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  April 02, 2013

Last chance to give your input—PIA’s 60-second Market Trends Survey is closing!

The survey is closing and your input is important! Take a moment now to take PIA’s Market Trends Survey, which includes less than 10 quick online questions that will give PIA your valuable input on how the current market trends are affecting you and your clients. Take the survey here.   

Call for nominations: 2013 Distinction of Professionalism Awards

PIANJ will present its 2013 Distinction of Professionalism Awards during the PIANJ/PIANY Joint Annual Conference June 9-11, 2013, at the Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City. Do you know someone who deserves a nomination for Professional Agent of the Year; Distinguished Insurance Service; Company Person of the Year; or the Community Service Award? For a nomination form, click here or to request a fax-back version of the nomination form, call (800) 424-4244. Submissions must be received by Friday, April 19, 2013. For more information about the conference, click here.   

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New law establishes monitors for Sandy recovery projects

Gov. Chris Christie signed a new law to establish a network of state monitors to oversee recovery and rebuilding efforts in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. The state monitors will review the procurement process for state contracts using federal reconstruction money, submit regular reports on these contracts and post the information about public expenditures of recovery funds on a public website. More…   

DOBI establishes Storm Sandy Mediation Program

The Department of Banking and Insurance established a Storm Sandy Mediation Program to mediate open and unresolved first-party insurance claims under homeowners, automobile and commercial insurance policies for losses arising from Sandy. More…   

Deadline to apply for FEMA aid extended to May 1

The Christie administration announced that New Jersey residents impacted by Sandy now have until May 1, 2013, to register for individual disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The deadline extension applies for homeowner, renter and business registration with the Small Business Administration for Disaster Loan Assistance. More…   

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U.S. announces $1.4B in Sandy transit aid to N.J., N.Y.

The federal government is announcing $1.4 billion in aid to transit agencies affected by Sandy. Most of the aid announced Friday by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is going to four agencies in New Jersey and New York. They are the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, PATH, New Jersey Transit and the New York City Department of Transportation. More…   

Report highlights the need to modernize flood insurance

The National Flood Insurance Program is archaic, according to a new report from the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences. The report suggests that the NFIP is in dire need of modernization and could benefit from better risk management practices in the future. More…   

New ACORD certificate editions

In the latest ACORD forms update, the following countrywide forms are revised: 25 (2013/04) Certificate of Liability Insurance; 28 (2013/04) Evidence of Commercial Property Insurance; 30 (2013/04) Certificate of Garage Insurance; and 31 (2013/04) Certificate of Marine/Energy Insurance. These and other ACORD forms are now directly available under the ACORD Advantage Program. If you already are registered for the ACORD website, enter your username and password here.   

Latest NFIP bulletins

In Bulletin W-13017, FEMA announced that effective Oct. 1, 2013, the NFIP no longer will allow an exception to the 30-day waiting period for lender-required flood insurance policies. Specifically, this rule applies to policies that are required as a result of a lender determining that a loan on a building in a Special Flood Hazard Area that does not have flood insurance coverage should be protected by flood insurance. The only allowable exceptions to the 30-day waiting period are summarized in the bulletin. In Bulletin W-13016, FEMA provides notification of broad-based changes that the NFIP will implement effective Oct. 1, 2013, which primarily result from the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. It will require modifications to the NFIP Flood Insurance Manual, Policy Forms, Transaction Record Reporting and Processing Plan and the Edit Specifications document. Highlights of the changes include the following: revised premium rates; new reserve fund assessment; exclusion of certain properties from receiving subsidized premium rates; no extension of subsidy to new policies or lapsed policies; increased federal policy fee; updated requirements for new business applications and TRRP Plan; and NFIP Form changes.   

NEO Series: 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, which is not applicable for continuing-education credits, is for unlicensed/new employees. The next eight-week session begins Monday, April 8, 2013. For more information, or to register, click here, or call PIA for more information at (800) 424-4244.   

Webinar: ISO 2013 Commercial Liability Program Changes

The Insurance Services Office Inc. has filed a new commercial liability program in all jurisdictions with a multistate forms filing, a rules filing and a loss-costs filing. Forms and endorsements affected by the filing will carry an edition date of April 2013, and the effective date of the program is April 1, 2013. Join PIA’s Webinar Tuesday, April 23, 2013, to examine the changes impacting coverage for additional insureds. For more information, or to register, click here, or call PIA for more information at (800) 424-4244.   

Does your agency have a perpetuation plan?

For owners of healthy agencies, internal perpetuation is a realistic option for exiting the business. In most cases, internal perpetuation is favored over selling or merging due to the desire to keep control of the business in the family. Many of the steps taken to prepare an agency for internal perpetuation also might assist in a third-party sale, if that is the eventual outcome. PIA National’s Perpetuation Central can give you tips and tools to make this planning process easier.   

Gaining professionalism through best practices

The ability to communicate how an agent, broker or insurer handles particular claims or situations is nothing short of vital. If your company has established a written guideline that spells out how it handles property claims, auto claims, homeowners claims, fraud, workers’ compensation problems, large loss reports or other issues that occur repetitively, you have taken a large step toward being professional and protecting your company. Best practices guides, without laying out immutable procedures, communicates a general philosophy and way of dealing with a particular type of claim or issue within the agency. For some key guidelines to develop a plan and examples of how a lack of such guidelines can spell trouble for your agency, log on to the PIANJ website and type QS90690 in the Google-facilitated search box or fax a request to PIA’s Industry Resource Center at (888) 225-6935.   

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