Weekly Dispatch: April 25, 2024

April 25, 2024


National Volunteer Week is April 21-27: PIA Northeast thanks its generous volunteers

PIA Northeast is the premier trade association for independent insurance agents in the Northeast—all thanks to the time, unbeatable knowledge and never-ending service of its members and volunteer boards. On behalf of the entire staff at PIA, we thank each and every PIA volunteer for their generous contribution to the insurance industry.

Get ready to blast off to the PIANJ | PIANY Annual Conference

Grab your space suit and stock up on rocket fuel: the PIANJ | PIANY Annual Conference is back at the Hard Rock Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. This multiday event, from June 2-4, 2024, is set to be the best insurance conference in the known universe (or at least the best in the galaxy). It will be jam packed with valuable education insights, opportunities to network with your colleagues and new ways to expand your agency: register today at a 20% discount. Sponsorship, exhibitor and advertising opportunities also are available.

Triple-I: Economic drivers of p/c industry outpacing GDP

The economic drivers of the U.S. property/casualty insurance industry are now growing faster than the nation’s gross domestic product and are expected to gain further momentum in the event of Federal Reserve monetary rate cuts, according to the Insurance Information Institute’s latest Insurance Economics Outlook. Michel Léonard, Ph.D., CBE, chief economist and data scientist, Triple-I, forecasts that the p/c underlying growth to increase to 3.4% in 2024, 1.2% above the Fed’s GDP forecast of 2.2%.

Rental car insurance in Canada: what insureds should know

Have your clients thought about visiting Canada? Our friendly neighbor to the north is an extremely popular travel destination for Americans. The Seattle Times, has reported that 9.1 million Americans traveled to Canada in 2022. While Mexico took the lion’s share of American tourists for that year (with 33.5 million visiting the nation), Canada’s numbers are nothing to sneeze at. If your clients are planning to visit the country and they are planning to rent a car, they should talk to you about what they should do in terms of their auto insurance.

Get ahead of your clients’ premium increase questions

With insurance premiums on the rise, policyholders may question why they are paying more in premium for the same coverage. When faced with premium increases, it is likely that policyholder behavior will change. Policyholders may look to lower the cost of their insurance through reducing or removing coverage altogether. Before your insureds take such drastic measures, get ahead of their questions and try to explain why premiums are on the rise. You also can access helpful tips about how to talk to your clients about premium increases. PIA Northeast wants to help its members keep updated on this hard-market cycle. To see the latest information, visit PIA Northeast News & Media and click on the “Hard market” tag.

N.H.: Aid available for counties impacted by storms, flooding

Gov. Chris Sununu announced on April 22, 2024, President Joe Biden granted his request for a major disaster declaration in response to a severe storm and flooding in January that resulted in significant costs to local communities. Rockingham and Grafton counties are included in the declaration. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, working with state and local emergency management officials, recently completed a Preliminary Damage Assessment, finding that the statewide cost for response efforts related to this event totaled $3 million.

N.Y.: Kemper market withdrawal update

PIA has received reports from association members who are being denied the ability to fully process endorsements on Kemper’s online “AgentInside” portal due to their status as a “terminated agent.” PIA subsequently reached out to the New York State Department of Financial Services to get some answers, which PIA Northeast members can read here.

N.Y.: Overview of TED items in executive budget

In January, for Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Executive Budget, PIA specifically covered the transportation, economic development and environmental items, collectively referred to as TED—you can read the related article here. With New York approving its budget, it’s important to contrast what was proposed in the original budget and what has been altered since then. The newly proposed TED items include: online insurance verification, supplemental spousal liability and affordable housing discrimination prevention.

FEMA awards Vermont funds for July storms, recovery

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will send more than $22 million to Vermont to reimburse the state for the cost of debris removal and measures taken to stabilize state office buildings following the July 2023 storms and flooding. The money, which are Public Assistance grants, will reimburse the Department of Buildings and General Services for the cost of debris removal and steps taken to protect state buildings in downtown Montpelier from further damage after the flooding.


CID issues bulletin on aerial imagery and underwriting

On March 19, 2024, the Connecticut Insurance Department issued a bulletin to address the use of aerial imagery by insurance carriers in underwriting homeowners insurance, specifically in relation to decisions about roof conditions. This bulletin responds to a rise in consumer complaints about certain insurance carriers nonrenewing policies based on aerial images that indicate roof damage without definitive proof of substantial degradation. The bulletin asserts while aerial photographs showing clear material damages may justify underwriting decisions, cosmetic issues which don’t affect a house’s structural integrity or increase loss risk, are invalid reasons for policy nonrenewal.


PIA-backed, bipartisan crop inflation adjustment bill introduced in U.S. House

A PIA top-priority bill was introduced on April 17, 2024, in the U.S. House of Representatives to reinstate an inflation adjustment for crop insurance agents, as well as to provide relief for specialty crops. The bipartisan Ensuring Access to Risk Management Act of 2024 was introduced by Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., with original co-sponsors Reps. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., and Tracey Man, R-Kan. The bill would provide relief for crop insurance agents who have had their commissions effectively cut for the past several years, ever since the United States Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency abruptly stopped providing an inflation adjustment to crop agent compensation in 2016. The legislation would require the RMA to reinstate an annual inflation adjustment and provide for specialty crop relief.

FIO reform bill passes U.S. House committee

On April 17, 2024, the House Financial Services Committee passed the Insurance Data Protection Act, which was introduced by Rep. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Wis.—with PIA’s strong support—by a vote of 28-22. 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. The Insurance Data Protection Act would repeal the FIO director’s subpoena and enforcement powers and it would require the FIO to coordinate any of its data collection efforts with state insurance regulators and consult publicly available sources of the data being sought.


Standard flood insurance policy and standard homeowners policy differences

After a flood, independent agents may have insureds asking about their coverage if the insured’s home has been damaged. However, an insured may not have the full picture of what is covered under a standard flood insurance policy and a standard homeowners policy, which can lead to disputes down the road. To nip this in the bud, be sure to discuss with your client these policy differences: PIA members can access Something’s wet, it must be a flood, right? in the QuickSource library, which highlights these differences.

N.Y.: October 2023 WC loss costs revised due to computational error

The New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board’s Actuarial Department has identified a computational error in the derivation of the Oct. 1, 2022, and Oct. 1, 2023, classification loss costs, which has caused a misallocation of premium between classification codes. The Oct. 1, 2022, loss costs remain reasonable, appropriate for use and are not being revised. However, the Rating Board’s board of governors has approved unanimously—and the Rating Board has filed—a revision to the previously approved Oct. 1, 2023, loss costs that were published by the Rating Board in R.C. Bulletin 2584. The revision to the Oct. 1, 2023, loss costs has been approved by the New York State Department of Financial Services, effective Oct. 1, 2023. Manual pages displaying the Oct. 1, 2023, loss cost for each employment classification are attached in Exhibit A of R.C. Bulletin 2600.

N.Y.: Payroll cap, maximum weekly WC benefit to change July 1

The NYCIRB has announced that the payroll cap under the New York Workers’ Compensation Construction Employment Payroll Limitation Program will be increased from $1,718.15 to $1,757.19 per week for policies with effective dates on and after Monday, July 1, 2024. According to provisions in the 2007 Workers’ Compensation Reform Act, this limit is adjusted every year based upon changes in the average weekly wage as calculated by the New York State Department of Labor. Also, the maximum workers’ compensation weekly benefit is two-thirds of the statewide average weekly wage, so the maximum weekly benefit will be $1,171.46 effective July 1, 2024 (up from $1,145.43 in 2023).

Educating insurance agents

Ethical dilemmas in E&O

When it comes to errors and omissions, agents must weigh what’s ethical, what’s the best decision for E&O and their own decision-making process. Get a better understanding of these issues in Ethical Issues in E&O^FF^UN, which will be taught by Catherine L. Trischan, CPCU, CIC, CRM, AU, AAI, CRIS, ARM, MLIS, TRIP, on Friday, May 3, 2024, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. This course has been approved for continuing-education credits in Connecticut (3 LRE), New Hampshire (3 Ethics PROD), New Jersey (3 ETH), New York (3 BR, C1, C3, LA, LB, LSB, PA, PC) and Vermont (3 Ethics). ^FF^UN–This course has been approved for E&O loss prevention credit by Fireman’s Fund and Utica National. Call the PIA E&O Department for details.


Will you be at the NJYIP Golf Open?

Are you looking for a way to have fun and network with your fellow insurance professionals? Then register today for the NJYIP 33rd Annual Golf Open, which will be held on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, at Galloping Hill Golf Course, Kenilworth, N.J. This event will bring together members and industry colleagues for an 18-hole, scramble-format tournament and an opportunity to cultivate new business contacts. With extended networking opportunities during dinner, even nongolfers benefit. Raffles and contests will be held throughout the day, proceeds of which will be donated to JoAnn Danzis Foundation for pancreatic cancer, a charity that focuses on advancing Pancreatic Cancer Research and Awareness through charitable giving. Sponsorships are available.

Register now

Wednesday, May 8, 2024: NJYIP Golf Open

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?

Sunday, June 2, 2024: NJYIP Nitecap—Purchase as part of a package for the PIA New Jersey | PIA New York Annual Conference

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

Thursday, June 13, 2024: PIWA Spring Reception—sponsorships are available

Tuesday, June 18, 2024: CTYIP Golf Open

Save the date

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

Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2024: NY-YIP Capital Region Fall Reception

Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2024: NJYIP Holiday Social

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