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Feb 23
3 Unique Ways to Build Relationships with Remote Employees


Building relationships with remote employees is essential for fostering a strong team dynamic and a sense of belonging. Here are three unique strategies to bridge the gap and cultivate meaningful connections:

  1. Virtual Coffee Chats or Buddy System: Pair remote employees with colleagues for regular virtual coffee chats to discuss non-work-related topics and build rapport. Alternatively, establish a buddy system where remote employees are paired with on-site colleagues for support and social interaction.

  2. Virtual Team-Building Activities: Organize virtual game fun, online trivia contests, or collaborative problem-solving sessions to encourage participation and teamwork among remote team members. Host virtual social events like happy hours or cooking classes to promote bonding over shared experiences.

  3. Remote Employee Recognition Programs: Implement a recognition program to celebrate remote employees' achievements and contributions. Use platforms for public acknowledgment during team meetings, send personalized thank-you notes or care packages, and show appreciation with digital gift cards to strengthen relationships and morale.

By incorporating these unique approaches, organizations can effectively build relationships with remote employees and create a more engaged and connected team environment. Connection can really impact performance, retention and satisfaction. It's worth the attention.

Feb 16
The Cybersecurity Certification of Compliance Has Changed


The DFS regulated entities in the banking, financial services, and insurance sectors must complete the compliance filings that the financial services cybersecurity regulation requires by April 15.  This year they will notice a change.​.

The DFS regulates entities in the banking, financial services, and insurance sectors. These entities must submit a statement by April 15 each year about the state of their compliance with the regulation's requirements. Before this year, they had to submit a statement that they were complying with them during the prior calendar year.

An amendment to the regulation that took effect last November 1 expanded that requirement. Entities will have to complete and submit one of two forms:

Your agency will complete and submit the first one if it “materially complied" with the regulation's requirements  during the prior calendar year. The agency must base this on records that support the conclusion.

The agency must submit the second one If it did not meet the requirements in one or more sections of the regulation that apply to it. The person completing this form must:

  • Acknowledge that the agency did not “materially comply" with all the regulation's requirements during the prior year.
  • Identify the sections the agency did not comply with.
  • Describe what the agency failed to do and how big the failure was.
  • Either affirm that the agency has since met the requirements or provide a timeline for eventual compliance.

The agency's highest-ranking executive and its chief information security officer (CISO) must sign whichever form the agency submits. If the agency does not have a CISO, the senior officer responsible for the agency's cybersecurity program must sign it instead. Most Big I New York members do not have a CISO. If the highest-ranking executive and the person responsible for cybersecurity are the same person, that person must sign it in both spaces.

Your agency must retain the documents supporting its filing for five years.

​If you are one of the 92% of Big I New York members who qualify for the limited exemption, you must certify compliance or acknowledge noncompliance only with those sections of the regulation that apply to you.

Two things that have not changed:

  • Your licensed employees who your agency's cybersecurity program covers do not have to submit either of these forms. They should have submitted a Notice of Exemption and given Section 500.19(b) as the reason.
  • The regulation does not require the agency or its licensed employees to submit the Notice of Exemption again unless something has changed. An employee who changed employers or their name must submit a new one. So does an agency that grew too large to qualify under one of the three criteria for the limited exemption. If none of that is the case, the regulation does not require a Notice of Exemption every year. We have spoken with members who have done this unnecessary work.

More information is always available at:

Feb 16
New York's Proposed Budget Includes Many Changes Affecting IAs and Customers: What You Need to Know

By Scott Hobson, AVP of Government Relations

New York's budget process is in full swing, and Governor Hochul recently released her executive budget proposal. As the first step in the budget process, the Governor's proposal lays out her vision for how the state will collect and spend tax dollars, as well as major policy initiatives for the year. Next, each house of the legislature will issue their own proposals, and the legislative leaders and governor will negotiate on a final budget, which is due by April 1st.

Many of the Governor's proposals would impact IAs and their customers. Throughout the budget process Big I NY's government affairs team will work with lawmakers and Governor Hochul to support pro-consumer measures and defeat those which are harmful. These issues and our position are outlined below.

SUPPORT Changes to Supplemental Spousal Liability Opt-Out Law (Executive Budget, TED Part DD)

What it does: Makes common sense changes to the recent law that made supplemental spousal liability opt-out, rather than opt-in. Automatic enrollment would apply only to married policyholders, and would exempt commercial auto policies.

Why it is good for consumers: Supplemental Spousal Liability coverage is an often overlooked, valuable, and affordable or even no-cost coverage that benefits married drivers. However, the 2022 opt-in law resulted in situations where unmarried drivers were automatically enrolled in coverage they would not benefit from. Moreover, the coverage is rarely a benefit for commercial auto polices.

SUPPORT the Extension of the Internet Point Insurance Reduction Program (Executive Budget, TED Part F)

What it does: This program provides a 10% reduction for three years, from the base rate of current liability, no-fault and collision premiums for drivers who complete an approved point reduction course. The executive budget would extend the program until 2026. It is currently due to expire April 1, 2024.

Why it is good for consumers: The program improves public safety and gives drivers a much-needed reduction in their insurance rates.

SUPPORT Property Resiliency Initiatives (Executive Budget, Capital Projects Allocation)

What it does: Provide $435 million for resiliency projects to protect communities from severe floods, including $250 million for a voluntary buyout program.

Why it is good for consumers: Multiple studies have shown that for every dollar spent on preventative measures, it saves approximately $4 in future losses. By actively implementing risk mitigation strategies, communities and consumers can help harden property and better protect it. The implementation of risk mitigation strategies should make certain properties more appealing to insure, adequately cover and accurately price.

OPPOSE Unfair, Deceptive, and Abusive Acts and Practices (Executive Budget, TED Part JJ)

What it does: The proposed expansion of the law surrounding Unfair, Deceptive, and Abusive Acts and Practices (UDAAP), would significantly expand the scope of business conduct that is considered illegal, including subjective standards such as “likely to cause substantial injury", and “takes unreasonable advantage of a person's lack of understanding of the material risks, costs, or conditions of a product or service." It provides for enforcement by the Attorney General and private lawsuits, with minimum damages of $1,000, and mandatory attorney's fees and court costs to a prevailing plaintiff. The proposal includes a 30-day cure period in cases where damages exceed $500.

Why it is bad for consumers: While well-intentioned, this bill will have significant unintended consequences. It creates powerful incentives for private litigation, which is likely to give rise to a wave of abusive “shakedown" lawsuits against businesses. This will harm the state's economic recovery and put further pressure on the increasingly strained insurance market, driving up rates for businesses and consumers.

SUPPORT Online Insurance Verification (Executive Budget, TED Part H)

What it does: Create an Online Verification (OLV) system that would allow for real-time verification of motor vehicle liability insurance. It would replace the state's current reporting system.

Why it is good for consumers: Currently, insurers providing motor vehicle liability insurance on vehicles registered in New York report coverage information on those vehicles to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) using the Insurance Information and Enforcement System (IIES.) The IIES technology, introduced and implemented in 1999, is outdated and relies on manual processing by both DMV and insurers. Manual entry makes it more likely that law enforcement officers will erroneously identify a driver who carries liability insurance as uninsured. They may unfairly accuse these drivers and ticket or even arrest them for failure to carry the required coverage. The drivers may face charges of misdemeanor driving without insurance.

SUPPORT Market-Based Interest on Judgments (Executive Budget, PPGG Part R)

What it does: This bill would permit a variable market-based, rather than a fixed 9% interest rate to be assessed on court judgments and accrued claims, resulting in lower State taxpayer costs and relief to local governments.

Why it is good for consumers: This proposal would reduce the amount of interest paid by the State on court judgments and accrued claims by approximately $2.5 million annually. Additionally, passage of this bill would provide fiscal relief to local governments and businesses.

Feb 16
Let's Play 'Can They Do That?'


For those who may have missed it, the property casualty insurance markets are in a very hard market cycle. During a hard market, insurance carriers hike premiums, cancel and non-renew policies, and do whatever they can to limit their exposures to loss. Sometimes their actions seem questionable.

Today we launch a new recurring feature called "Can They Do That?" From time to time, we'll summarize some of the questions the Big I New York Research Department has received about carrier actions. As you read the questions below, keep one thing in mind: These are the ones we've received in the last eight working days.

Can a carrier decline to quote personal auto insurance where the household has two licensed drivers and three cars?  Yes. There is nothing in New York Insurance Law or related regulations that prohibits a carrier from doing that.

Does a carrier have to send a conditional renewal notice upon the expiration of a personal auto policy with a one-year term, informing the insured that the renewal will be for six months instead of a year?  No. New York Insurance Law Section 3425(d) requires a carrier to send a conditional renewal notice on a personal lines policy if it wishes to change the limits of insurance or eliminate any coverages.

Can a carrier non-renew a homeowners policy and the rest of the insured’s policies on their third anniversary because of a two-year-old open dog bite claim?  Yes. Section 3425​ permits a carrier to non-renew a non-auto personal lines policy for any reason at the end of the three-year required policy period for any reason that is not otherwise illegal (such as a violation of the Civil Rights Act.)

Can a carrier decline to quote an account for one of its agents and then quote for another of its agents?  Yes, if the carrier's contract with the agent permits it to do that. There is nothing in New York Insurance Law or related regulations that prohibits a carrier from doing that. Not every poor business practice is illegal.

Can a carrier decline to accept a properly executed cancellation release of a personal auto policy and insist on speaking with the insured before cancelling the policy?  No, unless the policy contains a provision requiring the insured to speak with the carrier before canceling. Every personal auto policy that we have reviewed requires only that the insured give the carrier advance written notice of the date cancellation is to take effect. Any conditions that a carrier imposes beyond that are simply rules someone in their office made up.

These questions or ones like them may arise in your offices at some point. Watch future issues of our ICYMI newsletter for future additions to this topic. We're reasonably certain there will be more.

Feb 01
RT Binding 2024 Binding Authority Submission Excellence
​The continuation of the hard market is evident as both standard and E&S carriers face underwriting challenges contributing to a narrowing of business appetites and thus increasing shopping for retail agents and brokers. Effective submissions get you noticed and help achieve results that improve the insurance solutions you provide. RT Binding wants to help you help your clients with the below advice on what makes an excellent submission!

General Submission Information 
  • Tell the story (below is a guide for information that may be helpful to provide during the submission process. More complex risks will likely require more information than straightforward risks.) 
  • Confirm admitted markets are not in play
  • What is needed to sell the account?
    • Provide the target premium with the understanding that premiums are generally rising in the current marketplace
    • Are you the incumbent agent or are you trying to win the business?
    • Is there competition? If so, describe
  • Have you engaged other wholesale brokers?
    • If so, provide the markets already approached
  • Provide details on current carrier, renewal premium and terms
    • If non-renewed, provide the following:
      • Reason for non-renewal
      • Confirm legal notice was sent in accordance with state requirements and provide a copy if possible
    • If this is their first insurance policy
      • What date did they begin operations, and why are they looking for coverage now?
      • If for a new purchase, provide the projected closing date
  • Include fully completed applications providing insured name, mailing address, and physical address to avoid follow up questions
    • Acord 125/126/140/131 and supplemental applications are preferred
    • Business owners (BOP) Acords and Acord supplementals are less applicable and likely to slow down the process
    • Provide any loss runs available
      • Explain details of losses and mitigation to avoid similar future losses
  • Explain any coverage gaps
  • For lessors risk: provide operations of each tenant
  • For habitational risks, insurers request the following: any subsidized, student, or elderly units? How many of each?
General Liability Specific:
  • Do all lessors risk tenants have insurance with $1 / $2M limits naming our insured as additional insured? (AI)
  • If this insured is located in a region that gets snow and ice, is there a snow removal contract in place with a subcontractor? Do they name the insured as AI? Do they provide hold harmless wording in their contract with the insured?
  • If there is NY exposure, policies will generally exclude action over/labor law. Please advise up front if this coverage is required so that the risk can be referred to brokerage; action over/labor law coverage is not offered by binding authority carriers
Property Specific:
  • If the building is over 50 years old, is the building on the historic registry or in a historic district?
  • In order to offer special / replacement cost (RCV), most carriers require buildings over 30 years old to have had substantial updates to the roof, electric, heating, and plumbing. Please provide the year for each or the markets will most likely only offer basic form and actual cash value (ACV).
  • Have you verified the RCV / ACV limit is adequate utilizing a building cost estimator in the past year? Many carriers have placed minimums per square foot with the increases in building costs in the past few years
  • Most carriers exclude theft without an active central station burglar alarm. Theft will be excluded if alarms are not verified on the application
  • E&S carriers do not offer business income on an actual loss sustained basis. Please provide a limit and coinsurance or monthly limitation
  • Not every carrier offers no-coinsurance / agreed value. If you are requesting this, please provide the building valuation report or appraisal for consideration
  • It’s not a deal breaker in all cases, but below listed electrical panels or wiring systems need to be listed if they exist. If post binding inspections reveal any of them, mid-term cancellation is likely 
    • Federal Pacific
    • Stab - Lok
    • Zinsco - GTE Sylvania
    • Square D on recall list
    • Knob and Tube wiring
    • Aluminum wiring (full replacement with copper wiring, Copalum Method, and AlumniConn connector may be acceptable)
    • Fuses
    • Any panel or wiring identified as having an ongoing or past recall for fire hazard
Excess Liability Specific:
  • Please provide:
    • All underlying policies/quotes/binders showing limits, premiums, classes and exposures
    • Hard copy 3-5 year loss runs for all underlying lines
    • Explanation and remediation of any losses
    • Details surrounding open losses if any
    • MVR and driver list for excess over auto
    • Supplemental application (request from your RT underwriter if you do not already have one)
Read the article on RT's website​

RT Binding Authority is a part of the RT Specialty division of RSG Specialty, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company based in Illinois. RSG Specialty, LLC, is a subsidiary of Ryan Specialty, LLC. RT Binding Authority provides wholesale insurance brokerage and other services to agents and brokers. RT Binding Authority does not solicit insurance from the public. Some products may only be available in certain states, and some products may only be available from surplus lines insurers. In California: RSG Specialty Insurance Services, LLC (License #0G97516). ©2024 Ryan Specialty, LLC

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