Weekly Dispatch: Sept. 14, 2023

September 14, 2023


FEMA designates first communities to receive targeted assistance for hazards resilience

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced the initial designation of 483 census tracts that will be eligible for increased federal support to become more resilient to natural hazards and extreme weather worsened by the climate crisis. Congress directed FEMA to make these designations in the Community Disaster Resilience Zones Act of 2022 and implement this bipartisan legislation to help build resilience to natural hazards in communities most at-risk due to climate change. Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont have areas that have been designated as Resilience Zones—see the map here.

Study: Autonomous vehicles reduce bodily injury, other claims

Findings revealed by a new study conducted by global reinsurer Swiss Re and automated driving company Waymo reveal that autonomous-vehicle technology reduced bodily injury claims frequency by 100% and property damage claims frequency by 76%.

Connecticut receives disaster declaration

Gov. Ned Lamont announced that he received notification from U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to inform him that his request has been approved for Connecticut to receive a federal agriculture disaster declaration due to the heavy rainfall that occurred in early July and caused significant flood damage to farms and crops statewide. This declaration means that farmers in all eight of the state’s counties can apply for federal disaster assistance from the Farm Service Agency, such as emergency loans, to cover production losses they experienced as a result of the severe weather event, provided that certain eligibility requirements are met.

N.J.: Zimmerman nominated as commissioner of the DOBI

Gov. Phil Murphy last week announced his nomination of Justin Zimmerman as commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance. As commissioner, Zimmerman would lead the department in regulating the banking, insurance, and real estate industries, as well as operate Get Covered New Jersey—the state’s official health insurance marketplace. Currently, Zimmerman serves as acting commissioner of the department, and he will continue to serve in his current role pending his confirmation by the state Senate.

N.J. secretary of state named as lieutenant governor

Gov. Murphy announced Secretary of State Tahesha L. Way as the next lieutenant governor of New Jersey. In a ceremony in the New Jersey Executive State House, Lt. Gov. Way was sworn into her new role, which she assumes after the unexpected passing of Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver on Aug. 1, 2023.

PIANY elects officers at annual business meeting

PIANY elected its full slate of officers during its annual business meeting on Tuesday in Albany, N.Y. Following are the new officers who will lead PIANY in 2023-24: President: Gary Slavin, CIC, CLTC, LUTCF. Slavin is financial services representative and investment adviser representative for MassMutual in East Hills. President-elect: Richard Andrews, LUTCF. Andrews is owner/principal of Andrews Agency in Ithaca. First vice president: Jason Bartow, AAI, CPIA. Bartow is executive vice president of Eugene A. Bartow Insurance Agency in Deer Park. Vice president: Michael Loguercio Jr. Loguercio is a producer for the Atlantic Agency in Riverhead. Treasurer: Raymond Gillis Sr., FIC, FICF. Gillis is president of Fire Mark Insurance in Cobleskill. Secretary: Jorge Hernandez. Hernandez is owner of North Franklin Brokerage Inc., in Hempstead.

PIANY names board of directors for 2023-24

PIANY re-elected the following individuals to its board of directors during its annual business meeting this week. They will serve a three-year term expiring in 2026: Eric Cohen, Benefit Quest Inc./Eric Cohen Insurance, New York; Justin Fries, Garber, Atlas Fries & Associates, Oceanside; Jorge Hernandez, North Franklin Brokerage Inc., Hempstead; Michael Loguercio, Atlantic Agency, Riverhead; and Richard Signorelli, Azby Brokerage, Bronx. Newly elected for a three-year term expiring in 2026 are the following individuals: Edward Chadwick, Jencap Specialty Insurance Services in Buffalo; and Marshall Glass, Iroquois Group in Astoria.

USDA designates Vermont as natural disaster area

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack has approved Gov. Phil Scott’s request for a Secretarial Disaster Designation in response to July’s historic flooding, which impacted thousands of acres of Vermont farmland. This comes on the heels of a widespread frost event in May, and is the second disaster declaration, emphasizing the difficult growing season that Vermont’s farmers have faced this year.


N.Y.: New laws increase protections for workers

Last week, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation (S.1161-A/A.2034-A) to increase the minimum benefits for workers’ compensation to better protect low wage workers who are injured and cannot work. This piece of legislation provides minimum benefits for permanent or temporary partial disability to be increased to $275 in 2024, increased to $325 in 2025, and increased to one-fifth of the state average weekly wage in 2026. At the same time, the governor also signed bills into law that: prohibit employers from disciplining employees who opt not to participate in meetings on political and religious matters (S.4982/A.6604); and allows prosecutors to seek stronger penalties against employers who steal wages from workers (S.2832-A/A.154-A).

Vermont: New rules for out-of-state car registrations

As of July 1, 2023, Vermont has new requirements or vehicle registrations using an out-of-state address or a power of attorney. The state no longer accepts out-of-state car registrations unless the owners can prove that they are not required to register their cars in their home states—using a new certification form (VN-102).


Industry faces average annual catastrophe losses of $133B

September is national preparedness month, and it looks like preparedness will be paramount in the upcoming years. According to the 2023 Global Modeled Catastrophe Losses Report published by Verisk, he global modeled insured average annual loss from natural catastrophes is $133 billion—a new high captured in the latest analysis using Verisk’s extreme event solutions models. Not only should the insurance industry be prepared to experience total insured losses from natural catastrophes well in excess of $100 billion every year, but annual losses greater than $200 billion also are plausible. These values are up significantly over the decade.

Expect second-consecutive year of E&S underwriting profits

Expectations for the U.S. excess-and-surplus market are for better growth and underwriting results than the total U.S. property/casualty insurance industry for a second-consecutive year in 2023, according to Fitch Ratings. The U.S. E&S market recorded its fifth-consecutive year of double-digit growth in 2022 and increased its share of the total U.S. P/C insurance industry to nearly 9%. E&S direct written premiums have increased for the last 12 years with direct statutory premiums written reaching $91 billion in 2022. Historically, the E&S market accounted for a steady 5% of the total p/c market before growth really took off beginning in 2018. The risk appetite of admitted carriers has been challenged over the past several years given rising loss costs spurred by an inflationary environment as well as above-average catastrophe losses. As a result, harder-to-place or volatile accounts come to the E&S market given its fewer constraints in pricing and policy form. This flexibility fosters more innovative, tailored underwriting of unique or complex exposures. Do you need help finding hard-to-place markets? PIA Northeast members can access PIA MarketBase.

N.H.: ISO bases of premium revised

For premium computation purposes—in the ISO New Hampshire General Liability manual (Rule 24–Bases Of Premium)—the fixed payroll for executive officers, individuals and partners is increased from $41,800 to $48,400, effective Friday, Dec. 1, 2023.

Educating insurance agents

N.Y.: Classes that meet the New York State Department of Financial Services’ most recent CE requirements are available online and in private on-site sessions.

Ethics and E&O loss control

Today’s insurance professionals must think through each conflict situation—bearing in mind the codes of expected behavior, ethical guidelines, current insurance regulations and exposures to professional liability. To help you get a leg up, attend the webinar: Professional Ethics and E&O Loss Control for Insurance and Risk Management Professionals^FF^UN, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, starting at 10 a.m. In this course, Bettye Hutchison, CRM, CIC, CPCU, ARM, CPIA, AAI, TRIP, will explain ethical concepts, insurance regulations and insurance agents’ errors-and-omissions exposures. This course has been approved for continuing-education credits in Connecticut (3 LRE), New Hampshire (3 Ethics PROD), New Jersey (3 GEN), and New York (3 BR, C1, C3, LA, LB, LSB, PA, PC). It has been submitted for CE credits in Vermont. ^FF^UN–This course has been approved for E&O loss-prevention credit by Fireman’s Fund and Utica National. Call the PIA E&O Department for details.


PIANH Symposium & Wine Tasting: Knowledge and networking, register today

The PIANH Symposium & Wine Tasting—which will be held Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at The One Hundred Club–Portsmouth, from 2-7 p.m.—will be designed for insurance professionals who crave insights, connections, and a touch of libations. During the event, participants can join an engaging panel discussion Dive into the Lifecycle of an E&O Claim, which will explore the nuances of claims, provide invaluable insights, and offer insurance professionals the chance to earn 3 Producer PROD CEUs, and E&O loss prevention credit from Utica National and Fireman’s Fund. Afterward, attendees will be able to unwind with a wine tasting while they savor a curated wine-tasting experience with special guest NHID Commissioner Chris Nicolopoulos, who is scheduled to attend. Register today.

NY-YIP Fall Reception in NYC

Join NY-YIP for its Fall Reception on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at the chic Resolution 39, New York, from 6-9 p.m. This soirée will be your exclusive chance to immerse yourself among industry leaders to foster meaningful connections, which are bound to inspire new heights. While you connect with your fellow insurance professionals, you will sip on sophistication with an open bar serving your favorite libations, and delight in delectable light appetizers throughout the event. Register today.


N.Y.: Supplement spousal liability: A history

Strangely, the legal concept of spousal liability has been in the news recently. This is due to a recent change in New York state law that will now require all auto insurance policies issued in the state to provide coverage for supplemental spousal liability—unless a policyholder opts out of the coverage. When learning about this change most people react one of two ways: “What is this coverage?” or “Wait! I wasn’t covered for my spouse’s actions already.” For a look at how this new law will affect your clients, including a Q&A of the most common questions PIANY has been fielding, see the related article on PIA Northeast News & Media. To help you understand more about this issue, PIANY Director of Government & Industry Affairs Bradford J. Lachut, Esq., has recorded a new installment of The Break on this issue.

Register now

Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023: 2023 PIANH Symposium

Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023: NY-YIP Midtown Soirée

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

Save the date

Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023: NY-YIP Capital RAP Welcome Reception

Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023: Capital RAP—Interested in sponsoring, exhibiting or advertising?

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023: NJYIP Holiday Reception

Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023: NY-YIP Holiday Social in NYC

Wednesday, May 8, 2024: NJYIP Golf Open

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