Industry News

  • The Hartford Is Here to Help

    September 27, 2017

    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.

    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, prepare for a visit by an adjuster and better understand the NFIP remapping process.

    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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  • Auto-Owners Named PIA 2017 Company of the Year

    September 20, 2017

    Auto-Owners and Gary

    PIA has named Auto-Owners Insurance Company as the recipient of its prestigious 2017 Company Award of Excellence. The presentation was made on September 15, 2017 at a gala ceremony held in conjunction with PIA’s Board of Directors meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    “Auto-Owners is highly deserving of this, our association’s highest company honor,” said PIA National President Gary Blackwell, in presenting the award. “For independent agents, Auto-Owners is a true partner. Many of us have placed Auto-Owners Insurance high among the carriers we represent. There are many good reasons for this: Financial strength and stability. Excellent service. Superior products. Unparalleled quality. And ease of doing business.”

    The PIA National Company Award of Excellence honors a company for its commitment to PIA, to the American Agency System and to furthering the interests of professional insurance agents by creating a better business environment.

    “We are honored and humbly accept this award on behalf of the associates of Auto-Owners that make such awards possible,” said Chairman & CEO Jeff Harrold, who along with Mary Pierce, senior vice president, marketing & sales, was on hand for the presentation.

    “In our 101-year history, we have marketed exclusively through the independent agency system and see no reason to change. Like the PIA, whose focus is on enhancing the capabilities and skills of their members, we have found the better we serve our agents, the mutually stronger we become.”

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  • Protect Your Agency with PIA Cyber Insurance

    September 20, 2017

    Many small business owners may not think they need cyber liability coverage, but small businesses are extremely vulnerable to security threats. That’s why PIA is excited to announce a cyber insurance program that responds to the most common threats facing small and mid-sized businesses.

    After evaluating carriers, PIA partnered with ABA Insurance Services and selected Great American E&S Insurance Company (rated A+ by A.M. Best) as the premier carrier for the PIA cyber insurance program.

    The policy covers risks such as social engineering, funds transfer fraud, ransomware, network interruption, data breach, network security, and media liability. Coverage is now 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.

    Later in the fall, PIA members will be able to sell the coverage to their clients as well.

    To learn more about cyber insurance coverage contact your local PIA Affiliate or if you are an agent in CO, DE, IL, MA, OK, PA, RI, SD, WV or Guam click here.

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  • Congress Votes Short Term Extension of NFIP; PIA Statement

    September 11, 2017

    On Friday Sept. 8, the U.S. House followed action the previous day by the Senate, approving a short-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The temporary extension of the NFIP—which was to expire on Sept. 30—was part of a deal brokered by President Trump that included a three-month agreement to fund the federal government and lift the debt ceiling until Dec. 8, along with a $15.3 billion hurricane aid package.

    After the House vote, PIA issued a statement praising the NFIP extension.

    “We view this short-term extension as a chance for Congress to provide taxpayers with the financial stability such a program requires by passing an essential long-term reauthorization of the NFIP. It has become apparent during this historic hurricane season that far too few homeowners have flood insurance, a situation that must be changed,” said PIA National Vice President of Government Relations Jon Gentile.

    Our statement also noted PIA remains opposed to a flood legislative package that passed out of the House Financial Services Committee earlier this year, because it would lower the reimbursement rate paid to NFIP carriers, who reimburse independent agents who sell the policies from that rate.

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  • PIA Announces Disaster Fund to Assist Texas Victims of Hurricane Harvey

    August 31, 2017

    WASHINGTON — The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) is raising funds to provide relief grants to Main Street business owners who were adversely impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

    The PIA Disaster Relief Fund, a project of the PIA Insurance Foundation, is soliciting charitable donations to provide relief grants to Main Street businesses that may be facing gaps in the insurance coverages or other assistance available to them. Grants are available in areas of Texas covered by Federal or state declarations of disaster related to the flooding events that resulted from Hurricane Harvey.

    “We are witnessing one of our nation’s most devastating natural catastrophes,” said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker. “PIA of Texas members are already doing what independent agents do—helping their clients in a time of need.”  Becker said PIA has a long history of providing charitable disaster assistance to Main Street business owners.

    “When disasters strike, PIA members are there to help,” Becker said. “The PIA Insurance Foundation is proud to do its part to help people in Texas recover from these floods. Our hearts go out to the people of Texas in this trying time.”

    To Donate to the PIA Relief Fund:


    To Apply for a PIA Relief Grant:
    /docs/2017/piadisasterfundapplication2017

    For questions, information, or additional donation methods, please email: IFDisasterReliefFund@pianet.org.

    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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  • Show Everyone You Are a PIA Member!

    August 23, 2017

    When it comes to marketing you and your business make sure you place the PIA member logo on all of your business materials—website, business cards, letterhead, signage, promotional materials, etc.

    Show your clients you’ve taken the initiative to join an organization that will help educate and guide you in all of your insurance journeys.

    There is no cost to use the logo and they may be reproduced by all current PIA members as permitted and specified in the guidelines for using PIA logos. Download yours today.

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  • NAIC Urges Renewal of NFIP

    August 1, 2017

    NFIP2

    The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) issued a letter to Senate Banking Committee and House Finance Committee leadership urging lawmakers to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) before its expiration. “The NAIC stands ready to work with Congress to support a long-term reauthorization,” said NAIC CEO Mike Consedine.

    READ: PIA Supports NFIP Reauthorization

    The NAIC also issued support for the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act (S. 563), which would allow states to remove private flood insurance restrictions, helping insurers to provide coverage that would serve as a market alternative to the NFIP. The bill would allow states to remove private flood insurance restrictions, helping insurers to provide coverage that would serve as a market alternative to the NFIP.

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  • Last Chance to Make a PIA Award Nomination

    July 25, 2017

    You still have a few days left to submit a nomination for a fall PIA National award!

    The deadline to make a nomination for one of the PIA National Fall Awards has been extended to Thursday July 27, 2017.

    Nominations for the Company Award of Excellence, Managing General Agency of the Year and Excellence in Social Media* awards may be submitted by individual PIA member agents, as well as PIA state and regional affiliate associations. Nominations for the Company Representative of the Year are made solely by PIA state and regional associations. National-only members may submit nominations for the Company Representative of the Year award.

    All four awards will be presented during a luncheon ceremony on September 15, 2017, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, held in conjunction with PIA’s 2017 Fall Governance Meetings.

    Nomination forms are available at /awards For questions or additional information on the awards, contact Sade Hale at awards@pianet.org or (703) 518-1350.


    (*) Agencies may nominate themselves for a Social Media award.

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  • Across State Lines: Myth vs. Reality

    July 25, 2017

    Recently, President Donald Trump said that by allowing insurers to sell health plans across state lines, “your premiums will be down 60 and 70 percent.” The president made the claim during remarks before a luncheon on July 19 with Republican senators to talk about legislative efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

    In a “myth vs. reality” fact sheet, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) said the idea that cross-state sales would bring about lower premiums was a “myth.” It said the reality is: “Interstate sales will start a race to the bottom by allowing companies to choose their regulator,” allowing insurers to target the healthiest consumers. “While those individuals in pristine health may be able to find cheaper policies, everyone else would face steep premium hikes if they can find coverage at all,” the NAIC wrote.

    PIA opposes allowing health insurance sales across state lines, because doing so would strip states of their regulatory authority over insurance and undermine the foundation on which state regulation of insurance is based. “All insurance is local,” said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker. “This is especially true of health insurance … permitting the designation of any one state as regulator for all states would, in essence, impose a one-size-fits-all solution dictated by Washington, D.C.—which, ironically, has been one of the main criticisms of the ACA.”


    READ: Small Businesses Split Over Republican Health Plans

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  • Prepare for a More Active Hurricane Season

    July 18, 2017

    With the increase in hurricanes expected this season, experts say small business owners and property owners need to assess how well they are prepared for losses from major storms. Colorado State University forecasters have increased their predictions for this hurricane season to include 15 named storms, eight of which will become hurricanes.

    READ: Forecasters Revise Hurricane Predictions Upward

    To prepare, small business owners and property owners should ensure they have adequate insurance coverage and employ tactics to protect offices, homes, factories, and warehouses from wind, rain, and flooding. Business owners also should keep company information secure and protect employees. In addition, being prepared means a contingency plan is in place for running a business if its premises are destroyed or inaccessible, say experts.

     

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  • Deadline Extended for PIA Award Nominations!

    July 18, 2017

    The deadline to make a nomination for one of the PIA National Fall Awards has been extended to Thursday July 27, 2017.

    Nominations for the Company Award of Excellence, Managing General Agency of the Year and Excellence in Social Media* awards may be submitted by individual PIA member agents, as well as PIA state and regional affiliate associations. Nominations for the Company Representative of the Year are made solely by PIA state and regional associations. National-only members may submit nominations for the Company Representative of the Year award.

    All four awards will be presented during a luncheon ceremony on September 15, 2017, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, held in conjunction with PIA’s 2017 Fall Governance Meetings.

    Nomination forms are available at /awards For questions or additional information on the awards, contact Sade Hale at awards@pianet.org or (703) 518-1350.


    (*) Agencies may nominate themselves for a Social Media award.

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  • Call for PIA National Fall Award Nominations

    June 28, 2017

    PIA National is now accepting nominations for its four prestigious national awards: the Company Award of Excellence, Company Representative of the Year, Managing General Agency of the Year and Excellence in Social Media awards. Award nomination deadline is Monday, July 17, 2017.

    The PIA National Company Award of Excellence honors an insurance company that demonstrates a commitment to the American Agency System and seeks to further the interests of professional independent insurance agents by creating a better business environment. PIA places a very high value on its relationships with its carrier partners.

    PIA members as well as PIA state and regional affiliates may make nominations for this award.

    The PIA National Company Representative of the Year Award recognizes the professionalism and unique contributions of an outstanding company representative. Nominees are judged on their professional education, experience and ability; their contributions to the American Agency System in general and PIA in particular; their support of individual, independent insurance agents; their involvement in community affairs; and their performance as an industry spokesperson.

    Nominations for this award are made solely by PIA state and regional affiliates. However, national-only members may submit nominations for the Company Representative of the Year Award.

    The PIA National Managing General Agency of the Year Award is given annually to recognize the outstanding achievement of a managing general agency in furthering the interests of agents, along with a commitment to the agency system and successful efforts to create a better business environment for professional insurance agents.

    Nominations for this award are made by individual PIA members as well as PIA state and regional affiliate associations.

    The PIA National Excellence in Social Media Award honors a PIA member agency that uses non-traditional communication tools to effectively further the goals of the organization. An agency may use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs and other social media outlets to creatively promote programs, build upon an existing brand and introduce products and services to an expandable customer base.

    Nominations for this award are made by individual PIA members as well as PIA state and regional affiliate associations. The eighth annual Excellence in Social Media Award is sponsored by the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR).

    All four awards will be presented during a luncheon ceremony on September 15, 2017, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, held in conjunction with PIA’s 2017 Fall Governance Meetings.

    Nomination forms are available at /awards

    For questions or additional information on the awards, contact Sade Hale at awards@pianet.org or (703) 518-1350.

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  • PIA National Calls for Awards Nominations

    June 14, 2017

    PIA National is now accepting nominations for its four prestigious national awards: the Company Award of Excellence, Company Representative of the Year, Managing General Agency of the Year and Excellence in Social Media awards. Award nomination deadline is Monday, July 17, 2017.

    All four awards will be presented during a luncheon ceremony on September 15, 2017, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, held in conjunction with PIA’s 2017 Fall Governance Meetings.

    Nomination forms are available at /awards

    For questions or additional information on the awards, contact Sade Hale at awards@pianet.org or (703) 518-1350.

    Learn More

  • PIA National Announces Call for Fall Award Nominations

    June 7, 2017

    PIA National is now accepting nominations for its four prestigious national awards: the Company Award of Excellence, Company Representative of the Year, Managing General Agency of the Year and Excellence in Social Media awards. Award nomination deadline is Monday, July 17, 2017.

    The PIA National Company Award of Excellence honors an insurance company that demonstrates a commitment to the American Agency System and seeks to further the interests of professional independent insurance agents by creating a better business environment. PIA places a very high value on its relationships with its carrier partners.

    PIA members as well as PIA state and regional affiliates may make nominations for this award.

    The PIA National Company Representative of the Year Award recognizes the professionalism and unique contributions of an outstanding company representative. Nominees are judged on their professional education, experience and ability; their contributions to the American Agency System in general and PIA in particular; their support of individual, independent insurance agents; their involvement in community affairs; and their performance as an industry spokesperson.

    Nominations for this award are made solely by PIA state and regional affiliates. However, national-only members may submit nominations for the Company Representative of the Year Award.

    The PIA National Managing General Agency of the Year Award is given annually to recognize the outstanding achievement of a managing general agency in furthering the interests of agents, along with a commitment to the agency system and successful efforts to create a better business environment for professional insurance agents.

    Nominations for this award are made by individual PIA members as well as PIA state and regional affiliate associations.

    The PIA National Excellence in Social Media Award honors a PIA member agency that uses non-traditional communication tools to effectively further the goals of the organization. An agency may use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs and other social media outlets to creatively promote programs, build upon an existing brand and introduce products and services to an expandable customer base.

    Nominations for this award are made by individual PIA members as well as PIA state and regional affiliate associations. The eighth annual Excellence in Social Media Award is sponsored by the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR).

    All four awards will be presented during a luncheon ceremony on September 15, 2017, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, held in conjunction with PIA’s 2017 Fall Governance Meetings.

    Nomination forms are available at /awards


    For questions or additional information on the awards, contact Sade Hale at awards@pianet.org

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  • Savino: Put These ?Sacred Cows? Out to Pasture

    May 17, 2017

    PIA National Vice President/Treasurer Keith Savino thinks there are several agency technology “sacred cows” that would best be made into burgers. In an article in PC360, Savino asserts that small to midsized agencies could — if they embraced new tools — compete toe-to-toe with the larger players in their markets. He says that process involves putting five sacred cows out to pasture once and for all. Read Keith Savino’s article here.

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  • ACA Replacement Could See House Vote This Week

    March 21, 2017

    Republican leaders are expected to bring legislation to the House floor this week that would repeal and replace pieces of Obamacare even as they work to gain needed support of key GOP holdouts. The bill, the American Health Care Act, could come to the floor as early as Thursday.

    Republican leaders didn’t have the votes last week to pass the measure even after President Donald Trump attempted to entice conservatives opposing some of the bill’s measures. GOP leaders can afford to lose no more than 21 votes in the chamber, presuming all Democrats vote against the bill.

    While seeking to boost support for the bill, Republican lawmakers also are moving ahead with additional legislation as part of their broader plan to put new health policy in place. These bills would need 60 votes to clear procedural hurdles in the Senate, whereas the American Health Care Act would need only a simple majority in the Senate.

    READ: PIA Opposes Health Insurance Sales Across State Lines


    The full House is expected to vote on the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017  H.R. 372, which would remove an exemption for health insurance companies under the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act, which exempts the business of insurance from federal antitrust laws to the extent it is regulated by a state. Insurance industry groups have argued that the measure would reduce competition, threaten state regulation of insurance and potentially harm health insurance markets.

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  • PIA Opposes Health Insurance Across State Lines

    March 14, 2017

    House Speaker Paul Ryan said a second healthcare bill will be moved in tandem with the American Health Care Act, Ryan-led legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The second bill will include a provision allowing insurers to sell health insurance policies across state lines. The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) opposes this provision because it would strip states of their regulatory authority over insurance and undermine the foundation on which state regulation of insurance is based.

    Allowing health insurance to be effectively exempt from state regulation by permitting insurers to pick their own regulator in one state—and by so doing, evade the requirements of all 49 other states—would, by federal edict, eviscerate local control.

    “All insurance is local,” said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker. “Permitting the designation of any one state as regulator for all states would, in essence, impose a one-size-fits-all solution dictated by Washington, D.C.—which, ironically, has been one of the main criticisms of the ACA.”

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  • Professional Insurance Agents Oppose Proposal to Allow Health Insurance Sales Across State Lines

    March 13, 2017

    Caution Against Continued Federal Encroachment Post-ACA

    WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan said a second healthcare bill will be moved in tandem with the American Health Care Act, Ryan-led legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The second bill will include a provision allowing insurers to sell health insurance policies across state lines. The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) opposes this provision because it would strip states of their regulatory authority over insurance and undermine the foundation on which state regulation of insurance is based.

    PIA is a steadfast supporter of the supervision and regulation of insurance by the states, and opposes all proposals to institute federal insurance regulation. State governors, legislators and regulators know best what will work in their unique markets, and what will not work. Allowing health insurance to be effectively exempt from state regulation by permitting insurers to pick their own regulator in one state—and by so doing, evade the requirements of all 49 other states—would, by federal edict, eviscerate local control.

    “All insurance is local,” said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker. “This is especially true of health insurance. Proposals that would preempt state authority and not allow states to form compacts among themselves effectively turn aside the collective expertise of the states. The path to constructing a replacement for the ACA should lead to more state control, not less. This proposal would transfer power from the states to the federal government.”

    “Permitting the designation of any one state as regulator for all states would, in essence, impose a one-size-fits-all solution dictated by Washington, D.C.—which, ironically, has been one of the main criticisms of the ACA,” 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 members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America SM. PIA’s web address is www.pianet.com.

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  • PIA on the Buy Button in Rough Notes

    March 7, 2017

    Buy Button

    The March 2017 issue of Rough Notes magazine has a feature article on the Buy Button as conceived by PIA. PIA National Vice President/Treasurer Keith Savino, a managing partner of Warwick Resource Group LLC, who is a former ACORD board member and current past chairman of NetVU (Network of Vertafore Users), is interviewed in the article.

    Savino advocates a concept called the Buy Button and is working with an initiative spearheaded by PIA, with initial support from ACORD, agency automation vendors, other agent associations, and insurers, all dedicated to providing independent agents access to a real-time binding process. PIA has launched a major initiative to promote the Buy Button.

    “PIA National took a leadership role,” says association Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Becker. “Part of the impetus was PIA Partnership research showing that commercial lines customers who prefer to do business with independent agents nevertheless want their agents to be fully capable, digitally.” PIA adopted a position in support of the concept, which has been endorsed by the American Insurance Marketing & Sales (AIMS) Society and NetVU, among other organizations. Read the full article.

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  • The PIA/NU Agent Survey Is Released

    March 7, 2017

     

    Survey

    More than a year ago, PIA began talks with the National Underwriter about joining together to conduct the most comprehensive and exhaustive survey of America’s independent agency force that has ever been attempted to date.

    Results of the National Underwriter/PIA Independent Agent Survey have now been released in the March 2017 issue of National Underwriter. Here is a link to the results as they appear in the magazine. On PC360.com online, selected results will be updated daily for the next two weeks. The findings provide revealing insight into the demographics, books of business and industry challenges of independent Property & Casualty insurance agents, as well as rankings of their most highly rated carriers.


    “This data will be useful to PIA, in developing our own strategies to help our members succeed, and to carriers in their dealings with their appointed agencies,” said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker. “The scope, breadth and depth of this study are truly significant,” Becker said. “Importantly, it probes just what agents need from their carriers to ensure mutual growth and profitability.”

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