Weekly Dispatch: Sept. 21, 2023

September 21, 2023


Stay competitive with modern benefits

Employers who want to have an engaging workplace, attract and retain top talent, and reduce workforce burnout must evolve with the needs and wants of their workforce. Gone are the days when an employer can focus only on reducing workplace stress to address burnout. Looking at the employee as a whole person creates a loyal, engaged workforce and reduces burnout in the workplace. Agency owners need to offer a full suite of benefits catered to a multigenerational workforce that fits with their budget. Benefit costs can range from minimal to higher costs for the employer, but keep in mind that the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training a new employee is significantly higher than retaining an employee—not to mention the institutional knowledge that is lost and potential loss of clients when an employee leaves.

N.H.: Major disaster declaration granted for July flooding

Earlier this week, Gov. Chris Sununu announced that President Joe Biden granted his request for a major disaster declaration in response to severe flooding in the month of July that resulted in significant costs to local communities. The counties included in the declaration are Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Coos and Sullivan. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, working with state and local emergency management officials, recently completed a Preliminary Damage Assessment, which find that the statewide cost for response efforts related to this event totaled $8,588,764. The declaration allows communities in the five counties to move forward with seeking federal funding assistance.

New York state unveils plan to combat car thefts

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a series of targeted actions to combat the high number of car thefts—particularly of certain Kia and Hyundai model vehicles—in counties across New York state called the Comprehensive Auto-Theft Reduction Strategy. These actions include fast-tracking $50 million for law enforcement technology and equipment, $5 million to enhance youth justice alternatives and diversion programming for teenagers and young adults, directing the State Police and Division of Criminal Justice Services to implement new enforcement efforts, supporting local district attorneys in the prosecution of car thefts and other crimes, and launching a public engagement campaign to target vulnerable car owners.

PIANY first vice president featured in insurance rates article

Subscription-based Newsday has been running a series of articles on how homeowners and auto insurance premiums have been increasing. In a recent article, PIANY First Vice President Jason Bartow, AAI, CPIA, who is executive vice president of Eugene A. Bartow Insurance Agency in Deer Park, discussed how various factors (e.g., frequency and severity of storms, the cost of supplies, high-tech gadgets in cars, and the volatility of Wall Street) have affected the homeowners and auto insurance premiums. For more information on the hard market, agents can access the following articles on PIA Northeast News & Media: Premiums on the rise: What to do about it; and Hard market and adverse actions. For more articles, log on to PIA Northeast News & Media, and select the “hard market” tag.


Conn.: Minimum wage will increase in January

Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday announced that beginning on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, Connecticut’s minimum wage will increase from the current rate of $15 per hour to $15.69 per hour because of the state’s first-ever economic indicator adjustment. This newly enacted adjustment is required under a state law Lamont signed in 2019 (Public Act 19-4), which implemented five incremental increases in the minimum wage between 2019 and 2023, followed by future adjustments that are tied to the percentage change in the federal employment cost index. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, and occurring annually each Jan. 1 thereafter, the state’s minimum wage will be adjusted according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s calculation of the employment cost index for the 12-month period ending on June 30 of the preceding year. The law requires the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor to review this percentage change and then announce any adjustments by Oct. 15 of each year. The minimum wage adjustments become effective on the next Jan. 1.

N.Y.: Statewide pay transparency law now in effect

New York’s pay transparency law took effect on Sunday. The legislation, which Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law last year, requires businesses across New York state with four or more employees to include compensation ranges in all advertisements for job, promotion, and transfer opportunities.


Bill to remove FIO’s subpoena power introduced in Congress

Rep. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Wis., introduced H.R.5535, with PIA’s strong support on Sept. 18, 2023. This legislation would reform the Federal Insurance Office—an unnecessary federal bureaucracy created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. It is PIA’s position that insurance should be regulated by state authorities, not the federal government. The state insurance oversight regime has benefited consumers and industry for over a century. Plus, the FIO’s duties are duplicative of other state or federal government powers. Since its creation, which PIA opposed, the FIO’s mandate has continued to expand. For instance, the Biden administration issued an Executive Order in 2021 to direct the FIO to assess climate risks to carriers and identify possible sources of coverage disruption in areas prone to weather-related loss events. In furtherance of that directive, the FIO has announced plans to issue a granular data call on climate-related insurance risks.


Report: U.S. p/c industry records $24.5B underwriting loss

The U.S. property/casualty industry recorded a $24.5 billion net underwriting loss in the first half of 2023, nearly eclipsing the $26.5 billion in total losses recorded for all of 2022, according to a new AM Best report. According to the report, the personal-lines segment—specifically the homeowners line of business—was primarily responsible for the decline in underwriting results. Personal-lines losses contributed to the industry’s combined ratio deterioration to 104.5. AM Best estimates that catastrophe losses accounted for 9.6 points on the six-month 2023 combined ratio. The $24.5 billion loss in the first half of 2023 compares with a $6.6 billion loss recorded for the same prior year period, and it underscores the ongoing headwinds such as rising loss costs, above average catastrophe activity, and adverse trends in personal auto, that U.S. p/c insurers face.

N.J.: Liability for business and rental owners

Last August, a new law was signed that requires business owners and rental owners to maintain certain liability insurance policies. It requires business owners to purchase liability insurance in an amount not less than $500,000 for combined property damage and bodily injury to or death of one or more persons in any one accident or occurrence. Owners of multifamily homes with four or fewer units are required to maintain liability insurance in an amount not less than $300,000. Business or rental owners need to file a certificate of insurance demonstrating compliance with this insurance requirement with the local municipality in which the business or rental unit is located. Municipalities are permitted to charge a filing fee, as well as fine business or rental units, up to $5,000, that do not comply. Recently, Bradford J. Lachut, Esq., director of government & industry affairs for PIANJ, recorded a video that discusses what you need to know about this law.

NYCIRB posts 2023 WC Forum presentations

At the 2023 Workers’ Compensation Forum, the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board presented the 2023 State of the System Report and the 2023 Research Brief. These items, and others, may be viewed at the rating board’s website. Video recordings of those and other presentations made at the 2023 Forum will be posted to the Rating Board’s website soon.

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.

Conn./N.J./N.Y.: Factors affect business development plans

PIANJ Vice President Beth Frederickson, CPIA, will lead the 2021-2023 CPIA 1: Position for Success webinar on Thursday, Sep. 28, 2023, starting at 8 a.m. During this program, participants will be encouraged to focus on internal and external factors that affect the development of effective business development plans. Factors that will be discussed include: a review of the state of the insurance marketplace; an analysis of competitive pressures; the necessary insurance carrier underwriting criteria; and consumer expectations and understanding. Throughout each section of the workshop material, tips for preventing errors and omissions will be highlighted and discussed. This webinar has been approved for continuing-education credits in Connecticut (2 LRE, 5 PC), New Jersey (7 GEN), and New York (7 BR, C1, C3, LA, LB, LSB, PA, PC).


PIANY elects officers at annual business meeting

PIANY elected its full slate of officers during its annual business meeting last week 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. See photos from the event here.

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: PIANY Capital RAP—Interested in sponsoring, exhibiting or advertising?

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023: NJYIP Holiday Reception

Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024: PIANY MetroRAP

Wednesday, May 8, 2024: NJYIP Golf Open

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