Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Category: Industry News

Jul 31
Liberty Mutual Insurance Waives Growth Requirement for Agencies in Profit-Sharing

Liberty Mutual Insurance announced that they are rolling out updated guidelines for their 2020 commercial lines profit-sharing agreement and will be waiving the 10% written premium growth requirement to earn a profit-sharing bonus.

"Despite the incredible challenges they've faced during the pandemic, independent agencies never stopped working hard. They continue to help customers protect what matters most, while keeping their teams safe and businesses afloat. But our shared customers have been hit hard and agencies need carrier support," said Big I NY's Chair of the Board, David T. MacLachlan, CPCU.


"I commend Liberty Mutual for leading the way, waiving the growth requirement for agencies in profit-sharing. There continues to be much economic uncertainty. Liberty’s move is just one way to help agents move more confidently towards the future, and I strongly encourage other carriers to follow suit." ​


New York members requested this leeway when asked how carriers can best support them at this point in the pandemic. The Big I NY exclusive report '
Independent Agency Approach to Visits During COVID-19' explains how agencies are handling in-person and virtual visits, and the safety precautions being implemented. Read the report.


Read the full IA Magazine article sharing this Liberty Mutual news. ​




Jul 02
NYS DFS Delays Producer License Expirations Through Aug. 7

​The New York State Department of Financial Services today announced that it was again extending the expiration of individual insurance agent and broker licenses. These licenses will now expire on August 7. The move grants producers an additional 30 days to renew their licenses. The requirement that a monitor be present to complete producer continuing education and pre-licensing course exams online also remains suspended.

Be aware that this extention applies to individual licenses only. It does not apply to licenses issued to business entities.

On March 25, the department announced that it was suspending the expiration of producers' licenses for 60 days, through May 24, due to anticipated difficulty for producers to meet continuing education requirements during the current pandemic. All licenses with expiration dates between those dates were automatically extended to expire on May 25. The department subsequently extended the deadline to July 8. Today's announcement pushes that expiration date back to August 7. For example, a license scheduled to expire on July 2 will now expire on August 7.

Visit the Big I NY Education Calendar to find webinars that you can take to meet the continuing education credit requirements.

Jun 30
New Emergency Regulation: Insureds Get Moratorium, Premium Payment Help One Time Only

​The new emergency regulation issued by the New York State Department of Financial Services on Sunday limits the number of times that a policyholder can benefit from the moratorium on policy terminations and changes and the relaxed premium payment rules. The rule makes it clear that policyholders suffering financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic may benefit from these provisions only once.

The regulation, labeled Regulation 216, replaced a version of the same regulation that was issued on March 30 for three months. Like its predecessor, it imposes a 60-day moratorium on insurers' ability to cancel, non-renew or conditionally renew policies issued to individuals and small businesses suffering hardship because of the pandemic. Insurers must permit policyholders who miss payments to make up the overdue amounts over a 12-month period. They may not cancel these policies for non-payment, nor can they charge late fees or report the policyholders to credit reporting agencies.

The new version contains provisions that were not in the original. Section 229.5 now includes this:

(c) Nothing herein shall entitle a policyholder who demonstrated a financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and either received a moratorium for a specific policy or obtained relief for an amount due under the prior regulation, to obtain under the Executive Order and this Part an additional moratorium for a
specific policy or further relief for an amount that comes due while this Part is in effect.

A similar provision has been added to the regulation governing premium finance companies:

(d) Nothing herein shall entitle an insured who demonstrated a financial hardship as a result of the COVID19 pandemic and already obtained relief for an amount due under the prior regulation, to obtain under the Executive Order and this section further relief for an amount that comes due while this section is in effect.

The effect is that once an insurer has granted a moratorium to a policyholder and/or worked out a payment arrangement for overdue premiums, they are not obligated to do so a second time. Similarly, premium finance companies, who must extend grace periods for missed payments, are obligated to do so only once.

The regulation is scheduled to expire on July 6.

Jun 17
State Law Bans Telemarketing Calls During State of Emergency

​A New York State law enacted last year prohibits businesses from making unsolicited telemarketing phone calls during a state of emergency. Consequently, insurance agents and brokers should avoid making these calls during the present COVID-19 state of emergency. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a statewide state of emergency on March 7, 2020. It remains in effect until September 7, 2020.

The law passed both chambers of the New York State Legislature unanimously last June and was signed by Gov. Cuomo on December 18. It amended the existing general business law pertaining to telemarketing.

The law prohibits a business or its employees (supervisors are responsible for employees’ acts) during a state of emergency, from, in order to induce an individual or business in New York to buy goods or services, making a phone call to them when they didn’t ask for the call or aren’t a current customer. This applies to a plan to sell goods and services that involves the business making more than one telephone call. However:

  • It doesn’t apply to contacts made through other media; and
  • It doesn’t apply to calls made to finish a transaction the individual or business already agreed to.

Big I New York encourages all agencies and brokerages to be aware of and follow these rules.

Jun 15
DFS Says Premium Finance Company Restrictions Apply To Each Installment

​The New York State Department of Financial Services has confirmed to Big I New York that the moratorium on premium finance companies (PFCs) cancelling policies applies separately to each installment payment. Each installment is also eligible for alternative payment arrangements.

An emergency regulation issued by the DFS in late March, on orders from the governor, requires PFCs to delaty cancelling policies when a policyholder misses an installment payment because of financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. It also requires them to permit these policyholders to make up the missed payment over a twelve-month period. Big I New York members have reported that PFCs have interpreted the regulation in different ways, with some saying that a policyholder is entitled to one premium deferment only.

Last week, Big I New York asked the DFS for clarification. We received the following response:

For a property/casualty insurance policy, any payment due while the emergency regulation is in effect is eligible for a single 60-day moratorium (i.e., once the moratorium applicable to any one payment expires, the policyholder is not entitled to a second moratorium for that same payment), provided that COVID-19-related financial hardship is demonstrated at the time of the payment due date, and subject to the safety and soundness of the premium finance agency.  For the avoidance of doubt, individual (and periodic) payments due on a policy or premium finance contract are considered individual payments that qualify for independent moratoriums.  The emergency regulation applies to finance agreements for covered property/casualty insurance policies in effect on or after March 30, 2020. 

This implies that a policyholder who can demonstrate financial hardship because of the pandemic may request cancellation deferrals and alternative payment arrangements for multiple installments - one for May 1, one for June 1, another for July 1, and so on. This will continue until the emergency regulation expires and is not re-issued. The regulation is currently slated to expire on June 27, 2020; the executive order that mandated it has been extended to expire on July 6.

Big I New York members and their clients who have financed their premiums should keep in mind:

  • The regulation requires a PFC to delay cancellation, but it does not stop the PFC from eventually cancelling a policy. If the insured misses an installment due July 1, the PFC may cancel the policy on August 31 or later.
  • The regulation is temporary. At some point, PFCs will have the right to cancel policies as stated in the finance agreement, rather than having to delay and make alternate arrangements.
  • The policyholder's obligation to pay overdue installments is separate from the issue of cancelling the policy. If the PFC cancels a policy at the end of the deferral period or after the regulation expires, the policyholder will still owe the past-due amounts, and the PFC will have the legal right to collect those amounts, even though the policy has been cancelled.
  • The regulation's requirements are "subject to the safety and soundness of the premium finance agency." If a PFC can show to the DFS that its solvency would be jeopardize by making these allowances, the PFC may be excused from having to make them.

More information is available from the Coronavirus Resource Page on this website.

Jun 11
DFS To Make Licensing Exams Available Online

​The New York State Department of Financial Services announced ​today that candidates for insurance licenses will be able to take exams online starting next week. The exams will be administered by the department's designated vendor PSI.

Until now, candidates for New York insurance licenses were required to take the exam at a proctored testing center. However, most testing centers have been closed for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new online option will be available to all candidates. According to a department news release, "Online testing will allow candidates to take the exams at a testing center or any other location of their choice, including their home or office."

Starting June 15, candidates for any of the 28 licensing exams will be able to register for a remote exam slot at www.psionline.com/contact/​.  They can schedule exams during the day, in the evenings and on weekends. Their computers must be compatible with the testing requirements. 

Jun 08
Moratorium, Premium Payment Flexibility Extended to July 6

​The emergency restrictions on insurance carriers' ability to terminate coverage and requirements for premium flexibility will stay in place until at least July 6, according to a new executive order. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo issued the order ​on Saturday.

Since March 30, insurers writing business in New York have been required to give an additional 60 days of coverage (90 days for life insurance) to any policyholder who can demonstrate financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic and whose policy the insurer could legally cancel, non-renew or conditionally renew. They have also been required to offer policyholders who missed payments and can demonstrate financial hardship because of the pandemic the option of making up the missed payments over 12 months. They are further prohibited from charging late fees or reporting these delinquent payers to credit reporting agencies.

The order was originally to have expired on April 28​ but has been extended several times. The latest order extends it by an additional 30 days. Further extensions are possible as the state's businesses gradually resume operations following the lengthy shutdown implemented when infection rates began to soar in March. 

Jun 05
DFS To Require Expedited Handling of Riot Claims

​New York insurers will be required to expedite ​handling of insurance claims resulting from recent episodes of civil unrest, according to a recent announcement by New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The announcement came during the governor's daily briefing on June 3.

A news release on the governor's website stated:

The Governor also announced the State Department of Financial Services will issue an emergency regulation to help businesses and consumers who suffered damage from looting and vandalism by requiring New York State-regulated insurance companies to expedite the resolution and payment of related insurance claims based on similar emergency relief applied in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy. Additional relief provided by the emergency regulation will include allowing policyholders to make immediate repairs to damaged property if necessary to protect health or safety, and to submit claims with reasonable proof of loss, including photos, so businesses don't have to wait for police reports to file a claim. The emergency regulation will also offer small businesses and consumers the option to resolve disputes through an impartial mediation process paid for by the applicable insurer.​


As of Friday afternoon, the emergency regulation had not been posted on the department's website​

UPDATE: ​ A news release and the complete text of the emergency regulation​ are now posted on the DFS website. 

May 21
NYS DFS Delays Producer License Expirations Through July 8

​The New York State Department of Financial Services today announced that it was extending the expiration of individual insurance agent and broker licenses through July 8. The move grants producers an additional 45 days to renew their licenses.

Be aware that this extention applies to individual licenses only. It does not apply to licenses issued to business entities.

On March 25, the department announced that it was suspending the expiration of producers' licenses for 60 days, through May 24, due to anticipated difficulty for producers to meet continuing education requirements during the current pandemic. All licenses with expiration dates between those dates were automatically extended to expire on May 25. Today's announcement pushes that expiration date back to July 9. For example, a license scheduled to expire on May 22 will now expire on July 9.

Visit the Big I NY Education Calendar to find webinars that you can take to meet the continuing education credit requirements.

May 14
National General, In Support of Adirondack, Donates $250,000 to the Trusted Choice COVID-19 Relief Fund

adironack-natgen.jpg 

​Big I New York thanks National General, in support of Adirondack Insurance Exchange, for its $250,000 donation to the Trusted Choice COVID-19 Relief Fund to specifically benefit members of Big I New York!  We know that Big I New York members are experiencing different hardships, incurring new expenses to serve their customers and set their team up for various degrees of remote work and eventual return to the office.  Members are making new and necessary investments in many areas that were not anticipated or planned, such as:

  • Enhancing cybersecurity protocols for remote workers
  • Implementing new communication tools to stay connected with their staff, carriers and customers
  • Updating human resource policies and procedures
  • Engaging with outside professionals to ensure agency operations adapt to new regulations and government guidance
  • Purchasing personal protection devices for staff
  • Implementing new safety and health measures for office locations
  • Purchasing equipment for staff to work effectively and comfortably while remote

Through this generous donation, Big I New York members may be eligible to receive a minimum grant from the Trusted Choice COVID-19 Relief Fund of $1,000.  Submit your application and ALL receipts and back up documentation directly to the Trusted Choice COVID-19 Relief Fund.

​Again, we offer a heartfelt thank you to National General, in support of Adirondack, for partnering with Big I New York to recognize the important role that independent insurance agents play in advising their clients through this challenging time and helping to ease some of the burden.

1 - 10Next

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Blog Tools