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NAVIGATING THE HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE MEETING OCTOBER 22, 2013 INSIDE: • Presidents Message • Looking Back on Sandy • Overdraft Program Review


President’s Message President

So we are off to a great start for the 2013/2014 association year. I have to say I am so proud to work with such an engaged group of individuals on the board. If it were not for the involvement of my fellow board members and past presidents we would not be able to provide the resources and programs to our membership that we do. I hope that the upcoming months will show our members the board’s focus this year on providing them with the resources they need for the “In the moment issues” we all encounter.

Joanne Bentivegna nnn

One issue that is in the now is Obama Care. We are ready. On October 22nd we are holding a meeting with Keith Zuckerman of Professional Group Plans, one of the Islands best speakers on the subject. He will let us know what we need to be doing right now for our clients and our agencies to navigate through the Obama Care transition set to occur in the first quarter of 2014. We are also trying to address the issues we are all encountering with National Flood Program and the requirement for new Flood Elevation Certificates.



the President’s Message cont’d We are speaking with the Suffolk County Land Surveyors Association to create a resource for our members and clients of where to go to get the required survey completed. More to come on this shortly. I encourage you , our members, to let us know what else we can be doing to enhance our organization and provide you help during the year. If you have any recommendations I encourage you to share them with us and in return we will do our best to address your ideas when the board meets to discuss how we enhance our members experience. In return we ask that you also give back to your association by participating in our programs, joining us in Albany and Washington DC for our legislative trips and donating to Insure-Pac. I promised this year to keep it short and sweet , so that’s all folks – till the next time.




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Come Learn About the Affordable Care Act and How It Will Affect Your Business by Stephen Testa

On Tuesday October 22nd, the Independent Agents & Brokers of

Suffolk County will host an informative luncheon at Paces Steak House on Route 347 in Hauppauge. Our featured speaker will be Keith Zuckerman, the President of Professional Group Plans. Keith spoke about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at one of our lunch meetings a couple of months ago and it was such a success that we have asked him back to continue where he left off. To our good fortune and benefit, he graciously accepted the offer.

Keith Zuckerman is known as a leader in the health insurance industry

and he serves on many of the major carrier’s advisory boards. Keith draws from a vast array of knowledge and experience and is a dynamic speaker who tells it like it is. In addition to running the day to day operation of Professional Group Plans (PGP), Keith is their top sales producer as well. Since becoming President of PGP in 2002, sales have increased every year under his leadership and PGP is currently doing almost $3 billion in annual sales.

The exchanges are up and running and Healthcare Reform is here.

The brokers and agents among us that actively write health insurance have a great responsibility to their clients and to the general public to be as knowledgeable as they can about the topic and the ACA in particular. This is going to be one meeting that you do not want to miss! 6

IIABSC MEETING NOTICE Tuesday, October 22, 2013 Navigating the Health Insurance Exchange HOW DOES IT EFFECT YOUR AGENCY, YOUR CLIENTS, YOUR EMPLOYEES? ARE YOU PREPARED? Come hear Keith Zuckerman, one of the most renown regional experts on the Insurance Exchanges. As President of Professional Group Plans Inc. he will share the issues we must be aware of in order to communicate with our clients and employees.


PACE’S Steakhouse 325 Nesconset Highway, Hauppauge, NY


12:00 pm 12:15 pm


$55.00 per person - ALL ARE INVITED.

Registration Lunch and Program

Reservations must be in by October 15th

Seating is Limited Pre-registration required Registration questions? Contact Jeanne Abatelli 516-681-6265 - REGISTER ON-LINE AT OR Complete and mail the form with your check. Attach additional names on a separate sheet of paper.

Reservation for 10/22/13 Name: ______________________________________________________Tel: ________________________________ Agency/Co,____________________________________________ E-Mail: ___________________________________ Enclosed is my check in the amount of $____________ payable to IIABSC. Return this form with a check payable to “IIABSC” to: Jeanne Abatelli 150 Dartmouth Drive Hicksville, NY 11801

Do you want to be certified to sell through the Exchange? ✦

Be a licensed health insurance producer in NY (LA, LB, PC & BR licenses) Attend NY DFS required 7 hour Certification Course & must pass a 50 question final exam You will receive 8 CE Credits towards the renewal of your license Course Tuition: $100.00

Date & Time To be determined in November If Interested Contact Jimm Paull Telephone: 718-454-2022

Lessons Learned from Sandy by Aaron J. Stein, CPCU, CFP

Last year's Sandy storm (hard to believe it's

been almost a year already) will likely go down as our generation's Hurricane of '38. Most of us have never experienced anything like it and hope we never do again. One of the most important things we as agents can and must be doing these days as we finally crawl out from under the claims, is to think carefully about what went wrong and what went right. Although we may not ever have Aaron J. Stein, CPCU, CFP

another storm of this magnitude, future storms will have less trouble causing damage for a long time to come because of the many changes wrought by



Hopefully for many of us, Sandy confirmed

that we are doing some things very right. For instance, at a Suffolk Agents' meeting just a week or two before the storm, one of our Board members said she prints out a complete list of her clients regularly in case power goes down. Sounds simple but I went back to the office and did that


immediately, and it proved invaluable to us as we reported claims without our management system available to us. Of course, had we been using an online version of our system, we would have had even more info, but as it was, the list kept us focused and the claims were reported directly on the company web sites. The storm did NOT cause me to review my choice to continue to keep my data locally.

Getting the above and much more info from that meeting also pointed up

what I already know, the importance of staying active with our association. Only a few of us showed up for that meeting, but we learned a tremendous amount from our guests including public adjusters and emergency recovery experts.

Another thing that I learned that may be a little unique to our office was

about having a generator. I had been thinking of installing a generator system in our office. After Sandy, we had no electricity or gas, meaning no heat either. My home, on the other hand, is about a mile and a half away, most of that straight north so we were a little further from the water. At home we never lost any of our utilities, so I had everybody come there and work on our 3 laptops and my home desktop. We opened the morning after the storm and were able to get every claim reported daily. So my decision changed to installing a generator at my home instead. Now I know what our go-to plan would be next time.

One thing that was confirmed to me that we are doing correctly is having

proper applications, sign-offs, and notes for all clients. This applies to other things than just windstorm deductibles and choosing not to buy contents on a


flood policy, so the lesson here is to look around and tighten up on some of the areas where people don't want to pay but want to be covered. Which is pretty much everything. Keep good records and you will sleep better at night.

While we were reviewing our procedures about the sign-offs and

documentation above, we also reviewed our communications hardware setup. Our phone setup worked as well as could be expected. I was easily able to have calls forwarded to my home phone so we were able to get calls. And my staff was all able to use their cell phones to call people back. So I reviewed what equipment we used and what networks it connects to (cable, electric, cellular...). In the case of Sandy, we had cable, and somewhat spotty but overall acceptable cellular service. So just in case next time cable was down also, which does not seem so far-fetched, I will have another option. I added a cellular modem to my Verizon wireless. The unit was free but adds $20 a month to your cellular bill. But as long as there is cellular service, the modem can serve as a wireless hotspot for up to 8 computers.

I could go on with specifics, and all of you readers would have their own

specifics. This may be the subject of an upcoming Suffolk Agents' meeting. But in closing, I will say that the biggest thing I learned was that we, as agents, DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE in situations like this. A HUGE difference. Most of us in the association did a terrific job for their customers in assisting with claims while also being part of community efforts to recover. In my town, at least, the same could not be said of some agents, mostly other than Independent Agents.


We pride ourselves on selling a product that helps people get their lives

back after something bad happens. This was the worst thing that will happen to many of these folks, outside of losing a family member. Agents like our members took this situation in the best way possible, an opportunity to show our clients just why they need us.

And as we continue the recovery, the advice of a good agent has become

even more important. The property market is changing rapidly, and the Biggert Waters flood act has changed flood insurance dramatically. If we educate ourselves and use that knowledge to help customers make their best decisions, then it is and will continue to be a great time to be an Independent Agent.


Oktoberfest by David H. Borg

On October 24th the Nextgen will be having

an Oktoberfest themed networking event to celebrate the fall season. The event will be held at The Black Forest Brew Haus located in Farmingdale. Participates can enjoy a taste of German cuisine along with authentic German style beer. David H. Borg nnn

Nextgen networking events have been a great

place for insurance professionals under the age of 40 (not strictly enforced) to get together and develop the relationships that make the insurance industry so great. Attendees can converse with like minded individuals about their struggles and victories that we all face on a day to day basis.

This networking event is a great way to

expand your professional and social network.


Oktoberfest Continues with Next Gens Raise your mug with friends & colleagues for a night of fun… or should we say ‘freunds & kolleges’

October 24th

Black Forest Brew Haus 2015 New Highway, Farmingdale 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. | $30 pp includes open bar & light fare

Sponsored by

Click here for full details & registration


Big “I” CE Classes on L.I. IIABNY SEMINAR CALENDAR – Remainder of 2013 held in Suffolk, Nassau, and Queens The following seminars will be held at Belfor Restoration in Ronkonkoma, NY unless noted otherwise. 10/22/13 10/29/13

New ISO GL changes E&O Risk Management

The following seminars will be held at Four Points Sheraton in Plainview(Pl) or LaQuinta Inn & Suites in Garden City (GC). 10/16/13 10/23/13 10/30/13 11/13/13 12/10/13

Personal Lines Related (ACSR Mod #3)..................................................Pl SHOP NY Health Benefit Exchange Certificate Course......................Pl E&O Risk Management…….. ...............................................................GC Retirement Planning (ACSR Mod #11)...................................................Pl Principals of Insurance (AAI-81A)..........................................................Pl

The following seminar will be held at Adria Hotel, Bayside, Queens 10/23/13 10/25/13

New ISO GL changes NYAIP Certification Program ..............................................(Half day-am)

For a complete schedule and registration form, log on to Go to the ‘Education’ link and click ‘Ed Calendar. For more information, call IIABNY’s Education Department at 1-800-962-7950.



On Tuesday, September 24th, The Travelers

Institute hosted a presentation that explored the depth and impact of America’s debt crisis at the federal and state levels.

The title of the program was

“OVERDRAFT” which defined by the Webster dictionary literally means overdrawing of a bank account or to draw checks on a bank account for Laura Senn nnn

MORE than the balance.

America’s debt is the number one economic

crisis facing the country today and is now eclipsing at $16 trillion, which according to the documentary, would take 32,000 years to repay.

It was an eye opening documentary which

gave the viewers a better understanding of how the federal debt affects their daily lives. You could hear a pin drop in the room and more importantly, jaws


dropping as the documentary outlined the seriousness of this issue.

Every person in that room had an interest in what was being revealed and

examined the choices that will have to be made to manage this problem both professionally and personally.

It was an eye opening topic which left the audience with keen awareness

and frustrated because there was no apparent solution. It’s not a problem that can be solved overnight since it has taken us decades to get us to where we are today.

As an American we have to rely on our own resources and we have to

make better choices. We have to take a hard look on our dependency of foreign


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Note your calendar now to attend this big event. ********************************** INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENTS AND BROKERS OF SUFFOLK COUNTY Annual Holiday Party will take place on THURSDAY, December 5, 2013 At the Villa Lombardi’s Holbrook, NY

products and find ways of living within our own budget. We have to get involved and become aware.

As an independent agent, we may at times feel helpless, but we need to be

conscious of our clients and their struggles within this economy and do what we can to help them.

Someone said to me once that “Nothing is for certain other than nothing is

for certain” and that certainly rings true today.


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You Helped Make-A-Wish Come True by Julie MacConnell

Craig was just a child at only 9 years old, but that didn't stop a

potentially fatal brain condition from taking hold of his body. His wish, to leave the chaos of hospitals and treatment and go to Walt Disney World. His wish was granted. Now eight years have passed, two brain surgeries and this first-in-his-class senior had another wish, to give someone else theirs.

Douglas is 6. He is very sick. What does he wish for? To meet Mickey,

Minnie and the gang.

So Craig had an idea. He went to the Make-A-Wish Suffolk chapter, the

people who granted his wish. Craig wanted to create a walk with them in hopes of raising enough money to pay it forward. And…success! His walk gave Douglas his wish and raised more than $30,000, ensuring many other wishes too.

So, why share this beautiful story? Because whether or not you knew it,

you had a hand in it. Trusted Choice®, working on your behalf, was the main sponsor of this race. A contributor who helped make the event possible.

It doesn't stop there. Over the next few months, we will be sponsoring

Make-A-Wish events throughout the state. Events like this one and the upcoming Ms. Orange Fan Luncheon in CNY. Trusted Choice is granting us


the money to make this possible, to allow us to help others while showing what it means to be Trusted Choice.

In closing, we'll share the moment Douglas found out his wish was being

granted. Standing in front of Mickey, Minnie and the gang, Fairy Godmother asked "Douglas, which character are you most excited to see in Disney World?" Douglas paused, looked at each one of them, then seeming not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings said, "all of them."


Make A Wish






Golf Outing Sponsors Event Sponsors SERVPRO of Port Jefferson

Dinner Sponsors MAPFRE Insurance SERVPRO of the East End Tower Group/Adirondack Insurance

Hole In One Sponsor Utica National Insurance

Golf Tee Sponsors Adirondack Insurance Interboro Insurance Company MAPFRE Insurance Company Merchants Insurance Group NIF Group NYCM Paul Davis Restoration Service Insurance Company SERVPRO of Port Jefferson SERVPRO of the East End Total Restoration Tower Group Companies Travelers Please remember these companies support our association, please help support them whenever possible! Visit our sponsor’s website by clicking their name above.









Publication Staff EDITOR: Don Hester PRODUCER: Jeanne Abatelli COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE: Aaron Stein, David H. Borg, John Glennon, Eric Keiffert , Laura Senn, and Jeanne Abatelli. AD SALES/SPONSORSHIPS: Jeanne Abatelli -


the Editor’s Feedback by Don J. Hester


If I were able to raise my income without

consideration of the cost to  others who brought in and created  the income, borrow unlimited amounts and print extra  money to pay back  loans, got entitlement s like lifetime  medical  at no cost to me, would I have much incentive to take care of my customers, or if I was a politicians, the electorate?  If I were a politician, would it matter if I was voted out of office when the “party” that supported me

Don Hester nnn

would find me employment in the civil servant ranks until I could run again ?

In a democratic society should a politician

represent his constituency if he has no idea of what they face and is possibly more concerned with getting reelection funds than representation?

I am no longer a politician. I was an elected

officer of NY state for over thirty years, albeit a very minor official. So minor that I received no income from representing my fire district, although


Editor’s Feedback con’t statutorily it showed I had an annual income of $100 so I was covered for workers comp. I liked that . No party to be beholden to, no backroom deals. I was voted in or out and I represented my community . School boards do the same. I hold them in equal respect.

As I write this, the

elected leaders have shut down the national parks, museums etc. I am glad I got to visit so many this past summer. I feel sorry for the kids who travel across the country to visit DC and can’t get into the federal museums while the people who “represent” us sit in the capital building at the end of the mall, collecting full pay and benefits, adept at blaming someone else


Editor’s Feedback con’t for the nation’s problems.

I get tired of the government treating me like a second class citizen

because I wanted to be a businessman, get rewarded if I performed well and lose money if I didn’t. Because I own a business I can’t keep money in my investment accounts  after I reach a certain age but must withdraw  a percentage when I don’t need it[ so I may not have it when I do. I don’t follow the logic unless it is to punish the entrepreneurs.  If I saved and scrimped and set aside money for retirement, they apparently feel  I may have set aside too much so there is also a  move afoot to curtail repayment of my social security benefits. After all I have savings why should I collect back what I paid? Instead it was squandered by my representatives, who spent it instead of investing it!

There is a need  for change .

Taxes need to be simplified.

Mandates from legislators need to be funded by those legislators making

the legislation, paying for the benefits and not passing the payment responsibilities to others . But they haven’t done this in my state . They have “borrowed “ and effectively stripped out so many of the reserves that many government promises may be words without money to back it up.

For example: In our business customers are supposed to feel safe if their

insurance carrier goes under. We have a NY state guarantee fund . Has


Editor’s Feedback con’t anyone looked at what assets are available in that fund to pay for a current carrier demise? One must be very careful when questioning solvency as there are strongly worded laws involved. I am just suggesting you look! Draw your own conclusions

What about State Funds reserves for claims?

What about pension funds at the governmental level. Are they secured

by real assets or politicians IOU’s? When one sees the agonies abroad caused by reckless government spending and failure to govern one can only hope it can’t happen here.

What can we do? We tried Term limitations to force politicians out of

office but do they return to mainstream America where they might learn about reality? Do they?

I think we need to consider some changes:

Redo the voting districts and stop the political gerrymandering that has

destroyed districts. Incumbents need to represent their constituents not merely follow the party line to insure favored son status and reelection.

Given the limited time they spend working compared to political fund

raising, perhaps the lifetime pensioning needs to go, and have a prohibition of reentering the government workforce  the so called civil servants of our country. Or at least  not allowing double dipping social security and federal

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Editor’s Feedback con’t pensions would bring them to the realities of the nonpolitical or nongovernmental working force we live in.

This hole or vacancy in representation caused by term limits would

encourage new candidates to run and represent us, really represent us.

Perhaps eliminate politician eligibility for federal health programs. Might

it encourage some corrections to the health care systems we now face and which they have no awareness of ? I am a great believer in having some skin in the game! Would some of the problems get fixed sooner if our elected officials had to navigate the system like we do?

Since no elected official is knowingly going to curtail their own benefits

they should look to establishing restrictions for the future. They are good at kicking the can down the road.

Sadly we as a nation also must take some hits. Raising the eligible age for

retirement social security is inevitable to keep it solvent. Making the tax apply to total income for all contributors will also help. An even more radical Idea is to phase out government pensions. Make Social security the law of the land for ALL workers. This will go a long way of eliminating the elitist civil servant and politician benefits  package which can then be double dipped if they also work a little outside the realm of government . There may need to be some special considerations for the military

Editor’s Feedback con’t

Legislation limiting or capping the pain and suffering  part of

malpractice claims will reduce health insurance costs. I don’t believe my pain can be expressed in dollars any more than yours and my pain shouldn’t be compensated any differently than yours because I have a  more lenient jury or a better lawyer. Real expenses and real projections of costs are fine but  not the pain .It is too intangible.

I wonder what effect that type of legislation could have had on medical

costs if the elected didn’t spend so much time posturing .

I have hoped for years that the self-serving lawyers in the NY legislature 

would stop making their fellow lawyers life simple and do away with the scaffold laws, stop taking care of number one and do what is right for the contractors

Another idea. Some countries punish voters who don’t vote. I would love

to see a variation on that in the USA. It disgusts me that we have elected officials who had far less than half the population they serve vote for them. Force the electorate to vote by rewards or punishments and don’t let any politician assume office until they get more than half of the votes. Now that’s democracy!!! Let those in office stay until a replacement gets an honest majority. Most are career politicians and won’t mind that at all I suspect.

We are still the greatest country in the world but I really fear we need

some real leaders to change our course. 35

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IIABSC 150 Dartmouth Dr. Hicksville, NY 11801

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Suffolk Magazine Sep/Oct 2013  
Suffolk Magazine Sep/Oct 2013  

All the news for Suffolk County Insurance Agents