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May 20
Big I NY Asks Kemper To Delay Auto Insurance Commission Cut

Big I New York has asked Kemper Auto & Home to delay its announced commission reductions on certain auto insurance policies. The carrier was told in a meeting this week that the suddenness of its move is unreasonable and bad for its independent agents.

The carrier informed many of its New York agencies this week that it is reducing the commission rate on its Kemper PrimeSM personal auto insurance product to an extremely low level. The change will take effect on June 1, 2022. Several Big I New York members contacted our office to ask whether the carrier's action is legal. We have concluded that it is, for two reasons:

  • New York insurance law regulates carrier commission reductions only in situations where the carrier has terminated an agency's contract. For any personal lines policies that the law requires the carrier to continue, the carrier must pay the prevailing commission rate in effect at the time of the termination. For commercial lines, the carrier must pay the commission rate applicable to that agent at the time of the termination. New York law does not regulate commission changes in other situations.
  • A review of the carrier's agency contract indicates that it gives the carrier the right to change the commission schedule at any time in compliance with applicable state law.

While it appears that the carrier has the legal right to take this action with little advance notice, Big I New York President and CEO Lisa Lounsbury met with carrier representatives on May 19 to register strong objections. They explained that the carrier took the action after unsuccessfully seeking rate relief from state regulators. During frank remarks, Lounsbury stressed the unfairness of giving agencies little more than two weeks' advance notice of such a large reduction. She asked them to consider delaying implementation to dates further into the summer. Their response was noncommittal. She had a subsequent conversation with Bob Otis, the carrier's president of personal insurance, on May 20 with the same result.

As of this writing, we suggest that members who represent this carrier:

  • Assume the announced reduction will take effect on schedule, 
  • Respond in the best interests of their clients and their businesses​, and​
  • Contact their Kemper Auto & Home marketing representatives to explain the impact this change will have on their agencies
May 19
Industry News: Insurers Raise Cyber Rates Significantly Amid Costly Losses; A New Generation of Independent Agents Calls for New Hiring Tactics; U.S. Traffic Deaths Jump 10.5% in 2021 to Highest Number Since 2005

Is That 18-Year-Old Driving Your Commercial Truck?

Driver shortages have led to trucking companies exploring options to recruit new drivers, but is lowering the age requirement the best option?


Tesla Bets It Can Bring Down Insurance Costs, Make Driving Safer

Tesla Insurance is offering comprehensive coverage and claim management for Tesla owners in select U.S. states, with additional states coming in the future and says they can do it cheaper.


New York Accuses Amazon of Discriminating Against Pregnant and Disabled Workers

The New York State Division of Human Rights has filed a complaint against Inc. accusing the online retailer of discriminating against pregnant and disabled workers.


Insurers Raise Cyber Rates Significantly Amid Costly Losses

Direct-written premiums collected by the largest U.S. insurance carriers in 2021 swelled by 92% year-over-year, according to information submitted to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, an industry watchdog, and compiled by ratings firms.


Fraud Adds Billions to Insurer Disaster Payouts

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), property and casualty insurers paid $4.6 billion to $9.2 billion extra in disaster claims due to insurance fraud in 2021, a cost policyholders bear through their insurance premiums.


Why are US Commercial Insurance Rates Continuing to Climb?

A new report from the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) has looked into the impact of inflationary pressures on commercial lines insurance in the US and identified three main drivers of commercial insurance rate increases.


US Auto Insurer Elephant Insurance Rocked by Cyberattack

US insurance company Elephant Insurance and its subsidiary Apparent Insurance have announced that a recent cyber incident may have exposed the personal information of its customers.

A New Generation of Independent Agents Calls for New Hiring Tactics

Younger insurance professionals are looking for meaning in their work and stellar workplace culture — not just a paycheck.


U.S. Traffic Deaths Jump 10.5% in 2021 to Highest Number Since 2005

U.S. traffic deaths jumped 10.5% in 2021 to 42,915 – the highest number killed on American roads in a single-year since 2005, U.S. regulators said Tuesday in its preliminary estimate.


Independent Agents, Brokers Continue Record Run Performance

For a fourth consecutive quarter, independent insurance agents and brokers have set yet another organic growth record.


Allianz Subsidiary Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Investors

According to a plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors in New York, Allianz Global Investors U.S. pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud and admitted that it lacked internal controls and oversight for a series of private-investment funds and made false and misleading statements to investors.


May 13
Albany Update: Support Builds for Photo Inspection Reform, Grassroots Campaign Intensifies, Excess Lines Affidavit Bill Clears Legislature

Support Builds for Photo Inspection Reform

This week, Big I NY rallied twenty business and insurance associations to support our bill to make photo inspections optional, the Auto Insurance Consumer Relief Act (AICRA). The wide ranging group included statewide employer associations such as the Business Council of NYS, National Federation of Independent Business, the NY Farm Bureau, several regional chambers of commerce, and all of the state's agent associations and P&C carrier trades. Our letter was delivered to all members of the state Senate, and was covered in multiple publications including State of Politics a premiere state political report. The bill has passed the Assembly, but has not yet been voted on by the Senate.

Grassroots Photo Inspection Reform Campaign Intensifies

Also this week, we continued an intensive statewide grassroots campaign to pressure the Senate to act on AICRA. Big I NY members made approximately one hundred phone calls to senators demanding action on the bill this session. Also this week our petition to pass AICRA surpassed 1,600 signatures, with more added every day. Please sign the petition, call your senator, and urge your colleagues and customers to do so as well.

Excess Lines Affidavit Bill Clears Legislature

On Monday, a Big I NY priority bill to streamline the excess lines affidavit passed the Assembly. The bill will reduce the amount of information required to be submitted to only three fields: name of declining carrier, their NAIC number, and the reason the risk was declined. Big I NY agents lobbied in support of this bill during this year's Independent Agents Advocacy Week(s).

The bill previously passed the Senate, and will soon be sent to the Governor for action. 

May 13
Industry Roundup: Claims Frequency Up for 2021, but Workers' Comp Profitability 'Unprecedented'; Munich Re Writes Down $740M Bonds Over War in Ukraine; How Many Americans Lie on Auto Insurance Applications?; What Drove Auto Insurance Shopping Trends in Q1

Court Says Federal Law Preempts, Tosses New York Suit Over Amazon Worker Safety

A New York state appeals court on Tuesday dismissed state Attorney General Letitia James' lawsuit accusing Inc. of failing to adequately protect thousands of workers at two New York City facilities against COVID-19.


Munich Re Writes Down $740M Bonds Over War in Ukraine

Munich Re incurred steep losses on Russian and Ukrainian bonds in its investment portfolio and warned of risks to its outlook from the conflict between the two countries, along with volatile markets and the pandemic.


Claims Frequency Up for 2021, but Workers' Comp Profitability 'Unprecedented'

For the first time in more than a decade, workers' compensation claims frequency, outside of COVID-19 illness claims, increased in the United States last year.


Allianz Books Extra $2 Billion in Legal Expenses

Allianz SE has set aside an additional $2 billion for legal costs associated with ongoing settlements with investors in funds that suffered losses during the March 2020 market chaos.


How Many Americans Lie on Auto Insurance Applications?

A recent study found that many auto insurance applicants lie in hopes of saving money and the data revealed that 35.8 million Americans across all demographics fib to insurers for lower auto rates.


D&O Market Has Most Profitable Year Since 2014 but Results May Be an Anomaly

The directors and officers insurance marketplace in 2021 enjoyed its most profitable year since 2014 but results have to be “viewed as a possible aberration rather than a the start of a trend," according to a new report from AM Best.


Wave of Emerging Risks to Threaten the Global Shipping Industry

In 2021, 54 total losses of vessels were reported globally, 11 less than in 2020 due to to an increased focus on safety measures on multiple fronts, including training and safety programs, improved ship design, technology, and better regulation, however…


What Drove Auto Insurance Shopping Trends in Q1 2022

Young drivers are shopping for policies at a higher rate than older generations, says the Q1 2022 Shopping LIST Report from J.D. Power.


Usage-Base Insurance is About More Than Just a Discount

Despite its different approach, the goal of rewards based UBI program remains the same: improve driving behavior to make roads safer for everyone.


Lemonade Premiums Up 71% Amid Growing Losses

Insurtech Lemonade reported a 71% increase in gross earned premiums in the first quarter of 2022, finishing the period with $96 million, up from $39.8 million. 

May 09
Upcoming Education Classes
May 06
New Increased Commission Structure through PMC

​We are excited to inform you about an increased commission structure for accounts $50K and above being offered by PMC Insurance Group, the exclusive Workers’ Compensation wholesaler for Big I NY members.

Within the past few months PMC has expanded their Workers' Compensation capabilities in all industries to deliver more options and solutions for you and your clients. They offer a wide range of solutions for challenging and underserved industries including those with high mods/large losses, out of state exposures, and more. 

PMC has specialized Workers’ Compensation programs include the following industries:

  • Healthcare (Home Health, Nursing Homes, Assisted Living)
  • Temp Staffing (healthcare staffing, manufacturing, light/heavy industrial)
  • Transportation (Long/Short Haul, FedEx, Fuel Oil, Package/Parcel Delivery, Non-emergency Transportation)
  • Contractors (small to large, residential to industrial, artisan to heavy, street & road etc.)
  • Social Services (non-profits, rehab, group homes, drug and alcohol)
  • USL&H (marine operations, dock and pier construction, stevedoring) 

For more information or help finding Workers’ Compensation coverage for your clients email PMC Regional VP, Stephen Primiano, or call him at (617) 879- 8121.

May 05
Industry Roundup: ​Help Wanted as New York City Implements Law Requiring Salary Ranges in Job Ads; Live Event Insurance Changes Call on Agents to Review Coverages; The Average Length of Time for Collision-Related Rentals Grows

​​Connecticut Legislators Pass Consumer Data Privacy 'Bill of Rights'

Consumers in Connecticut will be able to know when their personal information is being tracked and how it's being used under a wide-ranging data privacy bill that's headed to Gov. Ned Lamont's desk.


Help Wanted as New York City Implements Law Requiring Salary Ranges in Job Ads

Just four months ago, city lawmakers voted to require many ads for jobs in the nation's most populous city to include salary ranges, but lawmakers will likely vote to postpone it for five months after employers waved red flags.


Live Event Insurance Changes Call on Agents to Review Coverages

Carriers are introducing new targeted exclusions and restructuring existing policies to reflect updated risk calculations, agents must stay up-to-date on carrier coverage updates.


The Average Length of Time for Collision-Related Rentals Grows

The average length of time consumers needed to use a rental car following an auto accident increased by nearly five days compared with the year prior, according to car rental company Enterprise Holding, Inc., which reported the average rental period was 18.2 days during 2022's first quarter.


More than One-Third of Workplace Injuries Occur During the First Year on the Job

Travelers released its 2022 Injury Impact Report that analyzed more than 1.5 million workers compensation claims over a five-year period (2015-2019) and revealed that 35% of injuries occur during employees' first year on the job, regardless of age or industry experience.


Many New Hires Unhappy with Onboarding Experience

Recent new hires indicate that their onboarding did not adequately cover many of the basics that employees need to be successful, including understanding relationship building (71%), organizational culture (62%), technology (54%) and their benefits (46%).


Raising Awareness of Fall Hazards in Construction

OSHA developed the program in conjuncture with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), National Safety Council (NSC), National Construction Safety Executives (NCSE) and The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) to help train millions of workers on fall prevention safety methods.


Aon and Paypal to Expand Access to Insurance for Small Businesses

Aon plc and PayPal Holdings, Inc. today announced an initiative to help millions of PayPal's small business customers in the U.S. access insurance simply and quickly.


Worker Pay and Benefits Grow at Record Pace, Pressuring Inflation

Compensation for American workers increased rapidly in the first quarter, as a tight labor market put more money in workers' pockets while keeping inflation under control.


Survey Reveals Insights into Small Business Owners' Insurance-Buying Habits, Evolving Risk Exposures

The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. released its 2022 Small Business Risk Report, which looked at the key business risks, purchasing decisions, and communication and insurance management preferences for small business owners.


Allstate to Increase Magnitude of Auto Rate Hikes in 2022

Allstate said it is raising auto insurance rates more due to continued upticks in physical damage and bodily injury severity. ​

May 03
An Expert Answers Your Questions About Cybersecurity

cyber-7123250_640.jpg has a post up on its site today that features a question-and-answer session with Troy Stairwalt, chief information security officer of Westfield Insurance. I encourage you to read the entire article, but here are some excerpts I want to emphasize:

"Here are three common ways an agency is most likely to be caught in a cyberattack:

  1. Ransomware
  2. Supply chain management
  3. Third-party vendors

All three represent real cyberthreats to agencies for several reasons including:

  • Increase in cyberthreat activity;
  • Increasing regulatory requirements and repercussions; ...
  • New requirements simply to be eligible to apply for cyber insurance coverage. ...

Industry, state and federal regulations have been — and will become — increasingly onerous in response to cyberthreat level activity, which incidentally, since the pandemic, has consistently been at all-time highs year-over-year.

This means agencies will have to adhere to regulations or face repercussions, including fines and penalties. These regulations will require agencies to know where their sensitive data resides and who has access to it. Agencies will also need to show that they have implemented reasonable and prudent controls to effectively manage the risk and demonstrate adherence to regulatory requirements. Multi-factor authentication is simply table stakes in 2022. Expect those stakes to increase. ...

The first thing agencies should know is that cybersecurity does not have to break the bank. There are cost-effective ways to protect against a breach. ...

  • (Agencies) are more likely to get caught up in a net as collateral damage, versus directly targeted. ...
  • One of the most-effective ways to mitigate the risk is security awareness. Train employees so they’re not susceptible to social engineering attacks. Phishing and voice and/or text 'phishing' scams are all too prevalent in 2022. ...

If agencies don’t have multi-factor authentication implemented, it’s unlikely they will even be considered for cyber insurance coverage. ..."

There's a lot more, and I again encourage you to read the entire piece. Suffice to say that, even if states were not implementing insurance data security laws and regulations (Kentucky became the 21st state to do so last month,) cybersecurity would not be optional.

To learn more about New York's Cybersecurity Requirements For Financial Services Companies regulation, consider purchasing and downloading Big I New York's CE On Demand course, 10 Things to Know about the NY Cybersecurity Regulation. If you pass the accompanying exam, you will receive two hours of New York continuing education credit.

Also, network security consulting firm Motiva offers Big I New York a free, no obligations cybersecurity audit. Contact them to learn more about what you can do to protect your computer systems and your clients' private information.

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