Weekly Dispatch: May 16, 2024

May 16, 2024


PIA’s 2024 Market Trends Survey

PIA Northeast members are reaching out to the association about all sorts of things they are seeing in the industry as we navigate this hard-market cycle. PIA Northeast would like input from agents and brokers so that we can gauge how current market conditions are affecting your business. Take a moment to participate in PIA’s 2024 Market Trends Survey, which asks eight questions about how current market trends—in personal auto, personal homeowners, commercial property and commercial liability—are affecting you and your clients. We have added a couple of additional questions this year related to satellite imagery and commission levels. Your input will allow us to track the trends in the marketplace. Share this link with everyone in your agency and encourage them to take the survey. To see the results from previous years’ surveys, PIA Northeast members can click here.

AM Best: Highly innovative personal auto carriers have advantage over competition

U.S. personal auto insurers are the furthest ahead when it comes to innovative processes like automated claims management and the use of data to automate underwriting, according to a new AM Best report. Not all auto writers are at the same level, and carriers that are more innovative have a competitive advantage and are reaping benefits, yet even some innovation leaders still struggle to transform their initiatives into underwriting profitability. These are among the key findings in a new Best’s Special Report titled, “Highly Innovative Personal Auto Carriers Have Significant Competitive Edge.”

Triple-I: Current slowdown in US p/c replacement costs likely short lived

U.S. property/casualty replacement costs now are increasing at a slower pace than overall inflation and they will likely continue to do so for the next 24 months, according to the Insurance Information Institute’s latest Insurance Economics Outlook. While this slowdown in cost increases is unlikely to relieve upward pressures on insurance premiums—especially given deteriorating underwriting trends and multiyear replacement cost increases—it may alleviate some pain for carriers in the short run before overtaking overall inflation again by 2026.

Report: Nuclear verdicts hit corporate defendants hard

Nuclear verdicts are rulings with payouts in the millions, usually based on the guilty party’s perceived risk to the public. These verdicts at this frequency threaten to erode the services these companies provide, as well as their insurance. They have been hitting corporate defendants particularly hard: a recent report by Marathon Strategies found that 89 lawsuits against corporate defendants met the “nuclear” threshold in the last year.

N.Y.: New business programs launched for National Small Business Month

May is National Small Business Month, which celebrates the hard work of small businesses and the contributions they make toward their communities. As part of the state’s FY 2025 Budget, Gov. Kathy Hochul launched new programs to support small businesses in New York, including a $6 million Innovation Matching Grants Program to drive innovation at small businesses and a suite of programming to support nearly 100,000 businesses insured by the New York State Insurance Fund.


Conn.: New law signed prohibiting medical debt reporting to credit rating agencies

A person’s credit score is greatly impacted by his or her finances, and it also affects future financial decisions the person may make. This can have unintended consequences. For example, a person who has a medical emergency, goes into medical debt and has his or her credit score lowered then may face higher auto insurance premiums. Gov. Ned Lamont has signed legislation that prohibits health care providers and hospitals in the state from reporting a person’s medical debt to credit rating agencies. The law also voids any debt that had been reported previously.


N.H.: Understanding the mandatory disclosure of insurance policy limits bill

In a recent legislative update, the New Hampshire Senate passed S.B.423, a bill that would introduce changes to improve transparency in the insurance industry—particularly in cases involving motor vehicle accidents. The primary goal of S.B.423 would be to ensure that all parties involved in a claim have access to crucial information early in the legal process, which can impact negotiations and outcomes significantly. This bill includes strict guidelines on using the disclosed information, limiting its purpose solely to the relevant claim or lawsuit to protect privacy and confidentiality. If passed into law, S.B.423 would represent a significant step toward greater transparency and fairness in the handling of motor vehicle accident claims in New Hampshire.

PIANY president talks about recent state legislative efforts

Members of PIA should pay close attention to the legislative wins that PIANY achieved in the past few months. They demonstrate the resilience and drive of independent agents when they come together for a common goal. Two bills, a photo inspection bill and bait-and-switch bill, have been passed, while the windstorm bill, S.4199, is in committee in the state Senate. PIANY President Gary Slavin, CIC, LUTCF, CLTC, discusses these victories and the work independent agents and members still have to do.

PIANY leadership participates in Albany Lobby Day

Representatives of PIANY met with state legislators at the Legislative Office Building in Albany, as part of the association’s 2024 Albany Lobby Day program. Participants spent the day on May 7, 2024, visiting with state Senate and Assembly representatives discussing the association’s 2024 legislative priorities, which include standardizing the definition of windstorm; excess-line reforms; repealing the anti-arson application requirement in New York City; and reforms to the New York state’s tort system.

N.Y.: Supplemental spousal liability bill passes state Assembly

The bill A.9407, which would make important changes to the supplemental spousal liability coverage in auto policies, passed the state Assembly last week. The bill undoes changes made to SSL in 2023: it required most policyholders to opt-out of the SSL coverage. This created a lot of confusion among policyholders, especially those who did not have a spouse. Under A.9407, policyholders would have to opt-in to SSL coverage for it to appear in their policy, just as was required before 2023.


What happens when the insured fires the producer

Breaking your relationship with your insureds is rough—especially when they initiate it. While the process is relatively simple on the part of the policyholder, what should independent agents do in this scenario—especially if the policyholder is moving on to a new agent? To learn more, PIA members can access When the insured fires the producer in the PIA QuickSource library. This document offers a helpful breakdown of what this process looks like from the independent agent’s perspective.

Conn.: WC Second Injury Fund assessment remains stable

In the May 2024 Treasurer’s Letter, State Treasurer Erick Russell announced that the Second Injury Fund assessment rate will remain at 2.25% for Fiscal Year 2025, which begins on Monday, July 1, 2024. The assessment rate for self-insured employers remains at 2.75%.

NJIUA raises dwelling rates

The New Jersey Insurance Underwriting Association has received approval from the Department of Banking and Insurance to implement an overall rate increase of 5.7%. This is effective Saturday, June 1, 2024, for new business and Thursday, Aug. 1, 2024, for renewal business. The specifics of the increase include an 8.3% increase for owner-occupied dwellings, and 5.3% for tenant occupied buildings. Extended coverage will see a 1.7% increase, while vandalism rates will remain as is. This rate change applies to DP 1 and DP 2 dwelling fire policies, and it does not affect commercial policies or crime policies.

NYCIRB files WC loss cost decrease

The Board of Governors of the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board voted to file for a decrease of 9.0% in the overall loss cost level in New York state, effective Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2024. The rating board will make this filing with the New York State Department of Financial Services by Wednesday, May 15, 2024, and upon doing so, that filing will be posted to the NYCIRB website for your convenience. This filing will be subject to review and approval by the DFS.

Educating insurance agents

Conn./N.J./N.Y.: Mitigate E&O exposure by meeting the implied promises in the insuring agreement

Mitigating errors-and-omissions exposures is a significant part of an independent agent’s day-to-day practices. To learn about the best practices to reduce these exposures, attend the 2024 CPIA 3: Sustain Success webinar. This webinar, which will be taught by John Fear, CIPA, CISR, will be held on Thursday, May 23, 2024, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. It has been approved for continuing-education credits in Connecticut (1 LRE, 6 PC), New Jersey (7 GEN) and New York (7 BR, C1, C3, LA, LB, LSB, PA, PC).

Navigating the hard market, and additional education at Annual Conference

The hard market is a period in the insurance market where only the well-informed can thrive. PIA’s upcoming two-hour CE course, Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Navigating the Hard Market, offers you a lifeline. Designed to equip you with the insights and strategies needed to maneuver these challenging waters, this course—which will be taught by PIA Northeast director of government & industry affairs Bradford J. Lachut, Esq.—will transform challenges into opportunities for growth and superior client service. Join this seminar on Monday, June 3, 2024, and arm yourself with the knowledge to excel in today’s insurance climate. This class is part of the PIANJ | PIANY Annual Conference, which will be held June 2-4, 2024, at the Hard Rock Hotel Casino, Atlantic City, N.J. Lachut also will moderate The Seven-Ten Split Mock Trial: Navigating Agent Errors & Omissions. Additionally, Steve Lyon, CPCU, CIC, CRM, AAI, ARM, AIS, CRIS, will navigate builders risk policies in Builders Risk 2024–Unraveling the Maze of Coverage Differences; and Jim Venezia, CPCU, CCIS, CCIC, will examine the nuances of cybersecurity and insurance in Cyber Coverage Explained in Depth–Finally! These seminars have been approved for New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania CE credits.

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, 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

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

Save the date

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

Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2024: NJYIP Holiday Social

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