Congress passes short-term spending bill; averts shutdown, extends NFIP
The U.S. Congress passed a short-term spending bill on Jan. 18, 2024, averting a partial government shutdown. Congress has had to contest with two government shutdown dates since November 2023 when it separated funding into two separate tranches. For agents, this means that the National Flood Insurance Program will be funded until Friday, March 8, 2024. This is the 28th short-term extension of the NFIP since its most recent five-year reauthorization expired in 2017, as the 115th Congress was unable to agree on any reforms for the program. PIA continues to support a long-term reauthorization with reforms and will work with lawmakers to do so.
FEMA speeding up and reforming disaster assistance program
Due to the increased frequency of extreme weather events from climate change, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will expedite the process for survivors to get relief after a disaster in a series of reforms. This was announced on Jan. 19, 2024, by Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas and FEMA Administrator Deanna Criswell. These benefits and changes include removing loan application requirements, helping the underinsured and simplifying the appeals process.
How to protect your clients from inclement winter weather
Winter is in full swing, meaning snow, ice and all other kinds of driving hazards. Now is the time to remind clients of the risk that winter driving conditions pose and to take measures to keep themselves safe. It also brings an increased risk of flooding: when temperatures rise, all that snow turns into torrential downpours. From icy driving conditions to flooded streets, are your clients prepared? Speak with them now so they can update their coverage and take the necessary steps to protect themselves, their loved ones and property. Every winter, remember that PIA Northeast will keep its members updated on any winter storms that may affect the Northeast through its PIA Storm Info Central. The tool kit has numerous resources that you and your clients can use to prepare this winter.
N.Y.: Investments announced for Long Island climate resilience
Due to damage and erosion from recurring coastal storms, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced climate resiliency investments in the Long Island region on Jan. 22, 2024. This includes the replenishment of the Fire Island shoreline, repairs for eastern Long-Island communities, clean-up and repairs for Gilgo State Park, and protection for Babylon’s Overlook Beach in Cedar Beach. These resiliency plans were announced as part of Hochul’s 2024 State of the State and include a $435 million budget to implement these changes.
N.J.: Trio of insurance-related bills passed into law
The end of the 2022-23 legislative session in New Jersey saw the signing of three insurance-related bills by Gov. Phil Murphy into law. These bills will impact personal- and commercial-lines: they include the installation of automatic fire sprinkler systems, an increase to the minimum amount of liability coverage required for commercial motor vehicles and autocabs, and the revision to workers’ compensation coverage for certain injuries sustained by volunteer and professional public safety and law enforcement personnel.
Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance program to launch in February
Vermont, in partnership with The Hartford, will offer family and medical leave insurance under the Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance program for employers starting Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. Employers with two or more employees will be able to design a plan for their business—with benefits starting on Monday, July 1, 2024. The FMLI benefits provide partial income replacement for workers who need to take care of themselves or a family member over a health condition, bond with a new child, or address needs related to a family member’s covered active military duty or call to active duty.
New Jersey’s expanded family leave bill passes Assembly, stalls in the Senate
The New Jersey state General Assembly passed A-5166, a bill that would expand paid family leave benefits for individuals in small businesses, on Dec. 21, 2023. The legislation would gradually phase in these benefits: two years after the effective date of the bill, it would extend to employers with five or more employees. the proposed update to the law also would further clarify that covered employees who utilize family leave insurance benefits to care for family members have the right to not be retaliated against by their employers. However, the bill is currently stalled in the state Senate, with Republican legislators expressing concerns over its perceived burden on small businesses. PIA and PIANJ will continue to monitor the bill’s progress.
N.Y.: How is TED affecting insurance in 2024?
The insurance landscape in New York state could be set for a transformative shift as Gov. Hochul released her executive budget earlier this month. Through the budget, we can get a peek of what the governor has planned for the state in the coming year. Some of her proposals would affect the TED—transportation, economic development and environmental conservation sectors—and could shift the insurance landscape, including amendments to the Vehicle and Traffic Law for the verification of motor vehicle insurance, remedies to affordable housing discrimination and changes to supplemental spousal liability for auto insurance policyholders. PIA will monitor these proposals and keep its members updated on their status.
N.Y.: Legislation introduced to widen CMAP eligibility
Earlier this month, Sen. Shelley Mayer, D-37, introduced legislation that would expand the coverage of the Coastal Market Assistance Program to properties located within one mile of the shoreline and to include select freshwater bodies. As climate change alters our shores, legislation like this is looking toward the future. The CMAP is the state’s program to assist homeowners living in coastal areas obtain insurance for their homes. Coastal properties are risky to insure, and the program defined the affected areas stringently, limiting access for many who live near the shoreline.
New York announces first-in-the-nation statewide paid prenatal leave
In her 2024 State of the State address, Gov. Hochul announced her plan to expand the state’s Paid Family Leave Policy. This paves the way for New York to be the first state in the nation to establish statewide coverage for prenatal care. Part of her six-point plan is the inclusion of 40 hours of paid leave for pregnant mothers to attend prenatal doctor’s appointments. This proposed measure is part of a broader push by the governor to shore up parental benefits for works, including securing 12 weeks of fully paid parental leave.
How to prepare your agency for appointment
It’s getting harder for professional insurance agents to find a company appointment for life. You may often find yourself searching for a new carrier because of a merger or acquisition, a catastrophic exposure, expansion into a new market, among other things. However, an agent can’t just approach a company for an appointment. So, where does one start? To guide them through various appointment scenarios, PIA members can access How to present your agency to a company for appointment in the QuickSource library.
New York Black Car Operator Injury Compensation noncash tips surcharge upheld
The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled 3-0 in favor of the New York Black Car Operators’ Injury Compensation Fund imposing a 2.5% surcharge on noncash tips on Jan. 2, 2024. The overturns a previous ruling from the court of the Southern District of New York, which deemed the surcharge illegal, certified the claim as a class-action lawsuit, and ordered $8.5 million be returned to passengers by the fund. Barring this case being taken to the U.S. Supreme Court, this ruling upholds the authority the fund had since its inception in 1999.
Vt.: NAIC committee leaders announced, congratulation to Commissioner Gaffney
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners announced its 2024 committee chairs and vice chairs on Jan. 17, 2024. The NAIC provides expertise and analysis for insurance commissioners across all 50 states. This year, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation Kevin Gaffney was named as the co-vice chair of the Innovation, Cybersecurity, and Technology Committee. PIA congratulates Commissioner Gaffney on his appointment.
Educating insurance agents
Try PIA’s Elite Education Concierge Service
As an agent, meeting your continuing-education requirements isn’t always easy. As a PIA member, you can utilize our Elite Education Concierge Service to keep you on track. Our highly skilled concierges can expedite the enrollment process, enforce course compliance, and make reporting easy. On top of having someone dedicated to your educational needs, choosing this service will give you a 10% bonus for funds allocated to meet your licensing requirements. For more information, apply here.
Educate your agents with Custom Class Webinars
If you are a member with PIA, one of your benefits includes access to PIA Northeast’s exclusive Custom Class Webinars. By signing up for one of these webinars, all licensed insurance professionals in your agency or company will earn CE credits at the same time—without even having to leave their homes. The knowledge they will gain in these courses is applicable immediately and it will help your business excel. In addition to the educational value and convenience, our Custom Class Webinars can help you save: apply here, today.
Sign-up for PIANY’s MetroRAP—avoid higher door prices
MetroRAP is just one week away, and there is still time to pre-register. This event will be held on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. During the event, insurance producers will have the opportunity to attend two classes taught by PIANY’s Director of Government & Industry Affairs, Bradford J. Lachut, Esq., which have been approved for CE credits. There also will be a trade show, which will feature a “Best in (Trade) Show” contest for the best overall booth experience as decided by attendees. Finally, the NY-YIP Welcome Reception will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024. This event will require a separate registration. To pre-register for MetroRAP, register here—at-the-door prices will be higher.
Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024: CTYIP Holiday Social
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024: NY-YIP Welcome Reception
Tuesday, March 26, 2024: CTYIP Welcome Reception
March 27-28, 2024: Connecticut Convention
Save the date
Tuesday, March 5, 2024: NJYIP Swing & Connect
Wednesday, April 17, 2024: NY-YIP Pre-Buffalo I-Day Event
Wednesday, May 8, 2024: NJYIP Golf Open
Sunday, June 2, 2024: NJYIP Nitecap
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
Monday, Aug. 5, 2024: NY-YIP Golf Open