Weekly Dispatch: June 22, 2023

June 22, 2023


It’s Lightning Safety Awareness Week: Talk to your clients about their insurance coverages

It is Lightning Safety Awareness Week (June 18-24), which is a perfect time to talk to your clients and help them identify any gaps in their homeowners insurance coverage. According to a new report released by the Insurance Information Institute, the number of homeowners insurance claims filed due to lightning-related damages increased 2.2% between 2021 and 2022. Lightning was the cause of more than $950 million in homeowners insurance claims last year alone. There were more than 62,000 claims filed nationwide with nearly half of them made in the 10 states, including New York, where claims for losses caused by lightning are most common. Nationwide the total number of lightning damage claims fell 29% from $21,578 in 2021 to just over $15,000 per claim. The total value of homeowners insurance claims filed to cover lightning damage plummeted more than 27% from 2021 to 2022 falling from over $1 billion to $952 million. As extreme weather incidents become more common due to climate change its important that your clients have the coverage they need to give them the peace of mind that comes with being protected from costly damage due to lightning strikes.

Conn.: New law expands wrong-way driving alert use

Last week, Gov. Ned Lamont signed legislation to expand the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s use of wrong-way driving alert systems on 120 additional exit ramps on state highways. The systems use cameras and bright red LED lights to detect and notify drivers that they are driving the wrong way. In 2022 Connecticut had 13 wrong-way driving accidents resulting in 23 deaths more than twice as many as in the prior two years combined. More than 80% if wrong way drivers in 2022 were under the influence of drugs or alcohol or otherwise impaired. The law also allows UConn to begin testing the use of wrong-way rumble strips and directs the CTDOT to start rolling out new electronic signs that can alert motorists that there may be a wrong-way driver on the road. The House and Senate approved Public Act 23-51 unanimously.

N.H.: State unemployment reaches new low

The New Hampshire Department of Employment Security announced that the state unemployment rate has reached a historic low of 1.9%. Gov. Chris Sununu issued a statement saying in part that “… New Hampshire is far and away the top state for families, employees, and businesses.”

N.J.: Pinelands forest fire contained

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service announced that it has completely contained the blaze in the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest in Burlington County. The Forest Fire Service warned smoke from the fire may remain visible for some time and drivers were urged to continue to watch out for blowing smoke. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, however, no structures were damaged, and no injuries have been reported. The NJFFS has stated that the fire burning in nearby Evesham Township has been 90% contained with no injuries or structures damaged.

N.Y.: Lawmakers pass legislation to overhaul 1847 law governing wrongful death damages … again

The Grieving Families Act passed both houses of the New York state Legislature in June 2023. It proposes sweeping changes to New York’s wrongful death statute, which has been on the books since 1847. Currently, under the law, compensable damages in wrongful death lawsuits are only limited to economic losses, not emotional losses. Among other things, this bill would permit the families of wrongful death victims to recover compensation for their emotional anguish. While the bill has garnered support for grieving families, the GFA also has faced opposition from Gov. Kathy Hochul, insurers, business groups and the medical community, who are all concerned about the bill’s potential impact on the state’s economy. 

N.Y. private-sector employment rises above national level

The New York State Department of Labor released its seasonally adjusted employment numbers last Thursday. The number of private-sector jobs increased by 31,000 in May—climbing 0.4% to 8,249,400. Private-sector jobs nationwide only increased by 0.2% over the same month and while the country’s overall unemployment rate increased, state wide unemployment decreased from 4.0% to 3.9%. Statewide the labor force also increased by 27,400—raising its participation rate from 60.8% to 61%. The net number of nonfarm jobs in New York state also increased by 30,400. Nonfarm jobs in the U.S. increased by nearly 340,000, and the number private-sector jobs increased nationwide by 283,000.

Vt.: Governor signs transportation bill into law

Gov. Phil Scott signed H.479, into law June 12. The law makes over $250 million in investments to the state’s infrastructure, including more than 450 miles of paving improvements, bicycle, pedestrian, and transportation alternatives projects across nearly 80 Vermont communities and historic funding for public transit. The law also invests nearly $30 million in efforts to reduce carbon emissions.


PIANJ efforts to advocate for insurance producers and their CE requirements pay off

For the last three years, PIANJ  has worked with the Department of Banking and Insurance to add amendments to the state’s insurance regulation to allow insurance producers to carry over continuing-education credits into a new licensing term, and other changes that would allow insurance producers to be rewarded for their dedication to their education. The association’s hard work has paid off—these finalized amendments were published in the New Jersey Register on June 19, 2023 and go into effect immediately. Under the finalized amendments to N.J.A.C. 11:17-3.6, the regulation will: allow producers to carry over up to 12 CE credits into a new licensing term; allow producers to use one insurance-fraud credit hour toward professional ethics requirements; and give CE instructors twice the approved credit hours for the courses they teach. PIANJ and representatives of the DOBI first met in 2020 to discuss whether to allow insurance producers to carry over a certain number of CE credits into a new licensing period. Since then, PIANJ worked closely with the DOBI to craft amendments that would reward producers aptly for their efforts to educate themselves. Three years later, PIANJ’s tireless efforts have come to fruition and these finalized amendments reflect that work.

N.Y.: 2023 PIANY legislative session review

The New York Legislature went into recess for 2023 when the Assembly adjourned in the early morning hours on June 9. While Assembly members have returned to the capitol this week to address a few outstanding items, for most bills June 9 marked the end of the legislative road in 2023. Looking back the 2023 legislative session, PIANY was successful in advancing many of the Association’s legislative priorities.


Get a better understanding of reinsurance

Summer is here. For many the summer is a chance to catch up on the to-do list that got longer and longer during the Spring. Here is one more thing. In case you missed it, earlier this year PIANJ Vice President Andrew Harris Jr., CIC, AAI, sat down with Jenn Paretchan from Guy Carpenter & Co. LLC for an immersive conversation about the nuts-and-bolts of reinsurance. The program is designed to help agents and broker get a better understanding of the inner workings of reinsurance and how it impacts the insurance industry and their clients. Now this informative session is available on-demand here: https://youtu.be/aHkeshxeuFM.  Check it out now!

Cyber security insurance—what your clients should know

With cyberattacks and data breaches becoming more common every year there are potentially billions of dollars at stake. Cyber security insurance is becoming increasingly popular with businesses that store customers’ private data online. Discussing the importance of being covered against losses due to a cyberattack can be crucial with commercial-lines clients. Find out what types of cyber security coverage are available to protect your client’s business from the costly consequences of a cyberattack.

Report: Usage-based auto insurance increases in popularity

With about one third of all auto insurance customers nationwide reporting increases in premiums usage-based insurance is growing in popularity, according to a recent report by J.D. Power. Despite auto insurance rates increasing by an average of 15.5% in the past year, insurers lost about $0.12 on every dollar they collected in premiums. Since 2016, participation in UBI programs has more than doubled and among new customers (26% are choosing some kind of UBI program). UBI programs still are in their infancy and there are some questions about how accurate the data collected by UBI technologies is at this early stage. However, among drivers participating in UBI programs, customer satisfaction is much higher than drivers with traditional coverage. Still, it is important for your clients to understand the privacy vs. savings issue of UBI usage.

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.: Help clients understand the high cost of care

If you are looking for a better way to explain the benefits of having proper life and health insurance to your clients, join instructor Richard Goolsby, CIC, for CISR LHE: Life & Health Essentials on Wednesday, June 28, 2023, starting at 8 a.m. Health insurance includes a diverse assortment of policies. In this webinar, Goolsby will help you be better prepared to answer questions about your client’s life insurance needs. This class has been approved for continuing-education credits in Connecticut (7 LH); New Jersey (7 GEN); and New York (7 C1, LA, LB, LSB, earn 1 additional CE credit with exam). Register today.


CTYIP Golf Open raises nearly $5,000 for charity

On Tuesday, June 20, 128 golfers and 40 featured sponsors participated in the CTYIP Golf Open to benefit Eli’s Garden of Healing. Over $4,660 was raised to provide urban greenspace to help community members heal from violent events in their lives.

WLA Pickleball Tournament is sold out, but join us for a great networking opportunity!

Calling all pickleball enthusiasts! We regret to inform you that the highly anticipated WLA Pickleball Tournament is officially sold out. However, don’t fret, because there are still fantastic networking opportunities awaiting you at this exciting event hosted by the PIANJ Women’s Leadership Alliance. On Thursday, June 29, join us at the Pickleball Palace, starting at 4 p.m., for an afternoon filled with camaraderie and connections. This is a great opportunity for you to engage with like-minded professionals and expand your network. Register today.

Register now

Thursday, June 29, 2023: PIANJ Women’s Leadership Alliance Pickleball Tournament

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

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

Save the date

Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023: CTYIP Awards Gala

Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023: Capital RAP

Share This