Weekly Dispatch: Feb. 1, 2024

February 1, 2024


PIANY’s MetroRAP is happening now

PIA’s first Regional Awareness Program of the year: MetroRAP is happening right now in New York City. There’s still time to attend this year’s best opportunity to network; to earn continuing-education credits—the afternoon class will focus on Errors & Omissions in the Empire City, from 2-5 p.m.; to see the latest insurance products at the sold-out trade show, which will be open until 2 p.m.; and to win prizes. Register at the door. And don’t forget to see a full write-up of the event on PIA Northeast News & Media and in PIA Magazine—coming soon.

February is Careers in Insurance Month

Careers in Insurance Month is the perfect time for agents to recruit the next generation of insurance professionals. To do that, agents can contact their local high schools or colleges to give presentations to students about the benefits of working with the insurance industry—even if the presentations don’t fill vacant positions in agency offices. This kind of outreach provides agents with opportunities to raise their agencies’ profile in their communities and puts the insurance industry on students’ radars who may not have considered a career in insurance before. To help agents recognize, recruit and train new employees, PIA offers tools and resources through its Agency Staffing Assistance Program.

Report: Number of data breach incidents continue to increase each year

The Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that supports identity crime victims, found in its 18th report that there were 3,205 data compromises in 2023—a 78% increase compared to the 1,801 data compromises in 2022. This up from 72% from the previous record of 1,860 compromises in 2021. Protect your agency from cyberthreats. PIA members and every one of their small-business clients must understand and then tackle their cyber security 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.

Appellate Court of Illinois changes ruling on duty to defend

A recent court case in Illinois may have broader implications for the insurance industry at-large. In Nat’l Fire Ins. Co. of Hartford v. Visual Pak Co., a temporary employee of the insured employer brought a lawsuit in 2018 against Visual Pak Co., in which he alleged Biometric Information Privacy Act violations. Initially, National Fire Insurance Co., acknowledged a duty to defend in April 2020, but refused coverage the following month citing a violation-of-law exclusion as the basis for denial. Thus, as stated by Justice David Ellis—who delivered the judgment of the Illinois state court—because BIPA is a statute intended to protect personal privacy, it was determined that coverage for the BIPA suit was barred by this exclusion. What this means for agents: Cases such as these stress the importance of understanding the language used in insurance policies to better advise clients about what is and is not covered. A central tenet of insurance coverage law is that the interpretation of insurance policies leans heavily in favor of coverage in instances of uncertainty.

N.J.: Jersey Shore town in legal battle with state over erosion

The town of North Wildwood is being fined by New Jersey for $12 million over unauthorized beach repairs, according to a report by the Associated Press. Due to climate change bringing more frequent and intense storms, the town is left particularly vulnerable. Protective dunes that were as high as 20 feet have been eroded down to knee-height. New Jersey is fining North Wildwood because it alleges that the repairs made to the beach left it more vulnerable to erosion, while the town is suing the state to recoup $30 million for trucking in sand for the dunes. For more information on flooding, including resources, PIA Northeast members can access the PIA Flood Insurance Tool Kit.

N.Y.: FEMA approves major disaster declaration for severe September storms

New York City was hit with a severe storm from Sept. 28-30, 2023, flooding parts of the Hudson Valley, Long Island and New York City. On Jan. 31, 2024, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has just approved New York  for federal disaster assistance to assist in the recovery of these affected areas, specifically in Kings, Nassau, and Westchester counties.

PIA saddened by loss of industry leader, Andrew Harris Sr.

PIANJ Past President and Founder of Liberty Insurance Associates, Andrew Harris Sr., passed away on Jan. 22. Andy made a significant impact on the insurance industry over the course of his 48-year career. He served both PIANJ and PIA National with passion, and he was honored with many industry awards by carriers and agency associations throughout his career. Andy was a mentor to many within the insurance community. He was a strong advocate for continuing education and excellence in the insurance field. We express our deepest condolences at the passing of our colleague and friend. See his full obituary.


PIA submits U.S. Senate testimony in support of the NFIP

The U.S. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee held a hearing entitled “Reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program: Local Perspectives on Challenges and Solutions” on Jan. 25, 2024. PIA submitted written testimony for the hearing to show its support for the NFIP because it provides critical flood insurance coverage and post-disaster relief to residential and commercial policyholders. The NFIP is on its 28th short-term extension since 2017; PIA supports a long-term reauthorization and urges Congress to act quickly to prevent the program from lapsing on Friday, March 8, 2024.


What is the limited exemption for covered entities that write business in New York state?

To help its members understand the recent chances to New York state’s cyber security regulation (NYCRR 500), which affect most insurance agencies that conduct business in New York state, PIA Northeast has been analyzing each of the effected sections. In the next part of its “cyber series,” PIA’s Director of Government & Industry Affairs Bradford J. Lachut, Esq., examines covered entities limited exemptions, and which covered entities does that exemption apply to.

Expanding your personal-lines business in a few easy steps

If you are an agent seeking to grow your agency’s personal-lines business, there are several productive steps you can take to realize your vision. They include getting detailed customer feedback, talking to your clients about cyberrisk and being diligent during the claims process. For more information, PIA members can access Tips to build your personal-lines business in the PIA QuickSource library, which contains the aforementioned steps and more to help you in your personal-lines endeavors.

Conn./N.H./Vt.: NCCI issues residual market Q4 reports

The National Council on Compensation Insurance has released its New Hampshire, Connecticut and Vermont Residual Market State Activity Reports—Fourth Quarter 2023, which includes: charts illustrating the total number of policy counts and/or premium volume over the past four years for the same quarter each year; tables listing the top 10 classification codes by policy count and premium volume (these show which class codes have top ranking and the percent of policies and percent of premiums); and charts with loss ratio, ultimate net written premium, incurred losses, and estimated net operating gain/loss information (these show premiums, gains and losses during a period).


Conn.: PIACT seeks industry stars—nominate someone today

PIACT is calling for nominations for its 2024 Awards of Distinction, 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.

N.H.: Insurance department leaders assume key NAIC roles

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has announced the assignment of staff from the New Hampshire Insurance Department to its various standing committees. Those assigned to these new roles include Commissioner DJ Bettencourt, Christian Citarella, Patrica Gosselin, Joshua Hillard and Jennifer Li. PIA wishes them the best of luck in their new roles, where they will be able influence the landscape of the insurance industry and improve the experience of consumers.

Educating insurance agents

Conn./N.J./N.Y.: Expand your commercial casualty knowledge

If you would like to shore up your knowledge about commercial casualty exposures and coverages, then you may want to attend the webinar 2024 CISR 1IC: Insuring Commercial Casualty I, on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024. Led by John M. Dismukes, CIC, CPCU, AAI, AIS, this class will focus on the Commercial General Liability Coverage Form, additional insured exposures and available coverage. This course has been approved for continuing-education credits 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).


Conn.: Questions about the industry? Ask Commissioner Mais

If you are an agent with big questions about the current state of the insurance industry, you will have the opportunity to have them answered by Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Andrew N. Mais in an interactive Q&A on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, at noon. Commissioner Mais also is the current president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and he serves on the International Association of Insurance Supervisors. This event is free to attend for PIACT members. Register here.


FEMA: Agent and agency NPNs on NFIP policies are in effect

FEMA announced that every new and renewing National Flood Insurance Program policy has to include both an agent and an agency National Producer Number with a policy effective date on or after Jan. 1, 2024. During PIA’s most recent meeting with FEMA in October, FEMA representatives explained that, at least for 2024, NFIP policies would not be invalidated or nonrenewed because an NPN was missing. All agents in the PIA Northeast footprint need to comply with the new NFIP ruling. To look up your state’s NPN, visit: https://nipr.com/help/look-up-your-npn. To learn about your state’s insurance licensing requirements, visit: https://nipr.com/licensing-center/state-requirements.

Register now

March 27-28, 2024: Connecticut Convention

Tuesday, March 5, 2024: NJYIP Swing & Connect

Save the date

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

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