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Aug 30
3, 2, 1 with Sue Keegan: MLB Commercial; Sign Up for Pre-licensing; and Lazy Mom's Day

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

3 Things

Our Leadership Academy is filling up quickly.  Get in on this opportunity now. The first session starts on 9/15/2021.

There is still time to get a seat at our Personal Lines and P & C Pre-Licensing class.  It kicks off on Tuesday, September 7th.  Don Reese is teaching and he is nothing short of fabulous.  

2 Ideas

Here’s a day I can get behind...National Lazy Mom’s Day.  Celebrate on Friday, September 3rd.  I know I will.  

This story is just the greatest.  Dance, people.  Even if it is the hokey-pokey.

1 Question

What reality show would you want to be on?  For me it’s The Amazing Race.  Let me know your reality show pick via email at or post in our Community.  
Aug 27
Industry Roundup for August 26, 2021: Preparing Work Comp for Future Pandemics; Business Travel During a Pandemic; Return-to-Work Plans

Extreme Weather Buffets Catastrophe Insurance Losses

Global catastrophe losses hit an estimated $42 billion in the first half of 2021, according to a new report from Swiss Re Institute. Natural catastrophe losses hit $40 billion in the first half, driven by a deep winter freeze, hailstorms and wildfires.​

Today's Insurance Talent Want These 4 Employee Benefits

As the COVID-19 pandemic carries on, American workers are caring a whole heck of a lot more about work-life balance, and an increasing number are switching jobs as a result.

Amazon Loses Bid to Halt New York Warehouse COVID Safety Probe

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn rejected Amazon's claim that Attorney General Letitia James acted in bad faith by trying to police its pandemic response, and stop its alleged retaliation against workers who were unhappy the company wasn't doing more.

Insurers Expect COVID-19 Liability Claims Against Employers as Employees Return

Liability insurers on both sides of the Atlantic are scaling back the cover they offer companies ahead of an expected wave of discrimination claims as employers call staff back to their desks after 18 months of pandemic-induced home working.

The New Realities of Business Travel During a Pandemic

Many employees are eager to go on business trips eventually. While they may be ready to travel again, 88% of survey respondents worry that fellow travelers could put them at risk by not responsibly following COVID protocols.

Sompo International Unit Creates Pandemic Coverage

Sompo International division Sompo Global Risk Solutions (Sompo GRS) will be providing insurance, coverage from which will be triggered by civil authority restriction as a result of international public health emergencies declared by the World Health Organization.

Healthcare Costs, Premiums Likely to Rise for Years Due to COVID-19

Health implications related to COVID-19 will continue to drive elevated health system utilization long after the acute phase of the pandemic has concluded, likely leading to increasing costs and higher insurance premiums for decades, according to a report by Fitch Ratings.

Pandemic Staffing Crunch Creates Commercial Insurance Hurdles

The COVID-19 pandemic labor crisis continues to be one of the top stories of 2021. While the bulk of attention has focused on retail, restaurant and service sectors, the shortage is impacting industries across the board, from Wall Street banks to construction or trucking; this staffing crunch appears to be more than a short-term blip.

Making Return-To-Work Plans Amid the Latest Pandemic Surge

Recent spikes in COVID-19 and lagging vaccination rates in some areas have raised concerns about how to proceed as many companies work to transition employees back to the office or hybrid arrangements this fall. The findings from the perspective of employees indicate that employers should keep the following recommendations in mind when determining work arrangements for their employees in the coming months...

Preparing Workers' Comp for Future Pandemics

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is proposing that any event exceeding $50 million in losses be excluded from the data used to set rates, including future pandemics.

Aug 27
Albany Update: Hochul Appoints Benjamin as LG, Big I NY and Small Biz Groups Urge Caution on Activating HERO Act

On Tuesday, Kathy Hochul was sworn in as the 57th Governor of New York, pledging civility and a departure from the tactics of the former administration. On Thursday, she appointed state senator Brian Benjamin (D, Harlem) to serve as her Lieutenant Governor, to be sworn in after Labor Day. Benjamin holds an MBA from Harvard Business school, and previously worked as an affordable housing developer and investment banker at Morgan Stanley. He was first elected to the State Senate in 2017, and ran unsuccessfully for New York City Comptroller in 2021. We look forward to working with Governor Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Benjamin to ensure a vibrant future for the state's independent insurance agencies and the customers we serve. 

Also this week, Senator Mike Gianaris (D, Queens) and Assemblywoman Karines Reyes (D, Bronx) sent a letter to Governor Hochul, urging her to activate the newly-enacted HERO Act. The HERO Act requires businesses to establish stringent safety protocols, and make potentially costly expenditures for PPE, capacity and staffing restrictions, and other measures. Big I NY, along with two dozen other business groups pushed back publicly, noting that the move would be unwarranted and extremely damaging to struggling small businesses. Said Ashley Ranslow, Assistant State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business:

“Reinstating COVID-era restrictions would be the nail in the coffin for many small businesses that have fought desperately to keep their businesses afloat and employees working. Recovery is still a long way away and small businesses and the state's economy cannot afford to take a step backward with capacity restrictions and strict and costly protocols."

Read the joint letter to Governor Hochul here.

As a reminder, employers currently have compliance obligations under the HERO Act, including the establishment of an Airborne Infectious Disease Prevention Plan and other requirements. Learn more what you are required to do here

Aug 24
Why Small Businesses Need Cyber Insurance


A guest post by Support New York Chair of the Board Member Cowbell Cyber​

With cyberattacks, especially ransomware attacks, on the rise, cyber insurance has become more important in helping keep small businesses safe.


It is estimated that 43% of cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses, but only 14% of small businesses are ready to defend themselves. Although 88% of small business owners felt their business was vulnerable to a cyberattack, many do not have the resources to protect their company. 


Small businesses need to identify and understand common threats to their operations, assess their business' risk exposures, and prepare themselves before a cyber incident occurs. Cowbell's cyber insurance policies include many tools and resources to help policyholders keep ahead of modern threats, even as they strive to move and expand their business online.


Here are a few risk factors small businesses should consider:


1. Statistics. A small business is hacked roughly every 19 seconds, and 25% of small businesses filed for bankruptcy protection after a data breach. These numbers highlight how small businesses are at higher risk from cyber threats.


2. Internal Errors. Human error and software vulnerabilities are constant threats to a business's security operation. Researchers from Stanford University found that 88% of data breach incidents are caused by employee mistakes, which shows the lack of cybersecurity awareness among many working professionals.


3. Underestimated Risks. Although nearly half of cyberattacks affect small businesses, many are unaware of the risk, simply because cyber incidents often go unreported at small businesses. Many also remain in denial, seeing larger companies as more probable targets because of media coverage focusing on major incidents at known brands.

Small businesses are vulnerable to cyber threats, but cyber insurance can keep them safe and help them recover. Cowbell Cyber makes cyber insurance easy by delivering customized, standalone cyber policies with robust coverages tailored to the unique needs of any business.

Our AI-powered customized policies bring value through continuous risk assessment, risk improvement resources, and cybersecurity training for employees.

If you're an insurance agent or broker, take the necessary steps to protect your client's business. Contact us today at​ to learn more.

If you're a business researching your needs for cyber insurance, feel free to sign-up for a free risk assessment, and you'll get immediate answers to questions such as, “is my business more or less secure than my peers," and receive immediate recommendations to fix potential weaknesses that we have identified.

Aug 24
Big I NY Leadership Academy Questions and Answers with Jim Lombardo

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Q. Can you briefly describe the Leadership Academy?
A: It’s an intense 6-day course held over 6 weeks, where future agency leaders and managers hone the skills that will help them develop into the stars who will guide your agency, the independent insurance agency system, and the industry. 

Q. What skills are you talking about?
A: Communication, Goal Management, Motivation, Team Building, Powerful Presentations, The Power of Caring – and more!

Q: What if I can’t afford the $2,900 tuition?
A: I say, you can’t NOT afford it! And I’m not joking. This is YOUR agency and YOUR future – it’s crucial to invest in that next layer of leadership. You need to keep your best employees happy, satisfied, growing, and show that you value them. 

Frankly, if you have someone that good, you don’t want them to leave you - and $2,900 is a very small investment for such a long-term value of having a person you and your staff can depend on. 

Someone once asked a CEO, “What if you spend all that time and money training someone and then they leave?” He answered, “What if I don’t train them and they stay?”

Q: What if I don’t have anyone identified as that next leader?
A: Do you have someone in your agency who you tend to lean on? That others go to for guidance and advice? If you have that person, then they are worth the investment. 

Also, there could be someone on your staff who has the potential and is just waiting for the opportunity to show you. You might be surprised at who will show interest if they are just asked! As my father used to say, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

Q: Any final thoughts?
A: You owe it to your agency (your asset) to invest in the future. A lot of people (employees, customers, carriers and vendors) depend on your agency not just surviving, but thriving.

If anyone has any individual questions, I would be very happy to talk with them.  Email me at​ or call me at 315-432-4226.
Aug 23
Reminder: It's Peak Hurricane Season

image from

This post originally ran on Aug. 12, 2019. However, given t​his past weekend's events with Tropical Storm Henri, it's worth repeating.

Lynne McChristian of the Insurance Information Institute has an important reminder today:

Peak hurricane season has arrived. ...

Mid-August through the end of October historically is when most hurricanes form. Remember HIM? Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria made landfall between mid-August and the end of September in 2017. Two Category 4 storms and one Category 5 occurred in a matter of weeks in a season predicted to be slightly above average.Last year’s Hurricane Michael hit in late October. While this year’s latest prediction is for a “near-average season,” hurricane researchers will tell you that it only takes one hurricane making landfall near you to break the law of averages.

To that list, I would add:

This can be a very dangerous time of the year, and you don't have to be located near the Atlantic Ocean to feel the impact of a major storm. Insurance agents, this is an excellent time to contact your clients about storm preparedness. That message makes a good impression on your clients because:

  • It shows you care about their well-being
  • You don't benefit financially; the money they spend to get ready will not go to you
  • It's not an attempt to sell them anything

The northeast does not normally experience the destruction from storms that our fellow citizens in the south face, something for which we can all be grateful. However, damage to our properties and injuries and deaths are very real possibilities. A smart phone app can't help your clients prepare, but you can, and it's a great way to prove your worth to them.

Aug 21
Storm Alert
What a week it's been - flooding and now a storm is tracking towards our great state. While we hope for the best, we prepare for the worst. Many lessons were learned during Superstorm Sandy. So, let's use them! Thankfully, we all have more remote systems and backups in place because of the pandemic. With a bit of planning, we can continue to serve customers best no matter what.
Not in the current storm track? It's a great time to plan ahead.
A few tips on communicating during the storm:

  • Have access to mobile phone numbers for your team with you. Ensure you don't have to log on to a system to get it.
  • If unable to access the office, as team members are taking calls, emails, and helping customers, make sure they take detailed notes on their conversation. Avoid E&O exposures!

What's the first thing a customer is going to do when disaster strikes and they need you? Call. But what if your power is out? Or you can't physically make it to the office?
  • Update your office message and voicemail with what to do if customers have damage.
  • Have a plan to forward your phones, and know how to do that remotely if possible. Make sure those responsible know they will be taking calls.
  • Ensure your team has access to carrier claims reporting numbers to provide customers.

  • Make sure at least 2 team members have login information for your website with them.
  • Update your website with how to contact your team or the client's carrier.
  • Provide any other tips on how to best handle what they may be facing (safety first, photos, etc). Update with new information as available.

Assign a team member to be the lead for social media, and have a backup.
  • Let customers know what to do if they have damage.
  • Communicate how clients may reach you.
  • Reassure your community.
  • Don't be afraid to update often, and share community resources.
Social Media

Stay safe, and let us know if you need anything!

Aug 20
Flood Insurance Information For Your Clients and You


As I write this, Tropical Storm Henri​ is aiming at Long Island. With more than three months left in the traditional hurricane season, this seems like a good time to bring up the subject of flood insurance.

The Insurance Information Institute has two good pieces that you can use to educate your clients (and yourselves, if you don't feel like you're up to speed on flood coverage):

In case of a flood​

Facts about flood insurance

These can be useful for raising your clients' awareness of the threat posed by flood waters and the lack of coverage under personal and commercial property policies.

We also have links to a number of resources on the Flood page​ in the Answer Center of this website, so we encourage you to take advantage.

And take flooding seriously. A little bit of water can be dangerous.

Aug 18
New State Law Authorizes Sale of 'Excess Business Disability Insurance'

disease-292571_640.jpgA law signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this month authorizes the sale of a new type of insurance and permits licensed excess line brokers to obtain it. The coverage, called "Excess Business Disability Insurance," was authorized immediately upon the law's enactment on Aug. 2. You may want to discuss with your clients whether they need this coverage.

Senate Bill 5760A amended New York Insurance Law Section 1113(a), which lists all the types of insurance that can be sold in the state. It defines Excess Business Disability Insurance as "insurance against financial loss experienced by a corporate entity or a partnership where an individual integral to (its) successful operation ... becomes disabled due to sickness, ailment or bodily injury. " It can include:

  • Reimbursement for all overhead costs and expenses and all capital outlays of a corporate entity or partnership which it incurs in the ordinary course of business during the period of disability
  • Buy/sell arrangements in an amount sufficient to purchase the disabled individual's interest share in the corporate entity or partnership

The law does not limit the coverage to those costs.

​The coverage can be obtained in excess of a primary business-related disability policy or when a primary policy is unavailable from an admitted carrier. The law also changed the licensing law for excess line brokers to permit them to obtain the coverage from non-admitted carriers. 

This coverage would compliment key person life insurance that many organizations carry. Clients who carry that coverage may be good prospects for this new one.

Aug 16
3, 2, 1 with Sue Keegan: Pre-licensing, Cybercriminal Webinar, & Your Summer Reading List

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

3 Things

Personal Lines and P&C Pre-Licensing begins 09/07/2021.  Life, Accident & Health begins on 10/25. Grab your seat now!

Protect Your Cloud Agency MS Software From Cybercriminals – learn how by attending a presentation this Wednesday, led by Walter Contreras of Motiva Networks.  Free for members!

Shouting out our 15inONE program.  We have had 200 people successfully complete our program.  You should be 201.

2 Ideas

Read this to learn about how to have your vaccine confirmation on you at all times.

Need NY’s Excelsior Pass?  Click here.

1 Question

What have you been reading this summer?  I just finished Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid – one of my best reads of the year!  Next up for me is Later by Stephen King.  Let me know your summer reads  via email at or post in our Community.  
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