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  June 18, 2013

PIA names thousands Professional Agent of the Year for 2013

Thousands of professional, independent insurance agents received awards in the mail last week, after the PIANJ and PIANY named Sandy-affected agents as the 2013 Professional Agent of the Year. The award was announced last Monday evening at the PIANJ/PIANY Joint Annual Conference gala award dinner at the Trump Taj Mahal Resort Casino, Atlantic City, N.J. For more information, including photos and video, click here. Pictured at right are PIANJ immediate past President Anthony F. Bavaro, CIC, CRM, at the podium, and PIANY President Michael J. Skeele, CIC, CPIA.   

Community, diversity, legacy are the cornerstones of PIANJ President Tague’s agenda

Newly elected PIANJ President Stephen P. Tague, CPIA, discussed the important roles of community, enaging diverse groups and ensuring the industry’s legacy, as the association approaches its 75th anniversary next year and beyond. Regarding the diverse ethnic and women’s groups in the insurance industry, Tague stressed the need to engage the groups because "… the emergent agencies of diverse communities, like all independent agencies, have strong entrepreneurial ambitions and develop their businesses policy by policy, and client by client." For more information on Tague’s speech, including a full video, click here. At right, Tague is pictured giving his speech.  

PIANJ, PIANY present Fowler with Distinguished Insurance Service award

Last week, during the PIANJ/PIANY Joint Annual Conference in Atlantic City, PIANJ and PIANY presented Executive Director Diane Fowler with the Distinguished Insurance Service award for her 35 years of service to the associations and their members. Fowler plans to retire from PIA at the end of the year. For more information, including photos and video, click here. Pictured are, from left, PIANY President Michael J. Skeele, CIC, CPIA, PIA Executive Director Diane Fowler, PIANJ President Stephen P. Tague, CPIA, and PIANJ immediate past President Anthony F. Bavaro, CIC, CRM.  

NJYIP 29th annual Fun Run raises more than $140,000 for SONJ

The NJYIP proved that the industry puts community first, raising more than $140,000 for Special Olympics New Jersey at its 29th annual Fun Run, held June 11 as part of the PIANJ/PIANY Joint Annual Conference. NJYIP, partnering with the PIANJ’s Annual Golf Classic, has raised more than $3 million for SONJ. Some 168 runners took part in the five-kilometer race. Kyle Price of Franklin Mutual Insurance finished first for the men with a time of 18:01:92; Susan Reich of Cumberland Insurance Group finished first for the women with a time of 19:44:30. Top fundraisers included top individual: Patrick Cusack with $3,625; top agency: Jimcor Agencies Inc. with $10,389.78; and top company: Franklin Mutual Insurance with $58,525.  

N.J. to continue buyout plan for flooded homes

Since Gov. Chris Christie announced New Jersey’s $300 million in buyout funding for those affected by Sandy, some 205 requests have been submitted. To date, 129 homeowners and property owners who have applied for buyouts have been approved.  More…

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FEMA grants more than $51 million for waterway debris removal

The Christie administration announced that The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded more than $51 million in public assistance grants to the state of New Jersey for waterway debris removal throughout coastal areas of the state following Superstorm Sandy.   More…

FEMA releases preliminary work maps for four New Jersey counties

FEMA is releasing preliminary work maps for four New Jersey counties heavily impacted by Superstorm Sandy—Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean and Atlantic. The preliminary work maps for those counties will replace the Advisory Base Flood Elevation maps because they reflect a more precise modeling analysis of current flood hazards, including wave analysis, and a more detailed study of other specific conditions that could affect flood risk. More...  To see a mapped comparison of the changes, click here.  

Public awareness campaign for federal health exchange

By a split 4-2 vote along party lines, the Senate Commerce Committee released two identical bills (S-2673/A-3878) last Thursday that would require the Department of Banking and Insurance to establish a public awareness campaign about the new federally required health insurance exchange. Democrats, who control the Legislature, voted in favor, while Republicans opposed the bills. The legislation, which was passed last month by a 45-32 vote in the state Assembly, is now in position for final passage by the full Senate.  

HHS webinar on federally facilitated health exchanges for PIA members

On Tuesday, July 9, 2013, from 1-2:30 p.m.,the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will partner with PIA to conduct a PIA-member webinar on the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. HHS will address a number of areas, including agent and broker exchange training, market reforms and an overview of the enrollment process. This information will apply to federally facilitated exchanges. Registration will open two weeks prior to the webinar, so save the date now! If you are interested in receiving detailed registration instructions, click here.  More…

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FEMA bulletin addresses premium rate subsidies

FEMA issued Bulletin W-13033 to provide supplemental guidance on implementation of BW-12 Section 205, 42 U.S.C. Section 4014(g), which states that the NFIP can no longer provide premium rate subsidies on new, lapsed, or assigned Standard Flood Insurance Policies insuring Pre-FIRM properties effective Oct. 1, 2013. These policies will be subject to full-risk rating using the current FIRM, requiring an Elevation Certificate and photographs. Policies rated in D zones or Unnumbered V zones will not require an EC, but must provide at least two photographs before the policy can be renewed. Additional guidance is provided in this bulletin for processing the transition to full-risk rating.  

NFIP coverage for cooperatives clarified

Based on documentation provided during the claims-adjusting process for cooperative-owned property in New York following Superstorm Sandy, FEMA learned that there may be unusual forms of cooperative ownership. In some cooperatives, a large number of the structures are owned by the individual shareholders through an arrangement whereby the shareholders lease the buildings to the cooperative, and the cooperative leases the buildings back to the shareholders, and the land on which the buildings are located is owned by the cooperative corporation. At the termination of a lease, the owner of the building may remove the structure from the land owned by the cooperative. Under this arrangement, the shareholders have an ownership interest in the buildings. Based on this information, such owners-shareholders are eligible to purchase building coverage under the appropriate standard flood insurance policy. For more information, see Bulletin W-13032.  

Ask PIA: Claims inquiry should not be considered a claim

Q. If an insured makes a claim inquiry on a policy, not filing a claim, but only asking a "what if …" or hypothetical question, can the carrier take action on that policy? A. No. Chapter 235 of the Laws of 2001 enacted a prohibition against insurers categorizing an inquiry by the insured as a claim for the purpose of determining adverse claims experience. This includes an inquiry for information regarding the insured's homeowners insurance policy or coverage for a particular loss under that policy. 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.  

Take advantage of PIANJ’s NumberONE Comp program

Contractor season is here … take advantage of PIANJ’s exclusive workers’ compensation markets for your clients—low minimum premiums, competitive commissions and hundreds of classes (including contractors, landscapers, restaurants, retail and more). To join PIANJ's NumberONE Comp program or to inquire about placing a risk, click here, or call (800) 424-4244, ext. 850. A simple, five-step submission process will get your agency started.  

PIA Company Representation Survey

Your response is needed! The information obtained from this year’s Company Representation Survey allows PIANJ to keep members informed on company activities that have a direct effect on your agency, such as an insurer insolvency, merger or acquisition, and the PIA Company Rating Tracking Service. This year’s survey response drawing winner was William R. Ryan of Compton-Snyder Agency, in Red Bank, whose name was drawn to receive a $100 gift certificate toward PIANJ membership programs. If you haven’t taken the time to complete the personalized survey you received in April, please take a few minutes to do so now, and return it to PIANJ’s Industry Resource Center by faxing it to (888) 225-6935. If you do not have a copy of your survey, contact PIANJ’s Industry Resource Center at (800) 424-4244.  

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Upcoming PIANJ Webinar: Minimize Your Exposure to E&O Litigation

PIANJ offers the Webinar: Minimize Your Exposure to E&O Litigation, Thursday, June 20, 2013, from 10-11 a.m. Sponsored by Utica Mutual, this Webinar asks: Are you ready if a weather-related catastrophe (e.g., Storm Sandy) hits your community tomorrow? Since no one knows when and where the next weather catastrophe will occur, agents need to take the necessary steps to protect their agency and their customers from financial disaster. This Webinar will review the E&O issues and claims that have surfaced as a result of Sandy and other weather-related catastrophes. For more information about either of these Webinars, or to register, click here.   

CISR designation program, June 20

The course CISR Insuring Personal Residential Property offers continuing-education credit and covers common homeowners issues.Join PIA Thursday, June 20, 2013, at the Crowne Plaza, Edison, from 8 a.m.-4:15 p.m. (exam optional). This course will help participants guide their customers through the complex and confusing process of purchasing homeowners insurance—and help them make decisions that insure their most valuable assets. Earn 8 GEN NJCE credits (CISR designees: The DOBI will award 12 CE credits for each full year of the license term that the designation is maintained in good standing). To earn the Certified Insurance Service Representative designation, insurance professionals need to pass five out of nine topics. However, anyone can attend classes without taking the exams. There is no special order in which courses must be taken. For more information, or to register, click here.  

Six information management questions

Poor information management can create inefficiency. Inefficiency costs money, causes unnecessary stress, precipitates poor customer service and costs untold thousands of dollars. PIANJ offers a resource kit to address six essential questions you should ask about the information in your business. For more information on this topic, log on to the PIANJ website and type QS90405 in the Google-facilitated search box or fax a request to PIA’s Industry Resource Center at (888) 225-6935.  

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