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Dec 06
On Our Mind: Preparing for a Cyber Breach

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

It seems like every day there is another notice about a security breach. We've all most likely heard about the biggest ones- Yahoo (3+ billion accounts affected); Marriott (383 million accounts affected) Equifax; Home Depot; Target... the list goes on and on.

However, there are so many “smaller" breaches we may not hear about- firms like Blur (a password manager with 2.4 million accounts); Town of Salem Video game;; benefit mall; Blackrock Inc.; Huddle House; Rubrik and too many others to list here- but I think you get my point.

What if something happened to your business? How many people would be affected? You have personal information about your clients- social security numbers, dates of birth, drivers license number, addresses and probably banking information if they pay by EFT. Would you be able to fully recover from the loss of reputation? loss of business? loss of referrals? Loss of income? And what about the cost of recovery? How much time, money and people will need to be involved to help you “get back to normal"? After all we are risk managers and what is more important than managing this type of risk for your business?

Now let me ask the same questions with a bit of a twist. How many of you have small to medium size businesses as clients? Are you having these conversations with them? Are you asking them to think about what would happen to their business if they sustained a security breach? More importantly, are you setting yourself up for an E+O claim for NOT having these conversations with your clients? What if they did indeed suffer a breach and were not covered because you didn't recommend this type of insurance protection?

Here are some related upcoming classes/webinars that I feel are very much worth your time.

Cyber Coverage - Data Breach and So Much More​

 An E&O Course for the Everyday Agent

 ABEN Cyber Exposures and Ins Training for Agents and Brokers

 ABEN Little This a Little That: New Threats & Possibilities​

Dec 06
Carriers Requiring You Add Them to Your Cyber Liability Policy

​By Brian Bixby, IAAC President

We've heard from many members that their carrier is now requiring the agency both carry cyber liability coverage and name them (the carrier) as an additional insured on the policy. 

Many cyber liability companies aren't allowing this, putting agencies at risk with their carrier.

We have a market that will.

Reach out to Brenda Strong or me today to secure this very inexpensive, valuable coverage or to add the carrier your existing policy.

Brenda: 315-432-4247 |
Brian: 315-432-4233  |   ​

Dec 05
Two Minutes With Tim: NY Cyber Reg - Certification of Compliance Reminders

​If you received an email from the New York State Department of Financial Services about the certification of compliance, here's what you need to know.​


Dec 02
Agency Owners: Protect Your Hard-Earned Value by Insuring These Seven Risks
Dec 02
On Our Mind: The Weird, Unusual, & Crazy

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

Over my thirty…err, many years in the insurance industry, I handled numerous claims - usually in the “fender bender" or “small house fire" category. I've had my share of larger claims where my clients suffered big financial, personal and/or professional losses and we were there to help them, as best as we could, to get their lives back together again. For that I am very proud and humbled.

The weird, unusual or just plain crazy loss notice crossing my desk sometimes made me laugh, and some made me wonder if our clients have the proper coverages for any future similar loss.

A few days ago, I heard about one of the most bizarre, strange and frankly frightening losses ever to cross my path.

Here goes… (only the names have been changed).

A couple of weekends ago, Joan's husband, Tim, was working on their family salt water aquarium.

He was attempting to remove some palythoas (a type of zoanthid coral) from the rock structure in their tank. As he was removing the palythoas, they released a toxin that went airborne, which the entire family unknowingly ingested.

A couple of hours later, after everyone was fevered, coughing and having difficulties breathing, the whole family ended up in the ER.

Her son, Doug, was admitted with a 107o temperature.  After a decontamination shower, he and sister, Kathy, were airlifted to Children's Hospital, while Tim was on the verge of intubation and was facing kidney failure.  Joan and Tim experienced the joys of a decontamination shower too, just before being admitted to the ICU at the local hospital.

The ER staff was in a bit of a panic because the County Poison Control didn't have a protocol on how to handle palytoxin poisoning. They bagged and incinerated all of the clothes and belongings that they had brought with them to the ER.

Turns out, palythoa toxin is one of the world's deadliest toxins.  Had they stayed in the house overnight, and not gone to the ER and been admitted, they all would have died.

So, after a collective 18 days in ICU and 2 helicopter rides, everyone is back to school and work. 

It was an interesting ordeal and a medical rarity, so a toxicologist and one of the doctors is going to write up the case study for the medical journals.

I told you it was bizarre, strange and frightening.  Now, while I can't promise you a class in the near future about the deadly toxins of salt water aquariums, I think we have many interesting and topical webinars and classes coming up the remainder of this year and well into 2020. This is another opportunity to gain knowledge and become even more valuable to your clients.

Here are some upcoming webinars that perhaps can help you with your insurance knowledge…

Risk, Risk Management and Insurance: Why Agents Are NOT Risk Managers​

Alphabet Soup: The Mistakes & Coverages- DO, EPLI, FLI & EBL

Homeowner's Policy Coverage Concerns for the Modern Family

Everything's Soaked and My Stuff Stinks: Water Damage Webinar

Nov 27
New Law Bars Discriminating Against Workers Based on Reproductive Health Choices


A new state law took effect three weeks ago that puts new restrictions on employers' ability to discriminate against workers because of workers' reproductive health decisions. Stephanie H. Fedorka of the law firm of Bond, Schoeneck & King has an informative blog post about it:

The law prohibits employers from accessing an employee’s personal information regarding the employee’s, or the employee’s dependent’s, reproductive health decision making without the employee’s prior informed affirmative written consent. The law prohibits employers from discriminating against or taking retaliatory action against an employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of or on the basis of the employee’s, or his/her dependent’s, reproductive health decision making. An employer also may not require an employee to sign a waiver or other document that attempts to deny the employee the right to make their own reproductive health decisions.

The law gives employees the right to file a claim in court against an employer alleged to have violated the prohibition on discrimination based on reproductive health decision making. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who exercise their right to: (1) make or threaten to make a complaint to an employer, a co-worker, or to a public body, that the employer violated the law; (2) causing to be instituted any proceeding under the law; or (3) providing information to or testifying before any public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry into any alleged violation of the law. Prohibited retaliatory actions include discharging, suspending, demoting, or otherwise penalizing an employee for engaging in these protected actions.

The new law also requires employers that provide an employee handbook to their employees to include in the employee handbook a notice of employee rights and remedies under New York Labor Law Section 203-e. So, employers that have employee handbooks should promptly revise their handbooks to comply with this new requirement.

The law took effect immediately when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed it on November 8. It does not appear that the New York State Department of Labor has published a sample provision for employee handbooks pertaining to the new law. Insurance agencies and brokerages that have employee handbooks should work with a qualified human resources consultant such as Affinity HR Group to develop a notice that complies with the law's requirements.

Nov 27
Child Victims Act Claims - What if the Insurer No Longer Exists?

​​​cva-link.jpgClick the image to view a short slideshow

Nov 25
Victory: Governor Signs "Storm Chasers" Consumer Protection Bill

​​Tod​ay, Governor Cuomo signed legislation (S.1405/A.7531) aimed at protecting homeowners from "storm chasers," unscrupulous roofers who exploit​ homeowners in need of home repair services after a major storm, performing sub-standard work that must be redone, or no work at all​.

Big I NY and partners in the insurance industry undertook a multi-year campaign to pass this legislation to protect our customers. Big I NY member agents sent emails to lawmakers and the governor urging passage of this important bill. 

The legislation, which takes effect 180 days from today, establishes a number of protections, including:

  • ​Establishing specific requirements and responsibilities of roofing contractors
  • Requiring a roofing contractor to enter into a written contract with a homeowner prior to engaging in any repair services
  • Prohibit roofing contractors from advertising or promising to pay or rebate any part of a deductible
  • Granting the customer the right to cancel a contract within 3 days after receiving notice their insurer has denied all or part of their claim
  • Holds that a homeowner in not responsible for payments after the contract has been canceled, except work done before cancellation and for emergency repairs
  • Prohibits a roofing contractor from requiring a deposit in excess of 50% of the total contract amount
  • Prohibits a contractor from abandoning or failing to perform work without justification, or deviating materially from plans or specifications
  • Stipulates that a roofing contractor shall not fail to pay for materials or services rendered when the contractor has received sufficient funds as payment for the contract applicable to those materials and services.
  • Bars a roofing contractor from performing any reporting, adjusting, or negotiation of a claim for the homeowner or receiving compensation for referral to an entity that performs such services
  • Implements minimum general liability insurance requirements for roofing contractors ​of at least $100,000/$300,000 bodily injury and $50,000 property damage, and workers comp coverage or proof of exemption.​

We thank the bill sponsors, Senator Carlucci (D, Rockland-Westchester) and Assemblywoman Buttenschon (D, Utica), and Governor Cuomo for their support of this important issue.

Nov 22
Big I NY Agents Call on Governor Cuomo to Sign Regulatory Relief Bills

​This week,  Big I NY launched an email campaign​ calling on agents to tell Governor Cuomo to sign two key regulatory relief bills. 

  • A.7540-B/S.5815-C would provide a cure period for small businesses to correct the first-time violation, rather than be required to pay a substantial fine, while also continuing to protect the public. First-time violations would not be forgiven for regulatory offenses that harm public safety, health, or the environment, violate human or civil rights laws, violate penal law, or result in loss of employee wages or benefits. 
  • A.842/S.5812​ would require state agencies to consider how proposed rules would affect small businesses, including the minimum time needed to comply with any new regulations. State agencies would need to consider the practical, financial, and legal constraints for small businesses, and describe how they intend to communicate the new requirements.
The bills will help improve the state's small business climate, and are expected to be sent to the Governor for action in the coming weeks. He will then have ten days to sign or veto the bills.

Nov 20
Lacewell Announces My Chi To as Executive Deputy Superintendent of DFS Insurance Division

​​​Superintendent of Financial Services Linda Lacewell has announced the appointment of My Chi To as Executive Deputy Superintendent of the Insurance Division at the Department of Financial Services. She replaces Laura Evangelista, who served in that role since June 2018. 

My Chi is a partner in Debevoise & Plimpton’s restructuring group and global insurance practice. She represents clients across the insurance industry, including insurers, reinsurers, pension funds, private equity firms and other capital providers, in a wide range of transactions and restructuring matters. This includes state insurance rehabilitations and liquidations, insurance holding company bankruptcies, reinsurance transactions, reserve and other financings, pension risk transfers, and other complex transactions and restructurings involving insurance businesses.​

We look forward to working with Executive Deputy Superintendent To to strengthen the independent agency system, protect consumers, and strengthen the state's insurance market.

​Read the DFS press release here​

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