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  Dec. 11, 2012

Assembly committee hearing covers insurance issues from Storm Sandy

The impact of the recent storm Sandy on insurance issues facing New Jersey residents was the subject of a public hearing Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, by the State Assembly Committee of Financial Institutions and Insurance in Trenton. Commissioner Kenneth Kobylowski of the Department of Banking and Insurance said that an estimated 452,000 claims had been filed to date on all lines of insurance. He also reported that the DOBI had received only 1,137 consumer inquiries to date, of which 262, or 2 percent, were formal requests for assistance to intervene on their behalf to speed up the claims process or intervene in a dispute with their insurer.   More…

Assembly passes resolution on employee misclassification

The state Assembly passed Assembly Resolution 79, which now has been filed with the secretary of state. The resolution asks the governor to have the state participate in joint state and federal initiative against misclassification of employees as independent contractors. The topic of employee misclassification and the definition of an independent contractor has been an issue that PIANJ continues to work toward.  

Gov. Christie vetoes New Jersey-run health insurance exchange

Last week, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would set up a state-run health insurance exchange in New Jersey. In his veto message, he stated the need for more clarification on how a state-run health insurance exchange would be run and the costs associated with it.   More…

Obama seeks $60.4 billion for Sandy repairs, N.J., and PIA respond

Last week, the Obama administration asked Congress to approve a $60.4 billion aid package (as part of a Superstorm Sandy supplemental budget request) to help East Coast states rebuild after Sandy. President Obama’s request would provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency with an additional $9.7 billion in borrowing authority to carry out the National Flood Insurance Program. Read President Obama’s letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner here. Gov. Chris Christie has estimated that New Jersey needs about $37 billion to recover from Sandy. More… Read a joint statement from Gov. Christie and New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo regarding the president’s request here. Additionally, PIA issued a press release supporting Obama’s call to raise the borrowing authority of the NFIP.  

FEMA likely to expand flood zones on N.J. coast

FEMA was planning to revise flood-elevation rules in coastal zones sometime next year, but due to the extensive damage caused by the storm it will issue stricter advisory recommendations as early as next week. The rules, expected to result in construction at much higher elevations along the New Jersey shore, will be pushed earlier than expected to make sure rebuilding from Sandy will follow stricter codes. The concern was that people would rebuild to today’s requirements and that new construction already would be obsolete sometime next year.   More…

FEMA to host more Sandy webinars on flood insurance

FEMA has added more webinar dates for insurance agents and other stakeholders regarding a number of issues arising from Sandy and the NFIP. The webinars are open to the first 100 participants per session. They will cover the following topics: the purpose and status of the NFIP; the claims process and adjustment issues; increased cost of compliance; individual assistance; the role of the SBA; and floodplain management. The additional webinars are scheduled for Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, and Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012.   

Federal legislation would allow insurers to create tax-deferred catastrophe reserves

Draft federal legislation allowing private insurers to create a tax-deferred reserve to prepare for catastrophes under a national program to be administered by the Federal Insurance Office is under review by state insurance regulators. The draft is being circulated by Washington, D.C., city officials, who sought comment from members of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Property and Casualty Insurance Committee at the NAIC’s fall meeting. The bill would specify that insurers looking to establish these tax-deferred catastrophe reserve funds must have an office domiciled in the District.   More…

NJIUA changes dwelling rates effective Jan. 15

The New Jersey Insurance Underwriting Association has announced that new dwelling fire rates are effective Jan. 15, 2013, with details provided in its Producer Bulletin. There is a 2 percent increase in dwelling fire rates and a 5.2 percent increase in extended coverage rates, but no change in vandalism rates. Consequently, the combined rate effect of 2.5 percent may vary depending on the coverage contained in the policy. In addition, the following advisory is posted on the NJIUA website— "Important: Applications for locations in Ocean County should not be sent in with payment. Please call your underwriter to discuss each risk before submitting either an online or paper application."  

DOBI approves 8.3 percent increase in WC rates approved

The commissioner of banking and insurance approved an 8.3 percent increase in manual rates and rating values applicable to New Jersey workers’ compensation and employers liability insurance effective Jan. 1, 2013, on a new and renewal basis. The rating components that resulted in the increase, as well as other revisions are detailed in the Compensation Rating And Inspection Bureau Circular Letter No. 1849. There are 574 classifications in the revised manual, including the codes to accommodate federal employments. Seven classifications carry no rate assignment. Of the remainder, 451 develop increased rates, 106 show decreases and 10 are unchanged. The commissioner also approved changes in Manual Amendment Bulletin  No. 457 and Manual Amendment Bulletin No. 458 for use with the revised manual of rates issued concurrently with Circular Letter No. 1849.   

PIA National’s new tool: Closing the Gap—Growth and Profit

Growing both the size and profitability of their personal-lines books of business is a priority for member agencies of PIA National. In response, the PIA Partnership is announcing its newest tool for current PIA members: "Closing the Gap—Growth and Profit." At the heart of this product are calculator tools that have been created for use with Microsoft Excel to help ensure ease of access and adaptability for agents. These tools are designed to help agencies project and plan for new business growth and profitability on a five-year basis. Agencies also can use these tools to calculate projected auto and homeowner premium and commission by customer type—comparing various ways in which their own retention rates, premium rates and commissions factor into agency profitability.   More…

MarketScout: November composite P/C rate up 5 percent

In November 2012, the overall composite rate for insuring commercial accounts in the U.S. was up 5 percent as compared to November 2011, according to MarketScout. By coverage classification, property, excess liability, general liability and workers’ compensation rates increased the most at plus 5 percent. By account size, all accounts less than $1 million premium were up 5 percent as compared to November 2011. Jumbo accounts of more than $1 million premium actually were down from plus 2 percent in October to plus 3 percent in November. By industry class, manufacturing had the most significant month-on-month rate increase at plus 6 percent as compared to plus 4 percent the prior month. Transportation accounts were also up 6 percent.   More…

New Employee Orientation for Agency Personnel

Give your rookies the training they need to succeed—without interrupting your daily sales and service activities. If you have a new employee on board or are planning a new hire, this course is for you. This program is designed for unlicensed employees with less than 12 months’ experience in the agency. To get the training they need new employees log on to the course via the computer each week. There’s no travel, no interruption to daily agency activity, and most importantly, no time out of the office. Through this "virtual classroom," your new hire can connect with other rookies, bounce questions off the facilitator and learn in manageable pieces in the comfort of their home or office. The suggested weekly course time is three hours. This online computer course for unlicensed/new employees is conducted by PIA’s learning partner, MERG. The next eight-week session begins Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. For more information, or to register, click here or call PIA for more information at (800) 424-4244.  

NEO Series: Personal Lines Coverage Basics

PIA’s Personal Lines Coverage Basics is part of the New Employee Orientation series that is designed for unlicensed employees with less than 12 months’ experience in the agency. Each week, employees can log on to the course via the computer to get the training they need. There’s no travel, no interruption to daily agency activity and, best of all, no time out of the office. Personal Lines Coverage Basics is designed for new employees with six to nine months’ experience. The curriculum includes: Orientation (for those who have never taken an online course); Week 1: Introduction to Property Insurance; Week 2: Introduction to Liability Insurance; Week 3: Dwelling Insurance; Week 4: Homeowners Insurance; Week 5: Personal Auto Insurance; and Week 6: Misc. Personal Insurance. The suggested weekly course time is three hours. This online computer course for unlicensed/new employees is conducted by PIA’s learning partner, MERG. The next seven-week session begins Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. For more information, or to register, click here or call PIA for more information at (800) 424-4244.   

New Jersey 2012 automobile premium comparison

The DOBI offers an automobile premium comparison survey, which gives various examples and, broken down by rating territory, what each carrier might charge for auto insurance. To order yours, log on to the PIANJ website and use the Google-facilitated search box to request document No. QS29020, or fax a request to PIANJ’s Industry Resource Center at (888) 225-6935.   

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