Weekly Dispatch: Jan. 12, 2023

January 12, 2023

News

What agents need to know as the market hardens

Hard market refers to a high demand for insurance and a decreased desire to insure. A soft market marks the opposite, when the demand for insurance coverage and competition in the market is minimal. The COVID-19 pandemic caused global economic hardship. The U.S. is trying to recover from this and has been pushed fully into an inflated economic environment. As the market hardens, insurance agents have difficulty finding the insurance they need to protect their agencies. However, now is not the time to go unprotected—especially with your agency’s E&O liability insurance. As the market trends continue to affect your clients’ premiums, they are affecting your commissions. When you receive notices from your carriers that they are decreasing commissions, your first question may be: “Can they legally do this?” The first step you should take is to check your agency agreement. PIA members can read: Hard markets and commission cuts: What can producers do?

N.J.: Compulsory handgun liability insurance bill signed into law

Legislation that will require owners of handguns who carry in public to purchase liability insurance has been signed into the law. As previously reported, the Legislature worked quickly to pass this new law, P.L. 2022, C.131. Originally, the legislation was introduced on Oct. 14, 2022. A little more than two months later, on Dec. 19, 2022, the Legislature passed a final version of the bill. That is a remarkably quick pace especially given the gravity of the subject matter. Under the new law, any citizen who carries a handgun in public in the state must maintain liability insurance of at least $300,000, insuring against loss resulting from liability imposed by law for bodily injury, death, and property damage arising out of the ownership, maintenance, operation or use of a firearm carried in public. Prior versions of the bill required $100,000 of liability coverage, on account of injury to, or death of, one person, in any one incident and $300,000; on account of injury to, or death of, more than one person.

Vermont requests damage assessment for storm damage

Vermont Emergency Management Director Erica Bornemann has requested a Preliminary Damage Assessment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine if the state qualifies for a federal major disaster declaration following power outages and other damage from the Dec. 23-24, 2022, storm. The request asks for assessments in Addison, Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, and Orleans counties. Additional counties could be added to the request as data collection continues.

Advocacy

FTC proposes ban on noncompete agreements

The Federal Trade Commission proposed a rule to block companies from requiring employees to sign noncompete agreements. The intent of the rule is to better allow workers to change jobs without the threat of a noncompete agreement. As defined in the proposed rule, noncompete clauses restrict employees’ ability to work for a new employer when they leave their current position. It excludes noncompete clauses when an individual sells a business entity or shares of a business entity. For an insurance agency, this rule would prohibit noncompete clauses in contracts of employment and permit such clauses if the agency acquires the book of business of a retiring agent. It does not prohibit nonsolicitation clauses, which do not restrict the future employment of a worker.

Technical

N.Y.: Excess line tax filings due March 15

The Excess Line Association of New York reminds all licensed excess line brokers that they must file a tax return (Premium Tax Statement) electronically on or before Wednesday, March 15, 2023, even if no business was placed under that license. Please note that brokers having no business to report may access the New York State Department of Financial Services’ electronic filing system now to file a “zero” tax return (See Bulletin 2022-01).

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.

Conn./N.J./N.Y.: CE on commercial casualty, additional insureds

Join Mishell Magnusson, CIC, CISR, CPIA, AAI, FIPC, for 2023 CISR 1IC (Commercial Casualty I) CGL, Additional Insureds on Jan. 18-19, 2023. This two-day course will strengthen your ability to have productive, assured interactions with your commercial customers in the area of commercial casualty exposures and coverages. You will improve your understanding of legal liability and what creates liability exposures. This course will focus on the commercial general liability coverage form, and it will address additional insured exposures and the coverage available to meet these needs. This course has been approved for continuing-education credits in Connecticut (7 PC), New Jersey (7 GEN, designees in good standing will receive 12 CE credits) and New York (2 BR, C3, PA, PC).

ICYMI

PIANY priority legislation signed into law, placing business in excess-lines simplified

Gov. Kathy Hochul last week signed S.8127 into law. It simplifies the process for placing business in the excess-lines marketplace. The new law, sponsored by Sen. Neil Breslin, D-44, and Assemblymember Pamela Hunter, D-128, reduces excessive reporting requirements. Historically, before placing business in the excess-lines marketplace a retail broker must receive three declinations from admitted lines carriers. This was a PIANY legislative priority for 2022. PIANY worked with others in the insurance industry, including the Excess Lines Association of New York, to get this important piece of legislation signed. To see what no longer needs to be reported on a declination, see the related article on PIA Northeast News & Media.

Register now

Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023: CTYIP Holiday Social

March 23-24, 2023: Connecticut Conventionwant to sponsor, exhibit or advertise?

Wednesday, April 19, 2023: Save the date: NY-YIP/PIA Pre Buffalo I-Day Event

Thursday, April 27, 2023: Save the date: Long Island RAP

Monday, Oct. 2, 2023: Save the date: PIANJ Golf Classic—40th Anniversary

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