Weekly Dispatch: May 2, 2024

May 2, 2024


Risk perception after a hurricane: are your clients prepared?

In the path of a natural disaster, like a hurricane, people take necessary steps to reduce the risk it poses them. This includes stocking up on supplies and reinforcing their homes and community. These are good precautions to take. However, if you have insureds who routinely make these sorts of preparations, do they have a full appreciation of the risk that the hurricane poses to them? Storms have been getting stronger due to climate change, and the usual steps people take to prepare for hurricanes will likely have to change because of that. Let your clients know that they may need to adjust their perception of risk: you can help them make preparations that go beyond physical measures, including flood insurance. PIA Northeast members can access PIA’s Hurricane Info Central, which is a tool kit designed to offer members hurricane-related information and resources.

Triple-I: How businesses can protect themselves from lightning strikes

Lightning strikes pose an unexpected but significant risk for small businesses. Triple-I and the Lightning Protection Institute report that fires resulting from lightning strikes cause 3%-5% of all U.S. commercial property insurance claims, accounting for billions annually in covered payouts to small- and medium-sized businesses. In addition to causing structural damage, lightning strikes can interrupt a business as the owner makes repairs. There are steps that small-business owners can take to prevent this from happening to them.

N.H.: Grant endowed for coastal seawall reconstruction

New Hampshire officials announced that the state is receiving a grant of $20 million to reconstruct coastal seawall damage and recuperation from a January storm. According to the Associated Press, Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt said this grant “will help bolster stone barriers along Route 1A in North Hampton and Rye in Rockingham County to reduce flooding, structural damage and post-storm cleanup time to ensure smoother travel.”

N.H.: Recent cyberattack reminds all to be vigilant about cybersecurity threats

The recent cyberattack on UnitedHealth Group reminds all insurance agents about the importance of their own agencies’ cyber security measures. The New Hampshire Insurance Department issued a press release about a recent cybersecurity threat impacting UnitedHealth Group and Change Healthcare. Protect your agency from cyberthreats. Agents 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.

EPA’s Solar for All Program to give funds to New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy recently announced that New Jersey has been selected to receive $156.1 million in federal funding to increase accessibility to solar energy. Awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund: Solar for All program, this investment will enable the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to support solar access for multifamily affordable housing; establish pathways to residential solar ownership for low-income disadvantaged community households; expand community solar initiatives; and support solar workforce development and enable critical grid upgrades to support more solar generation in the state.

N.Y.: Federal State Homeland Security Program grants awarded for state emergency preparedness

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that the state has been awarded $13 million in federal grants through the State Homeland Security Program. This funding will support vital training and equipment for first responders, including specialized law enforcement and fire emergency response teams. Grants also will be used to enhance the protection of critical infrastructure and the cyber security posture across New York state. These awards were made out specifically to a combination of 78 cities, towns, villages and counties through seven unique grant programs.

N.Y.: Fair housing report finalized and released

In conjunction with National Fair Housing Month, Gov. Hochul released a comprehensive assessment of fair housing in New York state and a new online mapping tool that illustrates how fair housing issues are impacting New Yorkers across the state. The report, which was first released for public comment last year, reviewed seven key fair housing issues and established a series of goals and action items to address housing disparities experienced by vulnerable groups and those protected under fair housing laws.


FTC’s new noncompete agreements rule and what it means for agencies

In a move poised to transform the labor landscape across the United States, the Federal Trade Commission has introduced a final rule that bans the use of noncompete agreements nationwide. This rule represents a significant shift in employment law, and it could lead to broader changes in how businesses and workers negotiate the terms of employment. Those individuals who have questions or need further guidance, should reach out to professional organizations or legal counsel.

U.S. DOL expands overtime protections

The U.S. Department of Labor issued a final rule earlier this month that expands overtime protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act for millions of workers across the country. Are you up to date with the latest changes to the FLSA regarding overtime pay? Starting Monday, July 1, 2024, the salary threshold for exempt employees will increase from the current $684 per week ($35,568 annually) to $844 per week ($43,888 annually). This change means that employees earning less than this new amount generally will be entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked beyond 40 in a week—despite their exempt status under previous salary levels.

‘Investment advice’ definition expanded by DOL for ERISA

On April 23, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor took significant steps to redefine the landscape of retirement investment advice through the release of the Retirement Security Rule. This regulation redefines who qualifies as an investment advice fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. These changes—set to take effect on Monday, Sept. 23, 2024, with a one-year transition period for specific provisions—expand the definition of investment advice fiduciary to include many financial professionals.


Do you know about personal auto extended non-owned coverage and what it can do?

As you speak with your insureds about their auto policies, have you considered offering them extended non-owned coverage? It’s a policy that isn’t often offered by agents, but fills in important gaps of a client’s coverage, and may even keep you out of a court room. To learn more about this policy endorsement and how it works for you and your insureds, PIA Northeast members can access Personal auto extended non-owned coverage in the QuickSource library.

N.Y.: Update: Kemper market withdrawal

PIA has received reports from its members who are being denied the ability to process endorsements fully on Kemper’s online “AgentInside” portal due to their status as a “terminated agent.” Subsequently, PIA Northeast reached out to the New York State Department of Financial Services on behalf of its members, and your associations also have spoken with representatives of Kemper Insurance to get more thorough answers.

Educating insurance agents

Conn./N.J./N.Y.: Learning about the latest in commercial property trends

If you are seeking a comprehensive course on commercial property insurance and new ways to maximize coverage, attended the 2024 CIC CP | Commercial Property Institute Webinar on May 8-9, 2024. This two-day webinar will be taught by Patrick Deem Sr., CIC, CRIS; Robert Ford, CIC, CISR, CPIA, CLCS, MLIS; and Mark A Palinkas, CIC. This course has been approved for CE credits in Connecticut (16 PC), New Jersey (16 Gen) and New York (15 BR, C3, PA, PC).


Register for PIANJ | PIANY Annual Conference now and make new connections later

When you attend the PIANJ | PIANY Annual Conference on June 2-4, 2024, at the Hard Rock Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., you will have the opportunity to network with fellow professionals from the farthest reaches of the cosmos. To kick off your multiday odyssey, you will be able to head to the Networking Cocktail Reception to mingle with the new arrivals, and follow-up with them at the YIP Nitecap at the Hard Rock Café Backstage. Plan to attend the Networking Lunch and be amazed by Corporate Entertainer Chris Blackmore. Finally, don’t forget to attend the beach party under the stars and dance to the tunes of GoodMan Fiske. The conference will close out with the NJYIP Fun Run to benefit Special Olympics New Jersey, so be sure to pack your running shoes.

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—part of 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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