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  Jan. 10, 2013

PIANY’s MetroRAP to honor insurance professionals

Insurance professionals from throughout the New York City metro area will flock to Brooklyn, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, for PIANY’s MetroRAP. Don’t miss the opportunity to congratulate this year’s award winners at lunch: the Executive of the Year award will be given to Jim Romanelli, zone officer senior vice president northeastern zone, CNA Insurance Co.; Steve Sternberg, senior vice president of business development, BankDirect Capital Finance, will be given the Industry Professional of the Year award; and Harvey A. Leff, former president, Brooks of New York, will be honored with a Presidential Citation. The Bernard I. Kozel and Arthur I. Moll Memorial scholarships also will be awarded. For more information, or to register, click here.  

Cuomo’s State of the State focuses on unemployment insurance, WC, group trust reform

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his annual State of the State message to start his third year in office this week, with an emphasis on rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy, and push for both a state minimum wage hike and gun control at the top of his agenda. With respect to insurance, the governor is proposing to reform the state’s unemployment insurance system to repay the federal debt two years earlier, provide workers’ compensation relief to businesses, resolve employer group self-insurance trust liability and reduce costs for stakeholders by closing unnecessary funds, including the fund for reopened cases.   More…

Silver appoints Morelle majority leader

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver appointed Assemblyman Joseph M. Morelle, D-136, to serve as majority leader. A consistent supporter and friend to professional, independent insurance agents, Morelle was first elected to the Assembly in 1990 and has authored more than 200 laws. Morelle is the sponsor of PIANY’s certificate of insurance bill and important labor law reform proposals. He currently serves as chair of the Insurance Committee and previously chaired the Assembly's standing committees on Tourism, Small Business, and Ethics. He currently holds positions on the Ways and Means, Rules, Economic Development, and Higher Education committees.   More…

Lawmakers seek to limit hurricane deductibles

Two New York lawmakers have called for a dollar limit on hurricane deductibles and a standard restriction on when insurance companies can apply these higher deductibles. New York Sen. Kenneth LaValle, R-1, and state Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr., I-1, introduced a bill (S.1760/A.1222) that would block insurers from charging more than $1,500 in hurricane deductibles, which for now range from 1 to 5 percent of an insured property's value. PIANY has supported legislation to standardize coastal homeowners insurance hurricane deductible triggers, reminding lawmakers that when (not if) a severe hurricane hits New York’s coastal areas, it will reveal inconsistencies that will cause a public outcry due to inconsistent hurricane deductible triggers.   More…

Scaffold Law Reform Day in Albany on Feb. 12

PIANY invites its members and all interested parties to join insurance agents and carriers, farmers, construction and small business groups on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, at the Capitol in Albany to talk Scaffold Law reform with lawmakers from across the state. The day is being organized by the Lawsuit Reform Alliance, of which PIANY is a member and supporter. The effort will be focused toward state Senate action on S.111 to reform New York's Scaffold Law and S.6816/A.2835 would hold workers liable for their fair share of fault when they act negligently; refuse to use safety devices or are impaired by drugs or alcohol. New York's Scaffold Law holds property owners and the contractors they hire automatically liable for all workplace injuries, even if the worker was grossly negligent or intoxicated. PIANY has long fought for this reform. Attendees may register for the event here. Interested parties may send letters of support here.   

Wage Theft Prevention Act annual notices must be issued to employees by Feb. 1

Employers with employees in New York are required to issue annual notices under the Wage Theft Prevention Act to all New York employees between Jan. 1 and Feb. 1, 2013. The annual notice must contain the following information: the employee's rate or rates of pay (for nonexempt employees, this must include both the regular rate and overtime rate); the employee's basis of pay (e.g., hourly, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission or other); allowances, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage (e.g., tips, meals, lodging); the regular pay day; and the name (including any "doing business as" name), address and telephone number of the employer.   More…

ELANY provides compliance assistance

The Excess Line Association of New York reminds producers in Bulletin No. 2013-04 to take advantage of its Compliance Advisor. This document provides a review of compliance fundamentals so brokers have a guide to avoid infractions that can result in fines or other disciplinary actions.   

President signs bill to pay Sandy flood insurance claims

On Sunday, President Barack Obama signed a $9.7 billion extension to the National Flood Insurance Program. The extension will provide a short-term increase in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s borrowing authority for the flood insurance program. The House and Senate passed the bill last week. The action was applauded by PIA National. On Jan. 15, the House will vote on a second Sandy-related bill, which could provide an additional $51 billion in storm-recovery aid. Munich Re AG recently released a report that stated that last year natural catastrophes caused $160 billion in overall losses and $65 billion in insured losses worldwide. The year’s highest insured loss was caused by Sandy, with an estimated amount of $25 billion.  

NFIP offering post-flood webinar Jan. 16

The NFIP is offering a post-flood webinar Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 10 a.m., focusing on the information agents need in the early stages of loss reporting and claims handling, including: common post flood coverage issues; the claims process; the appeals process; the increased cost of compliance and how to apply; the role of the SBA; the impact of Biggert-Waters 2012; and available resources. The course is free, but space is limited. No continuing-education credits are offered for this course in any state. To register, click here.   

PIA flier explains flood insurance premium increases to policyholders

PIA created a consumer-oriented flier that answers the question on many flood insurance policyholders’ minds, "Why is my flood insurance premium increasing?" The flier explains recent rates hikes in the NFIP and provides other valuable information about floods and flood insurance. This flier is available on PIANY’s Storm Info Central.  

Professional, independent agents demonstrate extraordinary service in the wake of Sandy

Not surprisingly, PIA members continue to extend extraordinary service to help their clients after Sandy, and we’d like to share that. Do you have customers who can report how they benefited from working with a professional, independent agency? Have you worked with any carriers that have shown exemplary customer service? Please share your photos and stories with your PIA Communication Department by emailing them to   

FDIC announces expiration of temporary unlimited coverage for noninterest-bearing transaction accounts

Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, noninterest-bearing transaction accounts no longer will be insured separately from depositors’ other accounts at the same insured depository institutions. Instead, noninterest-bearing transaction accounts will be added to any of a depositor’s other accounts in the applicable ownership category, and the aggregate balance insured up to at least the Standard Maximum Deposit Insurance Amount of $250,000, per depositor, at each separately chartered IDI. The FDIC no longer will provide separate, unlimited deposit insurance coverage for NIBTAs at insured depository institutions. Section 343 of the Dodd-Frank Act provided separate, unlimited FDIC coverage for NIBTA depositors through Dec. 31, 2012. Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, the FDIC will insure NIBTAs in accordance with 12 C.F.R. Part 330, which generally provides each depositor up to $250,000 in coverage at each separately chartered IDI. IDIs have been encouraged to take reasonable steps to provide adequate advance notice to NIBTA depositors of the changes in FDIC insurance coverage so that they may consider the impact of any change in coverage in their management of these transaction accounts. More…, More… and More…   

Department of the Treasury/IRS release proposed rulemaking on the PPACA’s employer requirements

On Dec. 28, 2012, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS released a notice of proposed rulemaking on the Affordable Care Act’s employer requirements under Internal Revenue Code Section 4980H, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2014. The proposed regulations are intended to provide a comprehensive set of rules upon which employers can rely as they work to comply with the law and mitigate tax liabilities. The proposed regulations may be relied upon and will remain in effect until final regulations are issued. The notice of proposed rulemaking is scheduled for publication in the Jan. 2, 2013, Federal Register, and comments are due by Monday, March 18, 2013. In addition, the IRS announced a public hearing on the notice of proposed rulemaking for Tuesday, April 23, 2013.   More…

NAIC releases report on profitability by line, by state in 2011

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners released the Report on Profitability by Line by State in 2011. The report estimates and allocates profitability in property/casualty insurance by state and by line of insurance. The ability to analyze results in this way enhances transparency on the financial impact that the economic climate has had on each of these lines.   

PIANY participating on panel for Downstate Legislative Forum

The 2013 Downstate Legislative Forum will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. Hear our experts discuss the latest topics and legislative strategies that will affect you and your business this year. Forum moderator Stephen Acunto, editor and publisher of the Insurance Advocate will lead a panel including: Tom Faist, Esq., CIBGNY lobbyist; Matthew Guilbault, Esq., PIANY director of Government and Industry Affairs; and Jill Muratori, IIABNY lobbyist. The forum will be held at Chateau Briand, 440 Old Country Road, Carle Place. For more information, or to register, click here.  

E&O assistance available through PIA Industry Resource Center

PIANY offers access to an industry expert to assist with your errors-and-omissions questions. These issues are of utmost importance to your day-to-day agency operation—don’t let these important questions keep you up at night. Let PIA’s E&O Consultant Robert Sullivan, Esq., who has expertise in the defense of insurance agents and brokers in professional liability and complex insurance litigation, help you. To pose a question, email or fax your inquiry to the PIA Industry Resource Center at (888) 225-6935. PIA also offers several E&O-related courses, many of which offer a discount on your E&O coverage. View the 2013 schedule here.  

Let PIA’s E&O programs serve you

PIA offers a selection of quality E&O insurance coverages for producers. Don’t delay, click here to obtain a quote, or contact PIA’s Member Services Department at (800) 424-4244. Remember—Think PIA first for all your E&O needs.   

PIANY Webinar: Real Life Claims Examples to focus on Sandy-related issues

Join PIANY on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, for the three-hour Webinar Real Life Claims Examples that will discuss both personal- and commercial-lines claim examples and their coverage outcomes. In the aftermath of Sandy, this Webinar will help with the prevention of E&O claims through a better understanding of policy coverages and shortcomings. Coverage topics will include, but not be limited to: business income (including utility services and civil authority); the NFIP and excess flood insurance; 2011 homeowner changes; a review of client contracts; claim-reporting responsibilities; blanket additional insured endorsements; insurance to value, including ordinance and law coverage; defense of indemnities; damage to premises rented and legal liability coverage; and other scenarios to identify areas of weakness and coverage gaps in your clients’ insurance program. For more information, or to register, click here.  

Build and strengthen your agency-carrier relationships

Given the competition of direct writers, and the changing market cycles in the insurance industry, both carriers and agencies need to understand each other’s goals and future plans. Visits by company field representatives should allow you to talk about where you see your agency going and how your relationship with this carrier can get you there. On the other side, the field representative has the opportunity to let you know what changes the carrier is facing and share what it has planned for the coming year. Industry consultant Doug Brown, through PIA QuickSource document No. QS90547, offers views from three company representatives on how these relationships can be a win-win experience for both parties. Another guide that can assist in making these meetings more productive is AUGIE’s Productive Agency Visits for Insurance Carriers booklet (QS90496). To access either of these documents, log on to the PIANY website and type the appropriate QuickSource number in the Google-facilitated search box, or fax a request to PIA’s Industry Resource Center at (888) 225-6935. Also, be sure to bookmark PIA’s Market Transition Tool Kit for the latest market trends, sample customer communications, policyholder protections and more.  

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