Industry News

  • PIA Urges Reforms in Next Coronavirus Package

    August 5, 2020

    As delays continue to plague the process, policymakers are still negotiating over what to include in the next coronavirus relief package, which is likely to be the last major coronavirus law passed before the presidential election. PIA National continues to support the creation of a Recovery Fund that will enable small businesses to receive the relief they need to stay afloat and keep their workers employed. PIA National is also working on other vital issues that we believe need to be addressed in pending legislation. -more-

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  • Google Extends Remote Work Policy to July 2021

    July 29, 2020

    Google is allowing employees to work from home through next summer as it braces for longer-term effects of COVID-19 on the workplace and beyond. “To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we’ll be extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021 for roles that don’t need to be in the office,” wrote Google CEO Sundar Pichai in a memo obtained by CNN Business. “I hope this will offer the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved ones over the next 12 months.”

    Observers say treating remote working situations as a temporary disruption to an organization now may need rethinking.

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  • Prevent Security Threats with PIA Cyber Insurance

    July 29, 2020

    Many small business owners may not think they need cyber liability coverage, but small businesses are extremely vulnerable to security threats. And that’s why PIA members can sell PIA cyber insurance to their clients!

    PIA and ABA Insurance Services have worked with Great American E&S Insurance Company (rated A+ by A.M. Best) to create a cyber insurance program that responds to the most common threats facing small and mid-sized businesses.

    The PIA enhanced cyber insurance policy covers both first- and third-party loss for the most common cyber risks such as social engineering, funds transfer fraud, ransomware, network interruption, data breach, network security, and media liability. In addition to the seven coverage parts, PIA members’ clients are provided with special PIA enhancements and reduced rates compared to Great American’s standard program for social engineering coverage.

    PIA members who sell the PIA cyber insurance receive 12.5% in sales commission.

    Agents are able to purchase the same PIA cyber insurance for their agency for a significantly reduced rate through their local PIA affiliate producers.

    Getting started is easy. Protect your clients today.

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  • U.S. Senate Passes PPP Flexibility Act

    June 10, 2020

    On June 3, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, by unanimous consent. The bill extends the window for businesses to be able to spend the funds loaned under the program. The House passed this bill on May 28th. It was signed into law by the president.

    The legislation allows businesses that have received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to spend a smaller percentage of the money, 60 percent instead of the current 75 percent, on payroll and other qualifying expenses and still maintain forgiveness eligibility.

    PIA National had urged Congress to repeal the PPP’s payroll requirement altogether, a move that would have provided small businesses with maximum flexibility as they struggle to stay solvent during this difficult time. The bill does give businesses some new flexibility by allocating more time for them to use their PPP funds—24 weeks instead of eight—and extending the deadline for rehiring workers from June 30 to the end of this year.

    READ: S&P Analysis: The Paycheck Protection Program Impact On Jobs: (More) Help Wanted

    PIA National will continue to work to improve the PPP in future legislation considered by Congress.

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  • Nearly Half Of Americans Delayed Care Due to Pandemic

    June 3, 2020

    A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released on May 27 found that 48 percent of Americans said they or a family member has skipped or delayed medical care because of the pandemic, and 11 percent of them said the person’s condition worsened as a result of the delayed care. Since March, hospitals, health systems, and private practices dramatically reduced inpatient nonemergency services to prepare for an influx of COVID-19 patients. The poll also found that about 3 in 10 adults have had trouble paying household expenses.

    According to the poll, nearly 7 in 10 of those who had skipped seeing a medical professional expect to get care in the next three months. Despite a significant number of adults saying they delayed care, 86 percent of adults said their physical health has “stayed about the same” since the onset of the outbreak in the United States. Nearly 40 percent of Americans, however, said stress related to the coronavirus has negatively affected their mental health.

    Nearly 1 in 4 adults said they or a family member in the next year will likely turn to Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for low-income residents.

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  • PIA Program: PIA Cyber Insurance Program

    May 27, 2020

    As the global pandemic of COVID-19 continues to affect the way we do business, PIA is highlighting specific programs that may be useful to you right now. We hope this is helpful.

    Why care about this now? During this pandemic, your clients are finding themselves at home working remotely. Computer hackers can use this time to deploy aggressive ransomware attacks, and sophisticated social engineering scams to try and trick them into divulging sensitive information, so it is important that you educate your clients and protect them. As a PIA member, you can offer cyber liability insurance that responds to the most common threats facing small and medium-sized businesses.

    What is it? PIA and ABA Insurance Services (ABAIS) have worked with Great American E&S Insurance Company (rated A+ by A.M. Best) to create a cyber insurance program tailor-made for small and mid-sized businesses. The PIA enhanced cyber insurance policy covers both first- and third-party loss for the most common cyber risks such as:

    • Social engineering
    • Funds transfer fraud
    • Ransomware/extortion
    • Network interruption
    • Data breach
    • Network security
    • Media liability

    In addition to the seven coverage parts, PIA members’ clients are provided with special PIA enhancements and reduced rates compared to ABAIS’s standard program for social engineering coverage.

    PIA members who sell the PIA cyber insurance receive 12.5% in sales commission.

    If you’re interested in purchasing cyber insurance for your agency, you can purchase the same PIA cyber insurance for a significantly reduced rate through your local PIA affiliate producers.

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  • Insurance Sidesteps Most COVID Job Losses

    May 13, 2020

    The insurance industry largely sidestepped the economic onslaught of the coronavirus outbreak, losing 4,400 jobs in April as the pandemic ballooned the nation’s unemployment rate to 14.7 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The April national unemployment rate represents the largest one-month jump since records began in 1948, the BLS said.

    However, the industry-wide drop in the insurance industry was much lower than that seen in other sectors of the economy, representing a small proportion, about 0.16 percent, of the 2,813,100 workers employed in the insurance industry.

    Meanwhile, BLS released figures for employment at the nation’s insurance agencies and brokerages in March 2020 over February 2020, reporting they were up 0.20 percent with 852,400 jobs. Employment within the direct property/casualty insurers sector was flat.

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  • More Warnings Against Coronavirus Scams

    May 13, 2020

    As stay-at-home measures were introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several scams and cybersecurity risks emerged as more people began spending more time on digital devices. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) notes that cyber criminals are targeting companies and individuals with scams involving vaccines and treatment, shopping, charities, phishing and malware, apps, investments, and vulnerable populations.

    READ: Alert Clients to These COVID-19 Scams

    Like many regulators in recent weeks, the Utah Insurance Department has been alerting consumers to various COVID-19 related scams, including fraud aimed at Americans’ economic stimulus dollars. Utah insurance regulators also have been concerned with COVID-19 fraud aimed at seniors. To that end, the Utah Insurance Department recently showcased tips from the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, such as never responding to robocalls, unknown texts, emails, or door-to-door solicitors; avoiding “free” COVID-19 tests, vaccines, supplies, or treatments; and verifying any requests for Medicare or Medicaid information before responding

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  • PIA National Hails the Launch of a New COVID-19 Recovery Fund Coalition

    May 6, 2020

    PIA National is pleased to be an active member of a new coalition urging the creation of a COVID-19 Recovery Fund for businesses and employees. PIA National along with over 100 organizations from the business and insurance communities, have formed America’s Recovery Fund, a group dedicated to developing a common-sense solution for businesses struggling to cope with the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis.

    The coalition calls for a COVID-19 Recovery Fund (Recovery Fund) within the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The Fund is modeled after the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, operated by the federal government, and run by a presidential appointee with the authority to enter into contracts with interested businesses to administer the Fund and facilitate the distribution of federal funds to affected businesses.

    “PIA has always been about providing solutions to problems in a proactive way, and that goal has become more essential than ever during this difficult time,” said Mike Becker, executive vice president and CEO of PIA National. “To that end, we’ve worked with our industry partners to develop a solution for businesses that have been hard hit by the negative economic consequences related to the coronavirus, while not upending insurance practices.” -more-

    PIA Action Alert

    Legislation is currently being drafted to create the COVID-19 Recovery Fund, but a bill has not yet been introduced. In the meantime, PIA National has issued this action alert for PIA members to send to Congress and urge them to support the creation of a COVID-19 Recovery Fund. Please take action today!

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  • PIA National Hails the Launch of a New COVID-19 Recovery Fund Coalition

    May 4, 2020

    WASHINGTON -- The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA National) is pleased to be an active member of a new coalition urging the creation of a COVID-19 Recovery Fund for businesses and employees. PIA National along with over 100 organizations from the business and insurance communities, have formed America’s Recovery Fund, a group dedicated to developing a common-sense solution for businesses struggling to cope with the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis.

    The proposal creates a COVID-19 Recovery Fund (Recovery Fund) within the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The Fund is modeled after the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, operated by the federal government, and run by a presidential appointee with the authority to enter into contracts with interested businesses to administer the Fund and facilitate the distribution of federal funds to affected businesses.

    “PIA has always been about providing solutions to problems in a proactive way, and that goal has become more essential than ever during this difficult time,” said Mike Becker, executive vice president and CEO of PIA National. “To that end, we’ve worked with our industry partners to develop a solution for businesses that have been hard hit by the negative economic consequences related to the coronavirus, while not upending insurance practices.”

    In recent weeks, policymakers in some states have begun proposing a requirement for insurers to retroactively recognize financial losses triggered by the coronavirus outbreak as part of their customers’ business interruption (BI) coverage. Two bills introduced in Congress would rewrite contracts to apply business interruption coverage to provisions that explicitly exclude losses due to viruses, pandemics, etc. PIA National believes such actions to be shortsighted and dangerous.

    “Only about one-third of American small businesses have business interruption coverage,” said Becker. “As such, retroactive BI proposals fall far short of helping all businesses. PIA has helped create a real solution for all businesses struggling as a result of COVID-19, and it doesn’t upend existing insurance contracts and practices.”

    The Recovery Fund would provide short-term liquidity for small businesses by creating a simple form that could be electronically filed to help businesses maintain solvency while continuing to pay their employees. The Recovery Fund would protect lost wages for employees unable to work because of COVID-19 infection, quarantine, or operational shutdown; preserve jobs through payroll assistance for temporarily closed businesses that continue to retain their employees; and provide solvency assistance for businesses in danger of failing as a result of the pandemic.

    PIA National will continue to work with Congress and the business community on effective, efficient solutions that provide the necessary relief to our economy and help our nation recover.

    Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA’s web address is www.pianet.com.

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  • OSHA Backtracks on Recordability of COVID-19

    April 16, 2020

    The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration will not enforce recordkeeping requirements for COVID-19 in most industries located in places where there is ongoing community transmission, according to a memo released Friday.

     

    This updated guidance will not apply to health care employers, emergency response organizations or correctional institutions, which are still required to make work-relatedness determinations of COVID-19 acquisitions. This announcement reverses previous guidance provided by the agency in March reminding employers that COVID-19 transmission in the workplace, unlike the flu or common cold, would be considered a recordable injury.

     

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  • Working Remotely? Make Sure You Have Cyber Coverage in Place

    April 8, 2020

    Many small business owners may not think they need cyber liability coverage, but small businesses are extremely vulnerable to security threats, especially when working from home.

    PIA’s cyber liability insurance, underwritten by Great American E&S Insurance Company (rated A+ by A.M. Best), responds to the most common threats facing small and mid-sized businesses. The policy covers risks such as data breaches, funds transfer fraud, ransomware, network interruption, network security, social engineering, and media liability.

    Coverage is available to agents through their local PIA affiliate producers using a simplified, slot-rated quoting process. The policy premium is significantly discounted from those rates found in the standard market and includes enhancements not typically offered by competitors.

    PIA members can also protect their clients with the same PIA cyber insurance.

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  • PIA Statement on House Passage of COVID-19 Relief Bill

    March 27, 2020

    PIA Statement on House Passage of COVID-19 Relief Bill

    The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, by a voice vote. The Senate passed it on March 25. This bill is the third COVID-19-related bill that Congress has passed, and others may follow. President Trump signed it.

    PIA Statement:

    “PIA National is pleased the U.S. House approved the $2 trillion emergency relief package, which is intended to provide urgently needed aid to several sectors of the economy,” said PIA National executive vice president & CEO Mike Becker. “Both chambers moved relatively quickly on this legislation, a necessity during this difficult time for businesses.”

    PIA is particularly supportive of provisions in the legislation to help small businesses, including loans for those with 500 or fewer employees. These loans may be converted to grants and partially forgiven if recipient businesses maintain the average size of their full-time workforce. With small businesses across the nation struggling due to the coronavirus, It is more important than ever to financially support them.

    The bill also includes a 50 percent refundable payroll tax credit on employee wages, and a delay in employer-side payroll taxes for Social Security until 2021 and 2022. It also makes some sole proprietors and other self-employed workers eligible for the expanded unemployment insurance benefits included in the legislation.

    “PIA National has already been actively developing legislative solutions for the next potential COVID-19 package to ensure small businesses are able to stay viable in these unprecedented times,” Becker said.

    Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA’s web address is www.pianet.com.

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  • PIA Statement on Senate Passage of COVID-19 Relief Bill

    March 26, 2020

    Late on March 25, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, by a vote of 96-0. This bill is the third COVID-19-related bill that Congress has passed, and others are likely to follow. The U.S. House is scheduled to consider it Friday March 26. President Trump has said he will sign it.

    PIA Statement:

    “PIA National is pleased the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the $2 trillion emergency relief package, which is intended to provide urgently needed aid to several sectors of the economy,” said PIA National executive vice president & CEO Mike Becker.

    Notably, the bill includes provisions to help small businesses, including loans for those with 500 employees or less. These loans may be converted to grants and partially forgiven if recipient businesses maintain the average size of their full-time workforce. With small businesses across the nation struggling due to the coronavirus, it is more important than ever to financially support them.

    The bill also includes a 50 percent refundable payroll tax credit on employee wages and a delay in employer-side payroll taxes for Social Security until 2021 and 2022. It also makes some sole proprietors and other self-employed workers eligible for the expanded unemployment insurance benefits included in the legislation.

    “PIA National urges the House to pass the bill,” Becker said. “PIA is continuing to work with Congress on a comprehensive approach to provide additional levels of relief to businesses across the country.”

    Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA’s web address is www.pianet.com.

     

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  • Global Insurance Outlook: Q1 2020

    March 10, 2020

    COVID-19’s impact on global growth and the insurance industry is likely deeper and wider than the current consensus, and could last well into Q3 and beyond, according to this report, authored by Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) Vice President and Senior Economist, Dr. Michel Leonard.

    Key findings include: economic impact likely to continue into Q3/Q4 2020 and 2021; the event could reduce global GDP growth from 3.3 percent to 2.3 percent and delay recovery by up to 12 months; and fiscal and monetary policy rate cuts will unlikely be effective. The report also summarizes which insurance lines will experience high to low impact, as a consequence of the outbreak. Read special report.

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  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

    March 9, 2020

    3/5/20

    There has been an increase in concern about the spreading coronavirus COVID-19.

    PIA has an ongoing partnership with ALM Media, publishers of the National Underwriter, PC360 and FC&S. They have developed a webpage, Instant Insights, that collects all coronavirus outbreak stories and resources in one place.

    Agencies should consider implementing safeguards to reduce exposure to illness. Steps should include but are not limited to:

    -        Encourage sick employees to stay home. Suspend requirements for notes from healthcare providers – those offices are likely to be extremely busy, and it’s better to keep those with the virus away from others. Employees should not return to work unless they are free of a fever (100.4 degrees) for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications. Extend sick leave even to employees who aren’t ordinarily entitled to it, so that employees do not feel compelled to come to work.

    -        Consider encouraging employees who are able to do so to work remotely. If remote work isn’t possible, allow employees to stagger shifts. Test remote work policies and staggered shift options now, before you are in an emergency situation.

    -        Test remote work capabilities, including remote access to agency server, management system, phone, voicemail, and email.

    -        Develop a communication plan to keep employees updated on the status of the virus. Ensure employees know what the communication plan is.

    -        Develop an activation plan and ensure all employees know what to expect.

    -        Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers around the office and encourage their use. Place in open areas, conference rooms, kitchens, and break rooms.

    -        Consider whether business operations can be conducted at alternate locations if the current location is quarantined.

    -        If employees are not cross-trained for key tasks, begin cross-training now to avoid gaps in production.

    This full pandemic checklist available from FC&S Coverage Interpretations can be found by clicking here.

    Another helpful resource is Assessing the Personal Impact of the Coronavirus. This article looks at the current situation, the likelihood of spread, and the potential insurance impact and coverage questions raised by COVID-19.

     

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also a good resource; its coronavirus page has information about how coronavirus is spread, travel tips and restrictions, and information for specific audiences like businesses and schools.

     

    State Departments of Insurance

    Insurance departments across the United States are planning or executing actions to eliminate barriers to testing and treatment for COVID-19. [Best’s News 3/5/20]

    The New York Department of Financial Services took the lead March 2 by issuing an order that health insurers in New York must waive cost-sharing for procedures and testing for the coronavirus among a number of other steps, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. Pennsylvania officials also are discussing ways to lower barriers to testing.

    Other state insurance departments are aware of New York’s action and considering whether they should announce similar plans as well.

    Some agencies, including the Illinois Department of Public Health, are covering the cost of coronavirus testing, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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  • PIA, Nationwide Insurance Agents Association Join Forces

    February 4, 2020

    An association representing Nationwide Insurance agents who are transitioning to independent agent status has entered into an agreement with the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA National). Under the agreement, the Nationwide Insurance Independent Contractors Association’s (NIICA’s) hundreds of members across the nation will become members of PIA.

    On April 16, 2018, Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide announced its decision to shift entirely to an independent agency distribution model by July 1, 2020.

    “We extend the warmest welcome to all the Nationwide agents who will be joining the ranks of independent agents, and also joining PIA,” said PIA National President Dennis D. Kuhnke. “This is yet another illustration that the independent agent distribution system is by far the insurance distribution system of choice and that PIA is the best choice for independent agents.”

    “NIICA has throughout its 33-year history always honored the dignity and value of agents,” said NIICA President Thom Polvogt. “Since our beginning, we have been pro-agent, pro-client, pro-company, and pro-active. Now that our agents are transitioning fully into the independent agency system, we are proud to become part of PIA—an association that shares our values.”

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  • PIA, Nationwide Insurance Agents Association Join Forces

    January 30, 2020

    WASHINGTON – An association representing Nationwide Insurance agents who are transitioning to independent agent status has entered into an agreement with the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA National). Under the agreement, NIICA’s [the Nationwide Insurance Independent Contractors Association’s] hundreds of members across the nation will become members of PIA.

    On April 16, 2018, Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide announced its decision to shift entirely to an independent agency distribution model by July 1, 2020. At the time of its initial announcement, Nationwide already had relationships with more than 10,000 independent agents across the United States.

    “We extend the warmest welcome to all the Nationwide agents who will be joining the ranks of independent agents, and also joining PIA,” said PIA National President Dennis D. Kuhnke. “This is yet another illustration that the independent agent distribution system is by far the insurance distribution system of choice and that PIA is the best choice for independent agents.”

    “NIICA has throughout its 33-year history always honored the dignity and value of agents,” said NIICA President Thom Polvogt. “Since our beginning, we have been pro-agent, pro-client, pro-company, and pro-active. Now that our agents are transitioning fully into the independent agency system, we are proud to become part of PIA—an association that shares our values.”

    “PIA welcomes all of the Nationwide agents who will be joining PIA,” said PIA chief executive officer (CEO) Mike Becker. “We encourage all of the agents who will be joining our association as a result of this agreement to take full advantage of all the many business-building programs offered by PIA that help add to an agency’s bottom line. In addition, PIA advocates for you in Congress and throughout the insurance industry.”

    Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America SM. PIA’s web address is www.pianet.com.

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  • A New Decade Brings New Cyber Risks

    January 28, 2020

    Many small business owners may not think they need cyber liability coverage, but small businesses are extremely vulnerable to security threats. And that’s why PIA members can sell PIA cyber insurance to their clients!

    PIA and ABAIS Insurance Services have worked with Great American E&S Insurance Company (rated A+ by A.M. Best) to create a cyber insurance program that responds to the most common threats facing small and mid-sized businesses.

    The PIA enhanced cyber insurance policy covers both first- and third-party loss for the most common cyber risks such as social engineering, funds transfer fraud, ransomware, network interruption, data breach, network security, and media liability. In addition to the seven coverage parts, PIA members’ clients are provided with special PIA enhancements and reduced rates compared to ABAIS’s standard program for social engineering coverage.

    PIA members who sell the PIA cyber insurance receive 12.5% in sales commission.

    Agents are able to purchase the same PIA cyber insurance for their agency for a significantly reduced rate through their local PIA affiliate producers.

    Getting started is easy. Protect your clients today.

    Learn More

  • ACORD and PIA National Announce Program to Provide Forms Access to Member Insurance Agencies

    December 12, 2019

    Pearl River, NY, December 11, 2019 – The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) and ACORD, the global standards-setting body for the insurance industry, today announced a joint program to provide qualifying PIA member agencies with a complimentary license to use ACORD Forms.

    PIA was founded in 1931 to educate and inform agents, promote cooperation among agents and carriers, and advocate for the independent agent community. Today it represents agents in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

    ACORD, a not-for-profit industry organization, has been providing forms to the insurance industry since 1972. ACORD currently maintains a library of over 850 forms in a variety of formats, widely used throughout the global industry. Under this new agreement, PIA National will fund ACORD Form end user licenses for the majority of its member agencies who receive ACORD Forms through their agency management systems, allowing them to claim these licenses free of charge.

    “PIA National is pleased to partner with ACORD to ensure that the majority of PIA member agencies can continue to access and use ACORD forms free of charge,” said PIA National CEO Mike Becker.

    All agents and brokers using ACORD Forms through an agency management system, or other software provided by third-party vendors, are required to obtain licenses directly from ACORD. Users who are not already members or subscribers of a qualifying ACORD program are able to purchase a stand-alone End User License from ACORD. Under this agreement, PIA members with annual group gross P&C revenue of under $50 million will be eligible for a license from ACORD, with no additional payment necessary.

    Agencies with annual group gross revenue under $1 million can also obtain ACORD Forms directly from ACORD by subscribing to the Advantage Plus program. PIA members eligible for this program will be able to subscribe at a discounted rate.

    For more information on ACORD Forms, see www.acord.org/forms.

    About PIA National

    Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America SM. PIA’s web address is www.pianet.com.

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