Weekly Dispatch: March 28, 2024

March 28, 2024


J.D. Power: Homeowners insurance property claims satisfaction hit seven-year low

According to the J.D. Power 2024 U.S. Property Claims Satisfaction Study, released on March 19, 2024, the increase of severe storms has led to a larger number of high-severity claims and notably longer time frames for all major steps of claims—estimating the damage, paying the customer and completing the work—all negatively affecting satisfaction, which declines to the lowest level in seven years. Key findings of this study include inconsistent customer representatives, digital tools not meeting customer expectations and higher costs.

Partial government shutdown avoided; NFIP extended

Congress has yet again avoided another partial government shutdown on March 22, after reaching a last-minute deal to fund the federal government until the end of the 2024 fiscal year, which will be on Monday, Sept. 30, 2024. Included in this deal was funding for the National Flood Insurance Program. This is the 30th short-term extension of the NFIP since it expired in 2017 with the 115th Congress unable to agree on any reforms for the programs. PIA continues to work with lawmakers to secure a long-term reauthorization with reforms.

Agencies navigating consumer trust, data security in AI age

Agents face opportunities and minefields in equal measure from the artificial intelligence revolution. No one questions that AI-powered tools can slash the time to perform many agency tasks, but hidden dangers and costs lie just beneath the surface. Two of the biggest dangers are policyholder trust and data security. Despite this growing consumer distrust, many businesses—including insurance agencies—have been slow to address data security in the form of cybercrime. Education opportunity: To learn more about this topic, attend the webinar led by Tom Wetzel: Artificial Intelligence and Agents–Panic or Promise?, which will be offered by PIA Northeast on Friday, April 12, 2024, from 10-11 a.m. The class has been approved for continuing-education credits in New Jersey (1 GEN) and New York (1 BR, C1, C3, LA, LB, LSB, PA, PC, TIA). It has been submitted for CE credits in Connecticut.

N.J.: Gov. Murphy signs landmark affordable housing bill

Gov. Phil Murphy, on March 20, 2024, signed landmark affordable housing legislation to support towns in meeting their affordable housing obligations. The legislation develops a new system for municipalities to meet their Mount Laurel affordable housing obligations, replacing the current process that exists entirely in the courts. The primary bill, A-4/S-50, establishes a new, streamlined framework for determining and enforcing municipalities’ affordable housing obligations under the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Mount Laurel doctrine and the State’s Fair Housing Act.

N.Y.: $25M for retail theft team, $15M for D.A., police in budget

Gov. Kathy Hochul was joined by members of the Legislature and small-business owners from across New York to support a comprehensive statewide crackdown on organized retail theft. Gov. Hochul’s anti-theft plan, included in her FY25 Executive Budget proposal, includes $25 million for a dedicated retail theft unit in the New York State Police, $15 million for district attorneys and local law enforcement, and $5 million to cover security costs for businesses. It also includes new legislation to protect retail workers from assault and to crack down on online sales of stolen goods. PIA Northeast News & Media has previously covered the governor’s proposals to deter theft.


RMA bulletin halts crop insurance cancellations

The Risk Management Agency issued a bulletin March 15, 2024 addressing approved insurance providers who are scaling back coverage for federal crop insurance. This includes terminating agent/agency contracts, but these notices have been issued with insufficient time for them to adjust, stating that no new business will be accepted and policies will be canceled if they are not transferred. This has resulted in the RMA stepping so that farmers can retain coverage and maintain access to this service.


N.Y.: State budget features PIA-priority items

The deadline for the state budget looms on April Fools’ Day, but there is still a ways to go before it gets passed. During this time, the New York state Legislature finds itself juggling the passage of legislation outside of the budget, while earnestly negotiating the budget proposals put forth by Gov. Hochul, the Senate and the Assembly. Amid this flurry of activity, PIA has been monitoring developments closely, especially those touching on the association’s budget priorities. These include supplemental spousal liability, Section 8 housing discrimination and modernizing the DMV online insurance verification system.

N.Y.: PIA-priority anti-arson bill passes state Assembly

In a victory for PIA, the PIA-supported legislation (A.8831) that would repeal the outdated anti-arson application in New York City was passed by the New York state Assembly (by a vote of 147-0) on March 25, 2024. The current anti-arson application rules were created in the 1970s in response fire-related insurance fraud. Should this legislation be enacted, the obligation to submit an annual anti-arson application would be eliminated throughout New York state, including New York City. This change would alleviate the significant administrative burden faced by homeowners and insurance agents of renewing the anti-arson application each year.


Understanding carrier ratings, and why they matter

Carrier ratings are ubiquitous in the insurance industry: they help determine the financial health of an insurance company. Agents may be familiar with a few of them, such as A.M. Best and Moody’s. Generally speaking, these ratings use a letter grade, with “A++” and “AAA” being the best, and ratings such as “C” or “D” representing poor financial health. If you would like a better understanding of these ratings and how they impact you and your clients, then PIA members can access Carrier ratings: do they really matter? in the PIA QuickSource library.

Educating insurance agents

Certified risk management courses available to CPIAs

If you are an agency owner, risk manager or a Certified Insurance Counselor or Certified Professional Insurance Agent designee interested becoming a Certified Risk Manager, PIA, in conjunction with The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, offers webinars and in-person classes for this subject. Attendees will come to understand the five steps of risk management, how risk factors into your organization, how risk management can support your organization and more. The upcoming webinar, Analysis of Risk, will be held from April 16-17, 2024, at 9 a.m., and will be led by Marcia Linton, senior vice president and national casualty analytics practice leader for USI Insurance Services, and Michael Hay, CEO of Strategic Risk Consulting LLC.

Conn./N.J./N.Y.: The relationship between cybersecurity and the insurance industry

Cybersecurity and the insurance industry go hand in hand: how can you provide clients the best service possible if there are gaps in your firewall? The webinar, Cybersecurity: How it Affects the Insurance Industry, will explore this relationship, and will be taught by Walter Contreras, cyber security expert and CEO of Motiva Networks. This webinar will be held on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. This course has been approved for CE credits in the following states: Connecticut (3 PC) and New York (3 BR, C3, PA, PC). It has been submitted for CE credits in New Jersey.

N.Y.: NIPR expands services to New York, Washington

The National Insurance Producer Registry announced March 25, 2024, that it is now offering resident and nonresident business entity licensing and renewals for insurance producers, agents and brokers in New York state and Washington state. This expansion marks a significant milestone, as NIPR now provides licensing services for major lines in all 50 states and four U.S. territories. PIA is among the approved schools to offer these licensing and renewal courses. You can see a listing of approved classes by logging on to your state-specific PIA website, and viewing the Education Schedule.


PIACT’s Connecticut Convention is coming to a close

The Connecticut Convention at Foxwoods Resort Casino is winding down. Between learning about emerging industry issues and networking with industry professionals, attendees attended a sold-out trade show to get ahead in the insurance market. PIACT also presented its 2024 Awards of Distinction, and elected its officers and directors for 2024-25. For more details, see a full write-up of the event on PIA Northeast News & Media and in PIA Magazine—coming soon. Thanks to everyone who helped make this event a success.

N.Y.: Have a Happy Hour with NY-YIP

Before diving into Buffalo I-Day, meet up with the New York Young Insurance Professionals for Happy Hour at Patrick’s Rooftop, the highest rooftop bar in the city of Buffalo. Enjoy an evening of networking, a diverse selection of drinks and delicious appetizers with a breathtaking view of the city and Lake Erie. The NY-YIP Happy Hour be held on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, from 6-9 p.m. Don’t miss this opportunity, so register now.


Survey: Most Americans unaware of hidden legal system costs

The American Property Casualty Insurance Association and Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., released on March 4, 2024, survey results on certain perceptions of the U.S. legal system. The online survey, conducted by The Harris Poll among more than 2,000 U.S. adults, revealed that a majority of Americans are not aware of the negative impact plaintiff lawyers’ tactics, including predatory advertising and the use of third-party litigation funding, have on their household costs via the “tort tax,” whether or not the household is involved in civil litigation.

Register now

Wednesday, April 17, 2024: NY-YIP Pre-Buffalo I-Day Event

Thursday, April 18, 2024: PIANY at Buffalo I-Day—Don’t forget to stop by PIA’s booth!

Wednesday, May 8, 2024: NJYIP Golf Open—Golf is full, buffet spots and sponsorships still are available

Thursday, May 23, 2024: PIANJ Women’s Leadership Alliance—Pickleball Tournament and Networking

June 2-4, 2024: PIA New Jersey | PIA New York Annual ConferenceWant to sponsor, exhibit or advertise?

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

Thursday, June 13, 2024: PIWA Spring Reception

Save the date

Sunday, June 2, 2024: NJYIP Nitecap

Tuesday, June 18, 2024: CTYIP Golf Open

Monday, Aug. 5, 2024: NY-YIP Golf Open

Monday, Aug. 5, 2024: NY-YIP Capital Region Fall Reception

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