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  Dec. 06, 2012

PIANY identifies legislative goals for 2013

Each year, PIANY surveys its members to identify where our considerable resources should be allocated in the legislative and regulatory arena. PIANY board and Advisory Council members overwhelmingly voted certificates of insurance, labor law and standardizing hurricane deductible triggers as priorities for the upcoming 2013 legislative session. For more discussion of these issues, see tomorrow’s edition of the PIANY Reporter.  

Supplementary uninsured/underinsured motorist legislation sent to governor

Legislation (A.10784/S.7787) resulting from the well-known and highly publicized case of Fisher v. Progressive, which spawned the new focus on SUM coverage and the proposed statutory amendment to Section 3420(f)(2) of New York Insurance Law, finally has been delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo after being passed by both houses of the Legislature back in June. Gov. Cuomo has until Dec. 17 to act on the proposal. There has been talk of a chapter amendment to remove the automatic link of SUM and BIL coverage amounts, so the outcome of the proposal remains uncertain. PIANY has been in contact with the sponsor with regard to any additional obligations on the part of agents and brokers, and supported the original SUM bill as introduced. As currently drafted, the bill would change the required amount of supplementary uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage from a maximum amount that is the same as bodily injury to a minimum amount that is the same as bodily injury. In addition, this bill would automatically require the purchase of SUM coverage but also give the insured the option decline SUM coverage or to purchase lower amounts than the statutory minimum. The insurer or agent would be required to disclose to the insured what SUM coverage is and how much the insured may purchase. Members wishing to express their opinions about this bill may contact the governor's office by phone (518) 474-8390 or by email.   More…

License fees waived for disaster victims

Due to the historic flooding caused by Sandy, Gov. Cuomo issued Executive Order 69 on Nov. 9, 2012, temporarily suspending certain fees charged by the Department of State for replacement documents for victims of the disaster. Until further notice, the fees charged by the Department of State’s Division of Licensing Services for issuing duplicate license certificates and pocket and identification cards are suspended. Also suspended are the fees charged by the Division of Corporations, State Records and Uniform Commercial Code for copies of any document or record on file with the division.  More…

Cuomo announces expedited claims process, online report card for insurers

After meeting with top insurance company executives this week, Gov. Cuomo announced a series of measures to expedite the payment of claims for New Yorkers affected by Sandy and launched a new online report card system,, to hold insurance companies accountable.   More…

Trial lawyers irresponsibly claim agent errors for lack of coverage

Over the course of the last few days, policyholders in storm-affected areas have been deluged by ads from the law firm of Jacoby and Meyers claiming that "if your business lost business during the storm, your insurance policy should cover it. If it doesn’t, your agent made an error." This type of incendiary advertising does nothing but exacerbate the already unfortunate situation policyholders find themselves dealing with. Moreover, this firm, by promising victims something that they cannot legally deliver, are preying upon the most vulnerable at a time when they seek only honesty and answers. PIANY is calling for the immediate retraction of this advertisement and a public apology from the firm. Moreover, PIANY extends an offer for the lawyers at this firm and firms like it to take advantage of the multiple resources we have developed concerning flood and business interruption coverages so that these attorneys will be better educated and prepared to represent their clients in a more ethical fashion going forward.  

Revised excess loss pure premium factors effective Jan. 1, 2013

The Department of Financial Services approved revised tables of excess loss pure premium factors to be effective Jan. 1, 2013, for new and renewal business. These revisions also apply to policies under three-year plans and long-term construction projects as of the first normal anniversary date on or after Jan. 1, 2013. An explanatory memorandum describing the revision, as well as revised Table E, pages 1 and 2 of the New York Retrospective Rating Plan Manual, containing the approved rating factors, are available here.  

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 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." The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently issued a brochure, fact sheet, FAQ and bulletin W-12109 about what homeowners and business owners need to consider when they rebuild their homes or businesses.   

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.  

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 National Flood Insurance Program. 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 disaster assistance includes right to appeal decision

Not every New York resident who registered for federal disaster assistance following Sandy will qualify for aid. But an appeal process can ensure those affected by the storm will receive all aid to which they are legally eligible. An applicant has 60 days from the day a determination letter arrives to appeal the FEMA decision. To file an appeal, write a letter explaining why the decision about the amount or type of assistance received is not correct. The letter should include any documents supporting the applicant’s claim. For more information, click here.  

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.   

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…

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: Encryption of insurance information

Q. Do I need to encrypt emails when I transmit claim and loss information to my carrier that contains the names of the individual(s) involved in the claim along with a claim number? A. There is no law that requires you to encrypt email—however, the laws have the effect of strongly encouraging such behavior when transmitting Personal Health Information and Personal Nonpublic Financial Information by requiring businesses to undertake what could be costly and time-consuming efforts to notify affected parties, and the relevant state agencies and law enforcement in the event of a breach. For a comprehensive answer to this question, click here. To access our entire Ask PIA library of frequently asked questions and expert answers by PIANY’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 a market request to  

Webinar: E&O Hotspots 2012 and Beyond

There are many areas that pose a significant risk to agencies as they transact business that, if not handled correctly, can cause an E&O claim. The E&O Hotspots 2012 and Beyond^FF ^UM Webinar will discuss hotspots that agencies need to be on the lookout for. No tests need to be taken for webinar classes. Earn NYCE Credit 3 BR, C3, LB, C1, LSB, LA, PC, PA (NYCR-235711). Join PIA Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information, or to register, click here or call PIA for more information at (800) 424-4244. (^FF^UM—Denotes this course has been approved for E&O loss-prevention credit by Fireman’s Fund and Utica Mutual, respectively.) Call the PIA E&O Department for details at (800) 424-4244.  

Webinar: Real-Life Claims Examples

Instructor Steven D. Lyon, CPCU, CIC, CRM, AAI, ARM, AIS, CRIS, RM, will lead the Real-Life Claims Examples Webinar where he will use real-life claims examples to offer agents strategies when it comes to their own experiences. Topics will include: a client signing a blank application; Jeep removable hardtop roof claim; NFIP limits of coverage; and more. No tests need to be taken for webinar classes. Participants will earn NYCE credit: 3 BR, C3, PC, PA, (NYCR-237209). Join PIA Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2012, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information, or to register, click here or call PIA for more information at (800) 424-4244.  

Seasonal consumer fliers available through PIANY’s Industry Resource Center

With the holiday season upon us, PIANY offers association members some helpful consumer fliers including the following: Are your holiday gifts covered?; It’s winter—pay special attention to fire safety; and The dangers of drunken driving. These consumer pieces answer some of the commonly asked questions regarding holiday gift giving, winter driving and drunken driving, and they can be copied onto your agency’s letterhead for distribution to your clients. To order yours, log on to PIANY’s Agency Marketing Tool Kit and click on "Consumer fliers," or fax a request to PIANY’s Industry Resource Center at (888) 225-6935.  Tweetable versions on these fliers are available in the "Social media posts" section of the tool kit.   

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