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  April 30, 2013

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Status of federal grants, N.J.’s disaster recovery plan and more

Status of federally funded grants. According to an article in the Asbury Park Press, Gov. Chris Christie expects federally funded grants for New Jersey business owners hit by Superstorm Sandy may arrive soon. However, homeowners may have to wait until July to see their grants. HUD approves N.J.’s disaster recovery plan. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s approved New Jersey’s disaster recovery plan to help homeowners and businesses following Sandy. More… Deadline for FEMA assistance approaches.  FEMA issued a notice to remind homeowners in New Jersey that they have until May 1, 2013, at midnight to register for FEMA assistance.  

PIANJ leaders meet with Rutgers professor, FEMA researcher on mitigation and hazard risk reduction

Last week, your PIANJ board heard from Judy Shaw, Ph.D., AICP/PP, Environmental Analysis and Communications Group of E.J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers University, who is conducting research for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to obtain greater understanding from regional businesses and resident knowledge regarding flood hazard mitigation issues and the options for future mitigation efforts in New Jersey areas most affected by storms. Rutgers is conducting interviews across areas affected by recent storms to gain understanding of local perceptions post-storm. Some of the topics discussed included: the biggest challenges in the aftermath of recent storms; agents’ experiences with FEMA; general responses to the new flood maps; and what agents see as the most frequent response of homeowners and businesses regarding risk reduction options.   

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FIO calls for input ahead of Natural Catastrophe Report

Michael McRaith, director of the Federal Insurance Office, has issued a notice to call for the submission of information regarding natural catastrophes and insurance for a report to be submitted to Congress—an FIO report mandated by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. According to the notice from the Treasury, "the [Biggert-Waters] Act requires the Director of the FIO to conduct a study and submit to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Financial Services of the House of Representatives a report ’providing an assessment of the current state of the market for natural catastrophe insurance in the United States.’"   

P/C insurers’ profits rose in 2012

Despite the impact of Superstorm Sandy and smaller investment gains, private U.S. property/casualty insurers’ net income after taxes grew to $33.5 billion in 2012 from $19.5 billion in 2011, with insurers’ overall profitability as measured by their rate of return on average policyholders’ surplus climbing to 5.9 percent from 3.5 percent. At 5.9 percent, insurers’ overall rate of return lagged their 8.9 percent average rate of return for the 54 years since the start of ISO’s annual data in 1959. The combined ratio—a key measure of losses and other underwriting expenses per dollar of premium—improved to 103.2 percent for 2012 from 108.1 percent for 2011, according to ISO and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. For more, click here.   

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CIC Agency Management Institute, new curriculum

The Agency Management Institute has undergone a curriculum and "philosophy" revision, emphasizing added relevance to all agency owners and managers, producers, customer service representatives and company personnel. With a new subject that blends marketing and financial issues, and more agency management "tools," this institute was modified to better fit the daily work and experiences in insurance agencies. Whether you are a manager or have a manager, you’ll benefit from the practical information this program delivers. If you’ve taken the institute before, take it again for a new agency management experience that will help you become more productive, increase sales, and reduce errors and omissions. Join us May 2-4, 2013, to earn CE Credits: 4 ETH, 16 GEN (CIC designees: The DOBI will award 12 CE credits for each full year of the license term that the designation is maintained in good standing.) For more information click here, or call (800) 424-4244.   

CPIA 2: Implement for Success

During PIANJ’s CPIA 2: Implement for Success, taught by Mike Bergstein, CLU, CPIA, AAM, participants will be provided with specific tools for analyzing consumer needs; will learn to utilize risk identification techniques to gather pertinent prospect information; will develop skill necessary to assimilate information gathered into a customized protection program; and will participate in exercises designed to promote effective delivery of proven solutions. Join PIANJ Thursday, May 9, 2013, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Earn 7 GEN CE credits. For more information about the class click here or call (800) 424-4244. For more information, about the CPIA program click here. Please note: Registration processing will not be completed without full payment at the time of registration form submission. Submission of a registration form without proper payment will not hold your spot in a program.   

PIANJ benefit of the week: Life, health and long-term disability

Your agency is a priority to PIA ... let us do your shopping. PIA aims to reduce your premiums and customize your employee benefits. Let us take care of your group medical, group term life insurance, group long-term disability and group dental. Take advantage of PIA Members’ Choice employee benefit programs. Get your no-obligation quote today. Call (800) 424-4244 or click here.   

Develop your agency’s information security program

Insurance professionals are privy to information about clients that they would not want to be made available to the public. Pursuant to the requirements of the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, insurance departments have promulgated regulations intended to safeguard customer information. These regulations are the latest in a series of legislative attempts to ensure that customers’ private information is protected to the greatest degree practicable, and that it is disseminated only to those who are meant to receive it. The regulations call for all insurance licensees (including agents and brokers) to maintain a comprehensive written information security program of their own as evidence of compliance with the GLBA. Because of the specifics that must be addressed in these programs and the differences that exist among licensees in general, each licensee’s program will necessarily differ. To provide members with the necessary information to develop their own programs, PIA offers QS90347. To request this document, log on to PIA’s website and type QS90347 in the Google-facilitated search box, or fax a request to PIANJ’s Industry Resource Center at (888) 225-6935.   

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