Weekly Dispatch: Aug. 3, 2023

August 3, 2023


Extreme weather affects where insurers write business

Farmers Insurance is the latest insurance company to cease writing auto, home and umbrella policies in Florida. The company cites the growing threat of extreme weather. In a statement to CBS Miami, a company spokesperson said, “The business decision was necessary to effectively manage risk exposure.” This is a continuing trend among insurance companies. Recently, State Farm announced that it will stop writing insurance policies in California.

CID notice reminds producers about the importance of privacy

A recent data breach that involved a third-party provider prompted the Connecticut Insurance Department to issue a consumer notice about potential identity theft. PIA Northeast offers members access to its Privacy Compliance Central, which can help members obtain information on both federal and state-specific rules that require action by insurance professionals to ensure proper compliance.

N.J.: Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver has passed away

Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver’s family has announced that she passed away on Tuesday. Pursuant to the state constitution, New Jersey Senate President Nicholas Scutari is serving as acting governor as Gov. Phil Murphy is currently traveling out of the country with his family. Gov. Murphy issued a statement about Oliver’s passing.

N.J. submits request for FEMA major disaster declaration

Gov. Murphy last week sent a letter to President Joe Biden to request a major disaster declaration for New Jersey. If accepted, the declaration will allow the federal government to provide aid to New Jersey and Warren County, which experienced the worst impacts from storms that hit the state on July 15, 2023. In the month of July, New Jersey experienced several storms that caused severe flooding, landslides, and damage to roadways and infrastructure—particularly in the inland areas of Warren County—resulting in severe damage to roads, stormwater management systems, homes, vehicles, businesses, public facilities, and other critical infrastructure.

N.Y.: State shuts down unlicensed cannabis stores

Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York Attorney General Letitia James and the Office of Cannabis Management earlier this week shut down seven unlicensed cannabis dispensaries in Cayuga, Oswego, and Wayne counties that were also illegally selling cannabis to underage customers, utilizing new enforcement powers granted to the attorney general by legislation signed into law by the governor as part of the FY24 Enacted Budget. The unlicensed dispensary chain, “I’m Stuck” has eight locations across Cayuga, Monroe, Oswego, and Wayne counties and is selling cannabis without the proper authorization from OCM. In addition to making illicit retail sales, “I’m Stuck” processed and packaged cannabis products without a license, creating significant health risks to consumers. The chain’s owner, David Tulley, ignored repeated notices and OCM orders to stop selling cannabis without a license at his “I’m Stuck” stores, and investigators from the Office of the Attorney General also observed store clerks selling cannabis products to underage customers on multiple occasions. In addition to shutting down Tulley’s stores, Attorney General James and OCM seek penalties from Tulley, his companies, and the building owners where his stores are located for allowing an unlawful business to operate on their properties. Tulley could be fined millions of dollars in penalties because of the action.

Vt.: DFR: Beware of flood-related scams, additional counties now qualify for disaster assistance

The Department of Financial Regulation has issued a warning to consumers to be on alert for potential insurance-related and investment frauds and scams following the recent flood event in Vermont. Natural disasters like floods can give rise to financial scams because bad actors take advantage of times of vulnerability. Early estimates predict that the flood losses in the state could total hundreds of millions of dollars. Vermonters should be on the lookout for opportunistic financial scams and report any suspected or known fraud to DFR as soon as possible. PIA members have access to recent flood-related information through the PIA Flood Insurance Tool Kit. Additionally, Orange and Caledonia counties have been added to the federal individual assistance disaster declaration that recently was signed by President Biden.


PIA calls for agents to support Cannabis Safe Harbor bill

Earlier this year, the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (S.1323/H.R.2891), was reintroduced in each chamber by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Congressman David Joyce, R-Ohio, respectively. PIA strongly supports this legislation, which would protect insurance agents and carriers from the possibility of federal prosecution for providing insurance to cannabis-related entities in states where cannabis is legal. Initially conceived as a banking-specific bill, the SAFE Banking Act now includes insurance protections for agents, brokers and insurers. PIA has been a leading advocate in the protection of insurance agents from federal prosecution for doing business with cannabis-related enterprises in states where such businesses are legal. Most states have legalized cannabis use to some degree. PIA asks it members to send messages to their legislative representatives to support the SAFE Banking Act.

Main Street Tax Certainty Act reintroduced in U.S. House

Congressman Lloyd Smucker, R-Penn., introduced H.R.4721, the “Main Street Tax Certainty Act of 2023,” which would make permanent the 20% tax deduction currently available to some passthrough entities. PIA supports this legislation. PIA successfully advocated for the 2017 tax law (Public Law No. 115-97) to apply to insurance agents, allowing those organized as subchapter S corporations, also known as “passthrough” organizations, to receive more favorable tax treatment. The law added Section 199A to the tax code, establishing a tax deduction for qualifying small-business owners. Many PIA member agencies are organized as S corporations and have benefited from the eased tax burden resulting from the Section 199A deduction. However, while the tax relief provided through the 2017 tax law to entities organized as C corporations was made permanent, the passthrough deduction is only temporary and will sunset after Dec. 31, 2025. This means that eligible PIA members will no longer receive the current tax benefit after that date without congressional action. By making this tax deduction permanent for passthrough corporations, the Main Street Tax Certainty Act will provide a stable and predictable future in the tax liability of eligible passthrough corporations. PIA asks its members to send messages to their legislative representatives to support the Main Street Tax Certainty Act.


Triple-I: Workers’ compensation insurers show strength

U.S. workers’ compensation insurers were able to underwrite profitably between 2019 and 2022 even as significant changes occurred in the nation’s workforce due to the pandemic, according to the Insurance Information Institute. “The line’s underwriting profitability for private carriers represented by the combined ratio remains strong,” stated the Triple-I Issues Brief, Workers Compensation: State of the Risk, citing data dating back nearly a decade. “Combined ratio represents claims and expenses paid divided by premiums collected. A combined ratio below 100 represents an underwriting profit and one above 100 represents a loss.” Workers’ compensation insurance pays for the medical care and physical rehabilitation of injured workers and helps to replace lost wages while they are unable to work. State laws govern the amount of the benefits paid and other compensation provisions. In addition, while private insurers account for much of the nation’s workers’ compensation insurance market share, a few states, like New York and California, have governmental agencies which compete with them.

N.Y.: Record number of workers used PFL in 2022

Recently, Gov. Hochul announced that a record number of workers used New York’s landmark paid family leave program to bond with their children or care for a seriously ill family member in 2022. The data, available on the Department of Financial Services’ interactive database, shows that the overall utilization rate, number of men taking paid paternity leave every year, and the average length of time off have all increased every year during the first five years of the program.

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.

PIA Northeast offers webinar on ethics and E&O

Join Cathy Trischan, CPCU, CIC, CRM, AU, AAI, CRIS, ARM, MLIS, TRIP, for Ethical Issues in E&O^FF^UN, on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, starting at 9 a.m. This webinar will explore the relationship between ethics and the choices insurance producers make to protect their agencies against errors-and-omissions claims. This course will discuss the ethical responsibilities of insurance producers and the different approaches to decision making. Trischan will help participants answer the question: Is the best ethical decision always the best E&O decision? She will examine some of the situations agents face from ethical and E&O perspectives, and she will discuss specific measures that agents can take. This course has been approved for continuing-education credits in Connecticut (3 LRE); New Hampshire (3 Ethics PROD); New Jersey (3 ETH); New York (3 BR, C1, C3, LA, LB, LSB, PA, PC); and Vermont (3 Ethics). ^FF^UN–It also has been approved for E&O loss prevention credit by Fireman’s Fund and Utica National.


PIANH 2023 Symposium: Networking, wine, panel discussion on a real-life E&O case

Be a part of PIANH’s 2023 Symposium, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at the OneHundred Club, Portsmouth, N.H. The event will kick off with a panel discussion: From Cradle to Court: The Lifecycle of an E&O Claim, moderated by PIANH’s Director of Government & Industry Affairs, Bradford J. Lachut, Esq. The case at the heart of the discussion, 101 Ocean Blvd. v. Foy Insurance Group, set a new standard of care for insurance producers in the Granite State. Learn how that case impacts you and how to protect yourself from an errors-and-omissions claim. This panel discussion will feature the defendant and defense counsel from the case who will talk about their experiences with the case, which went to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Attendees will hear about how the account was sold and serviced, all the way to the final resolution of the case, and everything in between. This session has been submitted for continuing-education credits, and it has been approved for E&O loss prevention credit by Utica National. After the panel discussion, there will be networking opportunities with a wine tasting. Watch future editions of the Weekly Dispatch for more details and sponsorship opportunities.

Next week: 30th Anniversary NY-YIP Golf Open

Join NY-YIP for its 30th Anniversary NY-YIP Golf Open, Monday, Aug. 7, 2023, at Mill River Club, Oyster Bay, N.Y. This is one of the largest industry golf events in the state. It will include 18 holes of golf (scramble format), brunch, lunch, cocktail hour, and awards dinner. Register today.


PIA’s Market Trends Survey is back

PIA Northeast needs your input to gauge how current market conditions are affecting professional insurance agents. Take a moment to participate in PIA’s 2023 Market Trends Survey, which asks you six questions about how current market trends—in personal auto, personal homeowners, commercial property, and commercial liability—are affecting you and your clients. PIA Northeast last conducted this survey in 2018. Your input will allow us to track the trends of the marketplace. Share this link with everyone in your agency and encourage them to take the survey, And, don’t forget to share your comments with us.

Register now

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

Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023: Cocktails & Connections: Summer Edition

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

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

Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023: CTYIP Awards Gala—Register before Friday, Sept 1, 2023, and save

Save the date

Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023: 2023 PIANH Symposium

Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023: Capital RAP

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023: NJYIP Holiday Reception

Wednesday, May 8, 2024: NJYIP Golf Open

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