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Mar 31
​ Catalyit Provides All the Tech Guidance Agencies Need in One Place, Thanks to Steve Anderson and 7 Big I State Associations

Catalyit Solves Agency Technology Pain Point


[March 30, 2021] IIA of Wisconsin, Big I New York, IAB of Louisiana, PIIA of Colorado, Big I New Jersey, IIA of Texas, and IIA of North Carolina have partnered with Steve Anderson to launch Catalyit. 

"Members constantly share their frustration and need for guidance on agency technology," says Lisa Lounsbury, President of Catalyit, and President & CEO of Big I New York. "There hasn't been a one-stop-shop for us to refer them to, so we created one. With the right tech, agencies will thrive. And that's exactly what we're going to help them do." 

Access to the Catalyit membership site ( is granted through a subscription, with further discounts to Big I partner state members.

"The number of ways agencies can leverage technology to increase profits and serve customers is nearly unlimited. But time, know-how, and fear of risk are getting in the way. Catalyit will solve it for them," says Steve Anderson, leading insurance technology authority and CEO of Catalyit. "My career has been dedicated to helping agencies harness technology, which is why I'm thrilled to announce Catalyit. We've assembled world-class experts, guidance, solutions, training, and community to help agencies thrive."

Agencies will benefit from:

  • Guides & Reviews: Not sure which AMS to choose? Don't have time to research 5 quoting platforms? We've done the work! Our guides help agencies compare solutions in minutes and include reviews by peers and experts.
  • Training: From monthly live coaching and Q&A sessions to on-demand classes, agencies will be able to use the lingo, get the most out of tools, and train their teams. Unlimited access includes the Tech Tips weekly insights newsletter.
  • Tools: Catalyit's in-depth tech assessment provides agencies with a custom roadmap for success and the tools to get it done. Have the right tech stack? We have a guide for that too.
  • Community: Discuss trends, best practices, and challenges with peers, experts, and providers. With Catalyit, there's an entire community of support and networking.
  • Consulting: Our team of experts can work directly with an agency.

While the full Catalyit website launches in June, agencies should visit today to download Catalyit’s Top 10 Tech Tips, sign up for launch notifications, and get on the list for a free tech assessment.

About Catalyit
Catalyit is the "go-to" technology resource for insurance agencies. In one place, we bring together world-class tech experts, guidance, solutions, training, and community to increase agency profits and customers' experience. Through, agencies access solution guides & reviews, training, assessments, and tools, a member community, and consulting. Our subscription-based membership site launches in June at
[Pronounced cat-a-lit]

About Steve Anderson
Steve Anderson is a technology and risk expert, and one of the original thought leaders/influencers for LinkedIn. From business management systems to social media, Steve analyzes what is happening and explains its implications for the future. He spent his career helping the insurance industry understand, integrate, and leverage current and emerging technologies. Steve is a globally sought-after speaker, bestselling author, business consultant, and risk expert. His most recent research was the basis for his recently released book, The Bezos Letters: 14 Principles to Grow Your Business Like Amazon, an international best-seller. Steve serves as Catalyit CEO.

Mar 31
DFS Updates Cyber Alert in Wake of Fraudulently-Issued Insurance Policies


Responding to an alert from Big I New York, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) yesterday updated its guidance​ to financial services companies about a recent wave of cyber fraud. If your agency has a website that enables visitors to obtain instant auto insurance quotes, you should take immediate steps to protect any non-public information collected.

As we reported last month​, DFS warned of a "systemic and aggressive campaign to exploit cybersecurity flaws​ in websites that provide instant insurance quotes."  The department's letter provided specific actions companies, including agencies and brokerages, could take to reduce the risk of cyber crime.

On March 9, two Big I New York member agencies contacted us about individuals having received personal auto insurance policies from one particular insurer, when they had not applied for the policies. By March 24, we had heard from three other member agencies about the same occurrence involving other insurers. That day, we sent an email to a DFS attorney to ask whether the department was aware of the problem and what we should tell members. On March 26, the attorney advised that their cybersecurity unit was investigating and that they would publish updated guidance as soon as possible. The result was the letter issued yesterday.

According to the DFS letter, cyber criminals are supplementing the hacking methods reported in the earlier alert with two other methods:

  • Web debugging tools for capturing plain-text nonpublic information (NPI) transmitted from data service providers to instant quote websites in certain file formats
  • "Credential stuffing" to gain access to insurance agent accounts and use those agent accounts to steal consumer NPI. Credential stuffing is "the automated injection of breached username/password pairs in order to fraudulently gain access to user accounts."

​The letter noted, "Cybercriminals are also repeatedly purchasing insurance policies with eChecks and/or stolen credit and debit card information to view policyholders’ (driver's license numbers) and other NPI."

The letter urges insurers, agencies and brokerages with instant quote websites to take several remedial actions, including technology to detect and block bots, preventing NPI from being prefilled on their websites, limiting agent and employee access to NPI only to those who need it to do their jobs, protecting NPI received from vendors, and more. We encourage you to work with your information technology departments or consultants to take these and other protective measures as soon as you can. 

Any consumers who discover that fraudulent policies have been issued in their names should contact the issuing insurers immediately and request appropriate corrections. Consumers who may have received auto insurance inquiries from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles​ should contact you or their real insurers directly to have corrected notifications sent to the DMV. 

Information about how to comply with New York's regulation Cybersecurity Requirements for Financial Services Companies​​ and how to get cybersecurity help is available at​

Mar 29
3, 2, 1 with Sue Keegan: Pre-licensing, Free Yale Course, & Your Dream Job

By Sue Keegan, AIC, MBA, Learning & Development Manager

3 Things:

Read this new blog post from Tim: When Can a Homeowners Policy Be Cancelled for Willful or Reckless Acts or Omissions?

Our next Pre-Licensing class (Personal Lines and Property & Casualty) begins 06/08/2021 – get your seat now!

One NYAIP producer is required to take an approved producer procedures course once within every four-year period to continue his/her certification with the plan.  The producer is the producer of record filed with the Plan.  Due to demand, we just added an additional date - 04/22/2021 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.  Mishell Magnusson is teaching!  Sign up now.

2 Ideas:

Celebrate #MomAndPopBusinessOwnersDay today, March 29th!

A Yale course for free?   Yep and it's awesome.  Read this article and consider signing up for it – I did!​

1 Question:

What's your dream job?  I know, I know.  Insurance IS a dream job.  Excluding insurance, what's your dream job?  I have three.  First – employment at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame​ in Cleveland, OH sounds nothing less than amazing.  If you haven't been yet, stop reading this, log onto their website and get yourself a ticket now.  Second – a writer for Rolling Stone magazine.  Lastly, and I will admit this is a weird learn what it is, check out my third answer our Community, and let me know yours there or via email at

Mar 29
Register now for the Big "I" Virtual Legislative Conference!

​Is EVERYONE in your agency registered for the Legislative Conference?  Registration is FREE, and now is the time to have someone sign up EVERYONE in your agency – principals, producers, CSRs, administrators.  The threats and challenges to YOUR profession and agency are real!

It is efficient to designate someone in your agency to register all of your colleagues/employees.  Registration is easy, and you can watch it at your convenience as it is recorded.

The lineup:

  • Remarks by Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), the #1 swing vote in the Senate
  • An interview with Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (and former Florida Governor)
  • An interview with Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), top Republican on the Small Business Committee and senior member of the Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over insurance
  • Remarks by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), sponsor of the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act, a senior member of the Financial Services Committee, and Chair of the Oversight and Reform Committee
  • An interview with Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), co-chairman of the bi-partisan Problem Solvers Caucus, member of the Financial Services Committee 
  • Remarks by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the #3 Democrat in the House
  • An interview with Fox News host Bill Hemmer discussing the salient issues of the day for both small businesses and the country
  • A briefing by your top rated Big I Captiol Hill Office staff on issues that will impact YOU and your profession
  • An address on the state of the Independent Agency system by Chairman Jon Jensen
  • The Big I Legislator of the Year Award
  • The Maurice Herndon Award to the top state association on government affairs over the last year
  • The Sydney O. Smith Award to the person who has gone above and beyond the call of duty for the Big I on Government Affairs over the last year
  • The Barney Burns Award to the top person who has worked tirelessly on InsurPac
  • Company Executives
  • Big I Young Agent leaders
  • …and More!

If you want your colleagues and employees to truly comprehend the VALUE of being a Big I member, this is THE event to register for and virtually attend!

Let’s show the grassroots power of the Big I to promote YOUR interests!

Contact Lisa Johnson-Briggs if you need any assistance with registration.
Mar 22
On Our Mind…Staying Cool Under Pressure

By Jim Lombardo, CPCU, AAI, AIM, MBA, AVP of Learning & Development

 I was recently asked this question, “how do you stay so cool under pressure like you do?"

At first, I wanted to say that I don't always stay cool under pressure, but the more I thought about it a simple answer came to mind. I was trained, for the most part, not to get nervous. My mentor told me a long time ago, “we will make it work; we will figure it out; we will make the best decision we can."

I always have leaned on that wise advice. It has helped me in business, at home, and while in school. Granted, I had a few challenges as a parent that did indeed get me “nervous," but, overall, I was always able to make it work, figure it out, and make the best decision.

That is the way I handle all of my business decisions: review, research and react.

How do you handle things? Is there a way that has helped you over the years? Could you train others to follow your processes? Could you adapt and adopt to make your process simpler? 

As far as insurance, we have everyday issues, annual goals, and longer-term plans. I say to you, don't worry you will figure it out. You will make it work, and you will make the best decision you can.

Here is one decision I can help you make. Take some CE!

ABEN Professional Development & Account Management - ACSR 5​ - Part 2

15inONE CE Program: E&O

Flood Insurance and the NFIP

Mar 19
Albany Update: Anti Arson Repeal Bill Advances, One House Budgets Released, Big I NY Argues Appeal to Best Interest Regulation, DFS Diversity Guidance Issued

Albany is buzzing with activity, and Big I NY is hard at work representing your interests. Here is a recap of the recent developments at the state capitol. 

Our 2021 legislative agenda has been released – read the full position paper here.

On Wednesday, March 17th, the Assembly Insurance Committee passed Big I NY-supported legislation to repeal the anti-arson application in NYC, the last jurisdiction where it still applies. We anticipate the bill will be put to a vote by the full Assembly in the near future, and once passed, must pass through the Insurance committee and a full vote in the Senate. This legislation was a key issue at Independent Agents Advocacy Week

On Monday, March 15th, Big I NY convened a meeting with DFS Executive Deputy Superintendent of Insurance My Chi To and several large member brokerages to discuss forthcoming guidance on diversity, inclusion, and equality, and the role of IAs in leading by example. The new guidance was released on Tuesday, and Big I NY issued a statement in support.

On Sunday, March 14th, the NYS Senate and Assembly released their own “one house" budget proposals. Between now and April 1, legislative leaders and the governor will negotiate a final budget. This year's budget process is unusually tumultuous and uncertain, given the Governor's recent scandals and supermajorities in the Senate and Assembly, which give the legislature substantially greater influence in negotiations. 

Big I NY supports provisions in the Governor's budget proposal to crack down on no-fault “medical mills", which was cut from both the Senate and Assembly proposals, indicating the issue is not likely to make the final budget. Big I NY supports proposals to allow e-notarization and electronic service of process. Both of these proposals were included in the Governor's and Senate's budgets, but not the Assembly's. Lastly, the Assembly's budget proposal includes an 18% surcharge on insurance company taxes. We oppose this measure as we are concerned it would lead to higher premiums.

On March 8th, Big I NY joined a broad-based coalition of employer groups, insurers, and labor unions in calling on the legislature to reject single payer healthcare​

On March 10th, Big I NY counsel argued our appeal of the “Best Interest" regulation for life insurance and annuities, arguing that the regulation is unconstitutionally vague. Watch oral arguments here

Contact Scott Hobson with questions.

Mar 19
WATCH: Big I NY Argues Before Appeals Court on Reg 187


Mar 18
FOX’s Bill Hemmer to Address Big ‘I’ Members

hemmer.jpgThe Big “I" today announced that Bill Hemmer, co-anchor of FOX News Channel's “America's Newsroom," will be a featured speaker at the annual Big “I" Virtual Legislative Conference.

Hemmer will chat with Big “I" President & CEO Bob Rusbuldt on Friday, April 16, in the closing segment starting at 2 p.m. ET about small business news, the latest headlines and his perspectives from his anchor chair. Hemmer joined Fox News in 2005, and previously worked at CNN. As one of the network's top breaking news anchors, Hemmer has provided extensive live coverage of every election cycle since joining the network, including FOX's 2020 election night coverage. Hemmer has covered breaking news for FOX all over the world, including some of the biggest headlines of the last decade. Most recently, Hemmer anchored live coverage as rioters mobbed the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

 “Bill will offer unique insights and perspectives from his experiences reading the pulse of the nation," says Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I" president & CEO. “I look forward to talking with him about the economy, taxes, the new Congress, the media and many more political issues and current events that affect the independent agent and broker community and small businesses."

The Big “I" Legislative Conference is the insurance industry's best-attended, most effective legislative meeting. This year's event will take place virtually April 13-16, daily at 2 p.m. ET. Sessions will run 45-60 minutes. The annual Legislative Conference provides an opportunity for Big “I" members to discuss important issues with their congressional representatives. Top topics this year include key issues for small businesses, taxes, flood insurance, health care and insurance regulatory reform.​

Mar 17
N.Y. Employers Required To Give Workers Time Off For COVID Vaccinations

vaccine-5897391_640.jpgA bill signed into law by New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last week requires public and private employers to give their employees time off to get vaccinated against the coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease. The temporary law took effect on March 12 and expires at the end of 2022. You should be aware of these new requirements and apply them to your employees accordingly.

The measure ​passed the Assembly on Feb. 3 by a vote of ​136-13 and the Senate on March 1 by a vote of 62-0. Its key points are:

  • It protects every employee and applies to all employers, regardless of size
  • Each employee is entitled to a paid leave of absence of up to four hours for each vaccine injection
  • The four-hour leave is a minimum; employers may provide more time if they wish or if collective bargaining agreements obligate them to do so
  • The paid leave of absence must be at the employee's regular rate of pay
  • The employer may not charge the time off against the employee's sick leave​​
  • ​Collective bargaining agreements that specifically reference New York Labor Law Section 196-C may waive these requirements
  • Employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against employees who exercise their rights to this time off

All insurance agencies should immediately start granting their employees' requests for time off to get their first or second COVID vaccinations. 

Mar 15
3, 2, 1 with Sue Keegan: New class & how to celebrate St. Paddy's Day virtually

By Sue Keegan, AIC, MBA, Learning & Development Manager

3 Things:​

2 Ideas:​

1 Question:

  • Have you binge watched anything lately, and if so, what would you recommend? I binge watched all 7 seasons of West Wing and all 4 season of Search Party on HBOMax and wholeheartedly recommend both.  I am currently in the middle of the first season of Blown Away on Netflix and give it two thumbs up.  Let me know your recommendations via email at or post in our Community.​
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