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Apr 08
Industry Roundup: April 8th

Insurers Beware: Potential Impacts of New York's Cyber Insurance Risk Framew​​ork​

During its current legislative session, New York is c​onsidering a proposed privacy bill that would greatly enhance consumer privacy rights, increase business obligations and create new litigation/enforcement exposure.

Workplace Safety Considerations a​s the Vaccine Rolls Out​

With the vaccine continuing to roll out across the country, you may have questions besides if you should or shouldn't require your employees to be vaccinated, like - do vaccinated employees need masks? Should we track who has been vaccinated?  Learn more about this important considerations as you re-open your agency.

Big 'I' and Future One Re​lease 2020 Agency Universe Study COVID-19 Impact Findings​

One-quarter of independent insurance agencies report COVID-19 had a significant impact on their operations, revenue and commercial lines customer base, according to the 2020 Agency Universe Study COVID-19 Impact Summary. 

3 Ways Insurtech Can Help You Thrive in 2021 and Beyond​​

COVID-19 is not in the rearview mirror yet and we know many of you continue to struggle with paperless processes, remote relationship building and digital communications. It can feel difficult to keep people at the center of business when most people are secluded at home and avoiding in-person interactions.

Still, it is never too late for you to modernize their business and recommit to building stronger relationships. Three insurtech trends are critical to adapting to this moment and thriving.

Business Interruption Bi​​ll Passes N.J. Assembly

Legislation requiring certain insurers to disclose to current and future policyholders whether their business interruption policies cover pandemics was approved by the New Jersey Assembly. Several other states are also considering bills seeking to create business interruption coverage, including New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.​

The Remote Agency: Building Successful Work-From-Home Operations​

Your agency was forced to adopt and adapt to technology at a head-spinning pace to remote work as a result of COVID-19.  Will you and your staff return to the office, or will business as usual now include some form of a virtual workforce?  Get some tips from work-at-home experts at WAHVE. Learn more about what WAHVE can offer you here.

Stability in the Agency Universe​

Future One, a collaboration of the Big “I" and leading independent agency companies, has released key findings from the recently completed Agency Universe Study, hailed as the most comprehensive look at the independent agency system. The study shows that the number of independent insurance agencies has remained stable and business conditions continue to improve. 

Agents, Stand Together in Helping Businesses Understand Standalone Cyber Insur​ance

How can you help your insureds move into adopting more standalone cyber coverage? Learn the key challenges and possible solutions to help you place more cyber risk and better protect your clients. See Big I NY's cyber insurance

Five-Star Awards: C​​​yber Insurance​

Find out why these cyber carriers can help you meet the needs of your customers and their cyber exposures.

Feds Could Step in to Fix Rac​ial Bias in Insurance Pricing​

If the National Association of Insurance Commissioners doesn't act this year to correct systemic racial bias in insurance ratemaking and other processes, Congress may pass anti-discrimination laws that apply to insurance, a consumer advocate said earlier this month.​

Disability Disconnect: Disabled Workers Lack Equity in the Workplace​

A new study released by Global Disability Inclusion, in collaboration with Mercer, found that disabled workers are less engaged and rank their work experiences lower than workers without disabilities.

The ten-year study underlines the challenges faced by disabled people, who represent 15% of the population. The project collected more than 12 million responses from workers around the world and found an “engagement gap" that was significant in a range of areas.

What sort of workplace experience would you provide for a disabled worker in your agency?

Premier Virtual Event for Women in Insur​​ance​

From career and leadership strategies to beyond, the Women in Insurance Summit promises a day of inspiration and empowerment on May 25, 2021. The agenda is full of industry presentations and panel discussions featuring speakers from top companies. It will provide insights and ideas to advance equality for all women in the profession.

CNA Central, CNA Surety Now Back Online; Work on Other Portals Continues​​

CNA Central and, are back online. This means that you can now get quotes for CNA's small business through CNA Central and surety agents can access to issue surety bonds through the online application.

Why Does ACORD CEO Bill Pieroni Loathe Price Competition?​​​

As president and CEO of ACORD (Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development) - the global standards-setting body for the insurance and related financial services industries – Pieroni has a unique perspective on the insurance industry, based on ACORD's 36,000+ members.

Apr 07
Nominate a Charitable Organization for a Local Grant


The insurance industry is dedicated to assisting people in times of need. As such, the industry is uniquely suited to be a philanthropic leader, adapting its skill-set to charitable endeavors. ​On behalf of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation, Big I New York is pleased to invite your company or agency to nominate a charitable organization for a local grant.​

IICF helps communities and enriches lives by combining the collective strengths of the industry to provide grants, volunteer service, and leadership.

In an effort to expand the reach of IICF across communities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the foundation is offering 10 local grants in the amount of $2,500. All charities awarded a grant must be sponsored by an insurance entity, so this your chance to nominate a worthy organization your company or agency supports or is familiar with in your community.
The application process is simple. Please communicate with your chosen nonprofit that you are nominating them to apply and ask the charity you are sponsoring to complete this application. They must provide the requested corroborating documentation and submit all items electronically to Lauren Pincus at by 5:00 p.m. on Friday May 28, 2021. Additional information is detailed in the local grant guidelines

We appreciate your help in recognizing outstanding charities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Formed in 1994, the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity funded and directed by insurance industry professionals representing a broad spectrum of the industry. Since its inception, IICF has contributed over $40 million in local community grants, over 300,000 hours of volunteer service, and the leadership of over 100,000 industry volunteers.
Apr 05
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off to E&O We Go

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

Your support staff at Big I NY has been having a blast these last few days filming the 2021 Annual E+O Seminars! 

There was a fire at a golf course where the club house and its contents were destroyed. Oh, I sure hope the agent placed the right coverage. I hope the client communicated clearly. I hope the judge understands insurance, and I hope the lawyers didn't get their degrees on the back of a cereal box.

It has been fun being at the mock court room on the Syracuse University campus as well as seeing our headquarters transform into an independent insurance agent's office. We are excited to see the finished project, and we know you will enjoy it as well. You will even have a chance to be the jury and weigh in with your vote as to who is at fault!

Mark your calendars now for one of the “show dates."

  • May 18
  • May 26
  • June 7
  • September 14
  • October 14

Here are some shots from behind the scenes.

E&O R.jpgStay tuned for coming attractions and check our website regularly for updates.​

In the meantime, here are some upcoming classes this month to check out.

15inONE CE Program: E&O   

ABEN When Words Collide…Insurance Coverage & Claim Disputes  

ABEN Premium Auditing – What Every Agent Must Know​

Apr 01
Albany Update: Big I NY Photo Inspection Bill Introduced, Cannabis Legalized, Advocates Push Back on “Pay & Pursue” and Airborne Infectious Disease Liability

This week, Senator Neil Breslin, Chair of the Senate Insurance Committee, introduced legislation created by Big I NY to make the auto photo inspection voluntary at the discretion of an insurance carrier. This is a pro-customer measure to eliminate an unnecessary burden to the process of obtaining comp and collision coverage. Modern technology has rendered the photo inspection virtually useless (carriers tell us they don't even use them). It can be a major hassle for the insured, who risks losing coverage if the inspection isn't completed in time. Big I NY members sent over 220 emails to their state senators, calling on them to sign on to the bill.

Effective April 1, New York has legalized adult-use recreational cannabis, becoming the 15th state in the nation to do so. Personal consumption and possession is immediately legalized, and in the coming months, a regulatory framework will be put in place to govern the sale and distribution of cannabis. Big I NY will carefully monitor this issue for impacts on our members and their customers.

Big I NY joined a broad based group of employers, insurers, and labor organizations in calling on the legislature to reject a harmful “pay and pursue" proposal. We believe that by requiring payment before determining whether the service or treatment was medically necessary, this proposal will make it more difficult to determine whether care was appropriate and creates an incentive for ordering unnecessary procedures and conducting duplicative tests that will drive up costs for New Yorkers.

Big I NY also joined allies in the small business community in opposing A.2681(Reyes), which would, among other concerns, implement a new and burdensome regulatory framework for businesses of every size, create a new private right of action which will expose employers to predatory lawsuits, and mandates the organization of “workplace health and safety committees" with ambiguous functions, purposes, and authority. The combination of these burdens will create significant new costs during a period of unprecedented economic distress. Further, this bill makes no distinction between large corporate entities and the small, local businesses that have suffered specific duress during the pandemic.

The state budget was due by April 1. As of right now no budget has been voted on, however we hear that a final deal is near.

Contact Scott Hobson ​with any questions.

Apr 01
Big ‘I’ and Future One Release 2020 Agency Universe Findings

Biennial study reveals stability and challenges in independent agency system.

ALEXANDRIA, VA, March 29, 2021—The number of independent insurance agencies has remained stable and business conditions continue to improve, although at a slower rate than 2018, according to the 2020 Agency Universe Study.

Future One, a collaboration of the Big “I" and leading independent agency companies, has released key findings from the recently completed Agency Universe Study, hailed as the most comprehensive look at the independent agency system.  

“The 2020 Agency Universe Study reveals good news for the independent agency system, including continued adaption to the digital solutions and innovations that enable independent agents and brokers across the country to serve their clients and communities most efficiently," says Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I" president & CEO. “The study also offers a pulse read on key areas agencies should focus on to better prepare for the future. Women and people of color continue to be underrepresented as agency principals, and the Big 'I' is committed to continuing its outreach efforts to address this issue so agencies can serve all insurance consumers better." 

The study looks at many statistics about independent agencies operating in the U.S., including their numbers, revenue base and sources, number of employees, ownership, mix of business, diversification of products, technology uses, non-insurance income sources and marketing methods. For 2020, the study continued to examine those trends, focusing on agency perpetuation challenges and the impact of emerging purchase channels and trends.

“The study provides independent agency principals and managers with insights into how their peers operate, as well as business strategies that may be helpful to them," says Madelyn Flannagan, Big “I" vice president of agent development, education and research. “In particular, as agencies express concern over emerging purchase channels threatening their consumer segment, the study revealed how crucial adaptation to social media and digital marketing strategies are key to agency success. Overall, though, the channel has fared well during the economic upheaval of the last year."

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and related shutdown orders in 2020, the study was halted in its traditional fielding time in March and re-started in September. The study also included survey questions related to COVID-19's impact on the independent agency channel, the results for which have been released separately. 

              Key findings from the 2020 Agency Universe Study include:

  • The number of independent agencies remains stable. In 2020, the estimated total number of independent property/casualty agents and brokers in the United States stands at 36,000. This is consistent with 2018 number of 36,500.
  • Business conditions remain favorable but growth slows. Business conditions continue to improve, as they have for the past several waves, but at a slower rate. The majority of agencies (70%) report increases in total revenue between 2018 and 2019, with an average increase of 20%. However, this is slightly lower than in 2018 when 76% reported an increase, with average increases of 25%.  Agencies are slightly more likely to report increases in personal lines revenue (67%) than commercial lines (63%).
  • Principal aging remains consistent. The aging of the independent agency universe is consistent with 2018 findings as the average age of agency principals is 55 years old, with 17% age 66 or older. Agencies may be starting to consider perpetuation planning. Nine in 10 have a perpetuation plan (on par with 2018), though it often centers around children and family. Four in 10 anticipate some ownership change in the next five years.
  • Social media and digital marketing strategies are key. All the top marketing strategies cited in 2020 are digital: social media and digital marketing (58%), creating and maintaining the agency website (49%), portal technology on the agency site (30%), search engine optimization (30%), and e-marketing activities (20%).
  • Emerging purchase channels remain a concern. The impact of emerging purchase channels remains a concern, particularly for personal lines, with 35% of agencies believing personal lines direct purchase through the insurance company will have a significant impact on their agency over the next two years—and 27% believing the same issue will emerge with non-insurance website purchases. Approximately 1 in 4 express similar concerns about small commercial direct purchase or purchase through emerging online providers.
  • Inclusion continues to be a challenge. Women and people of color continue to be underrepresented in the independent agency universe. Forty-two percent of agency principals are women. Nearly 9 in 10 of agency principals are white. Larger agencies are especially likely to have male principal or senior managers. However, newer agencies are more likely to have at least one African American principal (12% versus 5% of established agencies).

The 2020 Agency Universe Study is the fourteenth in a series that was first conducted in 1983. Since 2002, the study has been completed biennially. Since 2004, the Agency Universe Study has relied on internet data collection. In total, 1,437 respondents were included in the 2020 study, conducted by Zeldis Research in cooperation with Future One.

To order a copy of the 2020 Agency Universe Study Management Summary, which provides an overview of the highlights from the complete study, visit the Big “I" Agency Universe Study webpage.

In addition to the Big “I," the Future One coalition includes the following company partners: Allstate/Encompass, Amerisure, Central Insurance Companies, Chubb, CNA, Foremost, Grange Insurance, Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB), Liberty Mutual Insurance/Safeco, Nationwide, Progressive, Selective, The Hanover Insurance Group, The Hartford, Travelers and Westfield Group.

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.

Apr 01
Industry Roundup: April 1st

​No fooling - here's a roundup of the industry news you need but may have missed.

April 1, 2021

Homeowners becoming more proactive in improvements, repairs​

Since the start of the pandemic, more than half of homeowners made improvements to their property, according to Hippo, which noted 71% said they'd continue making the same amount of home improvements moving forward. Are your policyholders updating their coverges accordingly?

Will new federal programs help k​eep commercial drivers safe?​

If you serve the transportation industry, you must keep an eye on these programs that could impact your trucking risk management this year.

Participate in Insurance Journal's Young Agent Survey Today​

Insurance Journal is seeking young independent insurance agents – those 40 and under – to share their thoughts on the insurance industry, their job and their future as a young professional in the annual Young Agents Survey.

Insurer CNA Reports It Has Been Hit by 'Sophisticated' Cyber Attack​​​​

Commercial lines insurer CNA reported that it has sustained a “sophisticated cybersecurity attack" that caused a network disruption and impacted certain CNA systems, including corporate email. 

 If CNA in vulnerable, with their vast IT resources, aren't you?  Check out our Cyber coverage options.

NAIC: Top 25 P&C insurance groups and companies of 2020​

The 2020 Property/Casualty Market Share report offers cumulative market data reported on insurers' annual financial statements to the NAIC as of March 15, 2021, for business conducted in the U.S. states and territories and Canada. An estimated 98.29% of P&C filings have been received to date.

Be sure you check to see where your carriers stand to protect your agency.

How digital marketing can boost insurance agent sales​

Digital communications are more important than ever, but one particular tool can increase landing page conversion rates by 80%.

If you are not using digital marketing, it's time. Check out the new resources from Trusted Choice​.


2020's P/C Insurance Industry Results and W​​hat They Mean for 2021​

The most recent tallies of financial results by rating agency analysts reveal that the property/casualty insurance industry weathered the storms of catastrophe losses and COVID, with one segment actually reporting better combined ratios and higher income than in 2019.

House Passes PRO​ Act​

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 842, the “Protecting the Right to Organize" (PRO) Act. The PRO Act would drastically change the nation's labor laws and includes a provision that could significantly impact your agency. Among other things, the legislation seeks to change the definition of “independent contractor" in a way that could cause significant disruption to you and your customers.

Amazon dips its toes into insurance with new partn​​ership​

E-commerce giant is getting into the insurance game through a new partnership with digital insurtech company Next Insurance. Through the partnership, Amazon Business Prime members can obtain a small business insurance quote from Next Insurance. Business Prime members can also immediately purchase general liability, professional liability, workers' compensation, commercial auto, as well as tools & equipment insurance from the insurtech. 

This is just another reason why you need to develop and implement strong social media strategies for your agency.​

Fear in the insurance jungle: The condo ​​policy​

Not many speak of this elephant in the insurance room, even though there are thousands of them: condominium policies. So what's the big deal? Renter policy, condo policy, my stuff is covered if I have a claim . . . or so the resident thinks. That half-million dollar view of the Gulf of Mexico is nice as a renter, but when ownership issues come into play, it gets more complicated.

​ Do your CSRs talk with your insureds about their rental properties to ensure that they are adequately covered?

New York Regulator to Collect, Publish Insurer Diversity Data to Promote Transparency​

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) is calling on its regulated insurers to prioritize diversity of leadership and says it will begin collecting and publishing diversity data from insurers this year to promote transparency.

These new actions were spelled out in a circular letter DFS issued today to New York-regulated insurers and come amid a push by the department to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within the state's insurance industry.

Merchants Insurance Group names new president​

Merchants Insurance Group, a group of property and casualty insurance companies serving policyholders in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Midwest, has announced the appointment of Charles E. Makey III (pictured) as president, effective April 01. Makey currently serves as the company's senior vice president of insurance operations.

'Dysfunctional' cyber insurance market puts pressure on brokers​​​​

The long period of soft market conditions in cyber insurance is coming to an end. Due to the growing frequency and severity of ransomware incidents, which continue to hit record highs, insurers have started to seek more rate and toughen their underwriting guidelines to both control costs and protect their books. However, one expert says that what's happening in the cyber insurance marketplace is less of a hardening and more of a re-evaluation of risk.

9 Tips for Your First Insurance Industry Interview​

So, you met an insurance company recruiter at career fair, or you read some of our articles and decided to apply for an entry level role in the company. You're about to finish your college degree, probably not in RMI, and want to maximize your chances of getting an offer. Read on to find out what to do.

Want to help promote the industry? Send this article to clients that have college age children!​

Experts Expect Surge in Insurance Agency E&O Lawsuits in 2021​​

We should prepare for a big agency errors and omissions (E&O) litigation wave to crash their shores in 2021. Agency E&O claims are a lagging indicator, meaning plaintiffs typically only go after us after they exhaust other legal avenues -- most often suing insurers -- and come up short, according to experts at the 2020 virtual Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) conference.

While E&O claims from the pandemic of 2020 have not happened yet in noticeable numbers, they will, just as they happen following major storms or other disasters, the experts warned.

Be sure you and your staff are ever-mindful of the many strategies on how to avoid losses. Register now for our upcoming E&O Seminar.

Why are commercial insurance prices rising?​

Insurance pricing was up across most lines and classes globally in the final quarter of 2020, and that upward pricing trend looks set to continue well into 2021, according to Aon's Q4 2020 Global Market Insights Report.

The COVID-19 pandemic and connected economic downturn has heightened underwriting scrutiny and risk aversion at a time when the market was already being tested by a confluence of macro factors and events, including more frequent natural catastrophes, social inflation, and the sustained low interest rate environment, which is impacting the industry's ability to make strong returns on underwriting and investment income.

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