Weekly Dispatch: June 29, 2023

June 29, 2023


Happy Fourth of July from PIA Northeast

PIA wishes you a happy and safe Fourth of July. PIA Northeast’s headquarters will be closed July 3 and July 4 in observance of the holiday—and the next Weekly Dispatch will be distributed Thursday, July 13, 2023. In the meantime, you still can access industry-specific updates on PIA Northeast News & Media, and on PIA Northeast’s Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter social-media channels.

Business interruption coverage for your clients as wildfires become more commonplace

For decades, wildfires have been synonymous with California, as the Golden State has experienced some of the most devastating wildfires in our nation’s history. However, in recent years, wildfires have extended past California and now threaten other regions within the United States and its borders. Never was this more apparent than on June 7, 2023, when the Northeast and other parts of the United States were ravaged by billowing smoke, hazy skies, and particulate matter so dense, the slightest inhale caused sinus and respiratory sensitivities. The raging Canadian wildfires were responsible for the cancellation or postponement of outdoor activities throughout New York state, including athlet8ic events, concerts, and plays—and New York City even made history that day by recording the planet’s worst air quality index! The increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires exacerbated by factors like climate change, human activity and drought have had a devastating impact on businesses. That is why insurance products, such as business interruption insurance, can provide the necessary protection for businesses affected by wildfires. You can start a conversion with your insureds about this important coverage by sharing Wildfire and business interruption coverage with them.

Analysis shows U.S. insurers were hit hardest by inflation

According to a new briefing by the Insurance Information Institute and the International Insurance Society, insurers in the U.S. have paid more than any other country to rebuild damaged properties since 2018. Increases in property replacement costs outpaced staggeringly high inflation rates faster in the U.S. than in the E.U., the U.K., Japan, Korea, or Canada in those five years.

The state of global M&A

Starting with the COVID-19 shutdowns, the economic landscape has changed drastically over the last few years leading to higher costs for goods, an extremely tight labor market and the world being flooded with cash, all of which, combined with a variety of other factors, has led to staggering inflation. To combat this record inflation, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates from near zero to north of 5%. While some believe interest rate hikes have peaked, the truth is, that is only an educated guess—which is still just a guess. M&A activity, much like the rest of our economy, is greatly influenced (positively or negatively) by interest rate changes. Higher interest rates make transactions more expensive. The purchase of independent insurance agencies is no exception. So, what does this mean for independent agents? Can they simply adjust to the changes and continue pursuing their M&A strategies, or should they pause outright? Are there even attractive deals out there? Some incredible opportunities remain for agents who consider the bigger picture.

Wedding insurance—what your clients should know

Summer is officially here, which means wedding season for many couples across the country. But with the average couple spending about $30,000 on their special day, insurance professionals can help to offer peace of mind to their clients by discussing the security insurance provides if something goes wrong. Looking for information you can share with your clients about this topical insurance protection? You can access a related article on PIA Northeast News & Media, which discusses the types of coverage available, what is covered and when to buy.

Conn./N.J./N.Y.: States release funds to improve water infrastructure and` decrease flooding

In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont announced he will use money from Connecticut’s Clean Water Fund for a pilot program to address sewage overflows in the homes and streets of the North Hartford neighborhood. North Hartford residents continue to be impacted by chronic overflows due to more frequent and intense rainstorms caused by the acceleration of climate change. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy recently awarded $7 million in grants to enhance stormwater management and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that New York’s Environmental Facilities Corporation Board of Directors has approved $66 million to upgrade the state’s water and sewer systems. Murphy and Hochul hope the improvements will help to create jobs and reduce flooding threats, as well as help fix their states’ aging and overburdened water and sewer infrastructures.

Vt.: Gov. Scott requests disaster designation

Gov. Phil Scott is requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture issue a disaster designation for the state after freezing temperatures caused devastation during the growing season. Experts say it’s the worst damage caused by freezing temperatures in nearly 25 years as temperatures dropped below freezing in every region of the state. Insurance claims are unlikely to cover total business losses as many growers are either uninsured or underinsured.


Menendez and Cassidy introduce NFIP Reauthorization Bill

Recently, Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., introduced bipartisan legislation that would reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program for five years and make several changes to the program. The National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2023 has a House companion bill, which is sponsored by Reps. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Clay Higgins, R-La. The act includes several key improvements to the NFIP, including designating a seat for a PIA representative on the new agent advisory council. However, the bill still includes a near 7.5% reduction in the Write-Your-Own reimbursement rate that could lead to drastic cuts in agent commissions. PIA continues to urge Congress to pass a long-term reauthorization without devaluing the expertise of independent agents.

Conn.: PIACT top legislative priority—nonadmitted market process—passes state Legislature

The top legislative priority for PIACT—during the 2023 legislative session—was the passage of legislation that would make small, but critical changes to the process for placing insurance policies in the nonadmitted marketplace. That legislation, H.B.6621, successful passed the Connecticut Legislature earlier this month. PIACT has advocated on this issue for several sessions, and the legislation has evolved over time. The original goal was to exclude certain surpluss-lines transactions from the diligent-effort requirement. To that end, PIACT drafted legislation, found sponsors and it had the bill introduced during the 2022 legislative session. Unfortunately, the bill faced opposition from the Connecticut Insurance Department. PIACT and the CID compromised with the passage of H.B.6621, which still would require insurance producers to make a diligent effort to place business in the admitted market, but the requirement to prepare a signed statement and submit it to the CID has been removed. Instead, insurance producers would be required to keep on file documentation concerning the diligent effort made to procure the insurance and information concerning each policy placed in the surplus-lines market. This bill will now be sent to Gov. Ned Lamont for his consideration. If signed, the bill would go into effect on Sunday, Oct. 1, 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.

N.Y.: Making the most of the NYAIP

Join Mishell K. Magnusson, CIC, CISR, CPIA, AAI, FIPC, for a webinar New York Auto Insurance Plan (NYAIP) Producer Procedures Course–4 Credits, on Tuesday, July 11, 2023, starting at 9 a.m. This class will discuss the ins-and-outs of the New York Automobile Insurance Plan. It also will concentrate on the most common situations that independent agents may encounter when they handle Plan business. Magnusson also will discuss how insurance producers can achieve a quality product in the Plan. This class is available for continuing-education credits in New York (4 BR, C3, PA, PC).

Register now

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

Thursday, July 27, 2023: NJYIP Summer Reception

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

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

Monday, Oct. 2, 2023: PIANJ WLA, TPC Jasna Polana Neo-Classical Villa Tour

Save the date

Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023: CTYIP Awards Gala

Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023: Capital RAP

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023: NJYIP Holiday Reception

Wednesday, May 8, 2024: NJYIP Golf Open

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