CTYIP Golf Open

Celebrating 40 Years with Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies.
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