More Than 80% of Flood Policyholders Expected to see Premiums Increase
When the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) rolled out a major overhaul to its beleaguered National Flood Insurance Program last April, it promised that bigger, richer homes would bear the brunt of premium increases, while almost 90 percent of policyholders would see their costs stay stable or decrease.
Injured Passengers in Rental Car Not Entitled to Payment Under UIM Coverage
The West Virginia Supreme Court reversed summary judgment in favor of two plaintiffs, finding they were not covered under the driver's underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage because they were passengers of a rented vehicle that was not a “covered auto" under a policy written by Progressive Insurance.
What is Jackware? Ransomware's Vicious Cousin
Jackware in an attack that isn't aimed at the computer system itself, but rather embedded devices in machinery or smart devices themselves that perform other functions.
Chubb Posts Record Q1 P/C Underwriting Income
Chubb said first quarter 2022 net income fell to $1.97 billion compared with $2.3 billion during the same time a year ago but property/casualty underwriting income during the period shot up 106% to a record $1.3 billion.
Nationwide Enters Partnership to Boost Agribusiness Fleet Safety
Nationwide has announced a new partnership with fleet management platform Razor Tracking to offer advanced telematics and fleet management services at a discount for Nationwide's agribusiness customers.
NAIC: Top Five Reasons for Insurance Complaints in 2021
Although insurance is in some ways a universal product, only a small percentage of consumers report feeling satisfied with their insurance experiences.
Two-Thirds of Employees Might Seek New Jobs if Forced Back to Office
Worker demands for more flexibility and security, bolstered by the pandemic and a tight labor market, are only growing more intense as the world economy reopens and some firms begin trying to pull employees back to offices, payroll provider ADP reported in a survey of nearly 33,000 people worldwide.
Fear of Missing Out? What to Consider Before Selling Your Agency
The ever-increasing number of agencies sold to large acquirers may have independent agency owners wondering if they've “missed the boat" if they don't sell.
Small Businesses are Underestimating Cyberthreats
Only 8% of businesses with fewer than 50 employees have a dedicated budget for cybersecurity.
Allstate to Increase Size of Automatic Rate Hikes in 2022
Allstate announced another increase in auto insurance rates due to continued increases in physical damage and injury severity.
This week, our campaign to pass the Auto Insurance Consumer Relief Act, which would make photo inspections (CARCOs) optional at the discretion of insurance companies, gained major momentum.
Key Committee Vote Scheduled:
On Friday, our campaign achieved a key milestone when our bill was scheduled for a vote by the Senate Insurance Committee. This marks the first time in history the Senate has voted on this bill. It must pass the committee vote, which will be held on Monday, May 25th, before it can be voted on by the full Senate. The scheduling of this vote follows three months of grassroots advocacy by Big I NY, including emails and meetings with approximately two dozen key Senators. On Friday, Big I NY agents called members of the committee urging them to vote yes on the bill.
Petition Launched, Signatures Needed:
This week, we launched a grassroots petition campaign with the goal of 500 signatures. Help us keep up the pressure and sign the petition today!
Media Campaign Launches:
On Monday, Big I NY, through our NY First Committee, Issued a press release kicking off a statewide media campaign aimed at building support for the Auto Insurance Consumer Relief Act. The release was covered in the Insurance Journal, InsuranceNewsNet, and Harlem World Magazine. Throughout the months of April and May, Big I NY will take to the media to amplify our impact, including agent letters to the editor, digital and print media, and broadcast interviews.
Once the bill has cleared a vote by the Insurance Committee, it will be sent to the floor of the Senate, where it must “age" for three days. Then the bill can be brought to a vote by the sponsor's request. Stay tuned for the next steps to get engaged and help us pass the Auto Insurance Consumer Relief Act this session!
By Paige McAllister, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Vice President of Compliance, Affinity HR Group
Please contact Paige McAllister at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or need assistance.
As of May 7, 2022, all employers in the state of New York must notify employees of certain workplace electronic monitoring. Employers must post a notice in a conspicuous place such as where federal and state employment law posters are kept. Employers must also provide this notice to new employees who are hired as of May 7, 2022 and have them sign to acknowledge receipt. This can be done in paper or electronic format. At this time, acknowledgements are not needed from current employees but employers may have employees sign and return the form if they choose to.
While certain monitoring is not covered, to be safe, all employers should provide this notice to employees to avoid fines ranging from $500 to $3000 per occurrence.
Our team at Affinity HR Group developed a packet with a ready-to-use template notice and employee acknowledgment form. HR Support Plan members can download this packet for free. Big I NY members who don't subscribe may purchase for $90 here.
Note from Lisa Lounsbury, Big I NY's President & CEO:
Big I New York recognizes that staying compliant with state and federal regulations and laws can be overwhelming. That is why we have teamed up with Affinity HR, to provide HR guidance and resources to our members. Affinity HR has a great HR Support Plan that is a much-needed resource for many independent agents. As an example, HR Support Plan subscribers received an alert on this new requirement AND instructions and sample templates to use to make complying easy.
Key Benefits of the HR Support Plan include:
- Unlimited HR compliance consulting
- Custom Handbook
- Handbook revisions upon request
- Monthly legislative updates
- Access to HR tools & templates through client portal
- Members only pricing on Recruiting, Assessments, Organizational Development & Compensation Services
- Discounted labor law posters, background checks & drug screenings
Here, in one convenient place, are links to all of Big I New York's resources on the continuing education requirements that became effective on April 1, 2022.
Today, NY First, Big I NY’s coalition of agents and independent insurance carriers, issued a press release kicking off our public relations campaign aimed at building support for legislation to make auto photo inspections (CARCOs) optional at the discretion of insurers.
The bill, dubbed the Auto Insurance Consumer Relief Act (S.6028), passed the New York State Assembly with bipartisan support at the end of March. If enacted, the bill will make it easier for customers to obtain comprehensive and collision coverage, and provide regulatory relief to consumers, independent agents and brokers, and insurance companies.
In the coming month, Big I NY agents and our carrier partners will take to the media to amplify our call to free customers of this needless and burdensome inspection requirement.
Do you have a story to share about this issue? A memorable story of a customer who had difficulty getting an inspection, or worse, lost coverage or had an uncovered loss because they were unable to complete it in time? Email Scott Hobson.
"Every year, auto insurers in New York are required to perform physical inspections of cars to address fraudulent damage to vehicles, resulting in higher premiums for New Yorkers,” said Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, the bill’s sponsor. “While this provision made sense at the time it was enacted, today we have better ways of preventing insurance fraud that are far more cost effective. It is time that insurance companies have the ability to put an end to this antiquated process and pass those savings on to drivers."
“Insurance agents know all too well that mandatory photo inspections are a barrier for many motorists in New York. Making these inspections voluntary at the discretion of insurance carriers will streamline the process of obtaining insurance, helping more New Yorkers get covered and stay covered,” said NY First Co-chair Ron Brunell. “I applaud Assemblyman Zebrowski for passing this bill in the Assembly and Senator Breslin for championing it in the Senate. I am proud to work in unison with the insurance carriers and hope to see this important bill become law."
“Allowing insurers to waive photo inspections will improve access to auto insurance for consumers throughout the state,” said NY First Co-chair Dan Bierbrauer. “The Auto Insurance Consumer Relief Act will help New Yorkers stay insured while saving time and money, and help insurers deliver better results for our customers. I am pleased to be collaborating with the agent and broker community, along with our elected officials in Albany to support this pro-consumer initiative.”
Read the full press release here.
Pricing for Insurance Lines Begins to Stabilize Excluding Cyber
The commercial insurance market is beginning to show signs of normalcy in 2022, despite a steady slowing of rate increases. According to the 2022 Marketplace Realities Report, Spring Update by WTW, a leading global advisory, broking, and solutions company, buyers are still seeing rate increases; however, many of those increases are now dropping to single digits and even flat renewals.
AIG Considers Adding Policy Exclusions for Russia, Ukraine
According to an insurance broker and a source familiar with the matter, one of the world's largest commercial insurers, AIG, is considering cutting cover for Russia and Ukraine in order to protect itself from the risk of large claims as sanctions escalate and the war drags on. The insurer is considering adding exclusion clauses to policies for businesses operating in the region across a variety of policies, according to two unidentified sources.
Goldman Poll Finds Insurers Expect a U.S. Recession
Insurance executives who oversee more than $13 trillion in assets expect the U.S. to enter a recession in the near future, according to an annual survey conducted by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Employers Adapting to New World of Worries
The past few years have been filled with newer exposures when it comes to employment practices liability insurance (EPLI). Along with significant disruptions in workplaces due to COVID-19, employers have been attempting to manage discrimination concerns around race, pay equity, gender identity, social media use, biometrics and more.
COVID Recovery Trends: Management & Legal Challenges
On January 13, 2022, “Harvard Business Review" (HBR) published a forecast of challenges business managers will face during this COVID recovery season, titled, “11 Trends that Will Shape Work in 2022 and Beyond."
Insurance is Serious Business — or is it?
But when it comes to insurance agents, being funny can be a bit of a challenge. Are there ways agents can make insurance fun? The short answer is: Yes. Humor and entertainment can actually be great ways for agents to connect with their clients — and it doesn't have to mean big budgets and advertisements. But it does take effort, an appreciation of your brand, an original approach, and a deep understanding of the audience you're trying to reach.
Denial of Restaurants' Claim Upheld in First Covid-19 Ruling by a New York Appeals Court
An insurer has been upheld in its denial of coverage in a first ruling on Covid-19 business interruption insurance by a New York appellate court. The appeals court upheld a New York county court—and said it agreed with various other New York state and with federal courts— that loss of use suffered by a restaurant is not the “direct physical loss or damage" needed to trigger commercial property insurance coverage.
Hurricane Season 2022: 19 Named Storms, 9 Hurricanes Predicted
The 2022 hurricane season is projected to see 19 named storms and nine hurricanes, four of which are expected to turn into major hurricanes, according to researchers at Colorado State University's (CSU) Department of Atmospheric Science.
Protecting Your Business from Identity Theft
Protecting your business, your customers and your employees from data breaches, attackers impersonating your business to disguise and deceive your customers is a growing concern.
Accounts Deceivable: Email Scam Costliest Type of Cybercrime
Business Email Compromise scams have been by far the costliest type of cybercrime in the U.S. for years, according to the FBI.
On Thursday, the Big I NY Board of Directors met with senior leadership of the Department of Financial Services, including My Chi To, Executive Deputy Superintendent for Insurance, Sumit Sud, Senior Deputy Superintendent of Insurance, and Ellen Buxbaum, Director of Producer Supervision. Both DFS and Big I NY expressed an interest in working collaboratively to promote the health of the state's insurance industry and protect consumers. We thank the DFS for their interest in partnering with industry stakeholders, and look forward to working with the Department on the issues that are most important to independent agents and our customers.
On Friday, Independent Agents Advocacy Week(s) concluded, wrapping up two weeks of grassroots meetings with Big I NY agents and key state lawmakers. More than fifty agents participated approximately two dozen meetings with legislative leadership and key members of the Senate and Assembly Insurance and Labor committees. The productive meetings focused on key pro-consumer bills, including eliminating mandatory auto photo inspections, repealing the 30-day notice requirement to leave the State Insurance Fund, eliminating the NYC anti-arson application, and streamlining the process for placing commercial coverage in the excess market. Overall, meetings were productive with several legislators committing to co-sponsor or support the various bills. Thank you to all who participated, and stay tuned for more opportunities to get engaged between now an the end of legislative session in June! If you weren't able to join us, you can still help - make a contribution to IAPAC, our political action committee, today!
Agents Advocacy Week(S)
This week, Big I NY member agents from across the state descended on Albany (virtually) to urge lawmakers to support several pro-consumer bills. Agents urged members of the Senate to co-sponsor our bill to make auto photo inspections (CARCOs) optional at the discretion of insurance carriers. This bill recently passed the Assembly for the first time ever, and we are ramping up the pressure to pass the bill through the Senate before the end of session in June.
Our agents also urged for the passage ofbills to eliminate the 30-day notice to withdraw from the State Insurance Fund, eliminate the diligent effort requirement when placing commercial excess coverage, shorten the excess lines affidavit, and repeal the burdensome NYC anti-arson application.
Agents participated in over a dozen meetings with lawmakers this week, with more scheduled next week.
Senate Unanimously Passes Big I NY-Supported Excess Lines Diligent Effort Bill
Also this week, the NY Senate unanimously passed a priority bill to eliminate the requirement to obtain three declinations on commercial excess policies placed through an unaffiliated wholesale broker. The bill now must pass the assembly insurance committee and a vote by the full assembly. Big I NY agents are meeting with key members of the Assembly Insurance committee this week and next to urge passage of this important pro-consumer reform.
State Budget Deal Reached
On Thursday afternoon, Governor Hochul announced that she and the Legislative Leaders have come to a “conceptual agreement" on a $220 billion state budget. Earlier in the day, two of the final budget bills were introduced – Public Protection and Good Government (PPGG) and Revenue. The language of the remaining seven budget bills is still being finalized and they are expected to be introduced later tonight or early tomorrow morning. The Legislature has signaled that they plan to begin voting on the budget bills tonight and hope to finish up voting on the entire budget today.
Some of the most notable provisions included in the PPGG and Revenue bills are:
- Legalizing alcohol-to-go sales;
- The creation of a State Commission to examine the State's alcoholic beverage control laws;
- Requiring polling sites on college campuses;
- Extending the New York City Musical & Theatrical Production Tax Credit;
- Establishing a tax credit for the conversion from grade no. 6 heating oil usage to biodiesel heating oil and geothermal systems;
- Amendments to the State Tax Law permitting deductions for commercial cannabis activity;
- Creation of the Restaurant Return to Work Credit; and
- Implementation of a Gas Sales Tax Holiday.
Some of the issues that the Governor has confirmed will be in the budget, but have not yet had language introduced include:
- Replacing the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) with the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government;
- Changes to the State's bail reform laws;
- Funding for a new Buffalo Bills Stadium;
- $800 Million in funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP);
- The authorization of three casino licenses downstate;
- An accelerated tax cut for middle-class families;
- Pay increases for health care workers;
- Expanding tuition aid for part-time students;
- $31.5 billion in school aid;
- An additional $400 million in funding for SUNY and CUNY;
- $7 billion over the next four years to expand child care; and
- $32.8 billion in infrastructure funding over the next five years.
Big I NY and our retained lobbyists will continue to monitor the state budget process as it plays out.
Persistent supply chain problems are creating shortages of some auto parts, and that could mean some of your clients will be underinsured when they have to rent cars to subsitute for one that's been damaged.
A recent article on TheDrive.com described the problems in vivid detail:
Back in early December, Ed Kim was involved in a minor fender bender. He took it straight to the body shop recommended by his insurance company, and the mechanic told Kim that they have such a backlog that they couldn’t even look at his car for a month and a half. Luckily, the damage was minor, and the car was still drivable. As it turned out, Kim’s car needed just a few trim pieces that, under normal circumstances, would have arrived three or four days later. A month later while Kim’s car sat idle at the garage, the parts finally made it. ...
Clay Homann, a 26-year veteran of the parts business, is a manager at Austin’s Automotive Specialists, which is a family-owned auto repair center with 10 stores across Austin, Texas. He says this situation is the worst he’s ever seen, and the most troubling aspect is that there's no real ETA for when the parts will be available.
“I literally had a Ford F-150 sitting here for four months waiting for a part,” Homann told me on the phone. “People have to find rental cars, borrow rides, and beg, borrow and steal just to get around.”
These delays can spell trouble for vehicle owners who carry physical damage insurance coverage on their cars. The limits of insurance on their policies for Transportation Expenses Coverage (also known as "Rental Reimbursement" Coverage) may be inadequate to cover the length of a temporary rental while the insured vehicle is repaired.
The Insurance Services Office (ISO) Personal Auto Policy, PP 00 01 09 18, provides up to $30 per day and a maximum of $900 for temporary transportation expenses incurred by the named insured in the event of a loss to a covered vehicle. While all auto insurance policies vary somewhat from each other, non-ISO policies may come with similar amounts as the basic coverage. If the client's truck is out of commission for four months because parts are unavailable, that may not be nearly enough to pay for the rental.
ISO's Personal Vehicle Manual's rules offers optional limits of $40/$1,200; $50/$1,500; and $75/$2,250. Individual carriers may offer even more than those amounts. Check with your preferred markets to see what they have available. As your personal auto clients' policies come up for renewal, bumping up their Transportation Expenses Coverage limits might be worth discussing.