Weekly Dispatch: Aug. 10, 2023

August 10, 2023


IBM report: Half of breached organizations unwilling to increase security spending despite soaring breach costs

IBM Security has released its annual Cost of a Data Breach Report, which shows the global average cost of a data breach has reached $4.45 million in 2023—an all-time high for the report and a 15% increase over the last three years. Detection and escalation costs jumped 42% over this same time frame, representing the highest portion of breach costs, and indicating a shift toward more complex breach investigations. According to the report, businesses are divided in how they plan to handle the increasing cost and frequency of data breaches. The study found that while 95% of studied organizations have experienced more than one breach, breached organizations were more likely to pass incident costs onto consumers (57%) than to increase security investments (51%). 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.

No easy fix on the horizon for M&A and talent challenges

There are many outstanding questions about what the coming months may bring for the independent agent given the economic uncertainty over the last 18 months. The merger and acquisitions world wants to be able to answer the following: Will M&A activity pick up steam in the coming months? Will the broader economic labor shortage and insurance industry specific talent crisis resolve itself or at a minimum, improve? While no one knows for sure what the future will bring, there are some positive trends that could signal return to normal agency growth.

CSU forecasters stress latest hurricane forecast is uncertain

Colorado State University hurricane researchers continue to call for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, despite the development of a robust El Niño. Sea surface temperatures averaged across the tropical and subtropical Atlantic are at record warm levels. Normally, El Niño reduces Atlantic hurricane activity, while an extremely warm Atlantic increases hurricane activity, so how these diametrically opposing factors interact will determine exactly how much activity occurs in 2023. Given the conflicting signals between a likely moderate/strong El Niño and a much warmer-than-normal tropical and subtropical Atlantic, the team stresses that there is more uncertainty than normal with this outlook. To keep up with the season, PIA Northeast members can check out PIA’s Hurricane Info Central, which has resources to help your clients and your agency during the hurricane season. If you’d like to send customized materials to your clients, email PIA’s Design & Print.

N.H.: Sununu signs law to introduce comprehensive pet insurance regulations for consumers

Gov. Chris Sununu signed H.B.249 into law, which establishes pet insurance regulations in New Hampshire. The law, based on model legislation from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, offers enhanced protection to consumers in the growing pet insurance industry. The law sets clear definitions for terms used in pet insurance policies, such as chronic conditions, pre-existing conditions, and wellness programs. Insurance companies must adhere to these definitions when dealing with consumer policies.

New York announces funds to advance electric vehicle adoption, integration

Gov. Kathy Hochul recently announced a $12 million initiative to support the development and demonstration of innovative, replicable solutions that advance electric vehicle adoption and the integration of electric vehicles with the electric grid. The initiative also seeks to support novel demonstrations of medium- and heavy-duty electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies. In addition to supporting the state’s transition to zero-emission vehicles by 2035, the announcement advances the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act requirements to achieve a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040 and reduce emissions 85% by 2050.

Vt: Business Emergency Gap Assistance Program open

Gov. Phil Scott and the Vermont Department of Economic Development last week announced the opening of the Business Emergency Gap Assistance Program. This $20 million grant program is intended to help businesses and nonprofits restore, reopen, and bring their employees back to work after suffering physical damages to their property beginning on July 7, 2023, when severe storms swept into Vermont.


Report: Inflation, high CAT losses to lead to 2023 underwriting loss for property/casualty industry

According to a new report by the Insurance Information Institute and Milliman, the overall property/casualty industry is forecast to finish 2023 with a net combined ratio at 102.2, nearly identical to the final 2022 result of 102.4. Poor personal-lines underwriting performance is the key driver in both years, with personal auto forecast at 109.5 in 2023.

When dogs have more than a bark

The laws and regulations governing dog-bite liability are far from uniform and differ by city, county and state. Dog ownership factors prominently in the realm of homeowners insurance, and insurers approach the issue differently. Typically, states approach the dog-bite issue with some combination of specific dog-bite statutes, the one-bite rule and negligence laws. For a rundown of the dog-bite laws in Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont, PIA Northeast members can access When dogs have more than a bark in the PIA QuickSource library.

N.Y.: Revised WC loss costs take effect Oct. 1, 2023

In May, an application for an overall loss cost decrease of 2.6% was submitted to the New York Department of Financial Services by the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board. The DFS approved the application as filed with an effective date of Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023. There is no change in deductible premium credits and the Workers Compensation Security Fund surcharge (remaining at 0%). However, the United States Longshore and Harbor Workers Coverage percentage is changed from 76.6% to 90.4%. For a detailed analysis of the individual classifications, terrorism and catastrophe, loss cost multipliers, assessments and more, see the related article on PIA Northeast News & Media.

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.

Satisfy N.Y. CE requirements on ethics, law and inclusion

John Fear, CPIA, CISR, will instruct Ethics, Law, and Inclusion: How We Do What We Do, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. As part of the licensing requirements for insurance producers, the DFS has mandated continuing-education classes for ethics and professionalism, insurance law and inclusion, diversity and the elimination of bias for client interactions. While these elements are the foundation to how insurance producers already do business, this webinar will help attendees become more conscientiously competent with each of these elements. This class has been approved for CE in New York (3 BR, C1, C3, LA, LB, LSB, PA, PC—approved for the state’s regulations for flood insurance; insurance law; ethics & professionalism; diversity, inclusion and the elimination of bias). It has been submitted for CE credits in Connecticut and New Jersey.

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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

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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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