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  Jan. 17, 2013

Moratorium extended 14 days for certain ZIP codes

The Department of Financial Services’ Order Regarding Suspension of Certain Insurance and Banking Law Provisions, which was set to expire Jan. 16, 2013, was extended for an additional 14 days for certain areas. Following the order's release, the DFS announced an updated list of ZIP codes for which the extension will be in effect.  

PIANY applauds NYS 2100 Commission insurance recommendations

PIANY applauds the preliminary report and recommendations released by the NYS 2100 Commission designed to strengthen and make more resilient the state’s infrastructure in the face of another catastrophe and improve how insurance responds to natural disasters. PIANY listened intently as Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined his plans in the State of the State this week to implement and accelerate the development of more resilient critical infrastructure systems and we look forward to working with the governor and Legislature to put these plans into place to help protect New York from future storms and natural disasters.  More…

Cuomo announces housing extension for Sandy victims

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a 14-day extension to the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, which allows eligible survivors from Sandy who cannot return to their homes to stay in participating hotels or motels. The new extension will allow applicants to remain in participating hotels until Jan. 26, 2013. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will call applicants eligible for the extension to notify them of the extended 14-day period and the checkout date of Jan. 27, 2013.   More…

Silver advances legislation to protect home, business owners

In the wake of the devastating and unprecedented damage caused by Superstorm Sandy, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-65, announced a bill (A.2287) to create the Homeowners Bill of Rights to protect hard-hit families from unscrupulous actions by insurance companies. He also announced a second bill (A.1092), sponsored by Assemblyman James Skoufis, D-99, requiring insurance companies to promptly process claims resulting from storm damage. In addition, Silver directed the Assembly Insurance Committee to conduct a series of public hearings in the near future to examine the response of insurance companies in the aftermath of the storm. PIA will be meeting with the DFS and key policymakers to discuss these and other important post-Sandy insurance issues.  

Workers' compensation legislation introduced by state lawmakers

New York state lawmakers so far have introduced 16 separate legislative proposals that deal with workers' compensation insurance. Additionally, Gov. Cuomo outlined a number of workers' compensation initiatives in his State of the State address.  More…

Study: New Yorkers with private health insurance will pay $4.8 billion in taxes this year

New Yorkers who voluntarily purchase private health insurance coverage pay approximately$4.8 billion in state health taxes. Currently, because employer-sponsored insurance remains the leading source of health insurance in America, covering about 149 million nonelderly people, the various private insurance surcharges are viewed as business taxes. Compared to other state business levies, private health coverage taxes rank as the largest business tax.   More…

Earn valuable CE credit at PIANY’s MetroRAP

Insurance professionals from throughout the New York City metro area will flock to Brooklyn, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, for PIANY’s MetroRAP. The event offers three continuing-education classes: Self-study course monitored exam: Advertising, Rebating & Referrals: Staying Compliant when Designing Your Market Plans (12 NYCE credits); Cyber Liability in 2013—The 21st Century Peril, (2 NYCE credits); and E&O—Practical Solutions for the Insurance Professional^FF^UM (3 NYCE credits). (^FF^UM—This course has been approved for E&O loss-prevention credit by Utica Mutual and Fireman’s Fund. Call the PIA E&O Department for details.) For more information, or to register, click here.  

NFIP releases resources outlined in post-flood webinar

The NFIP released a downloadable document containing slides with links to web pages, documents, and education videos from its post-flood webinar for agents.   

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   

House passes $50.5 billion in Sandy aid

The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved $50.5 billion in long-delayed federal disaster aid to victims of Superstorm Sandy. The aid package for the storm that ravaged the Northeast now moves to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it is expected to win swift passage.  More…

ISO revises Fire Suppression Rating Schedule and Public Protection Classification structure

The Insurance Services Office Inc. announced that it is revising its Fire Suppression Rating Schedule and restructuring its property rating rules to recognize a revised Public Protection Classification structure. ISO collects information on municipal fire protection efforts for more than 47,000 fire response jurisdictions throughout the U.S. Using the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule, ISO assigns a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10, with Class 1 generally representing superior property fire protection and Class 10 indicating that the area’s fire suppression program doesn’t meet minimum criteria. "ISO undertook a comprehensive effort to review the content of the FSRS with the goal to identify those portions of the current grading evaluation that warranted necessary revision," according to Robert Andrews, vice president of Community Hazard Mitigation, who is responsible for countrywide implementation of ISO’s PPC program. "During development of the new edition of the FSRS, we examined commercial property and homeowners loss experience," added Thompson. "Based on the results of that analysis, we plan to introduce new categories within the PPC structure to recognize favorable loss experience for certain communities, relative to split classifications, that reflect the reduced loss potential when compared to single-class communities." A split classification is one in which properties within a given community may vary in class based on their distance from a responding fire station or distance from a recognized water source (e.g., hydrant). ISO will begin applying the new schedule this summer, with the revised PPC structure taking effect in 2014.  

SBA loans more than $700 million to people affected by Sandy

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $720 million in disaster loans to homeowners, renters and businesses affected by Sandy. More than $560 million in disaster assistance loans for residents and businesses in New York. More … Loans still are available. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s website or visit one of the local recovery centers for one-on-one assistance.  

DOL seeks comments on employees’ experience with misclassification

The Department of Labor is soliciting comments concerning its proposal to collect information about employment experiences and workers’ knowledge of basic employment laws and rules so as to better understand employees’ experience with worker misclassification. Written comments must be submitted ( on or before Tuesday, March 12, 2013.   

Ratings news

A.M. Best Co. has withdrawn the financial strength rating of "A" (Excellent) and issuer credit rating of "a" of Fairfield Insurance Co. (Stamford, Conn.) following the merger into its affiliate company, Genesis Insurance Co., on Dec. 31, 2012. The ratings of GIC are not affected by this transaction. According to A.M. Best, "The merger is part of immediate parent-company General Reinsurance Corp.’s strategy of business simplification and to achieve increased efficiencies. Gen Re’s ultimate parent company is Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Omaha, Neb.).  More…

Ask PIA: Flood and business interruption

Q. Would a flood trigger business interruption coverage? A. Check the "causes of loss" forms (CP 10 10, CP 10 20, CP 10 30) attached to the commercial property policy, since one of these causes must occur to trigger business interruption coverage, if purchased. None of these causes include flood. 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.   

PIANY’s upcoming Webinar schedule

PIANY has a number of Webinars scheduled in the upcoming months. These Webinars allow you to learn valuable continuing-education credits without leaving your office. Plan to take part in the following programs: Understanding the NFIP, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (3 FLOOD credits). This course explains the NFIP in-depth and meets FEMA’s requirements for Section 207 of the Flood Insurance Reform Act. All insurance agents who sell Standard Flood Insurance Policies issued through the NFIP should attend. The Latest in E&O (and What Can Be Done About It), Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (3 PC). Included in this seminar will be an extensive discussion of the major E&O issues that agents face and the new plaintiffs that are bringing litigation against today’s agent. Selling Employee Benefits? The Keys to Keep It from Becoming an E&O Headache, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, from 10-11 a.m. (1 PC). For agencies involved in selling employee benefits, there are many loss-control initiatives they can undertake to minimize their E&O exposure. This course will review a number of overall issues, as well as some initiatives specific to the sales and services process.   

New and improved: CISR 5-of-9 program

The CISR designation program now includes nine course offerings. To earn the CISR designation, participants will need to pass exams for five of the nine courses. However, anyone is welcome to attend the classes without taking the exams. There is no special order in which courses must be taken. If you are more familiar with a given topic, you may want to begin with that course. The CISR program is a CE credit-approved, nationally recognized designation program that takes a practical, hands-on approach to learning. This designation is recognized nationwide as an important credential—one that benefits individuals, their agencies and their customers. Through this program, developed by the National Alliance for Insurance Education, students who are committed to CE and career growth can obtain the highest level of professional insurance education. This uniquely powerful training is designed to help you conquer the challenges of today by making customer service representatives more professional, more productive and more profitable. The CISR program is for all insurance personnel who make customer service their priority. CISR courses include: 1IC: Commercial Casualty I—CGL; AI, 2IC: Commercial Casualty II—BAP, WC, Excess; IP: Insuring Commercial Property; PR: Insuring Personal Residential Property; PA: Insuring Personal Auto Exposures; PM: Personal Lines—Miscellaneous; LHE: Life & Health Essentials; ELR: Elements of Risk Management; and AO: Agency Operations. For more information, click here or call (800) 424-4244.   

Security breaches—an agent’s responsibility

Receiving a notification that your personal information has been compromised due to a computer hacker accessing personal information you had entrusted to an insurance professional, can cause many a sleepless nights. These sleepless nights are compounded for you, the insurance professional, 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 PIANY website and type QS90559 in the Google-facilitated search box, or fax a request to PIANY’s Industry Resource Center at (888) 225-6935. This and other privacy-related issues are discussed in PIA’s Privacy Compliance Central tool kit.  

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