Industry News

  • NFIP Extended Until March 23

    February 13, 2018

    With the signing of the budget deal by President Donald Trump, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has been reauthorized until March 23. The NFIP has been reauthorized through stopgap measures since September. This is the fifth such stopgap extension.

    “While it is disappointing that the NFIP lapsed again, though this time only for a few overnight hours, we’re pleased with the extension to March 23,” said PIA National Vice President of Government Relations Jon Gentile in a statement. “Congress must use the time between now and then to move away from short-term measures and provide a long-term reauthorization of this program,”

    The NFIP originally expired on September 30, 2017, after its 5-year authorization ended. It was then extended until December 8th, then again until December 22nd, then extended again until January 19, and again until February 8.

    “The NFIP is a program that requires certainty. It is also in great need of reforms. PIA will continue our advocacy for a long-term reauthorization of the program that recognizes the essential role independent agents play in providing expert advice to consumers,” Gentile said.

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  • Administration?s Proposed Budget Cuts Crop Insurance

    February 13, 2018

    PIA is opposed to the steep cuts to crop insurance once again included in the Trump Administration proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2019, which was released Monday Feb. 12. PIA issued a statement.

    The Administration’s budget proposes a $26 billion cut to crop insurance over the next 10 years. The cuts come in the form of an adjusted gross income (AGI) limit for crop insurance of $500,000, a reduction in the average of premium discounts for farmers by 14 percentage points, and a reduction in subsidies to crop insurance companies by asking Congress to legislate a 12 percent cap for underwriting gains.

    The budget proposals run counter to remarks President Trump made to the American Farm Bureau’s annual convention on Jan. 8, when he expressed support for crop insurance premium subsidies in the upcoming Farm Bill.

    “We thought the president had come around to supporting crop insurance, but the Administration’s proposed budget tells a different story,” said Jon Gentile, Vice President of Government Relations for PIA National. “These proposed cuts would not only hurt farmers and the agriculture community, but also would harm the independent insurance agents who work diligently to sell and service crop insurance policies on behalf of the Federal Crop Insurance Program.”

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  • The National Underwriter/PIA 2018 Independent Agent Study Results

    February 5, 2018

     

    NU/PIA Survey Cover

    Results of the 2018 National Underwriter/PIA Independent Agent Study have just been released, in the February 2018 issue of the National Underwriter.

    In 2017, PIA National forged an alliance with the National Underwriter and Flaspöhler, part of NMG Consulting, to conduct the inaugural Independent Agent Study – a research project designed to annually take the pulse of independent Property & Casualty insurance agents throughout the U.S. and provide insight into the demographics, books of business and challenges they face. Agents also reveal their most highly rated carrier partners.

    The expanded questionnaire — crafted by Flaspöhler, P&C carriers, PIA and NU — is distributed to NU’s proprietary lists of independent agents nationwide as well as PIA’s national membership (in return for the exclusive right to publish highlights of the study findings), resulting in the most reliable and scientifically sound sample in the history of this study.

    The 2018 study is a follow-up to 2017’s highly successful survey.

    In the coming months, PIA will also report the results of a separate set of questions that were asked only of PIA members who participated in the overall survey. These questions are PIA-specific and are proprietary to PIA.

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  • Results of the 2018 National Underwriter/PIA Independent Agent Survey

    February 2, 2018

    Click here to enlarge survey results.

     

    Click here to read the February issue of NU.

    NU/PIA Survey Cover

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  • Will Your Clients Be Prepared in an Emergency?

    January 30, 2018

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    Being prepared for an emergency means having emergency kits ready to go! The PIA Branding Program has released a new consumer-friendly issue paper covering emergency preparedness tips for your clients.

    This one-page paper features key tips your clients should consider if they run into an emergency that Mother Nature may bring. Each paper is available in multiple formats (1) ready-to-send with PIA logo and branding, (2) customizable so that it can be personalized by PIA members with their photo/logo and contact information, and (3) an infographic for social media. Social media copy is also provided for each paper.

    Log on here and download yours! Start sharing this content with your clients today or utilize the text on your agency's website, email, or blog.

    The PIA Branding Program provides a collection of free advertising and marketing materials PIA members can customize and use in their local market and beyond.

     

    Funding for the PIA Branding Program is provided in part by PIA’s Pinnacle Partners: Bankers Insurance Group, Encompass Insurance, Erie Insurance, Nationwide Independent, Progressive Insurance, State Auto Insurance Companies, The Motorists Insurance Group, and Wright Flood.

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  • Three-Day Government Shutdown, Three Week Reprieve

    January 24, 2018

    The three-day federal government shutdown ended with Monday’s compromise in Congress extending funding until February 8.

    On Monday January 22, the Senate agreed 81-18 to end debate, approving a temporary funding plan through Feb. 8—the culmination of days of deal making that unfolded as both parties traded blame for the government closure that began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had “come to an arrangement.” Later Monday, the House passed the continuing resolution 266-159, and President Trump signed it. PIA issued a statement.

    This leaves almost three weeks for the parties to resolve deep differences on the issue of immigration, the major stumbling block that led to the three-day shutdown.

    The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) did go into technical shutdown during the three days, but it has been reauthorized until February 8. During the three-day shutdown, FEMA had requested that agents and other industry professionals begin implementing its guidance.

    A government shutdown would not have affected payment of flood insurance claims, and the insurance that people have would remain in effect. Where the effect of a shutdown is felt is with real estate closings, where lenders require flood insurance. The National Association of Realtors estimated in a 2011 study that the inability to write new policies affected 1,332 homes sale closings per day, or roughly 40,000 per month. The association derived the estimate from a 33-day period during the height of summer home sales in 2010 when the NFIP had not been reauthorized.

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  • Are You Prepared for Ice Jam Flooding?

    January 24, 2018

    As part of PIA’s ongoing partnership with The Hartford’s flood insurance program, we are proud to provide PIA members with the latest Flood Agent eNewsletter produced by The Hartford for its flood insurance agents. This month’s contents address important facts about ice jam flooding, the NFIP reauthorization update, and claim capabilities on FloodPro.

    In addition to The Hartford’s eNewsletters, PIA members visiting PIA’s Flood Insurance Marketing Support Center can download flyers to help their personal lines and commercial lines clients prepare for floods, deal with the aftermath of flooding, and how to prepare for a visit by an adjuster.

    PIA thanks The Hartford for making these excellent materials available to all PIA members, regardless of their participation in PIA’s flood insurance program with The Hartford.

    PIA members who want to earn great flood insurance commissions while working with a top-flight Write-Your-Own flood insurance company should consider the PIA/Hartford flood insurance program. To learn more visit www.pianet.com/hartfordfloodinsurance or contact Joseph M. Surowiecki, Jr. of The Hartford at 860-547-5006 or joseph.surowiecki@thehartford.com.

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  • Op-ed: PIA Partnership?s Cyber 101

    January 9, 2018

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    Independent insurance agents need to have the same level of expertise and competence about cyber insurance that they have in other areas of risk and insurance. That’s according to PIA Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker, in an opinion article [Putting Cyber in Proper Perspective] appearing in PC360 and the National Underwriter.

    “As bad as they are now, cyber attacks are only likely to increase, making it all the more important for independent insurance agents to have the knowledge and the tools they need to help their clients protect themselves,” says Becker. “That’s why PIA National joined together with our carrier council, The PIA Partnership, to unveil a new, comprehensive educational resource: Cyber 101, available to PIA members and agents appointed by carriers participating in The PIA Partnership.”

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  • The Hartford Flood Announces FloodPro?s New Online Endorsement Feature

    January 3, 2018

    As part of PIA’s ongoing partnership with The Hartford’s flood insurance program, we are proud to provide PIA members with the latest Flood Agent eNewsletter produced by The Hartford for its flood insurance agents. This month’s contents address the NFIP reauthorization, the Broker of Records process, and spotlights the Increased Cost of Compliance.

    In addition to The Hartford’s eNewsletters, PIA members visiting PIA’s Flood Insurance Marketing Support Center can download flyers to help their personal lines and commercial lines clients prepare for floods, deal with the aftermath of flooding, and how to prepare for a visit by an adjuster.

    PIA thanks The Hartford for making these excellent materials available to all PIA members, regardless of their participation in PIA’s flood insurance program with The Hartford.

    PIA members who want to earn great flood insurance commissions while working with a top-flight Write-Your-Own flood insurance company should consider the PIA/Hartford flood insurance program. To learn more visit www.pianet.com/hartfordfloodinsurance or contact Joseph M. Surowiecki, Jr. of The Hartford at 860-547-5006 or joseph.surowiecki@thehartford.com.

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  • Find the Flood Insurance Leads You Need

    January 3, 2018

    Floodbroker.com can help you convert your clients and prospects into flood insurance clients. PIA has an exclusive partnership with Floodbroker.com, a unique service that makes it easy for your clients and prospects to learn about their flood risks and how much an NFIP policy will cost them—right on your agency’s website.

    On Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, PIA is holding a FREE WEBINAR so you can learn all about Floodbroker.com and what it can do for your agency’s growth potential. Evan Spindelman, Floodbroker.com president, will show you the website interface and illustrate how easy it is to use. The webinar will conclude with an open Q&A session.

    Space is limited, so register today.

    Can’t wait for the webinar? Learn more now.

    As part of PIA’s ongoing partnership with Floodbroker.com, we are proud to provide PIA members with December’s Floodbroker.com newsletter, a monthly newsletter produced by Floodbroker.com for flood insurance agents.

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  • NFIP Extended Through Jan. 19

    January 3, 2018

    Shortly before Christmas, Congress adopted a stopgap continuing resolution (CR) averting a government shutdown. As a result, government funding is maintained at current levels through January 19.

    “We are pleased that the National Flood Insurance Program [NFIP] was extended as part of the continuing resolution,” said Jon Gentile, PIA vice president of government relations. “This will keep the flood insurance program fully operational through January 19, guarding against interruptions for policyholders and protecting the progress of real estate transactions that require evidence of flood coverage.”

    Gentile added that while it is positive that the NFIP will not lapse, it’s vital that in 2018, Congress move away from short-term measures and provide a long-term reauthorization of the program. “We will continue our advocacy in pursuit of that goal,” he said.

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  • Holiday Light and Fire Safety Tips

    December 5, 2017

    Just in time for the holidays, The PIA Branding Program has released a holiday light and fire safety-focused consumer-friendly issue paper with safety information for your clients.

    This one-page paper features key information your clients should know to help them stay safe this holiday season. Each paper is available in multiple formats (1) ready-to-send with PIA logo and branding, (2) customizable so that it can be personalized by PIA members with their photo/logo and contact information, and (3) new papers include an infographic for social media. Social media copy is also provided for each paper.

    Log on here and download yours! Start sharing this content with your clients today or utilize the text on your agency's website, email, or blog. Happy holidays!

    The PIA Branding Program provides a collection of free advertising and marketing materials PIA members can customize and use in their local market and beyond.

    Funding for the PIA Branding Program is provided in part by PIA’s Pinnacle Partners: Bankers Insurance Group, Encompass Insurance, Erie Insurance, Nationwide Independent, Progressive Insurance, State Auto Insurance Companies, The Motorists Insurance Group, and Wright Flood.

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  • PIA Statement on Passage of House Flood Legislation

    November 14, 2017

    WASHINGTON — The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) has issued the following statement on the House’s passage of H.R. 2874, the 21st Century Flood Reform Act:

    PIA opposed the bill over the provision that cuts the Write-Your-Own (WYO) reimbursement rate paid to insurance companies that participate in the NFIP by 3 percentage points. The WYO reimbursement rate is the vehicle by which agents receive their commissions for selling NFIP policies. Many WYO carriers have stated that, for them to remain in the program, they will pass on the cut to agents through their commissions.

    PIA National Vice President of Government Relations Jon Gentile said:

    “H.R. 2874 includes some important reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), such as revamping mapping and mitigation programs and including a mechanism for consumers and communities to appeal FEMA decisions. Notably, PIA is pleased with the inclusion of language to incentivize the growth of the private flood market, which we strongly support.

    “Despite these positive aspects, PIA opposes H.R. 2874 because it contains a provision that will hurt consumers, agents, and the program itself going forward.

    “One of the goals of reforming the NFIP is to increase sales of policies, especially preferred risk policies, to put the program on a firmer financial footing. Reducing agent compensation undermines that goal by applying a disincentive for agents to increase sales. Such a cut will force agents who currently sell flood insurance to leave the program, because it will become prohibitively expensive for agents to continue to sell flood insurance, and it will discourage new agents from entering the NFIP policy market.

    “PIA will continue to work with Congress to provide a strong and robust protection for agent compensation, so consumers will have the expertise they need to navigate the NFIP, and the program itself can achieve the increased level of participation it requires to be financially strong.”

    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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  • Past PIA National President Nick Verreos Dies

    November 14, 2017

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    Nick A. Verreos, a past president of PIA National (1986), passed away on September 22, 2017. Verreos started the Verreos Insurance Agency in 1956 from scratch with a storefront office in San Francisco’s Mission District. Retiring after 53 years, the agency, now in Brisbane, California, is in its 61st year.
    “Nick was a very dynamic member, national director and PIA National President,” said Patricia A. Borowski, PIA National senior vice president emeritus. “He loved life, his wife, Adrian, and he loved PIA. He was so proud of what PIA meant and did for the individual PIA agency owner, and the positive impact PIA made to improving the industry.”

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  • PIA Praises NFIP Relief in Disaster Bill

    October 31, 2017

    President Donald Trump signed into law a $36.5 billion disaster aid bill that contains $16 billion in debt forgiveness for the National Flood Insurance Program. The relief package, which includes funds for recovery from hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, was approved by the House on October 12. The package, H.R. 2266, was passed in the Senate on October 24.

    PIA issued a statement praising the NFIP debt forgiveness, which will allow the NFIP to continue to pay claims, as it had already reached its borrowing limit. PIA is continuing to work with Congress to provide a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP that recognizes the vital role independent insurance agents play in delivering the program to policyholders. Authorization for the flood insurance program is currently set to expire on December 8.

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  • Insurance Can Take the Scream Out of Halloween

    October 31, 2017

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    Halloween can be a fright when trick-or-treaters flock to your property. But taking reasonable steps to safeguard your home and having the right homeowners’ or renters’ insurance makes it easier to get into the spirit of things, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

    READ: Share PIA’s Halloween Safety Tips with Your Clients

    Your homeowners’ or renters’ policy provides financial protection for a number of disasters, whether they occur on Halloween or any other day of the year, but homeowners should take reasonable steps to prevent injury or property damage, as well as confirm that they have the right type of insurance.

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  • PIA National, National Underwriter and Flasp?hler Research to present the 2018 Independent Agent Survey

    October 11, 2017

    Survey will provide unprecedented insight into agents’ needs.

    Following the success of 2017’s Independent Agent Survey, National Underwriter Property & Casualty, in cooperation with the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) and Flaspöhler Research, will continue that partnership with a new survey.

    Findings from the 2018 National Underwriter/PIA Independent Agent Survey will provide deep, revealing insight into the challenges, needs, and demographics of independent Property & Casualty insurance agents across the U.S.

    Renowned intelligence firm Flaspöhler, with which National Underwriter has enjoyed a decade-long editorial relationship, has long conducted an annual study of agents on behalf of key P&C carriers, which use the results to help them best meet agent needs. Beginning this week, the expanded 2018 questionnaire — crafted by Flaspöhler, PIA, NU and P&C carriers — is being distributed to NU’s proprietary lists of independent agents nationwide as well as PIA’s national membership.

    The results of this project will be shared in print and online as a data-rich cover feature of charts, graphs and editorial analysis in National Underwriter’s February print edition, as well as on PropertyCasualty360.com and in PIA’s member magazine, PIA Connection.

    “We are proud to once again conduct this survey that is regarded as an authoritative benchmark and empowers independent agents to share with the entire P&C industry exactly what’s on their minds,” said Shawn Moynihan, National Underwriter’s Editor-in-Chief. “Our alliance with PIA in this effort will help us all gain broader perspective on the needs of the people who sell P&C products every day, and will help inform our editorial coverage going forward as we continue to serve them.”

    “PIA is pleased to once again partner with National Underwriter and Flaspöhler in this groundbreaking survey, the size and scope of which provides our industry with the most comprehensive and accurate picture of what professional independent insurance agents need to best serve their P&C clients,” said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker. “Independent agents are the preferred distribution system for P&C products. Results of this survey will help them stay on top.”

    Independent agents can look for the e-mail invitation to the survey link beginning this week.

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  • NCOIL Tribute to the Late Don Flanders

    October 11, 2017

    Don Flanders

    The National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) offered a tribute to PIA of New Hampshire National Director Donald “Don” Flanders, 82, who passed away on September 28, 2017. A member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives since 2000, Flanders was also a member of NCOIL representing PIA since 2003. In the most recent NCOIL Newsletter, NCOIL Leadership shared thoughts on the occasion of Don’s passing.

    “Don was a diligent legislator who served multiple roles at NCOIL, including Vice Chair of the Audit Committee and multiple policy committees,” said Kentucky State Rep. Steve Riggs, NCOIL President. “He brought the insurance policy perspective from his state and we will miss him greatly.”

    “Don was an astute gentleman and at the core of NCOIL for a very long time, and will be missed on both sides of the Connecticut river,” said Vermont State Rep. Bill Botzow, NCOIL Secretary.

    “Rep. Flanders was a leader among the ranks of the nation’s insurance legislators, and he will be sorely missed,” said Commissioner Tom Considine, NCOIL CEO. “Additionally, Don was a man who ranked family as his top priority, something we at NCOIL respected tremendously. Our then-President asked Don to take on a more formal, permanent leadership role last year, but Don passed because he did not want to miss more time from his family. He was a good man who did great things.”

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  • Longtime PIA Leader Don Flanders Dies

    October 4, 2017

    Don Flanders

    Longtime PIA of New Hampshire National Director Donald “Don” Haven Flanders, 82, passed away on Thursday, September 28, 2017, surrounded by his loving family.

    Don joined PIA (then the National Association of Mutual Insurance Agents – NAMIA) in 1960, shortly after he graduated from Bentley College with a degree in accounting and started his insurance career at the Byse Agency in 1952. Don became owner of the Byse Agency Inc. of Laconia in 1976 and served as chairman of its board until his passing. He held the CIC, CPCU and CPIA designations.

    Active as a PIA volunteer for well over half a century, he held nearly every volunteer position in the association. Don was a Board member of PIA National from 1988 until his passing, serving with distinction in numerous positions of responsibility.

    A member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives since 2000, he was also a member of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) from 2003, and served on both until his death. He was also a member of the New Hampshire Reinsurance Facility board and a member of New Hampshire Auto Assigned Risk Plan board, both from 1982 until his passing.

    Don was an active PIA Board member until his death, most recently representing PIA of New Hampshire during the recent PIA National Board and committee meetings in Minneapolis, Minnesota Sept. 13-16, 2017.

    “Don was a genuine gentleman,” said PIA National President-elect Keith Savino. “I am honored to have been able to work with him on a national level for about 15 years. PIA was only one portion of the life of a very giving man. His presence was always welcome, his opinions professional and respected. He was someone to admire, a truly great man.”

    “My heart aches to hear this news,” said past PIA National President Donna Pile. “Don was such an integral part of PIA when I was serving. Blessings to his family as he passes the torch to the next generation. He will be well remembered in our hearts at PIA.”

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  • PIA?s Keith Savino Receives AUGIE Award

    September 27, 2017

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    PIA National incoming President-elect and insurance technology leader Keith Savino has received an award from AUGIE, the Associations & User Groups Information Exchange. Savino, along with former ACORD board member Andy Fogarty, were both were recognized for their efforts in the creation of AUGIE many years ago, and their uninterrupted support of the industry group.

    The award was presented by Jim Armitage current chair of AUGIE, and Mike Skeele current vice chair (and Past PIA of New York President).

    Savino is a current AUGIE Executive Council Board Member, representing PIA National. PIA has been an active participant in this important industry group since its inception, and is the driver of the Buy Button campaign, which AUGIE supports.

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