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Sep 20
Don't Forget To Offer Your Clients Flood Insurance

5866213919_7a0805c270_w.jpgPhoto ​by Staff Sgt. Sharida Jackson, U.S. Air Force
Used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license


Ever since Tropical Storm Ida dumped huge amounts of rain on the New York City area earlier this month, we've been receiving questions from members about insurance coverage for water damage losses. Unfortunately, homeowners insurance will not cover most of these losses. 

This seems like a good time to remind you that New York State law​ requires insurers to inform their homeowners and dwelling policyholders that their policies do not cover flood damage, and that coverage is available from the National Flood Insurance Program. Some of the insurers you represent may inform your clients directly, but some may delegate the job to you. If you've been charged with providing the notification, we suggest you do so using form ACORD 69 NY (2008/08)​New York Personal Property Supplement.​ The form meets the requirements of New York law and should be available through your agency management system.​

In any case, with the weather getting more extreme every year, it's never a bad idea to suggest purchasing flood insurance to your clients, both personal and commercial.  Properties that are nowhere near a body of water are vulnerable to flood losses. The exposure may not be as great, but when a storm drops 7.5 inches ​of rain on New York City​ in just a few hours, properties will suffer water damage no matter how far they are from the rivers. And anyone who has lived upstate for more than a couple of years knows it draws rainclouds like magnets (in Syracuse, it rains or snows an average of 174 days​ a year.)

Many people may resist your message about the importance of flood insurance, but tell them about it anyway. At the least, you will know that you tried to help them. If they reject your suggestion, document that using the form letter in our ebook The Big I NY Big Book of Form Letters & Other E&O Tools​If they decide to buy it, they will be better protected.

All Big I NY members have access to the Selective flood insurance program​, enabling you to easily sell this coverage. You can find information about flood insurance on the Flood page in the Answer Center of this website. 

Sep 20
3, 2, 1 with Sue Keegan

By Sue Keegan, AIC, MBA, Learning & Development Manager


3 Things

If you missed last week’s Webinar Wednesday – Cyber Series: Protecting Your Cloud Agency Management System from Cybercriminals, you missed a good one.  Members only, click here to check it out.

And while I’m on the subject, our next Webinar Wednesday – Cyber Series, is on the calendar for 10/13/2021.  In this session, Steps to Secure Your Email, you’ll learn how to avoid the popular tricks cybercriminals are using every day, including phishing, malware, ransomware and spoofing. Register your entire agency (FREE for members!) - it's time well-spent.


2 Ideas


Check out the 2021 National Book Awards Longlist. Fiction is my thing, but I always check out the Young People’s Literature, too.​

1 Question

What’s the most embarrassing fashion trend you used to rock? For me it was big hair – I’m 5’10” but could have been listed as 6’ easily. I also had one of those Frankie Says Relax t-shirts and probably every color of Forenza sweater from The Limited.   Let me know your most embarrassing fashion trend via email at  skeegan@biginy.org or post in our Community
Sep 16
Industry Roundup: What Actions Can Employers Take if Staff Avoid Covid-19 Vaccines?; Civilian Space Tourism: There's Coverage for That; Hurricane Ida: Estimated Insured Losses Revealed

Newer Contractors, Laborers Account for Most WC Claims

Building and construction firms that have been in business for four years or less account for three-quarters of workers' comp claims in the contractor sector, according to AmTrust Financial.

Flood Risk Drivers: Rising Sea Levels, Extreme Weather & The Moon

By the mid-2030s, every U.S. coastal region will experience rapidly increasing high-tide floods, or so-called sunny day floods, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which explains a lunar cycle will exacerbate rising tides and usher in a decade of increasing flood risks in the U.S.

The Rise of Insurtech Does Not Mean The Fall Of Insurance Agents

Agents must rethink their relationship to technology and leverage it to do their job better while staying focused on the more human elements of insurance — relaying industry know-how and network connections to get customers the best value and service.

Hurricane Ida: Estimated Insured Losses Revealed

Insured losses from Hurricane Ida will likely be close to $18 billion, with $40 million in the Caribbean and the balance from wind and storm-surge damage in the US, according to catastrophe modeling firm Karen Clark & Company (KCC).

What Actions Can Employers Take if Staff Avoid Covid-19 Vaccines?

They can require vaccination and fire employees who don't comply, or take other actions such as withholding company perks or charging extra for health insurance. Employers have to offer exemptions or accommodations from vaccine requirements for some who don't get the shots for medical or religious reasons.​

Civilian Space Tourism: There's Coverage for That

To give future interplanetary travelers peace of mind as they sojourn beyond the stars, battleface Travel Insurance is launching a line for civilian space tourism. The policies will be custom-built for each individual and trip, so limits and exclusions will differ and be dependent on specific flights and customers.

U.S. Excess & Surplus Insurers Set for Strong Rebound After Poor 2020

U.S. property & casualty (P/C) insurers that specialize in the E&S market are seeing better growth and profit opportunities as premium rates rise in many segments. Growth did not bring profitability in 2020, however, as E&S materially underperformed the broader P/C industry in 2020 with a 107% direct combined ratio.

Overlapping Disasters Expose Harsh Climate Reality: The U.S. is Not Ready

Disasters cascading across the country this summer have exposed a harsh reality: The United States is not ready for the extreme weather that is now becoming frequent as a result of a warming planet.

Biden Administration Seeks Views on Climate Risks in Insurance, Financial Markets

In a season of daunting wildfires and flooding, the Biden administration is taking an initial step to assess how climate change could harm financial markets with the launch of a 75-day comment period on how the impacts could reshape the insurance sector.​

'Mission: Impossible 7' Studio Sues Chubb Over Covid-19 Claims

Paramount Pictures, the studio behind countless blockbusters, is taking Federal Insurance Co., part of Chubb Ltd., to court over the denial of insurance coverage for losses Paramount claims it suffered due to delays and other interruptions during the filming of “Mission: Impossible 7″ amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sep 16
Big ‘I’ Opposes Tax Increases Cleared by Ways and Means Committee

Legislation from U.S. House committee would raise taxes on independent agencies.​

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 15, 2021 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I") today voiced opposition to the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee's passage of legislation that would raise roughly $2 trillion of new revenue through tax increases on businesses and individuals.

 “The Big 'I' was disappointed to see House Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee vote to move forward with a number of substantial tax increases on our nation's small businesses," says Charles Symington, Big “I" senior vice president of external, industry and government affairs. “The last 18 months have been incredibly difficult for small businesses across the country, with many being forced to close permanently due to the coronavirus pandemic. As Main Street small businesses try to recover, the last thing they need to be worried about is a tax increase coming out of Washington, D.C."

The legislation includes several harmful provisions for small businesses. Important for pass-through businesses, it would raise the current top individual tax rate from 37% to 39.6% while adding an additional 3% surtax on individuals with adjusted gross income exceeding $5 million or $2.5 million for a married individual filing separately. The plan also takes aim at the 20% small business deduction by setting the maximum allowable deduction at $500,000 for joint returns, $400,000 for an individual return and $250,000 for a married individual filing a separate return.

Additionally, the proposal increases the top capital gains tax rate from 20% to 25%, effective after Sept. 13, 2021, the date House Democrats introduced the tax portions of their legislation. The legislation also replaces the flat corporate income tax with a graduated rate structure. The rate structure provides for a rate of 18% on the first $400,000 of income; 21% on income up to $5 million; and 26.5% on income thereafter. The benefit of the graduated rate phases out for corporations making more than $10 million.

“The Big 'I' is especially concerned with the combined impact that these tax increases will have on Big 'I' members and their clients," says Wyatt Stewart, Big “I" assistant vice president of federal government affairs. “The Big 'I' urges House Democrats to oppose these tax increases as the legislation makes its way to the House floor. As the economy tries to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, now is not the time to increase taxes on our nation's job creators."

Founded in 1896, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I") is the nation's oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing more than 25,000 agency locations united under the Trusted Choice® brand. Trusted Choice independent agents offer consumers all types of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products—from a variety of insurance companies. ​

Sep 13
Webinar Wednesday - Cyber Series
Join us for this series of webinars FREE for Big I NY members, presented by Walter Contreras of Motiva. You won't want to miss this opportunity to protect you, your agency, and all of your data. 

You'd be shocked by how exposed many popular cloud-based agency management systems are. Hackers are getting in; and having a well-known system doesn't mean you're safe. 

Join us to learn how you can protect your AMS data (and your cyber-liability exposure). Walter will share what to look for and tangible tips to implement. 



Phishing, Malware, Ransomware, Spoofing. You may have heard the term, but do you know how to spot them? In this session, you'll learn how to avoid the popular tricks cybercriminals are using every day on people like you. Walter will also share how to best use multifactor authentication and what to do when you can't. Great session for your ENTIRE team. This is part two of a three-part cyber series. 


Your brick-and-mortar building may have great safeguards for your systems. But what happens when your team is working from somewhere else? The number of new exposures goes through the roof. There are best practices that can minimize the chance of hackers getting your data. Walter will light the way with tangible tips for your entire team. This class made possible by the cybersecurity team at Motiva. 

Big I NY Member Benefit: Receive a free compliance assessment and PENTEST at motiva.net/bigipentest
Sep 13
On Our Mind: New Beginnings

By Jim Lombardo, CPCU, AAI, AIM, MBA, AVP of Learning & Development

Recently, I moved into a new office at work- not far, just two doors down on the same side of the building, so my view remains the same. BUT it is almost like a new beginning- new desk set up, new shelving, filing cabinets and some new wall hangings. Almost like a breath of fresh air- a good way to start September and a new semester of education.

It allowed me to look through some older classes we ran several years back (the files had about an inch of dust on them). I must admit, a nice little smile came to my face- While I have only been with Big I NY for a little over two years, it is obvious we have been serving our members’ needs- educational, licensing, research and so on for many, many years. There are a lot of dedicated people who work here that wake up each morning with one goal in mind- How can we best help our agent members?

If you haven’t talked to Tim Dodge about insurance policies or law, you are missing the chance to talk to a real insurance guru. Our phone agents are friendly, professional, fun, and extremely eager to help you out!!

Christine Neet can answer pretty much any question you ask or solve any problem you may have. Scott Hobson can tell you more about what’s happening in Albany than the local news!! Brian Bixby and his team in IAAC can give you a competitive, comprehensive, and timely quote for E&O, umbrella, or just about anything.

And what can I say about Sue? She is funny, candid and can spin a yarn better than most sailors lost at sea...and if you have an education question? She is your go-to person.

Do you have something we can help YOU with? Do you need a market? Do you need an answer to an underwriting question? Or, maybe you need continuing education? Need to get someone licensed

Give us a shout!!

In the meantime, here are some great CE offerings to check out:






Sep 10
Albany Update: HERO Act Activated, Construction Wage Theft Bill Signed, Calls Needed on Small Business Taxes,

This week, Governor Hochul announced the Department of Health has designated COVID-19 an “airborne infectious disease," triggering activation of the NY HERO Act. All businesses are immediately required to implement their airborne infectious disease prevention plans required under the HERO Act. Big I NY and a broad-based group of business associations opposed this measure, expressing concerns it will be overly burdensome and unwarranted. Learn more about your compliance requirements here

Also this week, Governor Hochul signed a bill which will hold construction contractors jointly and severally liable for wage theft violations of their subcontractors, including unpaid wages, benefits, wage supplements, penalties, liquidated damages, attorneys fees, and other costs, for up to six years after the completion of work. The bill is likely to impose significant new costs and liability on construction contractors.

Congress has now begun working on the details of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, and tax increases currently “on the table." These include: a significant increase in the corporate tax rate, raising the top individual tax rate, nearly doubling the capital gains tax rate, potential elimination of “stepped up" basis, and modification/elimination of the Section 199A 20% small business tax deduction for pass-throughs. Agency owners in New York are being asked to call the office of Representative Tom Suozzi, who sits on the Ways & Means Committee, regardless of whether he is your representative. Click here for talking points and contact information


Sep 10
CALLS NEEDED: Congress Considering Tax Increases Impacting EVERY Agency

​Congress has now begun working on the details of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that addresses issues like climate change, federal paid leave, Medicare expansion, childcare assistance, free community college and much more. To pay for such a large expansion of the federal government, Congressional Democrats are considering numerous tax changes that would impact your agency and your clients. Tax increases currently “on the table” include: a significant increase in the corporate tax rate, raising the top individual tax rate, nearly doubling the capital gains tax rate, potential elimination of “stepped up” basis, and modification/elimination of the Section 199A 20% small business tax deduction for pass-throughs.

REQUESTED ACTION:

The House Ways & Means Committee is beginning to mark up the bill TODAY and will continue into next week. Agency owners in New York are being asked to call the office of Representative Tom Suozzi, who sits on the Ways & Means Committee, regardless of whether he is your representative. Please convey the talking points below. Calls are not limited to agency owners. This issue impacts employees and family members as well. Please encourage them to place calls.

Representative Tom Suozzi
DC Office: (202) 225-3335

Talking Points

  • Please oppose tax increases on small business that the Ways & Means Committee is considering to “pay for” the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.
  • Increasing tax rates on pass-throughs and C corporations, capping or eliminating the small business tax deduction, increasing the capital gains tax and eliminating stepped-up basis would deliver a crushing blow to main street businesses, particularly when communities are recovering from the pandemic.
  • Altogether, these taxes pose a triple threat to the ability of businesses to survive by raising taxes on main street businesses when they operate, when they are sold, and when they are passed on to the next generation.


Sep 09
Industry Roundup: ​Retail And Hospitality Sectors Face Rising Terrorist Threats; Pandemic Staffing Crunch Creates Commercial Insurance Hurdles; Insured Losses for First-Half 2021 Natural Disasters Total $42B

Retail And Hospitality Sectors Face Rising Terrorist Threats

The retail and hospitality sector has been a major target for terrorist actors for several years. As the COVID-19 vaccination process progresses, more businesses will reopen fully, which means a busy retail and hospitality sector.

 

Pandemic Staffing Crunch Creates Commercial Insurance Hurdles

According to former U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner Erica Groshen, the current environment is less a labor shortage than a structural change in our economy. The pandemic has accelerated key sectors and simultaneously shifted the labor market. E-commerce and telemedicine, for example, took giant leaps forward, while other segments rapidly receded.

 

Things to Consider When Placing Coverage Through a Risk Retention Group

The US medical professional liability (MPL) marketplace is in a tough spot. With rates on the rise, many insureds are no longer willing or able to pay the increased price for their MPL insurance, so they're turning to alternative risk transfer mechanisms like self-insurance or risk retention groups (RRG).

 

Biden to Tie Vaccines for Nursing Home Staff to Medicare and Medicaid Funding

President Biden announced that he is ordering the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to require nursing homes to have vaccinated staff for them to be able to participate in Medicare and Medicaid and receive funding from the federal programs.

 

Insured Losses for First-Half 2021 Natural Disasters Total $42B

Natural catastrophes during the first six months of 2021, including a deep winter freeze, hailstorms, and wildfires, contributed to insured losses totaling $42 billion globally, says Swiss Re Institute's preliminary sigma estimates. Man-made disasters triggered approximately another $2 billion of insured losses.

 

Finance Sector Still a Prime Target For Cybercriminals

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted financial organizations to go digital, focusing on securing cloud environments and using solutions like SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), and IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service). Unfortunately, cybercriminals are taking advantage of these digital trends. ​

With Federal Legalization Expected, Cannabis Insurers Quietly Get Ready to Roll

Insurers are quietly gearing up for a potential ten-fold increase in sales to the booming $17.6 billion-a-year cannabis industry as Congress inches closer to legalizing pot at the federal level.

 

Digital Auto Insurer Root Will Add Independent Agents to Its Distribution

Digital auto insurer Root saw its loss ratio spike in the 2021 second quarter as higher costs for repairs, used vehicles and miles driven rose above pre-pandemic levels. Looking ahead, the online-focused seller announced that it plans to add independent insurance agents to its distribution team.

 

State, Federal Regulatory Enforcement a Focus as Cyber Crime Grows

As ransomware attacks are on the rise and cyber risks continue to mount, experts say there has been “a paradigm shift in cybersecurity enforcement." New York led the charge as the first state to apply GDPR-like cybersecurity regulations for its financial services industry with DFS' cyber rules – often referred to as Part 500 – implemented under a phased two-year timeline beginning in March 2017.

 

Talent Crisis Will Drive Change in Insurance

Some carriers are evolving to meet today's myriad challenges with a workforce that's shifted to online, a talent market that favors “cool" factors and startup culture, and new sources of competition.​


Sep 08
3, 2, 1 with Sue Keegan: Earn FREE CE Credits; Join MyNetwork; Activate Your HERO Act Prevention Plan

By Sue Keegan, AIC, MBA, Learning & Development Manager


3 Things

National ABEN Day is September 14th!  This is a great opportunity for you to check out ABEN and get 2 free CE while you’re at it!  We have partnered with ABEN to provide two classes for credit and one non-credit class.  Attend COVID-19 Litigation and Insurance Issues and Cybersecurity Risk and Insurance Are … and receive one free CE credit per class.  The third class, Recognize.  Respond. Survive.  Active Shooter Response Training, is not approved for CE in NY but is a class you should not miss.  This is a members only benefit!

Are you a female owner, officer, principal, partner, or senior manager?  If so, you should know about this great opportunity.  We have partnered with Big I Oklahoma to offer our members an opportunity to join other female peer leaders in a high-impact virtual setting to learn and collaborate for growth. Big I OK is proud to be the home of a nationwide network of facilitated mastermind groups called MyNetwork. Every MyNetwork mastermind session includes insightful, energizing and encouraging conversations. Groups are forming now for an October launch.  Visit www.MyNetworkINS.com to “Test Drive” a network session, watch a short recording or just learn more.  

Mark your calendar for September 15th and sign up to learn how to protect your cloud agency MS software from cybercriminals.  Walter Contreras of Motiva Networks will share what to look for and tangible tips to implement.  Free for members!

2 Ideas

Activate your HERO Act Prevention Plan NOWLearn more here.

Have a tissue handy and give this a watch.  

1 Question

What song have you had on repeat?  For me I’ve been kicking it old school with a few from my clubbing days:  Move This by Technotronic and Pump Up the Volume by M|A|R|R|S.  Let me know your song(s) via email at skeegan@biginy.org or post in our Community
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