Weekly Dispatch: May 9, 2024

May 9, 2024


FEMA recognizes national building safety month during May

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recognizes May as National Building Safety Month for the 44th year. It highlights the importance of modern building codes and strong building code enforcement. Led by the International Code Council, FEMA supports these efforts and works to keep the United States’ buildings safe and resilient—especially in the light of growing climate related threats. The proclamation also recognizes FEMA’s National Initiative to Advance Building Codes, which is an interagency task force including 19 federal agencies. These agencies oversee more than 100 federal programs that impact, on average, over $600 billion in federal funding or financing of construction each year.

AP: Maryland officials release timeline, cost estimate for rebuilding bridge

The Associated Press reports that Maryland has presented plans to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which collapsed in March after a container ship collided into one of its piers. The state plans to rebuild the bridge in just over four years at an estimated cost between $1.7 billion and $1.9 billion, according to a state transportation official. In addition, WTW, the broker for Chubb Insurance, confirmed that Chubb is preparing to make a $350 million payment, as the company has a policy with the bridge.

Conn.: I-95 in Norwalk reopened after major motor vehicle collision involving fuel truck

Interstate 95 in Norwalk, Conn., was damaged by a major motor vehicle collision involving a fuel truck on the morning of May 2, 2024. The collision shut down traffic both ways and the interstate only reopened on May 5. Work involved demolishing the Fairfield Avenue Bridge over I-95 because of the significant damage it sustained from the collision; removing tons of concrete, steel and debris from the roadway; sweeping the road; milling; paving; and restriping pavement markings. Driving can be extremely dangerous, so be sure to contact your insureds to make sure they are taking the right safety precautions while doing so, and that they have comprehensive coverage in case they are part of a major accident.

N.H.: Funds released to repair trails after storms

On May 1, 2024, following approval by members of the Executive Council, New Hampshire’s Department of Natural and Cultural Resources announced $1 million in funding to improve the statewide trail system following damage caused by historic rain and flooding events in 2023. Initial damage to the trail network occurred in July 2023, particularly within Pittsburg and Swanzey, and was then compounded during the Dec. 18 storm. During this weather event, extensive trail damage also occurred in the Berlin, Gorham and Randolph areas, particularly within Jericho Mountain State Park.

N.J.: Federal funds provided for lead pipe replacement

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $123.1 million from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to help New Jersey identify and replace lead service lines, preventing exposure to lead in drinking water. Lead can cause a range of serious health impacts, including irreversible harm to brain development in children. This announcement, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and available through EPA’s successful Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, takes another major step to eradicate lead from drinking water.

N.Y.: Suffolk County site to be first state property targeted for housing development

Just weeks after a housing agreement in the FY 2025 Enacted Budget, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the first state-owned property targeted for potential housing. The governor issued a Request for Proposal to purchase and redevelop an approximately 13-acre site on Conklin Street in East Farmingdale. The site, currently owned by the New York State Department of Transportation as part of Republic Airport, has been vacant since the 1990s and serves no direct function for the airport. The property offers an opportunity to use this underutilized lot into a mixed-use residential development.

N.Y.: New protections against organized retail theft introduced

New protections against organized retail theft were signed into law with the FY25 State Budget. The new protections include increased criminal penalties for anyone who assaults a retail worker elevating it from a misdemeanor to a felony, and includes a $5 million tax credit to help small-business owners invest in added security measures. They also include granting prosecutors the power to combine the value of stolen goods when filing larceny charges, making it illegal to foster the sale of stolen goods and investing $40.2 million for dedicated Retail Theft Teams. A spike in retail thefts has had significant impact on retail businesses’ insurance policies.

N.Y.: Funding awarded to create new dwelling units

Gov. Hochul announced on May 2, 2024, that $59 million has been awarded to local governments and nonprofit organizations in the first two rounds of the state’s $85 million ADU Plus One program, which increases housing supply by providing resources for low- and middle-income homeowners to build or improve an accessory dwelling unit on their property. Funding awarded to date will lead to the creation of roughly 500 ADUs across the state, and homeowners in Long Island, Westchester County, Ulster County and the town of Amherst are set to begin construction on the first two dozen ADUs under Round One of the program.


National Hurricane Preparedness Week: How PIA is helping independent agents and consumers

It is National Hurricane Preparedness Week (May 5-11, 2024) and with the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season set to be “very active,” now is the time to make sure you and your insureds are prepared for the duration of the season. Also, be sure to keep in mind what PIA Northeast has been doing to make this season easier on independent agents and their clients. This includes backing important legislation, providing valuable insurance knowledge and speaking to legislators about storm safety and climate change.

N.H.: Bill for higher damage caps on wrongful death claims considered in the state House today

A bill that would address wrongful death losses (S.B.462) is set to be considered by the New Hampshire House for a vote today—it’s important for PIANH members to recognize its potential impact on the industry. The bill, which was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee with a 11-9 recommendation to pass without amendments, would increase the cap on damages for wrongful death loss of consortium claims. If signed into law, this change, affecting claims the loss of a spouse, parent, or child, would go into effect Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2025.  


Understanding the root causes and effects of climate change

Climate change is something that should be familiar to many insurance agents. Some major carriers, like State Farm and Allstate, have started to decline writing insurance policies in California due to the increasing risk of exposure from catastrophic wildfire: these fires have become more intense these past few years due to the state becoming hotter and drier. Independent agents should try to take into consideration our changing climate as they write policies: PIA Northeast members can access Background on: climate change and insurance issues to understand how climate change intersects with the industry.


Conn./N.J./N.Y.: Help a local charity receive $2,500

Want to make a difference to a local charity in your community? PIA is working with the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation to let agencies know that the IICF is offering a variety of grants—worth $2,500 each—to worthy charities in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. In order for the charity to receive one of the grants, it must be sponsored by an insurance entity—at no cost to you. Ask the charity you are sponsoring to complete an application. Applications are due June 7, 2024.

Educating insurance agents

Conn./N.J./N.Y.: Stay up-to-date with the most current ISO personal-lines solutions

Are you up to date with the most current versions of the ISO Homeowners 3–Special Form and the ISO Personal Auto Policy? If not, be sure to register for the webinar, 2024 CISR OPLS: Other Personal Lines Solutions on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 from 8 a.m.-3:45 p.m. This course will be taught by Elizabeth Ann Rise, CIC. It has been approved for CE credits in Connecticut (7 PC), New Jersey (7 GEN) and New York (7 BR, C3, PA, PC. Earn 1 additional NYCE credit with passing grade on exam).


N.J.: Have a fun afternoon of pickleball, networking and awards

The PIANJ Women’s Leadership Alliance has announced that it will hold a Pickleball Tournament on Thursday, May 23, 2024, at The Pickleball Club at Monroe, in Monroe Township, N.J. While there, you’ll have the opportunity to play and network with other professionals in the industry. All skill levels are welcome, and each attendee will have the opportunity to participate in an instructional period before the tournament kicks off. Afterward, lunch and refreshments will be served, and tournament awards will be announced. Register for the event here.

Buy your tickets to the PIANJ | PIANY Annual Conference now and save 20%!

From the stars to the planets to the galaxies they inhabit, most objects in the universe last for billions of years. What won’t last for long is the 20% discount on tickets for the PIANJ | PIANY Annual Conference, which is set to end on Friday, May 17, 2024. The multiday conference will run from June 2-4, 2024, at the Hard Rock Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. It will feature plenty of out-of-this-world events for any insurance professional. You will have the opportunity to learn from our experienced educators, connect with your fellow industry peers and acquire new business tools to help you in your career: register for the conference today at a 20% discount. Sponsorship, exhibitor and advertising opportunities also are available.


Conn.: State Senate passes AI regulation bill, hurdles remain

In the Connecticut state Senate, a bill was passed last month that will try to rein in biases present in artificial intelligence decision-making and prevent harm. The bill passed 24-12 after a lengthy debate. It is the result of two years of task force meetings in Connecticut and a year’s worth of collaboration among a bipartisan group of legislators from other states that are trying to prevent a patchwork of laws across the country because Congress has yet to act. PIACT previously hosted a virtual luncheon with CID Commissioner Andrew Mais, where AI was one of the subjects of conversion.

Register now

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, 2024NJYIP 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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