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Jan 25
Agents Lobby on Pro-Consumer Measures at NY Day on the Hill

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​This week, members of Big I NY's Group of 100​ traveled to Albany for our “Day on the Hill" to meet with state lawmakers and urge them to support proposals that will help New York consumers. The state budget process is in full swing, and Governor's recently released budget includes many proposals that will impact policyholders.

First and foremost is the dire state of New York's insurance market. Policyholders are struggling with rising rates and shrinking availability, and agents are facing new challenges obtaining coverage for their customers.

G100 members lobbied in support of common-sense changes to the recently enacted supplemental spousal liability law, including applying automatic coverage only to married insureds and exempting commercial auto policies. We also lobbied in support of a $400+ million investment in climate resiliency efforts, including grants for improvements to properties and funding for a voluntary buyout program for flood prone properties. We urged lawmakers to support a modernization of the state's insurance verification system to help prevent drivers from being unfairly penalized for errors in the reporting of their insurance status. We lobbied for the extension of the points reduction program which is a valuable tool to help drivers save money on their car insurance.

We strongly opposed a proposal to expand the states unfair, abusive, and deceptive acts and practices law. While well-intentioned, this expansion creates major incentives for litigation, including mandatory attorney's fees and minimum damages of $1,000 per violation. While we agree it is crucial to protect consumers from unfair business practices, this bill is very broadly and subjectively written and is certain to invite a wave of abusive lawsuits which will increase costs to businesses, and further strain the states precarious insurance market.

After our meetings at the Capitol, we hosted a meet and greet reception with our members and members of the legislature and their staff. Agents had the opportunity to meet with their lawmakers, build new relationships, and discuss the importance and value of the independent insurance model.

G100 members had the opportunity to speak up and make a difference for their customers and the industry, while learning and having fun. Thank you to all who joined us and helped make the day a success!

HEAR WHAT THE AGENTS HAVE TO SAY​

Jan 11
2023: Our Most Successful Advocacy Year…Yet!

With the new year upon us, let us take a moment to reflect upon 2023, which was easily the most effective and successful legislative session in recent history for Big I NY. The victories we achieved this year will have lasting impacts on independent agencies and their customers. These accomplishments were achieved, in no small part, due to the tireless advocacy of our members and our government affairs team in Albany.

Photo inspection reform and unfair quoting practices legislation signed into law:

In 2023, Big I NY was successful in passing a law to allow insurance companies to waive CARCO inspections for the next four years. Based on similar initiatives in other states, we anticipate that this will reduce the number of photo inspections by over 90%, relieving customers and agents of a significant hassle. More importantly, customers will be spared from losing their comprehensive and collision coverage due to being unable to complete a photo inspection in time. This bill has been a priority for the association for over 20 years. Big I NY agents sent over 2,500 emails, signed over 1,600 petitions, made hundreds of phone calls, and held over 100 meetings with State lawmakers. This historic level of agent advocacy helped overcome numerous challenges and carried the bill to signature in November of 2023. The law will take effect on May 15th, 2024.

Also this year, Big I NY celebrated the signature of another priority law which will protect consumers from misleading quoting practices. This new law will require insurance companies to run a customer's motor vehicle report (MVR) prior to binding coverage. This will eliminate the practice of companies offering policyholders a low quote and then subsequently raising premiums later after running the insurance MVR.

Wrongful death expansion, non-compete ban bill defeated:

Big I NY also scored two defensive victories this year with the veto of legislation to dramatically expand the state's wrongful death law, and a bill which would have banned the use of all non-compete agreements in the state. We joined a broad-based coalition of groups representing virtually every sector of the state's economy to urge governor Hochul to veto the wrongful death expansion bill. The bill would have dramatically increased both the volume of wrongful death lawsuits, and the value of awards and settlements, which would have had a devastating effect on the economy and the insurance market. We also urged the governor to veto the non-compete ban bill on the basis that it did not include an explicit exemption for the use of non-compete agreements in the sale or purchase of a business. If this bill had been signed into law, it would be a major disruption to agency sale and acquisitions.

Met with top officials on the state of the insurance market:

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The deteriorating state of the New York insurance market was our top concern in 2023 and remains our top concern this year. Throughout last year, Big I NY was instrumental in engaging key leaders to draw attention to the need to stabilize the state's market. We issued a dire warning and subsequently met with Executive Deputy Superintendent of Insurance John Finston of the Department of Financial Services, Senator Neil Breslin, and Assembly Member David Weprin, chairs of the Senate and assembly insurance committees respectively. Big I NY testified before the State Assembly on the impact of extreme weather events on the insurance market.

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Secured favorable changes to the New York cyber security regulation:

Big I NY urged the Department of Financial Services to make favorable changes to the cybersecurity regulation, such as significantly expanding the limited exemption, and creating a total exemption for inactive licensees. Both changes were included in the final amendments to the regulation released this year. But we didn't stop there - we immediately published guidance to educate members on the new requirements and the effective dates, and subsequently partnered with the Department of Financial Services to offer a comprehensive training webinar. Stay tuned for updated compliance resources all available at no charge to Big I NY members.

Hosted legislative events for agents and elected officials:

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Big I agents traveled to Washington DC to lobby our senators and members of Congress on pressing national issues such as the reauthorization of the national flood insurance program, new data privacy laws, and extension of important small business tax cuts. We also hosted legislative breakfasts in Central New York and Western New York with agents and state lawmakers from the regions.

Set political fundraising records:

In 2023, Big I NY members raised nearly $57,000 for Insurpac, our federal political action committee, and nearly $80,000 for IAPAC, our state political action committee. These funds were crucial in supporting the elections of state and federal candidates who understand and support the industry.

Building on the momentum in 2024 and beyond:

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We're not resting on our laurels. With the start of the 2024 legislative session, your team at Big I NY is already hard at work. Our government affairs team is building relationships at the Capitol in Albany, and just this week, Lisa Lounsbury, CEO of Big I NY, represented the association at a private VIP reception with governor Kathy Hochul.

Want to get involved and help us make 2024 even more successful than last year?


Jan 03
What a GREAT year for NextGen!!

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2023 has come to a close and our NextGen group has done some amazing things this past year. Here are some highlights:

January 2023

  • NextGen Buffalo co-hosted an insurance sales training workshop presented by Ryan Hanley, founder and president of Rogue Risk.  

February 2023

  • NextGen members from across the state took part in the #DayintheLife social media initiative, sharing what we love about working in the insurance industry! 
  • Many NextGen members participated in Big I NY Virtual Advocacy Meetings with legislators from across the state
  • Big I Suffolk NextGen hosted a Top Golf insurance event

March 2023

  • NextGen Buffalo brought together members for a Happy Hour at Hatchets and Hops (Axe-Throwing)
  • NextGen CNY had a March Madness Party! 

April 2023

  • Big I Suffolk Happy Hour - NG collected donations for Sleep in Heavenly Peace at Six Harbors Brewing Co. 
  • A group of NextGen NY members attended the National Legislative Conference in Washington DC! 

May 2023

  • NextGen Statewide Committee gathered at Go Big! in Long Island
 
June 2023

  • NextGen kicked off a statewide collection for bedding to benefit "Beds for Buffalo" and "Sleep in Heavenly Peace" chapters throughout NY
  • NextGen Buffalo had a fun Happy Hour at Jack Rabbit, where they also collected donations for Beds for Buffalo 

September 2023

  • Carrie Shaw, NextGen Co-Chair, attended National Young Agents Leadership Institute (YALI) and our state committee was awarded the 2023 Outstanding Membership Development Award! 
  • NextGen Buffalo held a seminar on Battling Burnout and Building Resilience,  presented by Lindsay Amico, founder and Mindset Coach, Picture Perfect Mind, LLC
 
October 2023

  • NextGen Buffalo held their 8th Annual Speed Networking Event at Resurgence Brewing
  • NextGen CNY held a CE Trivia & Karaoke Night at Sharkey's Bar & Grill
  • We launched NextGen Rochester with a Happy Hour at Aurora Brewing Co.
 
December 2023

  • NextGen CNY held the 1st Annual Shop 'Til you Drop for Charity event!
  • NextGen Buffalo had an Ugly Sweater Party for the Holidays at Sports City Pizza Pub
 

Other Contributions:

  • Over 40 NextGen Buffalo members volunteered throughout the spring and summer with Beds for Buffalo (Service Collaborative of WNY). We look forward to returning to The Foundry to volunteer again in 2024!

  • Several NextGen members volunteered with Project InVest, presenting to various high school students about Careers in Insurance

  • Throughout October and November, NextGen had a statewide Band-Aid drive - donations were distributed to a variety of hospitals and other organizations serving children throughout NY!


Want to get involved in NextGen? We have some great things planned for 2024 and would love for you to join us!

Learn More About NextGen

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