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Jan 25
NYSIF In-Person Submissions No Longer Accepted

​Effective February 1, 2019, the New York State Insurance Fund will no longer accept in-person submission of applications, payments, certificates, claims, etc., at any of our offices.

Nearly all policyholder matters can now be resolved online from the convenience of your home or office.

Some of your clients may rely on paying their monthly premium bills in person at a local NYSIF office. Please notify them that the fastest way to pay their premium bill is to visit nysif.com and pay it online via EFT or credit card. In-person payments at any of of NYSIF offices will no longer be accepted.

Please encourage your clients to visit nysif.com and create an online account where they can:

  • View Policy Account Information
  • Create and Print a Certificate                                                
  • Report an Injury                                                                  
  • Schedule an Audit
  • Pay Their Premium Bill                                                         
  • Find Contact Info for Their Underwriter
Jan 24
FREE Webinar on Final Pass-Through Tax Regulation

The Big "I" is hosting a FREE 30-minute webinar on Jan. 30 at 2:30 pm ET on the final regulations the new tax deduction for qualified business income under section 199A of the Tax Code. The webinar will provide a comprehensive explanation of how the new tax deduction benefits pass-through owners and shareholders, including an overview of specific sections of the over 200-page regulation relevant to insurance agencies and brokerages. The webinar will also highlight how the regulation was enacted and the role that Big “I" played in those efforts. 

Sign Up Here!​


You can also check out the related articles below: 

Big "I" Secures Break for Pass-Through Agencies

Behind the​ Scenes of the Big “I" Tax Win

Jan 21
DFS Begins Aggressive Investigation into Churning of National Security Life and Annuity Company Annuities

​Recently, the NYS Department of Financial Services informed Big I NY and other producer associations that it has begun an aggressive investigation into alleged churning of National Security Life and Annuity Company (NSLAC) life insurance and annuities products. NSLAC is the NY subsidiary of Ohio National.

 

In September of 2018, Ohio National informed broker-dealers that sell its variable annuities that it will terminate servicing agreements and cut off trail commissions by mid-December. In response, multiple advisers and broker-dealers have sued Ohio National alleging unjust enrichment and unlawful conduct.

 

The DFS advised producer groups that it has observed evidence that some producers are advising their clients to surrender or replace their policies as a result of the elimination of trail commissions on NSLAC. This constitutes churning/twisting, and is a violation of New York Law.

 

The Department is currently reviewing all surrender and replacements of NSLAC products for evidence of improper conduct by producers. They have instituted a “zero tolerance" policy, and will punish churning/twisting with heavy fines and/or license suspension.

 ​

Contact Tim Dodge or Scott Hobson with questions.

Jan 21
Big “I” Commends Final Pass-Through Tax Regulation

​The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued final regulations governing Section 199A of the tax code. A draft regulation was previously issued in August. IN VERY POSITIVE NEWS FOR Big “I" MEMBERS, The final rule confirms that owners and shareholders of insurance agencies and brokerages organized as pass-through entities are eligible for a tax deduction of up to 20% on qualified business income—regardless of taxable income level.

Under the regulation, owners and shareholders of insurance agencies and brokerages can take the 20% tax deduction on qualified business income, no matter their taxable income levels, because the IRS does not consider insurance agents and brokers to be engaged in a “specified service trade or business." Owners and shareholders of “specified service trades and businesses" cannot take advantage of the deduction if their taxable income is over a certain level.

Section 199A provides the 20% tax deduction to an owner or shareholder of a pass-through entity where the owner or shareholder's annual taxable income does not exceed $315,000 for joint filers and $157,500 for single filers in 2018. In other words, all owners or shareholders that are organized as pass-throughs under the above income thresholds can utilize the full 20% deduction.  However, an owner or shareholder of a “specified service trade or business" with annual taxable income between $315,000 - $415,000 (joint) and $157,500 - $207,500 (single) will slowly see the deduction phased out and those above $415,000 (joint) and $207,500 (single) will be prohibited from utilizing the new deduction.  Because insurance agencies and brokerages are NOT a specified service trade or business, it means that those with annual taxable income above the $315,000 (joint) and $157,500 (single) thresholds can take advantage of the deduction to the fullest extent possible. But, for all pass-throughs the total amount of the deduction for those at these upper income levels cannot exceed 50% of employee W-2 wages, or 25% of W-2 wages plus 2.5% of capital assets (e.g. tangible property purchased for the business), whichever is greater.

Of course, this did not happen by chance.  Since passage of the 2017 tax reform law the Big “I" has been aggressively advocating before Congress and the Administration that insurance agencies and brokerages should not be considered a specified service trade or business and has made this our top federal issue due to the importance to many of our members. The Big “I" met with the Administration and Congressional offices on numerous occasions, submitted multiple written comment letters to the Administration before and after the release of the initial draft regulations in early August, and most recently worked in late December/early January to have a draft Treasury worksheet on the deduction revised to make it clear that insurance agents and brokers could benefit fully from the new deduction.  We also worked closely as part of a coalition with the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers and the National Association of Realtors to achieve the best possible results for our collective memberships. 

Big “I" staff is currently reviewing the full regulation and will provide more detailed information in the near future – including articles, videos, and webinars. ​

Jan 17
ELANY Celebrates Thirty Years Serving New York in 2019
​​​New York, New York
January 16, 2019​

The Excess Line Association of New York (“ELANY") announced today the kickoff of its year-long Thirty Years Serving New York celebration. Created by an Act of the New York State legislature in 1988 and commencing operations in 1989, ELANY is a nonprofit industry advisory association charged with assisting excess line brokers comply wi​​th the laws, rules and regulations of New York State with regard to excess line insurance. ELANY plays a key role in protecting consumers, facilitating the smooth operation of the excess line market in New York, ensuring that unauthorized insurers writing excess line business in New York are financially strong, and advocating with both policymakers and regulators to continuously improve the ability of the excess line marketplace to meet the emerging needs of consumers, brokers and insurers.

“ELANY has been serving New York's excess line community with distinction for three decades, benefiting consumers as well as excess lines brokers and insurers," said ELANY Chairman Lance Becker. “We want to celebrate with the entire excess line community while looking forward to the next thirty years of leadership, service and innovation."

“Members and friends of ELANY should look for announcements throughout the year on how they can be part of what is truly a celebration of our joint success," said ELANY Executive Director Dan Maher. “We strive every day to help our members serve New Yorkers and our anniversary celebration would mean little without the people who make the New York excess line market such a vital part of the state's economy. We are gratified that New York policymakers recognized ELANY's value by recently enacting legislation, as they have done numerous times before, extending ELANY's mission for another five years."​​​
Dec 19
Rule Change: TNCs Must Provide Primary Coverage Until July 1

TNC-rule.jpg 

The New York State Department of Financial Services has officially adopted a rule change that will require transportation network companies' auto liability insurance to provide primary coverage for six more months. ​A formal notice of adoption was published in the Dec. 19 issue of the New York State Register, the publication for all rule making activities by state agencies.

As we reported on October 3, the original state insurance regulations pertaining to TNCs stated that, until Jan. 1, 2019, auto liability coverage under group policies issued to the TNC's would apply on a primary basis to losses occurring when a driver was operating as a TNC driver. The individual driver's liability coverage would apply excess over the group policy's coverage. This is the reverse of the way coverage normally applies. Ordinarily, the vehicle owner's coverage is primary and other coverage is excess.

The DFS adopted this rule in order to give New York licensed insurers to file and obtain regulatory approval for personal auto coverage forms and endorsements that would either provide or exclude coverage for individual TNC drivers.

The amended rule extends that coverage arrangement until July 1, 2019, giving insurers an extra six months to obtain approval for their filings. It also corrects an erroneous reference made in the original.

For more information on TNCs, visit the Ridesharing page in the Technical Answer Center of this website.

Nov 08
Coming Soon - Job Posting Board

​National will soon be releasing a job posting board to connect agents with qualified candidates. This web portal will house all national offerings for talent recruitment and development, as well as 51 subsites to house all offerings from every state association. The portal will be built using association management software currently being used by IIABA. This will allow easy database integration for member login, e-commerce transactions, and more. ​

Oct 25
Every Second Matters Education Campaign

QUEENS, N.Y., Oct. 25, 2018 – The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), today will bring its Every Second MattersSM education campaign to St. John's University in Queens, N.Y., to address distracted driving. More than 40,000 people died on U.S. roads in 2017 according to the National Safety Council. Policymakers, law enforcement and victims' families point to distracted driving as a contributing factor, and today's event will explore ways to curb this dangerous behavior. The event will be co-hosted by St. John's University School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science, its Gamma Iota Sigma chapter and a number of other student organizations, as well as by the National Safety Council, Road to Zero Coalition, Big I New York and Big I Tricounty.​

Oct 18
2019 Workers' Comp Assessment Rate Announced

​The New York State Workers' Compenation Board has announced that the assessment rate for next year will be 12.6% of the standard premium. This is an increase from the 12.1% rate that applies to policies effective in 2018.

State law requires the board to set the rate for each calendar year by November 1 of the previous year. The assessment, which funds the board's expenses, applies to standard premiums on Workers' Compensatin policies or the premium equivalent for employers who are self-insured.

Oct 12
Designations Earned - Congrats!

congrats_650.jpg

Big I New York congratulates those who have recently earned designations:

ACSR in Personal Lines:

Jenna Bajdas, Lawley Insurance
Jane Cinquanti, Lawley Insurance
Lori Crandall, Lawley Insurance
Matthew Crawford, Lawley Insurance
Catrina DeCoste, Lawley Insurance
Jillian Garnett, Lawley Insurance
Rose Gonnella, Brown & Brown of NY
Jody Luh, Lawley Insurance
Kathleen McDonnell, Lawley Insurance
Melissa Paone, Lawley Insurance
Amanda Serow, OVIA Insurance Agencies
David Smith, Lawley Insurance
Amy Timmerman, Lawley Insurance
Krista Voigt, Lawley Insurance
Christina Woodrow, Lawley Insurance

ACSR in Life & Health:

Ashley Banaszak, Lawley Insurance
Ashley Engl, Lawley Insurance
Lisa Epstein, Lawley Insurance
Kelsey Fortman, Lawley Insurance
Bonnie Huck, Lawley Insurance
Diane Locantore, Lawley Insurance
Hollie Marshall, Lawley Insurance
Heather Matthews, Lawley Insurance
Chelsea Mazurkiewicz, Lawley Insurance
Nancy Riefenhauser, Lawley Insurance
Carli Weber, Lawley Insurance
Lisa Wende, Lawley Insurance

CPCU:

Kelli Griswold, McNeil & Co.​


If you've earned an ACSR, AAI or AINS designation after January 2018, CONGRATULATIONS! We’d love to hear about it and include it in upcoming issues of Education News. 


Make Big I New York your first call for CE, licensing or technical questions! Visit our education calendar to browse our extensive course listing and sign up for the classes you need.​

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