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Oct 29
Industry Roundup: ​Auto Insurers Face Mounting Claims Costs Post-Pandemic; More Organizations Are Saying 'No' To Ransomware Demands; U.S. Infrastructure Bill Offers the Groundwork for Personalized Insurance

Auto Insurers Face Mounting Claims Costs Post-Pandemic

Surging vehicle repair and replacement costs will significantly slash underwriting margins of the country's car and truck insurance providers as claims rebound to pre-pandemic levels.


Judge Stands by Decision to Deny Dismissal of Bi Suit

The case involves the important issue of whether the COVID-19 virus causes “physical loss or physical damage." In the motion for reconsideration, Continental Casualty cited several decisions from New York and Illinois asserting that courts in both jurisdictions overwhelmingly found that the presence of the virus does not trigger coverage under a policy requiring “direct physical loss or damage to property."


More Organizations Are Saying 'No' To Ransomware Demands

Ransomware claims that resulted in the demands being paid shrank from 44% in Q3 2020 to 12% during the most recently closed quarter.


Chubb Sees Profit Jump on Premium Growth, Underwriting Income

Global insurer Chubb's third quarter net income soared more than 58 percent year-over-year, as premium gains continued their double-digit climb.


Connecticut Seeks Disaster Declaration for Flooding Caused by Ida

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has submitted a request for a major disaster declaration to the Biden administration, seeking federal funds to help Connecticut recover from damage caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.


Cyber Risk: How Strong Have You Built Your Agency Defense?

Insurance firms are prime targets for cybercriminals. no agency is immune to cyber risk, from global carrier to small independent agency.


U.S. Infrastructure Bill Offers the Groundwork for Personalized Insurance

In its current form, the proposed infrastructure bill helps insurance companies reduce risk while potentially increasing prices as it evolves toward a more tailored approach.


Agency Partnerships: The Breakthrough Force in Distribution

Agency partnerships and networks continue to grow in strength and numbers as independent agencies, large and small, look to these groups for greater market access, valuable services and the sharing of ideas that can take their agencies to the next level of growth.


Global Average Annual Losses from Extreme Events Revealed

Catastrophes around the world are expected to cause about $106 billion in insured losses on an annual average basis this year, according to extreme event modeling firm AIR Worldwide.


Bigger Ships Are Causing Greater Supply Chain Risks

Severely disruptive events often expose previously unseen or underappreciated vulnerabilities. Add to the list how the trend toward increasingly mammoth vessels is making global supply chains even more fragile.​

Oct 29
Albany Update: Big I NY to Testify on Lead Paint Exclusion Bill, Criminal Charges Filed Against Cuomo

This week, Big I NY was invited to testify in person before the Senate Insurance Committee on legislation to ban the use of lead paint exclusions in rental property liability coverage. We believe that while well-intentioned, this measure would completely destabilize the rental liability coverage market, resulting in a crisis of availability. The hearing will take place beginning at 10:00am on Monday, November 8th, and will be webcast.

On Thursday, the Albany County Sheriff's Office filed a criminal complaint against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, charging him with forcibly touching an executive assistant last year, which is a misdemeanor. Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said in a statement “there was enough probable cause to present evidence to the court." Andrew Cuomo, through his attorney, denied the allegations and characterized the process as politically motivated. 

Oct 29
Reminder: HERO Act Safety Committee Requirement Takes Effect Nov. 1


Many private employers in New York State must permit their employees to form workplace safety committees starting next Monday. The requirement is part of the New York State HERO Act​, which became law last May and was amended in June. If you have 10 or more employees, you must permit them to form a committee if they so choose.

Section 2​ of the HERO Act, which takes effect on Nov. 1, states, "Employers shall permit employees to establish and administer a joint labor-management workplace safety committee, but not more than one committee per worksite, provided however that an employer that already has a workplace safety committee that is otherwise consistent with the requirements of this section, shall be exempted from creating an additional safety committee under this section." It defines "employer" as "any person, entity, business, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or an association employing at least ten employees" but not including "the state, any political subdivision of the state, a public authority, or any other governmental agency or instrumentality.​"

The committees are authorized to:

  • Raise health and safety concerns to the employer; the employer must respond to these issues.
  • Review and provide feedback to any employer safety and health policies required by law.
  • Review employer policies adopted in response to health and safety laws and regulations.
  • Participate in visits by health or safety regulators to the worksite.
  • Review any health and safety reports the employer submits to regulators.
  • Meet at least once a quarter for no more than two hours at a time.

The law permits the committees to take on additional duties.

The committees are to be comprised of representatives of the employer and non-supervisory employees, with two-thirds of the members being non-supervisors chosen by those employees. They will be co-chaired by employer and non-supervisory employee representatives. Employers are forbidden to interfere ​in the selection of the non-supervisory employees or the employees' performance of committee duties. They also face stiff fines and employee lawsuits if they retaliate against any employees for their committee activities.

The New York State Department of Labor has not yet provided guidance for employers on what actions they need to take. We're advising members to inform their employees that they have the right to form committees. The decision of whether to form one lies with the employees; the law does not require an employer to create one if the employees do not.

Big I New York presented a Gear Up! webinar on Oct. 25 titled NY HERO Act - Part  3  Workplace Safety Committees​. A recording of that webinar is available for you to view at any time. You must log in to this website in order to access that recording. 

Oct 26
The New CE Requirements Apply To You Even If You've Already Taken 15 Hours

pexels-pixabay-207691.jpgSince the New York State Department of Financial Services announced that it has adopted a new regulation (effective Nov. 12, 2021) regarding mandatory continuing education courses, we've been receiving questions like this one:

I was hoping to run something past you quick regarding the attached revision to CE requirements. It states that this applies to any insurance producer whose license renews on or after April 1st. Does that mean that a licensed individual who is set to renew their license on April 2nd, 2022 are required to meet those requirements in order to renew their license even if they have taken 15 credits that don’t meet those 15 credit hours of instruction?

The short answer is yes, a producer or adjuster whose license renews after next March 31 must take the required courses, even if they're planners who have already taken enough credit hours to renew. When the DFS adopted the regulation, it posted an assessment of the public comments​ it received after it proposed the regulation last July. Three of those comments came from us. In one, we asked "whether an insurance producer renewing a license on or after April 1, 2022 must meet the new CE requirements during the CE cycle beginning on or after April 1. (We) noted that many insurance producers have already earned CE credits toward their 2022 license renewals and suggested that the amendment take effect at least two years after the amendment’s adoption."

​The department's response dismissed our suggestion:

A licensed insurance producer or public adjuster (collectively, “licensees”) whose license renews on or after April 1, 2022 must demonstrate that the licensee has met the new CE requirements when renewing the license. DFS first published the regulation on its website for pre-proposed outreach in May 2021 and prior thereto, discussed the draft amendment with industry trade organization representatives. DFS pushed back the effective date to April 1, 2022 based on comments it received during the May outreach. In addition, courses on ethics, the New York Insurance Law, and flood insurance, for example, are already available and licensees can take these courses currently. As a result, licensees have had sufficient notice that DFS planned to adopt these new CE requirements and an opportunity to take these courses. Trade organizations already should have been educating their members on this proposed amendment and licensees should have started planning accordingly. In addition, DFS does not believe pushing back the effective date to two years after adoption is reasonable.​ ​(Emphasis added)

Consequently, even if you're the 180-degree opposite of a procrastinator and got your 15 hours done months before your license expires, your CE transcript will have to show the required courses in order for you to renew next spring. This may result in some people having to take more than 15 hours of courses. Unfortunately, that cannot be helped.

We have corresponded with DFS about how they will determine and publicize which courses meet the new requirements. We were told that the Licensing Bureau has not decided on that yet. Once we hear from them, we will publicize the answer here and in our future course advertisements.

Oct 25
On Our Mind: Spinning Plates in the Edu Department

​by Jim Lombardo, AVP of Learning & Development

Oh, so many things going on…ok, I am going to show my age. Does anyone remember the Ed Sullivan Show where the plate spinner was on and he amazed us juggling multiple plates at one time?  Well, that is what it feels like here at Big I NY.

Oh, and ask me about In-House CE for your team!

Jim Lombardo, CPCU, AAI, AIM, MBA
AVP of Learning & Development
800.962.7950 EXT: 226
Oct 22
Industry Roundup: The Future of Work; Unvaccinated Employees Risk Job Losses; Allianz Warns of Cyber Pandemic Driven by Ransomware

Bigger Ships are Causing Greater Supply Chain Risks

Severely disruptive events often expose previously unseen or underappreciated vulnerabilities. Add to the list how the trend toward increasingly mammoth vessels is making global supply chains even more fragile.


Insurance Agency M&As Up 13% Thus Far in 2021

There were 553 announced insurance agency mergers and acquisitions during the first three quarters of 2021, up from 490 in 2020, According to an OPTIS Partners' M&A report, that was the highest recorded total for this period.


Lessons from the Pandemic for Event Cancellation Coverages

Event cancellation insurance has been one of the most impacted by the pandemic — and the event insurance market is changing fast.


What Insurance Agents Need to Know About the Future of Work

Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance recently released “The Agent's Guide to the Future of Work" e-book that offers insights and advice on hiring talent, creating great agency cultures and building the next generation of insurance leaders.


Unvaccinated Employees Risk Job Losses as Employer Mandates Take Effect

Thousands of unvaccinated workers across the United States are facing potential job losses as a growing number of states, cities and private companies start to enforce mandates for inoculation against COVID-19.


Why the Pressure is on Directors and Officers Over Cyber

Cyber risk has taken center stage with the shift to remote working models last year, with cyber criminals taking advantage of the vulnerabilities that continue to grow within a business's spaced-out digital infrastructure.


Cyber Criminals Target "Low-Hanging Fruit" In Agribusiness

The world's largest meat processing company, Brazil-based JBS SA, fell prey to a ransomware attack in May 2021, where hackers paralyzed the servers supporting the food giant's operations in North America and Australia.


Allianz Warns of Cyber Pandemic Driven by Ransomware

Cyber intrusion activity worldwide jumped by 125% in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, according to Accenture, with ransomware and extortion operations one of the major contributors behind this increase.


Insurer Justified in Denying Coverage in Uninsured Motorist Case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit found Progressive Northern Insurance Co. didn't breach the duty of good faith in denying an uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.


New York Directs Two Cryptocurrency Lending Platforms to Cease Activity

Two cryptocurrency lending platforms were asked to cease activities in New York by the state's attorney general on Monday and three other platforms were directed to provide information about their business.​

Oct 22
Governor Hochul Recommends Gaurav Vasisht as NYSIF Executive Director

​Governor Kathy Hochul has recommended Gaurav Vasisht to serve as Executive Director of the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF). Ultimate responsibility for appointing the Exeuctive Director rests with the NYSIF Board of Commissioners.

Mr. Vasisht has served as an advisor to a former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, as a lawyer to three Governors of New York, and in key roles at the New York Department of Financial Services, its predecessor, the New York Insurance Department, and the New York Attorney General's Office. As Senior Vice President and Director of the financial regulation program at the Volcker Alliance ("Alliance") from 2014 to 2020, Mr. Vasisht advised former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker and numerous Volcker Alliance board members on financial stability and regulatory matters. Mr. Vasisht also guided the development of reform proposals and promoted the Alliance's policy priorities before the federal government, including the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the House Financial Services Committee, and an array of financial regulatory agencies. 

Before joining the Alliance, Mr. Vasisht spent a decade in New York State government. Most recently, he served as Executive Deputy Superintendent of DFS, heading the agency's Banking Division, and prior to that was Senior Deputy Superintendent of DFS's predecessor agency, the NYS Insurance Department. Mr. Vasisht has also worked as First Assistant Counsel and Assistant Counsel to three Governors of New York and Assistant Attorney General in the Investment Protection Bureau of the NYS Attorney General's Office.

Oct 19
Big I NY & CT members have a "Guardian" protecting them!
scottaward.jpgI am proud to share that Scott Hobson, AVP of Government Relations for Big I New York & Connecticut, was awarded the 2021 Guardian of Civil Justice Award from The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY) today. LRANY is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit grassroots organization dedicated to reducing lawsuit abuse for the benefit of all New Yorkers. Scott was honored for his work as a former employee of LRANY and his tireless work for Big I NY & CT members to advance a fairer and more balanced tort system.

Scott started with Big I New York in 2018 and had an immediate impact on the meaningful advocacy work we do for our members. He has thoughtfully researched and interviewed members to understand their business and what the associations can do to protect them and their clients. By leading collaboration with other trade groups and systematically mobilizing record-breaking grassroots activities, Scott goes the extra mile to advocate for our members.

Big I NY is an active member of LRANY, and Scott has worked closely with the group on many issues of importance to independent agents, including:

• Defeating legislation that would subject businesses of all sizes to private lawsuits for an expansive array of vaguely defined "unfair and deceptive business practices."

• Calling for the removal of the private liability from the proposed "New York Privacy Act," which would impose a strict "data fiduciary" standard on businesses.

• Urging the Governor to veto legislation that would automatically disclose the sensitive contents of an insured's policy applications if they are sued.

Scott is balanced, strategic, and ethical. His grit and finesse get results for agents in New York and Connecticut.

Congratulations Scott!​

Oct 18
3, 2, 1 with Sue Keegan: HERO Act; Free CE Credit; Squishing the Squash

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

3 Things

Mark your calendar for next Monday, 10/25, to attend GearUP! HERO Act, Part III – Workplace Safety Committees.  If your agency has 10 or more employees, starting on Nov. 1, the New York State HERO Act requires you to offer them the opportunity to form a workplace safety committee. How will that work? Who picks the members? What will the committee do? Join us on October 25 for this short webinar where we’ll discuss these questions and explain what this new requirement means for your agency. 

It's been 50 years since FEMA has updated their flood risk rating methodology. Did you know that big changes went into effect on 10/01/2021? Join Curtis Bryan Wednesday, 10/27 for a webinar where he talks about NFIP Flood Risk Rating 2.0, and earn 1 FREE CE credit while you learn what is and is not changing.  

The NYS DFS has formally adopted a rule imposing new continuing education course requirements on insurance producers and adjusters. If your license is due to renew on or after next April 1, 2021, you must take the required coursework in order to renew.  

2 Ideas

What does it take to maintain an internal perpetuation plan at your agency? Join us Wednesday, 11/3, to find out.  In this webinar, Reagan Consulting will address the best practices of agencies committed to internal perpetuation in 2021.  

If you have any interest at all in elephants participating in Oregon Zoo’s annual “Squishing of the Squash” (and truly, who doesn’t?), today is your lucky day.  It’s strangely satisfying.

1 Question

Well, we are in spooky season, so it seems right to ask this question. Do you believe in ghosts? I 100% do. Please let me know via email at or post in our Community. If you have a ghost story to share, even better!​
Oct 15
Industry Roundup: Vaccine Mandate Updates; Hidden Cyber Risk in US Property Insurance; 2021 State of the Commercial Insurance Marketplace

Administration's COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Large Employers Moves Closer to Approval

The Labor Department signaled that it is close to acting on President Biden's plan to require private-sector workers get Covid-19 vaccinations or be regularly tested, a move that has drawn a mixed reaction from larger and smaller companies.

Hidden Cyber Risk in US Property Insurance Has $12.5 Billion Loss Potential

A new study jointly conducted by CyberCube, AM Best and Aon has warned that cyber risk accumulating in the US property insurance market could lead to staggering losses of about $12.5 billion.

Exploitable Application Flaws Increase Cyber Risks

In March 2021, Microsoft announced it had detected four vulnerabilities being actively exploited to carry out targeted attacks. Chained together, these vulnerabilities could be used to gain access to Microsoft Exchange server software, steal emails and plant further malware for increased access to a company's network.

Hub International Limited Acquires Assets of New York's Safe Harbour Group

Hub International Limited, a global insurance brokerage and financial services firm, acquired the assets of Safe Harbour Group Ltd.

Closing the Deal: Insurance Contracts and eSignatures

The digital transformation taking place within the insurance industry is a symptom of a larger societal shift surrounding consumer behavior. Best-in-class virtual services are now something customers have come to expect, and companies across the board are automating business practices out of necessity.

What Agents Should Understand When Insuring an Airbnb

Independent agents need to work closely with their clients to make sure the recommended coverage accounts fully for how properties are being used and by whom.

State of the Commercial Insurance Marketplace in 2021

The insurance marketplace has been changing rapidly, with the economy having a significant impact on both carriers and businesses, including employers, public entities and the middle market.

Who's Using What in P&C Insurance: October 11, 2021

Insurance technology news from Method Insurance Services, At-Bay, Beazley and more.​

Millennials Team Up to Fulfill the Dream of Homeownership

For millennials, many of whom are getting married later in life, swimming in student-loan debt and facing soaring home prices, homeownership can feel more like a fantasy than an achievable goal. So, some first-time home buyers are taking a more creative route to make it happen—by pooling their finances with partners, friends or roommates.

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