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  Dec. 04, 2012

Gov. Christie requests 100 percent federal reimbursement for Sandy

Gov. Chris Christie announced that he has requested federal approval of 100 percent reimbursement for state and local government costs associated with debris removal and emergency protective measures that continue in the aftermath of Sandy. In a letter to Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate, Gov. Christie stated that the financial and economic hardships brought by the storm and its associated clean up burden have become untenable for the state and communities alike. To offer relief and ensure that these priority operations continue in hard-hit communities across New Jersey, the governor requested that FEMA exercise its broad authority to implement 100 percent federal assistance for these costs for a period of at least 90 days.   

Sandy-related costs may push people away from coast, FEMA seeks to raise awareness of cost increases

An article in The New York Times, has hypothesized that, because of Sandy, the cost of rebuilding property along the New Jersey and New York coastline and the expected increase of flood insurance premiums may cause a number of people to relocate inland. According to the article, homeowners "will face premium increases of as much as 20 percent or 25 percent per year beginning in January, under legislation enacted in July to shore up the debt-ridden National Flood Insurance Program. The yearly increases will add hundreds, even thousands, of dollars to homeowners’ annual bills." Additionally, "The higher premiums, coupled with expensive requirements for homes being rebuilt within newly mapped flood hazard zones, which will take into account the storm’s vast reach, pose a serious threat to middle-class and lower-income enclaves." FEMA recently issued a brochure, fact sheet and FAQ about what homeowners and business owners need to consider when they rebuild their property or businesses.   

FEMA rounds up the month since Sandy

Since Sandy made landfall more than a month ago, federal funds obligated to assist the residents and communities in the state have totaled more than $730 million. FEMA also has issued 235 mission assignments to support disaster response and recovery needs, totaling nearly $250 million in projected assistance. This includes federal operational support (support among federal agencies) totaling $67.8 million, technical assistance support (federal support to the state) of $11.2 million such as the expertise brought to New Jersey to support assessment of critical infrastructure throughout the state, and direct federal assistance of nearly $170 million. In the first 30 days, FEMA provided $286 million to assist individuals and families to repair damaged homes, find temporary housing and assist with expenses such as medical and dental bills. More than 46,000 New Jersey families have benefitted from that assistance so far.   More…

Storm-related Ask PIAs

PIANJ continuously compiles and updates a number of Ask PIAs relating specifically to storms. Do you have a storm-related question you need answered? Use the Ask PIA button on the PIANJ website or call the PIANJ Industry Resource Center at (800) 424-4244 or email To access our entire Ask PIA library of frequently asked questions and expert answers by PIANJ’s technical staff, click here.   

FEMA will host briefings in New Jersey for insurance agents

FEMA will host briefings to explain what insurance agents can expect when they handle questions regarding flood insurance. Topics covered will include: NFIP policy coverage and limitations; increased cost of compliance coverage; review of claim handling and appeals; the most recent FEMA memoranda related to Sandy; disaster recovery information for New Jersey victims; insurance requirements for disaster assistance (denials and SFHA grant awards); new FEMA maps for coastal communities; and a question-and-answer session. These briefings will be held on the following dates/locations: Wednesday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m.-noon, Tuckerton; Wednesday, Dec. 5, from 2-4 p.m., Freehold; Thursday, Dec. 6, from 2-4 p.m., Avalon; Friday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m.-noon, Egg Harbor Township; and Saturday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m.-noon, Sayreville. For more information, click here.   

FEMA releases private-sector E-News Update on Sandy

FEMA issued its Private Sector Division E-News Update for New Jersey. It includes information on federal and state resources available to help New Jersey businesses and employees recover from Sandy. Comments, questions, stories and suggested topics may be submitted to   

FEMA allows accelerated claim payments for essentials

FEMA issued Memorandum No. W-12108 to set forth an accelerated claim process where prompt action is necessary to preserve health and safety. This process will enable NFIP insurers to pay claims rapidly to policyholders with a Standard Flood Insurance Policy for covered damage to mechanical components of buildings that provide heat, hot water and electrical connections. An accelerated partial payment up to $25,000 may be paid for these systems, which are necessary to preserve health and safety needed for those suffering Sandy-related flood damage. Also, an additional payment up to $5,000 may be paid to permanently repair exterior windows, doors or minor wall repairs, without which heating the home would be impossible.   

Insurance complaints growing in Sandy-battered N.J.

According to an article in the Asbury Park Press, the DOBI has fielded 481 Sandy-related inquiries and complaints. Seventeen cases are formal written complaints that have been assigned to investigators. The department received 570 inquiries and complaints after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee last year.   

What you need to know about disaster-related casualties and taxes

Disasters happen every year and those who have suffered a loss need to know about the federal income tax implications, including: deductions for personal casualty losses; deductions for business casualty losses; taxable involuntary conversion gain; and principal residence involuntary conversion gains. For details, see IRS Publication 547 (Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts). Policyholders with large losses or substantial insurance payments should consider hiring a tax professional to assist them with the complicated rules associated with preparing their tax return.   

New NFIP manual edition

FEMA released the NFIP 2013 Manual Changes, which are effective Jan. 1. There are manual revisions that impact effective dates, rebating, nonprincipal/nonprimary residences, base flood elevation sources, elevation and floodproofing certificates, Preferred Risk Policy eligibility and rates, the change in national standard reference datum for elevations and policy cancellation.   

Latest news on the PPACA

During a recent panel discussion before state regulators, the director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight stated that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services "will be able to open our doors" on Oct. 1, 2013. The HHS will operate a health insurance exchange in every state that chooses to have a federally run exchange. An article from the Bloomberg news service examines what individuals may pay under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act if they purchase their own insurance plans.   

Ask PIA: Loss-run time frame

Q. I need loss-experience data on one of my commercial auto clients. How much time does a company have to provide this information? A. New Jersey law does not specify a timeframe. However, the DOBI told PIANJ (verbally) that if it took an insurer longer than 20 days to respond to a request made under this section, the department would take appropriate action to remedy the situation. For a comprehensive answer to this question, click here. To access our entire Ask PIA library of frequently asked questions and expert answers by PIANJ’s technical staff, click here.   

CIC Personal Lines Institute—Building Resilience During Economic Uncertainty

Education is an insurance professional’s greatest asset. Although you cannot predict the future of the insurance market, you can be prepared for opportunities that come your way—opportunities such as those covered in Certified Insurance Counselors Personal Lines Institutes. The families you insure depend on your professional advice about policy changes that may affect them personally. The Personal Lines Institute identifies homeowner and personal auto liability and property exposures faced by these individuals. Contractual definitions, such as "insured location" and who is an "insured" are discussed as well as, insuring agreements, exclusions and limitations and applicable endorsements used to provide or modify coverage. A discussion of coverage for rental properties, business exposures and use of borrowed or rented cars is included. Join PIA Dec. 6-8, 2012, in Jamesburg. For more information, or to register, click here or call PIA for more information at (800) 424-4244.   

Need a market? Think PIA first

PIA’s MarketBaseTM Program, with more than 2,100 risk categories offered by more than 120 different firms, offers association members the information needed to place those unusual or hard-to-place risks. From our online database to our phone-in and email options, PIA MarketBase is your source for market leads. To access PIA’s online MarketBase service, click here or email a market request to  

Seasonal consumer fliers available through PIANJ’s Industry Resource Center

With the holiday season upon us, PIA offers association members some helpful consumer fliers including the following: QS90270Are your holiday gifts covered?; QS90271It’s winter—pay special attention to fire safety; and QS90355The dangers of drunken driving. These consumer pieces not only answer some of the commonly asked questions regarding holiday gift giving, winter driving and drunken driving, but they can be copied onto your agency’s letterhead for distribution to your clients. To order yours, log on to the PIANJ website and type the appropriate QuickSource number into the Google-facilitated search box or fax a request to PIANJ’s Industry Resource Center at (888) 225-6935.   

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