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Sep 28
Industry Roundup: Cyber-Insurer War Exclusion Clauses Face Reckoning; Trends Shaping the US Transportation Insurance Market; What Does a Recession Mean for Insurance Payments?; Is the Four-Day Workweek an Inevitable Part of Our Future?

​As War Rages on, Cyber-Insurer War Exclusion Clauses Face Reckoning

As more state actors engage in cyberwarfare, insurance companies and private businesses are struggling to find common ground on what the "War Exclusion Clause" means for them.

Trends Shaping the US Transportation Insurance Market

The transportation industry is driving into a barrage of headwinds in the form of inflation, rising gas and diesel prices, lower freight rates, supply chain disruptions, and ongoing challenges in the highly litigious liability arena.

What Does a Recession Mean for Insurance Payments?

Now more than ever, customers expect a modern checkout experience with flexible payment options and customer-first experiences.

Is the Four-Day Workweek an Inevitable Part of Our Future?

According to a new survey done by NatWest Rapid Cash, the majority of employers said by 2030, the four-day week will be more common than the five-day current standard.

New York Bus Driver Pleads Guilty to $30K Workers' Compensation Fraud

A New York bus driver faces sentencing for fraudulently collecting more than $30,000 in workers' compensation wage indemnity benefits by falsely claiming that she was unable to work as a result of a disability.

To Pay or Not to Pay? That Is the Ransomware Question

When a hacker infiltrates your system, paying their ransom demand right away might not be the best approach.

Cyberthreats Remain the Top Business Concern

Nearly 60% of business leaders think it is inevitable that their organization will be hit by a cyberattack.

Hurricane Season: Protecting Beachfront Properties

The increasing unpredictability of hurricane threats underscores the need for property owners, especially those with beachfront homes, to raise their standard of preparation.

Small Businesses Underestimate Recovery Time, Cost of Cyberattack

Nationwide Agency Forward survey showed 40% of small business owners surveyed expect a cyberattack to cost less than $1,000 and another 60% think it would take less than three months to fully recover.

Appeals Court Rejects NRA Free Speech Claims Against New York Insurance Regulator​

A federal appeals court has denied the National Rifle Association's First Amendment claims against a former New York insurance regulator who urged insurance companies to consider the risks of doing business with the NRA and other gun groups.

Sep 23
​ Albany Update: “Not One More Cost Hike" Campaign Launches

Last week, the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, with support from Big I NY, launched a new ad campaign, “Not One More Cost Hike", in order to educate elected officials, local business owners, families, and voters of the costly consequences of A.6770/S.74-A. As written, the bill will radically expand the types of damages recoverable in wrongful death lawsuits – sending insurance premiums skyrocketing.

Agents are urged to contact Governor Hochul and ask her to veto this bill.

An analysis from global actuarial firm Milliman, Inc. finds that if A.6770/S.74-A is enacted, insurance costs – including personal auto and general liability for small businesses – could increase by more than $2 billion. For medical professional liability insurance, costs are projected to balloon by as much as 45%.

“Our local governments, doctors and hospitals, and our friends and neighbors can't afford one more cost hike in these difficult economic times," said Tom Stebbins, Executive Director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York. “If signed into law, this bill will drain municipal budgets, increase household expenses as we battle record inflation, and devastate New York's already strained healthcare system, disproportionately harming the medical professionals and hospitals that serve our communities."

Dr. Parag Mehta, President of the Medical Society of the State of New York, said, “New York's physicians have been fighting on the frontlines of the COVID, Monkeypox and now polio pandemics. This wrongful death bill passed by the State Legislature presents a new crisis for these physician heroes as it imposes new costs in malpractice insurance. This bill will be devastating for patients, as it undermines the financial survival of their primary care doctors, pediatricians, OBGYNS, any specialty doctor they see as well as emergency physicians – particularly those in underserved and diverse communities who are already financially challenged. New York physicians already pay among the highest liability costs in the country. They can't afford to watch this bill increase those costs by more than 40%, putting the integrity of our healthcare system at risk and chasing many physicians out of the state."

Peter Baynes, Executive Director of the New York State Conference of Mayors, said, “Local governments in New York already contend with a uniquely difficult liability environment and are roped into a disproportionate number of lawsuits, even when they have little or no connection to the underlying matter. Any increase in liability costs for the Empire State's cities, villages, counties and towns will divert taxpayer funds away from critical community services and reduce our ability to invest in the future. There should be reform across the board – before expanding liability, let's fix the laws that make New York's civil justice system the country's most expensive."

Lev Ginsburg, Esq., Counsel to The Business Council of New York State, said, "This is a difficult economic environment for everyone. We should be focused on good public policy that reduces costs, combats inflation, and eases the burden on our economy. Unfortunately, this bill would do just the opposite and drastically increase insurance premiums for businesses of all sizes. That means higher prices for consumers and when it comes to healthcare, double-digit increases for years to come."

Insurance costs for doctors and hospitals in New York State are already some of the highest in the country, especially in the Bronx and on Long Island. Leading the nation in medical liability lawsuit payouts, which totaled more than $430 million in 2021, New York remains among the states ranked worst for providers to practice, deterring physicians from opening their own practices.

A.6770/S.74-A was passed by both houses of the New York State Legislature in June and now awaits action from Governor Kathy Hochul. Once sent to her office, she has 10 days to sign or veto the bill.


Sep 22
Industry Roundup: P&C Sector Outlook Stable Despite Claims Inflation; When Recession Strikes, Fraud Spikes; Auto Loss Costs Not Coming Down, Bigger Rate Hikes Ahead; Baksetball Hall of Fame and Chubb Hit the Court Over D&O Coverage

US P&C sector outlook stable despite further claims inflation, says Moody's

A recent report by Moody's affirmed that its stable outlook for the US commercial P&C insurance sector reflects strong underwriting profitability, despite slowing price increases and persistent claims inflation.

When Recession Strikes, Fraud Spikes

Data shows reports made to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaints Center increased by 69.4% from 2019 to 2020.

Auto Loss Costs Not Coming Down; Bigger Rate Hikes Ahead: Allstate CEO

Higher auto loss costs are here to stay, according to the leader of Allstate, who also said that his company will be pushing up auto insurance prices higher, and at a faster pace, for the balance of the year.

Basketball Hall of Fame and Chubb Insurer Hit the Court Over D&O Coverage

The Basketball Hall of fame (BHoF) is suing Chubb Group subsidiary Federal Insurance Co. to have the insurer defend and indemnify it in a case accusing it of attempting to unlawfully secure funds for renovations to its facility.

U.S. Traffic Deaths in First Half 2022 Hit 16-Year High

U.S. traffic deaths rose 0.5% in the first half of 2022 to 20,175, the highest number killed in the period since 2006, according to an early estimate released by U.S. regulators.

White House Touts $1 Billion in Grants to Fight Cybercrime

The Biden administration has called on states and local governments to apply for new cybersecurity grants worth $1 billion over four years.

D&O insurance results improve, though premium growth stalls

According to Fitch Ratings, the U.S. Directors & Officers (D&O) insurance results in the first half of 2022 have improved, though premium growth has stalled.

Bosses Are Winning The Battle To Get Workers Back To The Office

In the ongoing battle between bosses and workers over returning to the office, recent data shows more people are trudging back to the workplace.

US Homebuilder Sentiment Falls for a Ninth Month in Record Slide

A gauge of US homebuilder sentiment declined for a ninth straight month in September as mortgage rates continued to climb, further accelerating the housing-market cool-down.

Millions could lose health coverage if premium subsidies expire later this year, officials say​

Without tax credits provided by the American Rescue Plan, many consumers' costs for marketplace coverage would skyrocket.

Sep 09
Albany Update: Big I NY Calls for Veto of Harmful Workers Comp Bills

This week, we joined over forty business associations representing virtually every sector of the state's economy in urging Governor Hochul to veto three harmful workers compensation bills.​ If enacted, they would increase workers' compensation benefits by millions of dollars, resulting in higher costs and premiums for all New York State businesses, especially small businesses, at a time when they are contending with unrelenting economic challenge.

  • A.1118 (Bronson)/S.768 (Gounardes) redefines temporary total disability, marking a fundamental shift in the definition of disability and how wage replacement amounts are determined in New York State. This bill upends case law by allowing for unlimited awards at the temporary total rate for employees with mild or moderate partial disabilities. Under existing law, when a doctor finds that an employee has partially recovered from an injury, that employee must either seek out work that is commensurate with their degree of disability or risk losing their indemnity benefits. As passed, this bill would automatically qualify injured employees to receive benefits at the higher disability rate if it was determined they could not return to their pre-injury employment or a modified position. This will lead to significant and extremely damaging cost increases for the workers' compensation system. Many businesses, especially small businesses, do not have the financial or practical ability to accommodate light-duty work, and long-standing workers' compensation law recognized that important dynamic. This bill abandons the long-held tenets of workers' compensation law.
  • A.2020-A (Reyes)/S.8373-B (Savino) expands the statutory carve-out that applies to police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians who filed a claim for mental injury premised upon extraordinary work-related stress to include all employees. This bill will permit all employees who allege extraordinary work-related stress to file a mental stress claim irrespective of a work-related emergency. Law Judges will determine what qualifies as “extraordinary," a standard that is not defined by statute, which will result in extensive litigation. Additionally, the bill would transfer the cost of treatment and disability for psychological conditions that are not currently considered work-related to the workers' compensation system. The cost to the system would be substantial.
  • A.7178-A (Joyner)/S.8271-A (Sanders) would increase the minimum amount of compensation from $150 to not less than 1/5 of Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) or employee's full wages if equal to or less than 1/5 of SAWW. The current minimum weekly indemnity rate for employees who earn more than $150 per week is $150. If enacted, this bill would grant employees who sustain accidents after June 30, 2022, to almost double the current minimum indemnity rate of $150 per week (weekly indemnity benefits would increase to no less than $337.64, which is 1/5 of the current SAWW of $1,688.19). Employees with wages less than or, equal to $337.64 per week would receive full salaries. The impact of this legislation would be most felt by businesses with part-time, seasonal, or lower-wage employees, and may deter employees from returning to work, exacerbating the labor shortage and keeping New York's unemployment rate higher than the national average.

Currently, none of these bills have been sent to the Governor's desk, however they must be sent before the end of the year. Once they are sent, the Governor has ten days to sign or veto them.

Contact Scott Hobson with any questions.


Sep 08
NYAIP Adds 'Intersex' and 'Unspecified' Gender Classifications

​The New York Automobile Insurance Plan (NYAIP) has announced forthcoming rule changes to create "intersex" and "unspecified" gender classifications used in developing premiums for drivers of vehicles insured through the Plan. The changes take effect on December 1, 2022.

The effected rules are:

  • Rule 22, Private Passenger Automobile Classifications, is amended to include a youthful intersex and unspecified classification and revise the definition of youthful operator to include intersex and unspecified. 
  • Rule 27, Driver Training Credit, is amended to reference classifications for youthful operators under the age of 21. 
  • Rule 42, Named Nonowner Coverage​, ​​is amended to revise the definition of youthful operator to include intersex and unspecified.​
  • The Class Factors Table in the Private Passenger Automobile Rate Chapter is amended to include class factors corresponding to the youthful intersex and unspecified classification. 
  • Rule 119, Leasing or Rental Concerns​, is amended to reference intersex and unspecified.​

If you are a producer certified to obtain coverage through the NYAIP, you need to be aware of these changes when they take effect in December.

Sep 08
URGENT: Add Sexual Harassment Hotline Info To Your Employee Handbooks

New York businesses are required to inform their employees about a new sexual harassment hotline, under a law that took effect in July. We urge all of you to add this information to your employee handbooks as soon as possible.

The law​, which became effective on July 14, required the state Division of Human Rights to set up "a toll free confidential hotline to provide individuals with complaints of workplace sexual harassment counsel and assistance.​" ​Attorneys experienced in counseling individuals with sexual harassment complaints staff the hotline on a pro-bono basis. 

The law also requires the DHR to work with the state Labor Department ​​"to ensure that information on the hotline is included in any materials employers must post or provide to employees regarding sexual harassment." While the Labor Department has not yet updated its model sexual harassment prevention policy for employers, you do not have to wait to update your employee handbooks and postings.

Affinity HR Group​, our endorsed human resources consulting firm has drafted the following text for you to add to your prevention policy statements:​

"Harassment Hotline
The state of New York provides a toll-free, confidential hotline which anyone experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace may use to connect with prop-bono attorneys on sexual harassment issues or to submit a complaint.
1-800-HARASS-3 (1-800-427-2773)."

We encourage you to insert this text into your handbooks or postings at your earliest opportunity. If you need assistance, contact Paige McAllister at Affinity HR Group at ​​
Sep 07
ELANY: DFS is Fining Brokers For Pattern of Late Filings

​The Excess Line Association of New York (ELANY) has warned New York licensed excess line brokers of stepped-up enforcement of document filing requirements. In a bulletin ​dated August 15, 2022, the association said that the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has been issuing fines to excess line brokers who "demonstrate a pattern of late policy document filings with ELANY."

The fines have been in the tens of thousands of dollars, the association said, with at least one reaching six figures. These are on top of the late-filing fees that ELANY imposes. Many states, including New York, require licensed producers to notify them of any disciplinary actions taken against them by another state. Therefore, a New York licensed excess line broker who is subject to one of these fines may have to report it to every state in which they are licensed.

In addition, the fines may be publicly reported in the DFS monthly insurance disciplinary action report.

ELANY recommends that all New York licensed excess line brokers:

  • Ensure that all filings are submitted on time, accurate, legible and complete
  • Respond to inquiries from ELANY promptly to avoid processing delays
  • Address current issues with timely filings quickly to avoid an extended pattern of late filings
  • Encourage producing retail brokers to use ELANY's Electronic Filing Portal for submitting the Part C - Affidavit by Producing Broker
  • Ensure that any hard copy affidavits submitted by excess line or retail brokers are typed and checked for completeness and accuracy.
Sep 07
NYS Workers Comp Board Offering Webinars For Employers

​The New York State Workers Compensation Board is is presenting monthly webinars for employers, starting today. You and your clients may find the information useful.

The webinars, presented by the Board's Advocate for Business, will address basics of the state's Workers' Compensation system, coverage requirements, and employer obligations. They will also address:

  • Who does and does not need coverage
  • How and when to report workplace injuries and illnesses, including cases of COVID-19
  • Factors to consider when an employer hires independent contractors, laborers and domestic workers
  • How to reduce premiums
  • Penalties and where to go for help with them

The sessions are free of charge and do not require pre-registration. More information can be found on the Board's Webinars For Employers web page. 

Sep 01
State Fund, OCM Announce Partnership To Help New Cannabis Businesses Get Workers Comp Coverage

320px-NYSIF_Logo_Tag_RGB.png​Used under under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license​.​

The New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) has announced a campaign, led by the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF) to help newly-licensed cannabis businesses in the state obtain required insurance. NYSIF will lead the effort to help these businesses obtain Workers' Compensation, New York State Disability Law (DBL) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) insurance.

According to a news release on the NYSIF website:

"Eligible applicants can apply under the qualifying business or qualifying non-profit track. Prospective Qualifying Business applicants must: 

  • Have a conviction for a marijuana-related offense that occurred prior to the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA) on March 31, 2021, or have had a parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, or dependent with a pre-MRTA conviction for a marijuana-related offense in the State of New York. 
  • Have experience owning and operating a qualifying business that has been profitable for at least two years.
The specific ownership and control requirements will depend on the structure of the business applicants and the eligibility criteria under which they are applying. All applicants must be led by justice-involved individuals, whether they are an entity owned by more than one owner, an individual, sole-proprietor or single-owner entity."

The release also stated that qualifying businesses may be eligible for upfront premium discounts and membership in a safety group.

The New York State Assembly and Senate enacted a measure legalizing cannabis​ for sale to and use by adults as part of the 2021-22 state budget. Then-governor Andrew Cuomo signed it into law.  According to the OCM website, the office is now considering applications for Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary licenses, positioning licensees "to make New York’s first legal cannabis sales before the end of 2022 ..."
Sep 01
What's in a Name? How To Change the Name on Your NY License


​It doesn't happen often, but occasionally a New York licensed insurance agent or broker changes their name and needs to show that on their license. Subsection (f) of Section 2102 of the New York Insurance law requires a "licensee" to notify the state Department of Financial Services "upon changing his, her or its legal name."

Probably the most common reason for this is when a woman marries and assumes her husband's last name. The reverse may also occur - a marriage ends and the former wife wants to become known under her maiden name. And some folks just like to change names every few years.

Whaever the reason, you can ask DFS to change the name on your license by writing an email to its Licensing Bureau at and providing the following:

  • A copy of your current license
  • Your date of birth
  • The last four digits of your Social Security number
  • A copy of your driver's license, if you have one, or alternative identification if you don't
  • A copy of your marriage certificate or other legal documentation of the change, such as a judge's order
  • The bureau will likely contact you if they have any questions or need additional information. Otherwise, your license should be amended before long.

That's pretty much all there is to it.

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