Weekly Dispatch: May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

News

Mentoring: Opportunities for perpetuation and growth

Members of the insurance community have an obligation to provide for the future of the insurance industry. This is especially true as insurance agencies continue to gray, and the need to introduce the next generation of insurance agents to the industry becomes paramount. PIANJ past President Donna Cunningham, CPIA, discusses her experiences when she first joined the insurance industry and the invaluable knowledge she learned from her mentors. She also asks agency owners to step up, mentor, and include female executives as part of their perpetuation plans.

Survey: Homeowners may be underinsured after a disaster

A survey by the American Property Casualty Insurance Association found that about two-thirds of insured homeowners may be without key additional coverages, including automatic inflation guard, extended replacement cost, and building code/ordinance coverage, that can better protect them in these challenging market conditions. The survey also revealed only 30% of insured homeowners have purchased more insurance or increased coverage limits to compensate for rising building costs. From December 2019 through December 2021, the price of construction materials rose by 44%.

Conn.: Bill paves the way for electronic delivery to WCC

Legislation that passed the Connecticut House and Senate last week, H.B.5250, would allow the Workers Compensation Commission to allow more methods of document delivery than currently permitted by law. The current statute only allows the WCC to receive documents by personal delivery or certified mail. In 2022, PIA made it a legislative priority to advocate for the usage of electronic delivery as an option. The proposed changes to the statute would allow the WCC to determine how to receive documents, including electronically. The bill now goes to Gov. Ned Lamont to sign. PIA plans to work with the WCC on updating permitted delivery methods to make the process more efficient for all parties.

N.J. court: Intra-family step-down exclusion was unenforceable

The Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division recently ruled that an intra-family step-down exclusion in a personal automobile policy was unenforceable. While this case has some strong language condemning step-down exclusions, it is binding only on the parties involved in the case and is not considered precedent or binding on any other court. However, the insurance company can appeal this decision to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the state. What’s happening with step-down provision legislation? PIANJ has advocated for the elimination of these types of provisions for a long time. In 2007, the association was successful in getting step-down provisions banned in commercial auto policies. For the past several years, PIANJ has been advocating for a similar prohibition in personal auto policies. PIANJ is supporting legislation (A-1761) this session that would ban the type of intra-family step-downs that were found in this case.

N.J. State announce new investments in flood protection

Gov. Phil Murphy and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette announced new investments in flood protection for New Jersey communities—including a $50 million investment in the Blue Acres homeowner buyout program for Ida-impacted communities, and $10 million in community stormwater assistance grants. Educate your clients about the importance of flood insurance and how the new National Flood Insurance Program’s Risk Rating 2.0 will affect their premium rates. And, PIA can help you connect with your insureds about flood or other disaster-related insurance options. For more information, email PIA’s Design & Print Account Manager Calley Rupp.

N.J.: Additional financing tool for micro businesses

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority last week announced plans to open applications for its Micro Business Loan next month, which will make additional funding resources available through the authority’s Main Street Recovery Program. The NJEDA already has issued nearly $5.5 million in grants through the Main Street Recovery Program. The governor’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget proposal includes $50 million for the Main Street Recovery Program.

N.H.: State has lowest benchmark premiums in country, study

A study released last month by the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act benchmark premium rates in New Hampshire are the lowest in the country. Benchmark premiums in the state have decreased for the second year in a row—down from $405 per month in 2020, to $333 per month in 2021 and $309 per month in 2022. For a comparison, the national average was $453 in 2020, $446 in 2021, and $438 in 2022. New Hampshire enjoyed the fifth-largest reduction in PPACA benchmark premium rates, 8.2%, from 2019-22. The national average over that time period was a 2.2% reduction.

Vt.: Former DFS commissioner to run for state treasurer

The former Department of Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak announced last Friday that he will run for the Democratic nomination for state treasurer.

Advocacy

N.Y.: Legislative advocacy on photo inspections, call to action

S.6028 would make photo inspections in New York state optional. The Assembly same-as bill (A.6877) already has passed the state Assembly, but it has not yet passed the state Senate. PIA has written a message for you to send your senator that includes testimonials from PIA members across the state about the problems they and their clients have had with the CARCO inspections. We encourage you to add your own testimonial about what you have experienced so that your senator hears what their constituents specifically are experiencing. It only takes two minutes to send a message and make a difference.

PIANY legislative priority passes state Assembly

On May 9, the New York state Assembly passed S.8127, which would simplify the excess-line insurance placement affidavit requirements brokers must complete before placing insurance in the excess-line marketplace. The bill passed the state Senate on March 23, so the final stop is the governor’s desk. PIANY has worked diligently with the Excess Lines Association of New York and other insurance associations in the state to get this bill passed this session. It is rare that a bill passes both houses the first session it is introduced, but that is what happened here. If the bill is signed and becomes law, brokers will have a much easier time placing insurance in the excess-line market when they need to do so. Once the bill is on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk, PIANY will ask you to contact her office to encourage her to sign the bill into law.

Technical

Index: Average premium renewal rates of most commercial lines of business remain up

IVANS announced the results for Q1 2022 IVANS Index,™ the insurance industry’s premium renewal rate index. The first quarter results of 2022 showed premium renewal rate change for all major commercial lines of business are up year over year, except workers’ compensation, which remained in the negative. The first quarter experienced an increase in average premium renewal rate change across commercial property and umbrella compared to the fourth quarter 2021. Commercial auto, BOP, general liability, and workers’ compensation experienced decreases in average premium renewal rates compared to fourth quarter 2021.

Conn.: WC Second Injury Fund assessment remains stable

In the May 2022 Treasurer’s Letter, Connecticut Treasurer Shawn Wooden announced that the Second Injury Fund assessment rate will remain at 2.25% for Fiscal Year 2023, which begins on July 1, 2022. The assessment rate for self-insured employers remains at 2.75%.

Educating insurance agents

N.Y.: New classes that meet the New York State Department of Financial Services’ new CE requirements are available online and in private on-site sessions.

Events

PIA Annual Conference hosted by PIANJ and PIANY, do you need continuing-education credits?

June 12-14: Register today and save 20% with early-bird pass—offer ends May 20: Thousands of insurance professionals will be looking to be in-tune with the insurance industry at the PIA Annual Conference hosted by PIANJ and PIANY in Atlantic City. It’s an opportunity to reignite with new tools, services, and strategies. Will you be there? Want to sponsor, exhibit or advertise? Do you need continuing-education credits? The event will feature six classes that you can attend. Topics will cover: a panel discussion on cannabis insurance, wild weather and disasters, certificates of insurance, working from home coverage considerations, condo insurance, and errors-and-omissions and the future of the independent insurance agent. Full descriptions of the classes are available on the Annual Conference website.

ICYMI

Take your credibility to the next level

When it comes to protecting their insureds, insurance agents should increase their credibility, trust and perception. Agents can strengthen these traits through the Trusted Risk Advisor Certification Program, which provides agents with opportunities to advance their ability to deliver an enterprise risk-management method through logical, disciplined and results-oriented frameworks; to sharpen their growth mindsets; and to consider additional tools and tactics that can improve performance. The TRA certification program—which is provided by PIA and Beyond Insurance—is comprised of four online courses that agents can take starting in August. PIA Northeast members can take these classes at a discounted rate. For more information, download the TRA brochure or watch a short video.

Register now

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

Thursday, May 19, 2022: CTYIP Open House—CTYIP members bring one guest free

June 12-14, 2022: PIA Annual Conference—Save 20% with early-bird pass

Tuesday, June 14, 2022: NJYIP Fun Run

Tuesday, June 21, 2022: CTYIP Golf Open

Monday, Aug. 1, 2022: NY-YIP Golf Open

Celebrating 40 Years with Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies.
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