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Jun 28
Summer Exposures are here! Protect yourself & your clients with a Personal Umbrella Policy

Summer exposures are here! Now is the time to make sure you and your clients are protected. IAAC has you covered.
Hudson Personal Lines includes properties insured under LLC, Trust or Estates.
Learn more at​
Jun 24
On Mary’s Mind - Vacations & Home Sharing

By Mary Byrnes​AAI-M, AU​, Director of Education​​​​​

As vacation season kicks into high gear, vacationers will be looking for places to stay and homeowners may be thinking about entering into a home share opportunity.  The insurance practitioner is likely getting calls from insureds asking about renting through a home share or asking if there's coverage if they want to rent their property out.  

For homeowners that are looking to rent out their property in a home share arrangement many things need to be considered:

  • How does the “business" definition read in the current policy?
  • Is there an “other structure' that is rented to others or that a “business" is conducted in? Like a guest cottage or a part of a garage.
  • How does the property-additional coverage apply for landlord furnishings?
  • On Personal Property-is there a limitation for theft while the home is entrusted to others?
  • Are there any property conditions regarding concealment of fraud for this scenario?
  • On the Liability & Med Pay sections of the policy is there a business exclusion?
  • Check the damage to property of others and concealment or fraud on the liability section.
  • Keep in mind that the liability section is only going to cover BI & PD

There are coverage options available through some of the larger home sharing organizations that might be beneficial. 

For the party renting the home of others:

  • Is there a hold harmless agreement that must be signed (or clicked on as agreed)?  What did it include that the tenant would be responsible for?
  • Although the ISO HO 3 form provides personal property coverage while you occupy a home share, if your insured doesn't have an ISO policy, how does the Personal Property apply.
  • BI or PD will be covered under the ISO form for your negligence for BI or PD, but what about damage that you might have caused to the property itself while it was in your care? And what happens if there are no handrails on the pool and someone visiting you at the home share slips and falls in the pool, it all comes back again to what did you assume in the agreement and would this really be your negligence?

Probably more of us have rented a home from someone else while on vacation than those that may own a home and be renting it out to vacationers.  It's such an economic choice and you can get some really beautiful accommodations, but thinking about it you realize that we should be really mindful of what we're signing and thereby assuming.

For all of the questions posed, it's almost impossible to give concrete answers on coverage because there are so many different forms used by homeowner carriers and the hold harmless variations that might be agreed to. 

Best advice:  Read the policy forms, ask questions of your underwriters and before you click on the “I Agree" button, read the fine print.

Jun 21
Legislative Session Has Adjourned - How Did Independent Agents Fare?
imageLegislative session adjourned early Friday morning, two days after the scheduled end date. Lawmakers are not scheduled to return to Albany until January 2020, where they will resume the second year of the two-year session. This session was particularly chaotic, with an unprecedented number of harmful bills gaining traction in the closing days of the session. Our members rose to the challenge, sending emails and making nearly four hundred phone calls to key lawmakers on a multitude of bills. The government relations team spent many long days in the capitol, speaking with lawmakers and coordinating with allies in the insurance industry, working to keep our message at the forefront.

Fortunately, our efforts paid off and we were able to block the passage of a number of dangerous bills. Beneficial legislation to protect homeowners from unscrupulous roofing contractors passed both the Senate and Assembly, and we made strong progress advancing bills to repeal the anti-arson application requirement and eliminate the “diligent effort" requirement for placing many excess lines policies.

Unfair Business Practices (Opposed) – Did not pass Senate or Assembly

Big I NY aggressively opposed a bill which would have created a broad and vaguely-defined range of “unfair, abusive, or deceptive business practices," imposed a minimum of $1,000 in damages plus actual damages, provided attorneys' fees, and authorized class action lawsuits by any person, organization, or business even where no public harm occurred. This legislation is extremely troubling to independent agencies, as it would substantially increase legal exposure and correspondingly the cost of professional liability insurance, as well as increasing the cost of insurance for business customers. In addition to meeting with key lawmakers, Big I NY coordinated with broad based coalition of business and insurance groups to fight this legislation. We engaged members across the state in a three stage call-in campaign in a show of force driving nearly 300 phone calls to targeted lawmakers.

Lead Paint Exclusion Ban (Opposed)Passed Assembly, did not pass Senate

This legislation would ban the use of lead paint exclusions in habitational coverage for rental properties. We opposed this legislation – while well intentioned, we fear it would devastate the market for habitational coverage, resulting in substantial cost increases for renters and a crisis of availability. Member agents made dozens of calls and sent emails to Senate leadership expressing concern about the bill. Ultimately, the bill was not brought to a vote in the Senate before session adjourned.

Storm Chasers (Supported) Passed Senate and Assembly

Big I NY supports legislation to enact a wide range of of protections against unscrupulous roofing contractors, often called “storm chasers" who defraud customers or perform substandard work.

Anti Arson Application Repeal (Supported)Passed Assembly, did not pass Senate

We worked closely with the insurance trades and Assemblyman Rosenthal (D, Queens) and Senator Sanders (D, Queens) to advance legislation to repeal the burdensome and ineffective anti-arson application. In February, member agents met with over two dozen lawmakers to support this bill at Independent Agents Advocacy Day​. Big I Local associations Big I Tri-County, Big I Western New York, and Big I Rochester submitted letters in support of the legislation to members of the Senate, while Queens-area Big I members Larry Robotti and William Kim published letters to the editor in support in two Queens papers. Big I members from across the state called and emailed Senate leadership to help move the bill to a vote. Disappointingly, the Senate failed to bring the bill to a vote before adjournment.

​“Diligent Effort" Reform (Supported)Passed Senate, did not pass Assembly​

Big I NY worked alongside the Excess Lines Association of New York to advance legislation to streamline the placement of E&S coverage by removing the “diligent effort" requirement for commercial lines policies placed through a wholesale broker, as well as streamlining the required affidavit. The legislation passed the Senate unanimously, but faced opposition in the Assembly Insurance Committee. Member agents sent messages of support to the Committee Chair, but the bill was not brought to a vote. We will continue to push for passage of this bill in 2020.

Bad Faith Bills (Opposed)Did not pass Senate or Assembly

The personal injury lawyer lobby pushed two bills to allow private lawsuits for both first party and third party “bad faith" claims against insurance companies. If enacted, these bills would drive up the cost of virtually all types of insurance.

Non-Compete Ban (Opposed)Did not pass Senate or Assembly

Legislation to ban the use of non-compete agreements for employees earning under $75,000 annually passed a two required committee votes in the Assembly, but was not voted on by the full body. It remains in the Senate Labor Committee and was not brought to a vote.

SHIELD ActPassed Senate and Assembly

Big I NY worked with insurance industry partners to support amendments to the bill to help harmonize it with the NY Cyber Regulation. The final version of the bill imposes significant requirements on NY businesses, but the majority of these are already required of agencies under the Cyber Regulation. The main provisions that will affect our members are a requirement to notify the Attorney General in the event of a breach that affects over 500 customers, as well as a presumption that failing to comply with the SHIELD Act, and by extension main provisions of the Cyber Regulation, will be a considered a violation of the General Business Law, enforced by the Attorney General. The bill is expected to be signed by the Governor. 

Wrongful Death Expansion (Opposed)Did not pass Senate or Assembly

Big I NY is worked closely with a broad coalition of insurance, business, and local government groups to strongly oppose a bill to expand the categories of damages which a plaintiff may recover in a lawsuit for alleged wrongful death. This legislation would have a significant impact on New York's insurance market. A recently-released study found that the bill could lead to an 12.6% average increase in annual premiums for New York policyholders, or $2.2 billion. 

Continuing Education Credit for Association Membership - Passed Senate and Assembly

This legislation directs the DFS superintendent to grant three hours of CE credit to licensees who are active members in a statewide professional insurance producer association. The legislation leaves discretion to the DFS as to how credit will be provided to individual employees of agencies who are association members. The governor vetoed this legislation last year, noting that the originally proposed six CE credits was too high. With the number of credits now reduced to three, it appears likely the governor will sign the bill. 

​Sexual HarassmentPassed Senate and Assembly

Both houses passed legislation​ to strengthen the state's sexual harassment law. Key provisions include the removal of the “severe and pervasive" standard to prove harassment claims, extending the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims to three years, and indicating that the fact that an individual did not make a complaint about the harassment to their employer will not be determinative of whether such employer is liable.​ The governor is expected to sign the legislation, which will take effect immediately.



Jun 20
Linda Lacewell Confirmed as DFS Superintendent

Acting DFS Superintendent Linda Lacewell was confirmed by the NY Senate last evening.​ Lacewell formerly served as  Chief of Staff to Governor Cuomo, responsible for overseeing executive chamber operations. She also served as special counsel to Andrew Cuomo during his tensure as New York Attorney General, overseing investigations into public pension fund corruption and out-of-network health insurance. She has indicated she intends to make consumer protection a top priority, and has stated that cybersecurity is one of the most pressing issues facing the financial services industry. 

Jun 19
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Jun 19
2019 InsurTech Agency Award Now Open for Entries
​Austin, TX – June 13, 2019 – ePayPolicy is now accepting applications for its 2019  InsurTech Agency Award competition. The award, now in its second year, recognizes independent insurance agencies for leveraging technology to enhance their sales, marketing, operations and customer service functions.

All aspects of the award are designed to foster agency business improvement and spur widespread tech adoption throughout the insurance industry.

“The goal of any agency is to create a seamless experience in which your clients enjoy every interaction,“ said Todd Sorrel, ePayPolicy co-founder. “We created the InsurTech Award to celebrate those firms -- big and small -- who are out  there leading the charge to tech-enabled customer engagement and business growth.”

The InsurTech Agency Award acknowledges both achievement and effort in technology adoption. Applicants are scored on their use of technology in four categories:

  1. Client & Prospect Engagement
  2. ​Day-to-Day Operations
  3. Technology Vision
  4. Technology Investment

The scores in each area are combined into the applicant’s Insurance Technology Adoption (ITA) score. ITA is a subjective measure of an agency’s competitive standing in the insurtech space. All applicants will receive their ITA score, along with evaluator feedback and suggestions on opportunities to improve.

The grand prize winner is the agency with the highest ITA score. In 2019 the grand prize winner will receive:

  • $1,000 cash
  • $1,000 towards insurtech services
  • 1 Year of consulting services
  • 1 free year of ePayPolicy payment processing services

“With so many simple yet powerful insurtech options out there today -- from AI chat bots to social media management to internal communications platforms and digital payment processing -- we’re excited to see what agencies are using,” said Sorrel. “We’re expecting some creative new applications from our 2018 participants and demonstrated momentum overall since last year’s award.”

ePayPolicy encourages everyone to apply.  “At minimum, you’ll receive valuable feedback via your ITA score. And -- you just could be our 2019 grand prize winner,” concluded Sorrel.

For more information on the 2019 InsurTech Award, including online application, visit:

About ePayPolicy
ePayPolicy is the simplest way to collect insurance payments. Designed for independent agents, brokers, premium finance companies, MGAs and their clients, ePayPolicy’s innovative electronic payment processing portal enables clients to accept credit card or ACH payments without messy merchant accounts or hidden fees. It sets up quickly and integrates seamlessly with leading agency management systems. ePayPolicy helps thousands of agencies across the country improve the customer experience, speed up their receivables and bind policies faster. The Austin,Texas-based company does more than provide a product; they’ve created a community of like-minded insurance professionals eager to innovate. ePayPolicy is endorsed by independent insurance associations nationwide.​
Jun 19
Go Big 2019 Wrap-Up

Go Big 2019 Wrap Up
Big I New York leaders, members, and staff recently joined together for Go Big 2019, a new event for the insurance industry held on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 in Tarrytown, New York. This exciting day featured sessions on agency valuation and cybersecurity, a panel of carrier leaders, an industry marketplace, and more.
Here are a few highlights...
Go Big 2019 Highlights
We Believe
Board of Directors
Meet our leaders! Learn more about our Board of Directors here.
Sessions included a carrier panel with industry leaders, a cybersecurity session, and a presentation on the internet of insurance. Speaker Bobby Reagan shared insights on what successful agencies have been doing to grow and what they should do in the years to come to succeed and increase agency value. 
Award Winners
Big I New York spotlighted excellent performances over the past twelve months by industry members, organizations, and companies. Read more.
Photo Gallery
Check out photos from the event here.
Industry Marketplace
The Industry Marketplace featured a select group of solution providers to help you grow your business. Learn more about each of these companies here - we've got videos of every vendor!
Support NY
A special thanks to our Support New York Sponsors! Learn more about these companies here

Go Big 2020
May 19, 2020 | Syracuse, NY

Jun 17
On Mary’s Mind - InVEST Scholarships
By Mary Byrnes​AAI-M, AU​, Director of Education​​​​


Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending the Dryden High School Recognition Ceremony held at Tompkins Cortland Community College.  The ceremony was led by Linda Bruno who is the National InVEST Teacher of Year for 2018.  Families of the students are invited to attend event with dinner included. 

During the ceremony, students thanked by name each of the volunteers that came to speak to the classes or supported the InVEST program in other ways.  In addition, Bob Baxter; former CEO of Dryden Mutual was honored for 30 years with InVEST.  Dryden HS encourages volunteerism in the community and has a long standing affiliation with the United Way this was celebrated as well.  Students spoke about how they have been impacted by the InVEST program and how it has changed them and how prepared they feel to move forward.

It was so wonderful to hear that at least 3 graduating students of the Dryden InVEST class are planning on pursuing a career in insurance!

Each year, National InVEST awards scholarships to InVEST students who have applied by responding to real world insurance case studies, writing winning essays, combined with GPAs and extracurricular activity participation.  Dryden High School InVEST students won 2 of the total of 37 scholarships that were awarded country-wide.  The $5,000 Vertafore Scholarship* winner was Alexis Schneider and Madelyne Alexander was a $1,000 scholarship winner.  Alexis Schneider also was awarded the $500 Syracuse I Day Scholarship.

Also to be congratulated in New York were the following scholarship winners from Hamburg High School:

$5,000 Randy Roth Applied Memorial* Scholarship-Michael Skora

$2,000 Scholarships-Andrew Paluch & Ethan Pohlman

$1,500 Scholarships-Timmy Stuart & David Becker

$1,000 Scholarships-Nicole Park, William McGowan, William Cox, Lauren Chiacchia, & Christopher Damiani

Way to go New York State, of $53,500 awarded country-wide, students in NYS won a total of $23,000 in scholarships!  We are so inspired by each of you!

*The $5,000 Vertafore Scholarship is provided by Vertafore, Inc., a developer and provider of cloud-based software and services for the insurance industry worldwide.

*The $5,000 Randy Roth Applied Memorial Scholarship, established in 2017, honors the memory of Randy Roth who was dedicated to developing young talent for the insurance industry. Roth served as Applied Systems' director of talent acquisition and passed away several years ago.

The InVEST program mission is to educate, prepare and attract new talent to the insurance industry.  Educational materials for InVEST classes are provided free of charge to high schools and colleges when the school enrolls with InVEST. To find out more about the InVEST Program visit theInVEST website.​
Jun 14
This Week in Albany - Lead Paint Exclusion, Liability Expansion, Anti Arson, Storm Chasers, Best Interest Regulation, and More

imageAs session draws closer to the scheduled adjournment date of June 19th, activity at the capitol has risen to frenetic levels. Here's a closer look at where we stand on the issues that matter most to independent agents.

Opposition to “Unfair, Decpetive, and Abusive Practices" bill ramps up:

We continued our full-throttle efforts to block legislation that significantly increase agencies' legal exposure by permitting costly lawsuits for a wide range of “unfair, deceptive, or abusive" practices. We continued our call-in campaign, focusing this week on rallying constituents of Senators and Assemblymembers in their districts.

During the week had productive meetings with the Senate and Assembly leader's offices, and they confirmed they have been hearing a tremendous amount of opposition to this bill, from agents and other groups. Equally importantly, agents making calls have been professional and courteous.

We also met with key members of the Senate and Assembly to voice our concerns. Big I NY continues to work closely with other business groups, representing nearly every sector of the economy, to coordinate our opposition for maximum impact.

For the time being, we have been successful in keeping this dangerous legislation from being brought to a vote in either the Senate or the Assembly. However, we're not out of the woods on this one. The final few days of session can be wild and unpredictable.

Lead paint prohibition exclusion passes Assembly:

Despite our strong opposition, legislation to ban the use of lead paint exclusions in habitational coverage for rental properties passed the Assembly on Thursday. This would severely impact the cost and availability of habitational coverage and harm renters who can least afford to pay more for housing. We continue to work closely with insurance industry associations to block this legislation's passage in the Senate. We urge all agents to call their Senators to oppose this harmful legislation!

Efforts to repeal anti-arson application continue:

We continue to push for the passage of legislation to repeal the anti-arson application requirement in the Senate, after its unanimous passage by the Assembly. Big I Local associations Big I Tri-County, Big I Western New York, and Big I Rochester submitted letters in support of the legislation to members of the Senate, while Queens-area Big I member Larry Robotti's letter to the editor was published in the Queens Chronicle.

“Storm Chaser" bill passes the Senate:

Legislation to protect consumers from unscrupulous roofing contractors, often called “storm chasers" passed the Senate this week. We support this legislation, and are working with a coalition of insurance trades and other groups to push for its passage in the Assembly this year.

Acting DFS Superintendent Lacewell to face confirmation vote:

Linda Lacewell, the acting Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services since her appointment by the Governor in January, will be considered by the full Senate in the coming days. The Senate is expected to vote in favor of confirmation.

“Best Interest" Regulation lawsuit ruling expected:

We expect the trial court to rule on our joint lawsuit with PIA-NY against the Department of Financial Services in the near future. All papers have been fully submitted to the court, and the case is currently being reviewed by Judge Henry Zwack. While the exact timing is unknown, we anticipate a ruling prior to the August 1 effective date of the regulation. 

Governor calls for stricter sexual harassment standards:

On Wednesday, Cuomo convened a press conference in Albany, where he called for the passage of legislation to eliminate the requirement to demonstrate sexual harassment was "severe or pervasive" in order to prove it created a hostile work environment.

Jun 13
Big ‘I’ Applauds House Financial Services Committee for Flood Reauthorization

Committee passes legislation to extend NFIP for five years.​

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 12, 2019— The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I") thanks the House Financial Services Committee for passing a measure to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years.

“The Big 'I' applauds the committee for voting to extend the NFIP for five years," says Charles Symington, Big “I" senior vice president of external, industry & government affairs. “The Big 'I' especially wants to thank Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-California) and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina) for recognizing the critical role the NFIP plays in the lives of millions of Americans. They have previously lead efforts in the House to guarantee flood insurance remains available to those who need it. Now they are now playing a critical role in reauthorizing the program on a long-term basis while making needed reforms that will increase take-up rates through the NFIP and the private market."

Congress must periodically reauthorize the NFIP, which is currently set to expire on Sept. 30. However, Congress has yet to pass a long-term NFIP extension as debate continues regarding options for reforming the program. This has already resulted in a series of stop-gap extensions and a few brief lapses in 2017 and 2018. The committee-passed measure would extend the program for five years and make needed reforms to the program. The Big “I" strongly supports a continuous coverage reform clarifying there is no penalty if consumers leave the NFIP for the private market and then need to return to the NFIP because conditions change.

“Following the bipartisan passage out of the Financial Services Committee, the Big 'I' urges the U.S. House of Representatives to pass this legislation," says Wyatt Stewart, Big “I" senior director, federal government affairs. “This legislation would provide much needed stability to the more than five million NFIP policyholders and countless others who depend on the program. The Big 'I' would also like to thank Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Florida) and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Missouri) for their hard work in making sure that their continuous coverage legislation was included in the five-year reauthorization."

Founded in 1896, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I") is the nation's oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing more than 25,000 agency locations united under the Trusted Choice brand. Trusted Choice independent agents offer consumers all types of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products—from a variety of insurance companies. 

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