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The news about the COVID-19 coronavirus is growing more alarming by the day. As of February 27, the World Health Organization reported more than 82,000 confirmed cases worldwide. While nearly 79,000 of those cases were in China, another 3,664 confirmed cases were in 46 other countries, including the U.S. There have been 57 deaths from the virus outside China. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that "It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness."
Big I New York members have been contacting us to ask what insurance coverage, if any, their clients might have for losses resulting from an outbreak. There have been several articles in the industry trade press this week on that question, including:
The members who have contacted us have been particularly concerned about whether Business Income Coverage would apply to revenue losses resulting from an outbreak. As one member said in an email on Wednesday, "I’m very worried about my caterers, restaurants, retail stores, and service organizations like the local bank." Unfortunately, it appears that the ISO Business Income and Extra Expense Coverage Form, CP 00 30 10 12, coupled with the Causes of Loss - Special Form, CP 10 30 09 17, will not cover these losses for three reasons:
- Coverage applies only if there is "direct physical loss of or damage to property." The virus is wreaking havoc on people but not property.
- The causes of loss form excludes coverage "for loss or damage caused by or resulting from any virus, bacterium or other microorganism that induces or is capable of inducing physical distress, illness or disease." That pretty much describes the coronavirus.
- The form also excludes losses resulting from "delay, loss of use or loss of market." There is no coverage for losses resulting If a caterer's customers start cancelling because the virus has caused people to stop traveling.
On February 7, the Insurance Services Office (ISO) announced that it had published two advisory endorsements to the Business Income and Extra Expense Coverage Form for insurers to adopt and file if they wish. ISO is not filing the endorsements and has not assigned numbers to them. According to a blog post on the website of ISO's parent company Verisk:
The first endorsement provides limited coverage in the event that a business suspends operations due to a closure or quarantine ordered by a civil authority. This endorsement also provides coverage with respect to dependent property that is named in the policy and for vehicles and mobile equipment, where applicable.
The second endorsement also provides coverage when a business is forced to suspend operations due to the closure (or restricted use) of public bus, rail, or ferry lines by civil authorities.
In the three weeks since ISO announced these endorsements, we have not heard of any New York insurers offering them. Members may want to ask the insurers they represent about them.
Other coverages that may be impacted are Workers' Compensation, if a worker who becomes ill can prove that exposure to the virus arose out of his or her employment.
Commercial General Liability coverage may also apply in cases where an employer is alleged to have negligently kept an infected employee on the job, thus facillitating the spread of the virus to third parties. Be aware, however, that ISO offers an endorsement, CG 21 32 05 09, Communicable Disease Exclusion. This endorsement excludes coverager for bodily injury, property damage, and personal and advertising injury arising out of the actual or alleged transmission of a communicable disease. It also applies to alleged negligence in:
- Supervising, hiring, employing, training or monitoring of others that may be infected with and spread a communicable disease;
- Testing for a communicable disease;
- Failure to prevent the spread of the disease; or
- Failure to report the disease to authorities.
The New York State Department of Financial Services has approved this endorsement for use here. It would not be surprising to see insurers begin attaching it to most or all CGL policies.
As we learn more about the coverage impliacations and possible solutions with regard to this fast-changing problem, we will post additional information in this space.
By Jim Lombardo, CPCU, AAI, AIM, MBA, AVP of Learning & Development
When I first became licensed to sell insurance, the agency I was working for gave me a Mentor to work with. He became a good friend and we still keep in touch even though this was over twenty-five years ago. I will always be indebted to him for a brief conversation we had very early in my sales career.
You see, at the beginning I was very uncomfortable trying to sell people insurance. They always looked at me like I was a pushy salesman just out for the commission. It made me feel awkward and, frankly, embarrassed. I couldn't see how I could do this for very long let alone for a living.
When I shared my feelings with Bill, he responded, “Jim, I used to feel the same way too until the first time a client of mine had a house fire and I was there with funds to help them get their life back together quickly. From that point on I was proud to be an insurance agent." Well, lo and behold, those words were like music to my ears and since then I have been a very proud, confident and eager advocate for the insurance industry. And I feel we all need to do a better job “promoting" what we do and how we help people…each and every day!!!
We are so much more than “15 minutes" or “15% savings"! We are a large diverse group of educated, experienced, passionate and collaborative people! We are individuals and companies committed to helping society prosper. We are talented, intelligent and creative people dedicated to helping businesses and families manage their risks so they can do what they love without the worries of “what if?"
I plead with anyone reading this to continue to be proud, be helpful, be thoughtful and do not hesitate to shine a light on what this great industry has to offer.
If you have an employee, teammate or Manager who you feel is worth a shout out- then by all means shout!
One way to do that is nominate someone for the 2020 ACSR of The Year Award that will be presented at our Go Big 2020 event in May in Syracuse.
Here are a few upcoming LIVE classes that you may want to attend - or send someone from your agency.
ACSR 6 Commercial Property Insurance - Rochester
It Could Be Criminal NOT To Understand Commercial CrimE - WhitE Plains
ACSR 7 Commercial Lines LiabilitY - Buffalo
ACSR 6 Commercial Property InsurancE - Syracuse
Did you miss last week's legislative update call? You can now access the recording here!
In this call, Big I NY provided updates on issues in the state budget, 2020 legislative priorities, Independent Agents Advocacy Day, and new training resources available to Big I NY members.
Legislative update calls are held every other week during legislative session. View the schedule and register here.
By Jim Lombardo, CPCU, AAI, AIM, MBA, AVP of Learning & Development
Today I want to highlight two distinct topics that are intermingled nonetheless.
The first is the business philosophy that reinforces People before Profits…
It may not have started here, but in 2015 Dale Partridge wrote a book about the benefits to a business by putting “People over Profits". Some key points included in the book state:
- Recognize the value of people.
- Understand why honesty is always the best policy.
- Realize everyone must stay true to who they are.
- Develop and maintain quality standards.
- Be generous without intention of getting something in return.
While these are straightforward and simple thoughts- even very logical- how often do we experience Bosses, Managers or Supervisors who don't abide by them?
Your staff is a reflection of who you are!! How you treat others is witnessed by everyone in the office.
Sometimes we need a soft, gentle reminder to treat people the way we want to be treated.
, but related, point is to announce we are looking for candidates for our 2020 ACSR of the Year. Do you have an employee, teammate or co-worker that deserves recognition? Please check out our website and our upcoming Go Big Event in May
. We will announce this year's winner during our program.
Here are a few upcoming classes/webinars you may find interesting...
Big I NY has released our 2020 position paper, outlining our key priorities for this year's session.
This year's paper outlines key victories from 2019, including the passage of "storm chasers" legislation, small business regulatory relief, and the defeat of harmful liability-expanding legislation and a bill to ban the use of lead paint exposure exclusions.
We continue to push for legislation to improve Workers Compensation for our customers, by raising the payroll threshold for the Workplace Safety and Loss Prevention Program, and eliminating the requirement to provide 30 days' notice before withdrawing from the State Insurance Fund. As in previous years, we are calling for the repeal of the vehicle photo inspection requirement, full repeal of the anti arson application, and strongly opposing efforts to eliminate private health insurance through a single-payer healthcare system.
We have also added several new priority issues for 2020. These include protecting small businesses from a dramatic expansion of "unfair, deceptive, and abusive" practices, protecting consumers from misleading "bait and switch" auto insurance pricing, opposing a ban on lead paint exposure exclusions, and opposing the NYS Privacy Act, which would enact a sweeping and enormously burdensome and challenging "data fiduciary" standard.
This year's position paper reflects an ambitious commitment to advancing the independent agency system and protecting the customers we serve. Moreover, it highlights the multitude of challenges facing our members in the current political environment.
Read the full 2020 Position Paper here
Recently, a delegation of agents from Big I Tri-County met with Senator John Brooks (D, Massapequa) in his district office.
Big I Tri-County Chair Neil Levy was joined by Evan Portnoy, Patrick Marlowe, and Bob Bleistein for the meeting. They thanked Senator Brooks for sponsoring common-sense legislation to raise the payroll threshold for the Workplace Safety and Loss Prevention Program (Code Rule 59), and discussed a number of Big I NY's key legislative priorities.
Senator Brooks is a member of the Senate Insurance Committee, and chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs. As a firefighter and former insurance agent, Senator Brooks has a strong understanding of the importance of the insurance industry, and is a champion for our cause in Albany.
On Tuesday, February 11th, Brian Bixby attended the Travelers Insurance Cyber Symposium at the New York Stock Exchange and gained a lot of knowledge about the future of Cybersecurity and the new threats that face us.
For cyber resources, visit www.biginy.org/cyber
Check out LCG at www.biginy.og/LCG
Learn more about our cyber liability coverage: www.biginy.org/IAAC
Rocky Point, NY (February 12, 2020) – The Clausen Agency, Inc, one NY's largest & fastest growing family owned Independent Insurance Agencies, announced today that Chad Smith has been promoted to the position of Chief Operations Officer.
“Chad has proven himself as someone who is hardworking, loyal, honest and a real team player. We are proud of his professional growth and are excited to have him in this new expanded role," said Chris D. Clausen, President.
Chad has been with The Clausen Agency, Inc for more than 10 years. He started in sales and has worked his way up through the ranks to his current position in charge of operations.
Prior to joining The Clausen Agency, Inc Chad worked as an Assistant Golf Professional at St. Georges Country Club in Setauket, NY.
OLDWICK - FEBRUARY 04, 2020 AM Best has upgraded the Financial Strength Rating to A- (Excellent) from B++ (Good) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating to “a-” from “bbb+” of Broome Co-operative Insurance Company (Broome) (Vestal, NY). The outlooks of these Credit Ratings (ratings) have been revised to stable from positive.
The ratings reflect Broome’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
The rating upgrades reflect the company’s improved operating performance as a result of several key underwriting initiatives, demonstrated by four consecutive years of underwriting income and the below break-even combined ratio through 2019. Underwriting results have been impacted historically by severe and frequent winter events in New York. However, major technological advances, a focus on cost reduction and a re-underwritten book of business collectively have aided underwriting performance. As a result, a pattern of stability is more established, and the underwriting and operating ratios compare favorably with the personal property composite averages.
Broome’s balance sheet strength is supported by its risk-adjusted capitalization being at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), reflective of low underwriting leverage, a high-quality investment portfolio and stable loss reserving trends. The balance sheet strength also is supported by strong liquidity measures and consistent surplus growth. Offsetting rating factors include limited financial flexibility and limited scale of operations.
AM Best views the company’s business profile as limited based on writing predominantly property business and its geographical concentration in New York, which exposes results to weather-related events, as well as changes in the regulatory, judicial and economic environments. However, Broome adheres to an appropriate risk management program that identifies major risks to the organization while correlating mitigation strategies to offset those risks. In addition, the company maintains a comprehensive reinsurance program, including catastrophe coverage, which helps to shield surplus and mitigate tail risk from weather events.