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  Jan. 29, 2013

PIANJ-supported bill introduced in state Assembly to clarify contents of certificates of insurance

Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer, D-36, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance, has introduced the model bill regulating certificates of insurance that was unanimously adopted recently by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators. PIA National was instrumental at NCOIL meetings in winning approval of the model. PIANJ has been seeking Schaer’s support and presented this model legislation to him. The bill, A-3731, would ban changes to certificate forms and would assert that certificates are not insurance policies and don’t provide different or extra coverage than the policy does. There have been pressures on agents from noninsurance entity-related third parties to issue certificates of insurance that conflict with underlying policy terms. The bill will be referred to the Assembly Committee chaired by Schaer for consideration at a meeting in the near future.   

Bill to clarify regulatory authority over flood insurance introduced in Senate

On Jan. 28, 2013, S-2505 was introduced to the New Jersey state Senate, by Sen. Jennifer Beck, R-11. The bill is intended to clarify that although the National Flood Insurance Program is a federal program, companies administering it under the Write-Your-Own Program are licensed by and subject to regulation by the Department of Banking and Insurance, and that repeated violations of the state’s laws prohibiting unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive acts or practices prohibit a company’s failures to, in good faith, effectuate the prompt, fair and equitable settlements of claims of insurance.   

One-page summary of policy bill passes in Assembly

PIANJ previously reported on bill A-3642, which would require homeowners policies to contain a one-page summary of the policy, including notable coverages and exclusions under the policy. The bill was passed in the Assembly on Monday. Current law requires the policy to include an explanation of the policy’s hurricane deductible as well as NFIP information. Under this bill, the commissioner of the DOBI has the power to determine the coverage and exclusion information to be included. The bill’s companion legislation S-2502 now moves to the Senate.   

Senate passes Sandy-aid bill; president expected to sign

Last night, the U.S. Senate passed a $50.5 billion aid package to help those affected by Superstorm Sandy. The bill now heads to President Barack Obama, who has said that he would sign the bill. More…  

Governor outlines plan to help N.J. rebuild after Sandy

Recently, Gov. Chris Christie outlined his plan to help New Jersey rebuild faster and stronger and be more resilient following Superstorm Sandy. The plan makes note of the fact that the governor signed emergency regulations to adopt the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s updated Advisory Base Flood Elevation maps as the uniform rebuilding standard for the entire state; outlines guidelines for rebuilding properties; and more. A number of articles have run recently regarding the cost of rebuilding, see here.   

Sandy assistance reaches nearly $800 million in N.J.

While New Jersey residents affected by Sandy have until March 1, 2013, to register with FEMA for disaster assistance, more than $780 million in disaster assistance has been approved to speed recovery. FEMA has approved more than $300 million in housing assistance for more than 52,000 people. Housing assistance includes temporary rental assistance and grants to repair and replace storm-damaged primary residences. More than $42 million has been approved to help survivors replace hurricane-damaged personal property and to help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs. More …   

Kudos to our industry’s post-Sandy efforts

Agents and carriers alike have been working around the clock since Storm Sandy hit, assisting policyholders and settling claims. Given the magnitude and volume of the losses our industry is dealing with, our members face the frustrations of their clients, who want their claims settled yesterday—and for the largest possible amount. Read an account of Plymouth Rock here. 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 And, watch your March edition of PIA magazine, which will future agency stories.   

New Jersey exchange notices delayed

The March 1, 2013, deadline for employers to inform employees of the state-based exchange has been delayed to late summer or fall of 2013. More…   

Ask PIA: Concurrent causation claims from a storm

Q. I don’t understand the impact of the anti-concurrent causation exclusion in the ISO homeowners policy. Does this mean wind damage is not covered if there is flood damage concurrently? A. There are some complex legal and coverage issues that surround the concept of concurrent causation. The language in the ISO homeowners policy makes it clear that if a windstorm or hurricane contributes to flooding, there still is no coverage for flood damage. However, this language does not preclude coverage for damage caused by wind at the same time a flood occurs. For a comprehensive answer to this question, click here. To access our entire Ask PIA library of frequently asked questions and expert answers by PIA’s technical staff, click here.   

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 MarketBaseTM is your source for market leads. To access PIA’s online MarketBaseTM service, click here, or email the PIANJ Industry Resource Center with a market request.   

14th annual March CE Madness 2013, March 20-21

Don’t miss out on this year’s March CE Madness, March 20-21, 2013, at the Sheraton, Edison Hotel Raritan Center, Edison, N.J. This year take advantage of March Madness and learn more with the following concurrent sessions. Classes on March 20 include: 50 Months of Recession and its Effect on Your Clients’ Insurance Needs (NJCE: 4 GEN); Don’t Get Burnt—25 Potential E&O Issues^FF^UM (NJCE: 4 GEN); Personal Lines Customer Service, the Renewal Process and Customer Service Centers (NJCE: 3 GEN); The Businessowners Policy, ISO Style (NJCE: 3 GEN); Ethics: The Choices You Make (Earn NJCE: 3 ETH) Classes on March 20 include: Nasty Stuff You Don’t Want on Your Policy, If Possible (NJCE: 4 GEN); Good Stuff—Endorsements You Want On Your Policy, If Possible (NJCE: 3 GEN). Package registration discounts are available. Sponsored by: Platinum: Harleysville; Gold: FMI. For more information, or to register, click here or call PIA for more information at (800) 424-4244.   

Upcoming Webinars to focus on storm preparedness

Lessons Learned from a Superstorm, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (NJCE: 3 GEN). This course will explore some of the myths that led to the conditions that left many unprepared for a storm of Sandy’s magnitude; review some of the statistics that paint a picture of the death and destruction caused by this superstorm; detail coverage, limitations and exclusions contained in property and flood insurance policies; itemize insurance realities that will continue to challenge the population and the industry as a result of the storm’s damaging results; and suggest community discussion topics with regard to rebuilding standards and flood plain management regulations. Avoiding E&O in Writing Flood Insurance^FF^UM, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (NJCE: TBA). This course will review the NFIP rules and procedures of concern to agents and policyholders; explore common causes of E&O claims against agents for failure to advise the insured of unique definitions, limited scope of coverage as well as alternative coverages; and enumerate practices to prevent E&O situations at the agency level. Real-life claim scenarios will be reviewed. ^FF^UM—This course has been approved for E&O loss-prevention credit for Fireman’s Fund and Utica Mutual. Disaster Planning: Preparation for the Next Disaster, Tuesday, March 19, 2013. (NJCE: TBA). This course will focus on ways you and your agency can be better prepared for any future disasters—natural or man-made. This program will help you to develop a plan to mitigate damage to your home, your agency and your community; and ensure that your agency is able to operate effectively without power, phone service, Internet connection or even access to your agency building. PIA’s Disaster Planning Manual and other resources will be reviewed. For more information, or to register, click here.   

Security breaches—an agent’s responsibility

A notification that your clients’ personal information has been compromised because of a computer hacker can cause many sleepless nights. These sleepless nights can be compounded for insurance professionals who may face litigation and possible prosecution for failing to take proper precautions to keep this personal information secure. To learn more about your responsibilities, log on to the PIANJ website and type QS90559 in the Google-facilitated search box, or fax a request to PIANJ’s Industry Resource Center at (888) 225-6935. This and other privacy-related issues are discussed in PIA’s Privacy Compliance Central.   

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