The New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board announced this week that it has proposed a 2.6% decrease in Workers' Compensation insurance loss costs for 2023. If approved, the new schedule of loss costs will apply effective October 1, 2023.
The filing is subject to approval by the New York State Department of Financial Services. The filing and explanatory memorandum are available for review online.
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In a recent meeting, Independent Market Solutions, LLC (IMS) and Hippo Insurance Company joined forces to provide homeowners with an unparalleled insurance experience. The collaboration aims to revolutionize the way individuals safeguard their homes, combining advanced technology, swift policy processing, and comprehensive coverage. With a focus on specialization, efficiency, and cutting-edge solutions, Hippo Insurance is set to reshape the home insurance landscape. Your agency can sign up today at IMSaccess.com.
Hippo has carved a niche for itself by specializing in one insurance policy the HO3. This specialized policy allows homeowners to protect their property, and possessions, with tailored coverage. By narrowing their focus, Hippo ensures that their offerings are finely tuned to meet the unique needs of homeowners in these specific areas.
One of the most impressive aspects of Hippo is their ability to provide quick and hassle-free quotes. In just 30 seconds, your agency can obtain an accurate quote for your customers' insurance needs. Furthermore, you can bind a policy in under 4 minutes, eliminating the typically lengthy process associated with obtaining coverage. This remarkable efficiency is a testament to Hippo's commitment to streamlining insurance for the modern homeowner. Hippo also recognizes the importance of seamless integration within the insurance ecosystem. They have proactively integrated with numerous Personal Lines Rating Platforms, allowing for easy accessibility and a seamless user experience. This integration empowers homeowners to effortlessly explore their insurance options and select the policy that best suits their needs.
During the meeting, Hippo revealed their targeted expansion plans, with New York (NY) being identified as a state with significant growth potential. By expanding their reach into NY, Hippo aims to offer their innovative insurance solutions to a broader agency plant, enriching homeowners' lives with comprehensive coverage and cutting-edge technology.
One of the most significant advantages for consumers of Hippo is their integration of technology-based loss control. Hippo offers a free SimpliSafe system that utilizes advanced sensors to quickly identify water leaks, fires, and break-ins via the Smart Home endorsement. This technology-driven approach to loss control provides homeowners with an additional layer of security and peace of mind, knowing that their homes are being monitored around the clock.
Hippo Home Care is another standout feature offered to consumers. This innovative service provides homeowners with access to a network of trusted and skilled professionals who can address a range of home-related issues. Whether it's finding a reliable plumber or a qualified electrician, Hippo Home Care ensures that homeowners receive prompt and reliable assistance when needed most.
The partnership between IMS and Hippo marks a significant milestone in the realm of home insurance. With a focus on specialization, efficiency, and cutting-edge technology, Hippo is leading the way in transforming the insurance experience for homeowners and Agents. By offering swift quotes, integrating with rating platforms, leveraging advanced loss control technology, and providing comprehensive home care, Hippo has cemented its position as a trailblazer in the industry.
To embark on a seamless and convenient insurance journey with Hippo and IMS, your agency can sign up today at IMSaccess.com today. Take advantage of the extraordinary benefits offered by IMS and Hippo by safeguarding your clients' homes with confidence and peace of mind.
By: Carey Wallace
Over the past 18 months, we have experienced the highest interest rates since 2000, with them peaking at 7.08% in November of 2022. Over one-third of the independent insurance agencies in the U.S. anticipate a change in ownership in the next two years, which means that over 13,300 agencies will transition ownership according to the 2022 Agency Universe Study. Many agency owners plan to transition their ownership to family, children, or a current partner, and if a bank loan is involved the change in interest rates can have a significant impact on the price of their agency and their retirement. Now more than ever, it is important for agency owners that wish to maximize the value of their agency to focus on the things that they can control. Get Informed
Take a close look at your agency's financial statement and get to know your numbers. Compare your agency's performance to the industry standards to determine the areas where you are lagging behind and the areas that you excel. When you are planning to sell, a buyer will use these benchmarks to set their expectations on what it will take to run your agency and what profitability they can expect for an agency of your size. For those agencies that are outperforming the benchmarks, the benchmarks can create a discount for your agency. It is in your best interest to know your own proven performance and maximize that performance prior to selling your agency both internally and externally. Profitability
The best way to maximize the value of your agency when you are selling is to run your business like you're selling it tomorrow. By removing all discretionary expenses and investing those funds in the growth of your agency, you will position your agency to command the maximum value at the time of your ownership transition. This will allow you to fund the investment in the resources, infrastructure, and technology, and support your agency needs to operate efficiently and be positioned for growth and scale. Common investments can include people, training, technology, and the development of strong operating procedures. Transition time
Do not wait until you are ready to walk away to start planning to sell your agency. We are in a relationship business, so you are an important component in the transition of the ownership of your agency. By working through a transition plan to provide a warm handoff of your staff, customers, centers of influence, referral partners, and carrier partners, you will increase the likelihood that those key relationships will stay with the agency. Your recommendation and behavior will speak volumes to the people who have trusted you. They will look to both your actions and your words to determine if they want to continue to do business or work with your successor. If you are not willing to work with them, they may not want to either, and that would be detrimental to the retention of key staff, customers, and ultimately the value of your agency. Plan to spend this time to ensure that you are able to demonstrate your strong support to your successor. Minimize Risk
Be aware of the risks inside your business and work to reduce those risks prior to your transition. There are three main types of risks: concentration, performance and culture. Consider the areas of your agency that are dependent on one person, one carrier, one relationship. This could be related to a specific area of expertise, risk appetite, or simply a responsibility that you have never opened up to anyone other than a key person inside your agency. Whenever possible look for ways to minimize that risk by exposing multiple people to the customer relationship, invest in training, and document the processes that are handled in all key roles to minimize the delay or confusion should any key employee no longer be part of the team. Performance Risk
To address risk in performance, it is critical to know the key performance indicators that will impact the value of your agency. You should know what the growth, retention, new business, profitability, and efficiency expectations are for the key roles inside the agency. By knowing these standards, you can work to strengthen the areas of your agency that are weak, and highlight your agency's areas of strength. These performance indicators will serve as a guide for you to where to invest and also provide a way to measure the success of your investments. Too often when technology is implemented there is no way to measure the impact, which makes it hard to know the return on your investment. Think of these performance metrics as ways to measure your ROI. Culture Risk
The last area of risk is culture. This is the area that many times is the most important as well as the hardest to mitigate. This encompasses how you run your agency, is your sales and service work clearly defined or is it blended roles inside your agency? How do you drive new business to your agency? Is it based solely on referrals, or do you have a well-defined strategy for attracting new clients with a content and marketing strategy? Do you have contracts in place with your staff, or are you at greater risk of losing business if they leave the agency? What is the level of expertise inside your agency when it comes to coverage, technology, automation, and innovation? Have you created a culture of trust that allows you to embrace change, or do you have a culture in your agency that resists change? All of these factors are important to the continuity of your agency in a transition of ownership. How you lead your team can impact the value of your agency, so think about ways to foster a culture of trust. It will have a positive return.
The compensation structure as well as the benefits package that you provide for your staff is also an area that will impact the value of your agency. When another agency is looking to buy or when the next generation is looking to purchase the agency, the compensation structure will impact the cash flow of the agency. Compensation is the largest controllable expense inside any agency, so if your compensation structure is not in line with the industry standards, it may be difficult to continue and also provide you with the price you expect for your agency. If the incoming owner makes a change to the compensation structure they will be at risk of losing talent and staff that are critical to keeping the customers and relationships with referral partners and carriers. If you want to maximize the value of your agency, you need to embrace a strategy to move your staff to compensation plans that are tied to the growth of your agency long before you plan to transition the ownership of the agency. If you do not make this change inside your agency, and your compensation structure is not in line with industry standards, you need to be realistic in your expectations for the price of your agency.
There are many things you can do to plan for the successful transition of your agency, and it starts with focusing on the factors that will impact the value of your agency that you can control. Well-run agencies will continue to command high multiples regardless of interest rate fluctuations and other factors that are not within our control. By knowing your numbers, focusing on driving profitability and performance inside your agency, and planning ahead, you will maximize your agency's value and be well-positioned when the time comes for you to transition the ownership of your agency.
For more information on how to best prepare for the future of your agency visit www.agency-focus.com or email email@example.com.
A Manhattan court has granted the New York State Department of Financial Services' request to be appointed as ancillary receiver of United Property & Casualty Insurance Co. (UPC.) The order enables DFS to liquidate the insurer's New York assets and resolve claims that may be insured under its policies. If you have clients who were insured by UPC, you should advise them now that they have until Feb. 27, 2024 to submit claims.
As we previously reported, Florida-based UPC was declared insolvent earlier this year by the Florida Department of Financial Services. A court appointed the Florida department as the insurer's receiver, giving it authority to liquidate the insurer's assets. Florida subsequently asked the NYS DFS to seek appointment as an ancillary receiver for the insurer's New York assets. The NYS DFS made that request to the court, a request that was granted on May 4.
Under the court's order:
- DFS has the authority to liquidate UPC's assets and resolve claims.
- All claims for coverage under UPC policies must be submitted to DFS no later than Feb. 27, 2024. Claims submitted after that date are barred.
- New York lawsuits against UPC and the DFS regarding the liquidation are barred.
- Parties with legal actions against UPC insureds for covered liability insurance losses are barred from further proceedings until Oct. 31, 2023.
- Those with first-party claims under UPC policies are barred from presenting them to DFS until Aug. 2, 2023.
- If funds are available to repay unearned premiums to UPC insureds, repayments will not occur before Jan. 29, 2024.
- DFS is immune from lawsuits regarding its handling of the UPC liquidation.
- UPC's New York license is revoked.
Questions should be directed to the New York Liquidation Bureau at Claims@nylb.org or by phone at (212) 341-6552.
Industry standards-setting organization ACORD has revised four personal and commercial automobile insurance forms to reflect a recent change in state law. The revised forms are for use on and after August 1, 2023. You should expect to see them in your ACORD Advantage subscriptions or agency management systems over the next few months.
As we previously reported, a law taking effect on August 1 will require every personal and commercial auto liability policy to include "supplemental spousal liability coverage" unless the insured specifically rejects it. Under current law, the insured has the option to add the coverage. After August 1, the insured will have the option to reject it.
The revised forms will carry an edition date of 2023/08. The four forms are:
- ACORD 65 NY (2003/01), New York Auto Supplement - Spousal Liability Coverage
- ACORD 90 NY (2015/12), New York Personal Auto Application
- ACORD 137 NY (2021/03), New York Commercial Auto Coverages/Limits Section
- ACORD 290 NY (2015/12), New York Personal Auto Application Section
The New York State Workers Compensation Board has announced that the maximum disability benefit will increase to $1,145.43 per week. The change applies to workplace injuries occurring on and after July 1, 2023.
State Workers Compensation Law requires the board to adjust the maximum disability benefit annually. The maximum is set at two-thirds of the statewide average weekly wage for the prior calendar year. The board said that the New York State Department of Labor has determined that the average in 2022 was $1,718.15.
The new maximum benefit is a slight increase from the $1,125.46 level that currently applies.
More than 20 Big I NY members traveled to Washington, DC on April 26-27 for the Big I National Legislative Conference. They had a total of 13 meetings with members of Congress to discuss federal issues impacting independent agents and their clients including small business tax credits, national prohibition of most non-compete agreements, National Flood Insurance Program and others. The weather was perfect and many found a bit of time to take in the sights, including a group tour of the Capitol. Big I NY is the voice of independent agencies in New York!