Weekly Dispatch: Feb. 23, 2023

February 23, 2023


Hardbit ransomware attempts to acquire insurance information

Hardbit ransomware emerged in October of 2022 and by November. version 2.0 already had evolved. What’s important to know about Hardbit ransomware is that it attempts to broker ransom payments through its victim’s cyberinsurance policies. Protect your agency from cyberthreats. PIA members and every one of their small-business clients must understand and then tackle their cybersecurity weaknesses before they are crippled by them. To protect their sensitive data—and their insureds’ sensitive data—insurance agents should have cyber liability coverage. To determine their unique cyber risks, PIA-member agents can use PIA’s Cyber Risk Assessment. PIA members also can access Ransomware is a real menace in the PIA QuickSource library.

Conn.: Budget proposal would expand access to childcare

Gov. Lamont is proposing to increase funding for the state’s Care 4 Kids, which helps low- and moderate-income families pay for childcare costs—providing $14.2 million in 2024, and $53.3 million in 2025 to support an increase of 10% for licensed providers and 5% for unlicensed providers in each year of the biennium.

Conn.’s budget, policy proposals include expanded access to affordable and workforce housing

Gov. Ned Lamont announced that Connecticut’s budget proposal would invest $600 million over the biennium for affordable housing using a mix of state and federal resources—approximately double the level of the current biennium. Lamont’s administration has a goal of creating 6,400 new units.

N.H.: NHID launches new podcast–‘A Matter of Insurance’

The New Hampshire Insurance Department launched a new podcast, “A Matter of Insurance.” Hosted by Consumer Outreach Coordinator A.J. Kierstead. The program will explore the latest developments in the insurance industry, featuring expert insights and commentary from a variety of departmental leaders, with a particular focus on issues affecting New Hampshire’s insurance consumers.

N.J.: Governor delivered climate change address

Gov. Phil Murphy spoke at Rutgers University about climate and the future of energy. In an address titled: “Clean Energy & Jobs to Power the Next New Jersey,” Murphy discussed the increased rain and flooding that New Jersey’s communities have faced from climate change. Specifically, New Jersey’s greatest natural resource is hit by higher tides leading to flooded roads and communities even on clear days. Now is a great time to start talking to your clients about the importance of flood insurance. PIA Northeast has resources that can help you. PIA members can access the Flood Insurance Tool Kit, and if you want customized materials that you can send your clients and prospects, contact PIA Design & Print for details. In addition to the resources found in the Flood Insurance Tool Kit, PIA members also can access the following documents in the PIA QuickSource library: Now that the storm has passed …; and Something’s wet, it must be a flood, right?

N.Y.: State announces funds to strengthen emergency communications and infrastructure

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced more than $62 million has been awarded to 14 counties through the Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant targeted program to strengthen emergency communications and interoperability infrastructure used by local first responders. The program, administered by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, provides funding to enhance public safety through improving and modernizing infrastructure, addressing communications deficiencies, implementing national interoperability channels, and boosting regional connectivity between counties and systems.


U.S. House subcommittee holds hearing on federal data privacy bill

The House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy held a hearing recently entitled, “Revamping and Revitalizing Banking in the 21st Century.” One of the bills discussed during the hearing, the Financial Data Privacy Act, would revise existing federal standards for consumer data privacy by expanding the requirements associated with the handling of consumer data for “financial institutions,” including insurance agencies. PIA appreciates the committee’s attention to the protection of consumer data. However, the association has concerns about the draft legislation that was part of the subcommittee hearing.

N.Y.: How the photo inspection bill in the state budget differs from the vetoed bill

While Gov. Kathy Hochul did veto the photo inspection bill last session, PIA—as well as others in the industry—worked tirelessly to convince the governor of the merits of the issue. The governor listened and she included a photo inspection proposal in the Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation section of the Executive Budget. However, the photo inspection legislation in the TED is not exactly like the legislation that was vetoed last year. PIA Northeast Director of Government & Industry Affairs Bradford J. Lachut, Esq., has compiled a comparison of how this year’s version of photo inspection differs from the bill PIA supported during the 2021-22 legislative session. For more information on New York’s current law, PIA members can access How do New York’s new automobile photo inspection regulations affect me? in the PIA QuickSource library.


Conn./N.J./N.Y.: UPC consents to receivership

Based on a letter dated Feb. 16, 2023, the interim insurance commissioner of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation confirmed United Property & Casualty insurance company has consented to being placed into receivership. UPC has experienced net underwriting losses since 2017, plus the losses from Hurricane Ian increases to an estimated $1.54 billion pushed the carrier into insolvency. UPC is domiciled in Florida, and it is licensed in several states including Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. As additional information becomes available and when the liquidation order has been issued, PIA will continue to report on this issue.

N.J.: Plymouth Rock raising rates on home and condo products

PIANJ received notice that Plymouth Rock has received approval from the Department of Banking and Insurance to adjust to its HO-3 homeowners and HO-6 condominium rates. The rate change is more than 15% for HO-3 policies, starting Wednesday, March 15, 2023, for new business; and more than 12% for HO-6 policies, starting on Saturday, April 15, 2023, for renewal business. PIA members who want more information about market cycles, can access PIA’s Market Transition Tool Kit, which has resources to help professional insurance agents adapt in this hard market.


Call for nominations: 2023 NJYIP Gala awards nominations

NJYIP is calling for nominations for its 2023 Gala awards. The following awards will be presented later this year at the NJYIP Gala: The Insurance Person of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award and NJYIP of the Year. For more information about each award, or to nominate someone, click here. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, March 15, 2023.

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.

Next week: 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 course modules that agents can take starting Monday, Feb. 27, 2023. The February module has been approved for continuing-education credits in New York. PIA Northeast members can take these classes at a discounted rate.


Strike up leadership skills, conversation at NJYIP program

Join NJYIP for a special one-hour leadership program Leadership and Bowling Extravaganza, led by speaker—and PIANJ past President Steve Tague, CPIA—to help hone your insurance and sales skills, Tuesday, March 7, 2023, starting at 12:30 p.m. Following the presentation, attendees will be able to enjoy two-hours of networking, bowling, food and open bar. Register today, sponsorship opportunities are available.

Register now

Tuesday, March 7, 2023: NJYIP Leadership and Bowling Extravaganza

Friday, March 10, 2023: YIP Education: Cutting Edge E&O Exposures. To register: Conn. / N.J. / N.Y.

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

Monday, May 1, 2023: NJYIP Golf Open

Thursday, May 18, 2023: Save the date: PIWA Spring Reception

June 4-6, 2023: Save the date: Annual Conference hosted by PIANJ and PIANY—want to sponsor, exhibit or advertise?

Tuesday, June 6, 2023: Save the date: NJYIP Fun Run

Tuesday, June 20, 2023: Save the date: CTYIP Springfest Golf Outing

Monday, Aug. 7, 2023: Save the date: NY-YIP Annual Golf Open

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

Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023: Save the date: Capital RAP

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