Weekly Dispatch: Jan. 4, 2024

January 4, 2024


PIA Northeast wishes you a happy new year

Happy new year, one and all. 2023 is now behind us, and 2024 comes with the urge to reflect while looking forward to the future. The new year comes with plenty of opportunities, and taking the time to look back at your accomplishments and struggles will give you clarity you need to plan for future. This year can be your year with some grounded planning and honest reflection.

N.Y.: PIA-priority ‘bait-and-switch’ bill signed into law

After years of advocacy from PIA, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed into law a bill to protect auto insurance consumers from “bait-and-switch” tactics. This bill was signed on Dec. 22, 2023, and it will go into effect on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Bait and switch refers to the practice by some carriers that bind personal automobile policy coverage based on an initial quote and questionnaire with the insured, and then raise the premium following a check of the insured’s driving history. PIA is opposed to this practice due to its predatory nature, and this law bans the practice. PIANY applauds Gov. Hochul for signing this bill into law, and thanks Sen. Neil Breslin, D-44, and Assemblyman David Weprin, D-24, for their support during the legislative session.

New Jersey responds to growing climate related flood risks

Due to climate change, New Jersey’s flood risks are growing. In response, the state has announced new tools and technologies to provide homebuyers and renters with critical information about flooding when choosing where to live. These new tools are part of a provision in flood risk legislation signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in June 2023. Prior to the law passage, sellers and landlords were not obligated to inform buyers and tenants if the property was at risk of flooding. They now must disclose this information, and the new tools that buyers and tenants have access to lets them view this information.

N.H.: Be wary of scammers posing as insurance producers

The New Hampshire Insurance Department released a consumer alert about a recent scam involving scammers posing as representatives from insurance brokers. The scammers aim to collect sensitive information from their victims, including their Social Security numbers, finances and other personal information. Consumers should be wary of unsolicited calls and extensive requests for information. If consumers are uncertain, they should ask the caller for their name, company and contact information, or contact their independent agent directly.


Could emojis be legally binding?

Emojis are a quick and fun way to convey information in the digital age. However, these little symbols may have more weight to them than you would normally think. In the context of a contract, an emoji can be considered as a sign of assent. They also can mean different things among different people, with some of them having ironic or hidden meanings. That leaves it up for the courts to determine the meaning of an emoji, and whether it will bind someone in a contract.

N.Y.: DFS adopts climate risk guidance

The New York State Department of Financial Services has adopted new guidance for state-regulated banking and mortgage institutions to manage their material and financial risks associated with climate change. The guidance is designed to help institutions assess these risks in accordance with current risk management principles. This guidance was proposed in December 2022, and it has since incorporated feedback from regulated entities and other key stakeholders. In addition, the DFS published resources to assist organizations adopting these measures. The DFS also will host a webinar to review the new guidance on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024, at 11:30 a.m.


N.Y.: Noncompete ban bill vetoed by governor

Gov. Hochul has vetoed a bill banning noncompete agreements on Dec. 22, citing concerns of the bill’s “one-size-fits-all approach.” Noncompete agreements are made by employers and employees, in which an employee agrees not to work for specific companies after leaving their job. Over 30 million Americans are in these kinds of agreements. The bill is expected to be reintroduced in the 2024 session, though it has received opposition from Wall Street and the top business groups in the state. PIA will continue to follow this bill and how it may impact insurance producers.


Inflation and insurance coverage

The pandemic years have seen an increase in costs to everyday consumers. This inflation was caused by an intersection of multiple different factors, including supply-chain issues and consumer demand. Even the insurance industry was affected—with certain types of coverage being particularly vulnerable to inflation. If you have clients asking questions about why their coverage has gotten more expensive, PIA members can access the Top five coverages that inflation can affect in the QuickSource library, which provides insight on what may contribute to rising costs. The costs of insurance policies also are being effect by the hard market. PIA Northeast also offers resources to help you explain this market cycle to your insureds. Log on to PIA Northeast News & Media, and click on the “hard market” tab. Additionally, PIA Northeast members can access its Market Transition Tool Kit.


Conn.: PIACT seeks industry stars—nominate someone today

PIACT is calling for nominations for its 2024 Distinction of Professionalism awards, and nominations are due Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. The association will honor insurance professionals who exemplify the qualities and actions that serve as a model of excellence in the insurance industry and for the independent agency system. Nominations are being sought for these awards: Professional Agent of the Year, Community Service Award, and Company Person of the Year. For a full description of each award, or for a nomination form, click here.

Educating insurance agents

Conn./N.J./N.Y.: Learn to have the best conversations about commercial casualty

Knowledge is power. Having knowledge about what you are offering your insureds can help you understand the needs of your clients and provide coverage that is right for them. Bettye Hutchison, CRM, CIC, CPCU, ARM, CPIA, AAI, TRIP, will lead 2024 CISR 2IC: Insuring Commercial Casualty II, which will help agents understand the ins-and-outs of commercial casualty exposures and coverages. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. This course has been approved in Connecticut (7 PC), New Jersey (7 GEN, DOBI will award 12 CE credits for each full year of licenses in good standing), and New York (7 BR, C3, PA, PC, 1 additional NYCE credit with passing exam grade).

NHID and New England College announce second year of insurance industry course

The NHID and New England College will continue their Innovative Insurance Industry course for a second year. Students will receive a comprehensive overview of the insurance industry after taking this course. They will learn about risk, the rationale behind individual and corporate insurance purchases, NHID regulations and more. This four-credit course is scheduled to begin in the 2024 spring semester at NEC, and it will offer students an internship as well.


N.Y.: Learn how to talk about the hard market at MetroRAP

There is still time to register and save to attend PIANY’s MetroRAP on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. The hard market has cast a large shadow over the insurance industry. Producers and clients are experiencing availability issues, pricing increases, and stricter underwriting. What is a producer supposed to do as client satisfaction takes a hit? Join PIANY’s Director of Government & Industry Affairs, Bradford J. Lachut, Esq, for his session, Hard Conversations for a Hard Market. This two-hour course will give producers the tools they need to discuss the hard market with their clients. Covered topics will include an in-depth look at reinsurance and its impact on the retail insurance marketplace, inflation, as well state-specific cost drivers including extreme weather, increasing litigation costs and state regulation. This class has been submitted for NYCE credits. Register today for MetroRAP—and save 15%.

Register now

Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024: CTYIP Holiday Social

Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024: NY-YIP Welcome Reception

Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024: PIANY MetroRAPSponsor, exhibit or advertise

Save the date

March 27-28, 2024: Connecticut Convention

Wednesday, May 8, 2024: NJYIP Golf Open

June 2-4, 2024: PIA New Jersey | PIA New York Annual Conference

Tuesday, June 4, 2024: NJYIP Fun Run to benefit Special Olympics New Jersey

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