INSIDE 2012 Election Report »7 PIA National: Reaction to the 2012 Election »11 A New Internet Marketing Initiative … AGORAGATE »24
SandY 1) Not a Hurricane? 2) The Post Now Not Hurricane — Hurricane 3) The National Flood Insurance Program »14
Ronald Von Haden PIA National Names New EVP »13
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November 2012 | Published Monthly
Insuring the Midlands Since 1891 Les Hileman, CPCU, AIC Vice President of Agencies 800-742-7433 email@example.com
1. Did you know that agents’ contingent commissions are once again being criticized? After some mega-brokers were barred from receiving contingent commissions because of alleged bid-rigging activities in 2004, some are saying such compensation poses a conflict of interest and should be eliminated industry wide. Since this became an issue in 2004, PIA has worked with regulators and fought — in the press and in court — for the right of carriers to reward their independent agent producers with common sense compensation, including contingent commissions, that is legal, ethical and transparent. 2. Did you know that PIA is working to ensure that independent insurance agents continue to have an important role in the sale of health insurance — and are fairly compensated — even after the health insurance exchanges mandated by recent legislation are created. 3. Did you know that PIA initiated a grassroots campaign to oppose the cap on crop insurance agents’ commissions that the USDA proposed earlier this year? Independent insurance agents’ compensation is under fire. Thankfully, independent agents have PIA looking out for them. We fight for member agents so they can continue to operate their businesses profitably today and tomorrow. By joining PIA you help ensure your future. Please consider joining PIA today. Contact us for a membership application or visit us at www.pianet.com/AboutUs/JoinPia.
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Top Stories 2012 Election Report | 7 The incredibly hard-fought elections of 2012 are now behind us. Insurance agents across the country will have a lot at stake in the coming years, which we’ll take a look at below. PIA National: Reaction to the 2012 Election | 11 PIA National President Andrew Harris has released a statement on the 2012 election. Three Leaders of National Association of Professional Insurance Agents Celebrate Election Victories in Legislative Races | 12 Three leaders of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) are celebrating election victories. Ronald Von Haden — PIA National Names New EVP | 13 Ronald “Ron” Von Haden, CIC, has been named Executive Vice President & CEO of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents — PIA National. Von Haden is currently the executive vice president of PIA of Wisconsin and will continue in that capacity when he assumes his new responsibilities in December. Hurricane Sandy | 14 1) Not a Hurricane? 2) The Post Now Not Hurricane Hurricane 3) The National Flood Insurance Program
PIA National & The Hartford Flood Program | 19 PIA’s program with Hartford Flood recently hit a milestone. It has resulted in higher commissions being paid to PIA members enrolled in the program. FloodSmart — Preparing for the Winter Rainy Season | 20 Winter rainy season is approaching fast, and customers need as much information as possible to prepare. Soft News on the Hard Market — Rates Continue to Rise | 22 MarketScout’s October 2012 rate report has been released. Hackers — Cyber Attacks a Critical Crisis | 23 Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is worried. A New Internet Marketing Initiative … AGORAGATE | 24 Agoragate (agra-gate) allows participating agents to dramatically increase their visibility online, positioning them as the local insurance hero, when searchers conduct insurancerelated web searches. 33rd Annual Confernment Ceremony Nebraska | 26 Nebraska CIC Conferees
November 2012 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 4
35th Anniversary Confernment Ceremony Iowa | 28 Iowa CIC Conferees In Your Office — Blackberrys VS. iPads | 34 For years Blackberrys have ruled business offices around the nation.
Just For Fun Great Quotes from some Great People | 35 For months we’ve been inundated with negative political advertising and all night Tuesday night and into Wednesday, pundits, second-guessers and not-so-good sports on both sides of the political aisle have been having at each other.
Calendar of Events Upcoming Events Calendar 2012 | 36
Advertisements Wanted, For Sale and Opportunities | 36 Contact us to place a classified ad.
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2012 Election Report The incredibly hard-fought elections of 2012 are now behind us. Insurance agents across the country will have a lot at stake in the coming years, which we’ll take a look at below.
The White House
President Obama’s re-election means many things, but most notably for the insurance industry, it means that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will continue. The ability of agents to continue selling health insurance – and to be fairly compensated for doing so – remains up in the air. The ACA creates strict Medical Loss Ratio formulas that have already led to limits being placed on agent compensation from health insurance sales. While legislation to curb this is still at play, we know that it won’t be supported by the President.
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Participation and fair compensation from health sales through a health exchange are also at play. While Governor Romney campaigned on offering state exemptions from the ACA, states must now decide, if they haven’t already, on whether to offer a state-based health exchange or to allow the federal government to manage and regulate a health exchange in their state. So long as the law remains intact, an agent’s future in health insurance sales is not clear. The numerous other components of the ACA, many of which will be implemented in 2013 and 2014, will continue unless Congress intervenes. The re-election of President Obama makes it very unlikely that individual ACA provisions, or the entire Act, will be
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Top Stories repealed. PIA will continue promoting the valued role of the independent agent as the lawâ€™s implementation continues. There are other legislative initiatives that are likely to be on the Congressional agenda in a second Obama term, many of which could impact professional insurance agencies. Among them:
g Tax Reform Proposals Even before Inauguration Day in January, taxes will be in play as attempts are made to avert automatic budget cuts mandated under the law under sequestration. There is a risk here that independent insurance agencies could face higher taxes, depending on the specifics of various tax reform proposals that may be considered in the lame duck Congress. One possible ray of hope is that both Democrats and Republicans have said that small businesses should not face unfair tax burdens. Most insurance agencies fit the classic definition of small businesses. PIA will be fully engaged in the legislative process, to protect the business interests of our members.
g Re-authorization of TRIA The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act is coming up for renewal. Our industry still needs assurance that terrorism insurance will continue to be available to our customers.
g Extension of the Farm Bill While the authorization for the federal crop insurance program hasnâ€™t lapsed, the Farm Bill extension and related crop insurance reforms remain a top issue of PIAâ€™s focus. The PIA National Crop Insurance Working Group is on it.
g Natural Disaster The extensive damage across many states caused by Tropical Cyclone Sandy could lead
to renewed proposals for a federal natural disaster backstop program. As with any issue, PIA will strongly advocate for policies and reforms that promote business and market friendly environments that advance the interest of professional insurance agents.
The U.S. Senate The Democrats fared better than expected in the Senate and will retain control of the chamber. Despite picking up a few seats, this will result in a status quo environment with the Senate unable to pass much legislation. Holding only a simple majority of the 100 Senate seats, they fall short of the 60 votes that are needed to pass most legislation. One caveat: Democrats in the Senate have one chance to alter the filibuster at the start of the session, potentially lowering the number of votes needed to sustain a filibuster. While only 1/3 of Senators were up for reelection, we saw some big results. In Nebraska, retiring Senator Ben Nelson, a former insurance commissioner, was one of the lone seats that switched parties. Sen. Nelson was a strong supporter of the industry and was well liked in the state, until he made a special deal for his vote in the passing of the ACA. Despite losing Sen. Nelson, PIA looks forward to working with Senator-elect Deb Fischer. In Mississippi, a strong advocate of the National Flood Insurance Program, Sen. Roger Wicker, won re-election. The Senator has long supported the program but has ferociously tried to include wind coverage into the NFIP, something that PIA opposes. Sen. Wicker has been great to work with and PIA looks forward to working on common goals with the Senator. The partisanship in Washington prompted a majority of voters in Maine to elect an Independent candidate, Angus King, to the
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Top Stories Senate. The former governor of Maine has publically supported the ACA and will likely caucus with the Democrats. Important pieces of legislation could die before the Senate, as they have in the past. Notably, legislation that could exempt insurance agent compensation from the new MLR restrictions will have a hard time getting through the Senate, despite overwhelming support in the House of Representatives. Other measures could face a similar fate. The Farm Bill, which expired on September 30, 2012 and would make reforms to the crop insurance program, includes funding for food stamps. The funding of food stamps is a philosophical difference between Democratic majority of the Senate and the Republican majority of the House. Regardless of being completely unrelated to crop insurance, these types of partisan differences could stall many insurance-related pieces of legislation. When the Senate does pass legislation, it’s not always in a straightforward manner. For example, the recent five-year National Flood Insurance Program extension was passed as part of a lengthy transportation and infrastructure bill. PIA’s priority in the Senate will be finding where the common ground is, while exploring tactical ways to pass legislation that is key to the success of the agent work force.
The U.S. House of Representatives All 435 members of the House of Representatives were up for re-election. The Republicans did significantly better in the House than they did in the Senate and will preserve their majority. A split Congress is a recipe for insufficiency. The legislative priorities of the two parties are great, which will be seen through the limited legislation that the House and Senate will agree on.
We were fortunate to see some probusiness allies win re-election in the House. Congressman Spencer Bachus (AL), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, won in Alabama and PIA is thrilled to have him back, though doubts remain over if he’ll continue his chairmanship. Congressman Mike Rogers (MI) also won. Congressman Rogers is the sponsor of the legislation that will exempt insurance agent compensation from the new MRL restrictions. He has been a strong advocate for agents and we will work with him to further this legislation. Congressman Steve Stivers (OH) was another key win. The Congressman was awarded PIA’s 2012 Legislator of the Year award and is a strong advocate for state regulation of insurance. Unfortunately, not every pro-insurance legislator won. A strong ally, Rep. Judy Biggert (IL) lost her re-election bid in Illinois. The congresswoman was the Chairwoman of the Insurance Subcommittee in the House and was an excellent legislator. Her district was redrawn, which placed her in a difficult battle. We’ll still expect to see the House take on issues like pulling back the ACA, tax reform, and cutting spending. This will remain just as big of a challenge as it was the last few years. The President and Republican leadership have contrasting beliefs on needed tax reform and it will continue to spar over it. There was a lot at stake in this election, and with the results in, the two parties will have to find bipartisan solutions to these complex issues – or risk more gridlock.
What it Means to Agents President Obama and the newly elected Congress will directly impact all current and future legislation important to agents. The delicate relationship between the split leadership on Capitol Hill and President Obama is going to determine the fate of
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Top Stories issues like insurance or business regulation, implementation of the ACA, crop insurance reform and improvements to the tax code. Over the next few years, issues of regulation will be addressed, especially with the anticipated release of two studies on state regulation of insurance. The results from these studies will be given to the new Federal Insurance Office (FIO) and Congress. From there, Congress could decide to move forward with legislation that would give more regulatory power to the Federal Government, or they may choose not to act, finding that current statebased regulation is sufficient. Protecting the Affordable Care Act will be on the top of the list for President Obama. States that have dragged their feet with the implementation may force the timeline to be altered, but only time will tell. Republican leadership in the House will not have any viable options to get a full repeal passed, since any repeal legislation will die in the Senate before it even makes it to the President, who would veto the bill without hesitation. The next option for Republicans in the House would be to craft more legislation repealing only parts of the bill, similar to the Medical Loss Ratio legislation. This, too, presents the challenge of garnering enough support in the Democratic Senate for it to pass. There are two possible paths for the Farm Bill, which makes reforms to the federal crop insurance program. The first would be passage during the lame duck session, and the second would be postponing work until the start of the 113th Congress. A Farm Bill during the lame duck session could be a 5 year reauthorization, or only a one year extension. The last issue to watch closely is the hot topic of tax reform, especially with the looming expiration deadline for the Bush tax cuts and end of Obama’s payroll tax cut. President Obama would like to see the cuts expire in the
hope that it would force Republicans to the table to negotiate his plan to raise taxes. The expiration of the tax cuts, in addition to the threat of sequestration with its severe cut in the defense budget, are key to the President’s plan for getting Republicans to agree to pass his plans for tax hikes. However, the Republican leadership has made it clear that they will not allow any tax increase and will not budge on the issue. But this could change. On January 3rd the 113th Congress will be sworn in followed by the President’s Inauguration on January 20th. Our newly elected officials will then begin to work on important legislation regarding health care, taxes, and regulation that is sure to have a direct impact on you and your livelihood. While Republicans held onto their majority in the House, neither party holds a 60-vote “super-majority” in the Senate. This could lead to more Washington gridlock. We encourage Congress to avert a stalemate by finding bipartisan solutions to put our economy back on track. The results of this election vividly illustrate the importance of involvement in the political process on the part of the members of PIA. While there may be much disappointment with many of the results, it is important to note that the contacts that PIA members and the national PIA lobbying staff have built on Capitol Hill will serve us well in what may be difficult days ahead regarding our issues. PIA National’s year-round grassroots efforts and Action Alerts keep all of us plugged in to the legislative process as legislation is being developed and considered. Our inperson Federal Legislative Summit (FLS) in Washington, DC during April and District Lobbying Day (DLD) in August held throughout the country are focal points for the relationshipbuilding with Members of Congress that is critical to our success in averting legislation that could harm our businesses.
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Top Stories It is imperative that PIA members are actively communicating their concerns with their elected officials, constantly. PIA National’s lobbying of Congress is an important line of defense that serves to protect our agencies. n
For more information contact:
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Reaction to the 2012 Election PIA National President Andrew Harris has released a statement on the 2012 election.
PIA National congratulates President Obama on his victory and looks forward to continuing to work with his administration and Congress to protect and advance the interests of small businesses, professional insurance agents and the consumers they serve. PIA will continue to work to ensure that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will be done in a way that fully utilizes the expertise of professional insurance agents, which is the best way to serve the consumer. While President Obama and Governor Romney campaigned on vastly different views of the role of the private market and regulation, PIA will continue our efforts in Washington to promote the valued role of the independent agent and
will seek business-friendly policies that will encourage a strong market. While Republicans held onto their majority in the House, neither party holds a 60-vote “super-majority” in the Senate. This could lead to more Washington gridlock. We encourage Congress to avert a stalemate by finding bipartisan solutions to put our economy back on track. With the election over, it is time to put the interests of the entire country first. I think the most important thing President Obama can do is hold a summit of all divergent interests to move the economy forward. A grand bargain where both sides give to get our deficit under control is something I believe most conservatives as well as liberals could agree with. All the talk in the world about social issues isn’t going to start the engine of business back in gear. Right now, the engine of business is in neutral, and we need to stick it into Drive and step on the gas. n
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Three Leaders of National Association of Professional Insurance Agents Celebrate Election Victories in Legislative Races Thomas, Czaja, Flanders Win Election to Legislatures in Montana, Wisconsin and New Hampshire WASHINGTON – Three leaders of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) are celebrating election victories. Fred Thomas, a past national president of the association, along with Mary Czaja and Don Flanders, currently national directors, won legislative races in their respective states. Thomas won election to the Montana State Senate from District 45, representing Ravalli County. Czaja won her race to capture the 35th Assembly District in northern Wisconsin. Flanders won re-election to the New Hampshire House of Representatives (called the General Court). All are Republicans who ran on probusiness platforms. “PIA members are local insurance agents who are involved in their communities and engage in the political process to help make things better,” said PIA National President Andrew C. Harris. “The members of PIA are proud of the dedication of Fred Thomas, Mary Czaja and Don Flanders and their personal involvement in the political process. We congratulate them on their election victories.” Thomas served as PIA National President in 2010-2011, Czaja is a member of the national board of directors of PIA, representing Wisconsin and Flanders represents New Hampshire on the national PIA board. “We are absolutely thrilled with Mary Czaja’s victory for the 35th Assembly seat in Wisconsin,” said PIA of Wisconsin Executive Vice President
Ron Von Haden. “With her knowledge of insurance and small business and her tremendous work ethic, she will be an invaluable asset to the people of her district and the State of Wisconsin. PIA worked hard to help Mary in her race, not only financially but also by knocking on doors and delivering literature for her in the district. We are proud of Mary and her work with PIA and now in the State Capitol.” Thomas’ election marks his return to the legislature, where he previously served 16 years, four years as Senate Majority Leader, before leaving due to term limits. He said his philosophy is “a good conservative philosophy of less government and less taxes, one that embodies citizens as consumers that make their own decisions and are empowered to control their own destiny, more than having the government do any of it. My bottom line is less government, more citizen control.” “Our heartfelt congratulations go out to Don Flanders,” said PIA National Government Affairs Committee Chair Gary Blackwell. “The citizens of New Hampshire are well-served having Don’s vast, extensive knowledge to draw upon in the formulation of insurance legislation, just as PIA is well-served by Don’s continued service to our association.” Flanders has served as chair of the Insurance Sub-Committee of the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee. PIA participates in the political process at both the state level and on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The association seeks to have a positive influence on legislation that has potential impact on professional insurance agents and small businesses. n
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Ronald Von Haden PIA National Names New EVP Ronald “Ron” Von Haden, CIC, has been named Executive Vice President & CEO of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents — PIA National. Von Haden is currently the executive vice president of PIA of Wisconsin and will continue in that capacity when he assumes his new responsibilities in December. PIA National President Andrew Harris calls him the right person at the right time. “As the chief executive officer of one of our most successful affiliates, Ron has already earned the respect of our PIA affiliates, PIA leadership, members and staff. The depth and breadth of his experience in PIA make him uniquely qualified to encourage cooperation among all PIA affiliates, forge mutually beneficial relationships and grow membership for the benefit of the entire association.” Harris said Von Haden passionately believes in the value of the PIA to its members. “His commitment to growing PIA is unwavering. He is a can-do person who is fully and firmly committed to the continuing success of PIA, both nationally and across the country.” Von Haden joined the PIA of Wisconsin board of directors in 1975 and was elected President of PIA of Wisconsin in 1979. After that, he served eight years on the board of PIA National as national director from Wisconsin. In 1994, he was recruited for his current position, becoming the executive vice president of PIA of Wisconsin.
He has also served as president of the Society of PIA State Executives. In his comments, Von Haden said, “Having devoted 37 years of my professional life to PIA in various capacities, I can say without qualification that PIA is the best agents association, bar none. I have accepted this opportunity to lead PIA in a process of renewal because I believe in this association. My focus is to rebuild, not tear down, to overcome obstacles and help all PIA affiliates achieve greater success. We have an excellent professional staff at PIA National doing a great job for all of our members. My goal is to expand on that success.” Von Haden said a top priority will be growing membership. “My commitment to growing PIA is unwavering. There is no doubt in my mind: PIA will remain a major, influential, independent force in our industry for decades to come.” Von Haden begins his new job on December 10, 2012. n
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Not a Hurricane? The Post Now Not Hurricane Hurricane
The National Flood Insurance Program
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Not a Hurricane? Governors and departments of insurance in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine have all issued bulletins reminding insurance carriers that Hurricane Sandy was reclassified from a CATEGORY 1 hurricane to a tropical storm by the National Weather Service before it reached landfall.
So it’s now Superstorm Sandy and not Hurricane Sandy. The only hurricane — or tropical storm — impacted state not changing the designation is Virginia. As a result of the decisions of the governors and the insurance departments, allowed hurricane deductibles may not be applied. Rather, the homeowners policy’s wind-related deductible and terms will apply. In Virginia carriers will get to make their own decisions on damages.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was the first to point the finger at insurers and said, “Homeowners should not have to pay hurricane deductibles for damage caused by the storm and insurers should understand the Department of Financial Services will be monitoring how claims are handled.” EQECAT has set the insured damage from Sandy at somewhere between $10 billion and $20 billion. That’s higher than last year’s Hurricane Irene’s losses of $4.5 billion. Total losses could top $50 billion. While consumers may benefit from the decision of the governors and the insurance departments, Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) President Dr. Robert Hartwig said down the road they may end up paying more for their homeowners insurance. “The unprecedented nature of the storm is going to be something that insurers take a hard look at it, in terms
Homeowners deductibles are a set amount. They’re usually $500 to $1,000. A hurricane deductible is typically 1% to 5% of the value of the property. As an example a homeowner with a $300,000 home and a 5% hurricane deductible would lose $15,000. Hurricane deductibles — according to carriers — go into effect when a storm has a sustained wind speed of 74 miles per hour and up. Hurricane Sandy did not have that when it hit shore which is why the National Weather Service downgraded the storm from a hurricane to a tropical storm. November 2012 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 16
Top Stories of cost damage, and also in terms of how the pricing works in coastal parts of New York and other areas subject to hurricane deductibles.” n Source: PIA National, Business Insurance, Insurance Journal, PropertyCasualty360.com
The Post Now Not Hurricane — Hurricane Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Virginia were all hit by what is now being called Superstorm Sandy.
Never mind that for the last two weeks all you’ve heard is the name Hurricane Sandy. Just before landfall the National Weather Service downgraded Sandy from hurricane to tropical depression. That led the governors and insurance departments of all of the states listed except for Virginia to tell insurers that they cannot apply hurricane deductibles to their losses but must — instead — revert to standard homeowners policy deductibles. The American Insurance Association (AIA), the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) and the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) disagree with the decision. PCI spokesman Donald Griffin worries that a hit as big as the damages from Sandy could cause solvency problems for insurers. Just as bad, the losses could trigger much, much higher rates for consumers in coastal areas along the East coast in the future. That’s a worry expressed by Insurance Information Institute President Dr. Robert Hartwig. “The unprecedented nature of the storm is going to be something that insurers take a hard look at it, in terms of cost damage, and also in terms of how the pricing works in coastal parts of New York and other areas subject to hurricane deductibles.” AIA’s Willem Rijksen said, “Insurers are committed and ready to help our policyholders recover from this terrible disaster. Let’s remember that it’s absolutely essential that we support certainty, and a robust competitive private insurance market for coastal residents in the years to come.” The decision may let FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) off the hook for the storm’s damages. “Political manipulation of private markets weakens those
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Top Stories markets — and that’s the last thing coastal residents need. We want to work with regulators to help our policyholders recover,” Rijksen said. PCI’s Griffin said the insurers are working with the insurance departments and the governors on the issue. “Whether windstorm, hurricane or standard, we want to make sure the deductibles are applied fairly and according to the terms of the contract.” n Source: PIA National, Business Insurance, Insurance Journal, PropertyCasualty360.com
The National Flood Insurance Program
The NFIP can borrow up to $20.8 billion. Subtract its current debt and that leaves just $2.8 billion. So FEMA may have to go to Congress for more funding. Property Casualty Insurers Association of America’s spokesman Donald Griffin said when that will happen and what Congress will do is up in the air. “The key issue will be how many people actually purchased the product, and what kind of demand that’s going to put on the program’s cash and borrowing authority.” Last year’s Hurricane Irene cost the NFIP $1.8 billion and the storm got the attention of people in the Northeast. The purchase of flood insurance rose to 14% of the homeowners in the region from 5% the year before. n Source: PIA National, Business Insurance, Insurance Journal, PropertyCasualty360.com
Whether you call Sandy a hurricane, or a tropical storm, or a super storm, the damages to homes, businesses and the infrastructure of several states are considerable. Governors of the impacted states have declared that insurers cannot implement hurricane deductibles and must work off standard homeowners policies to pay for damages. That’s controversial. But not all damage will be wind caused. A significant amount of flooding occurred and those damages must be covered by the just reauthorized National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). As it stands now the NFIP is still $18 billion in debt from the damages from Hurricane Katrina and her nasty cousins Rita and Wilma in 2005. While its supervising agency the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has enough funding to pay for disaster aid, with only access to $3.8 billion the NFIP may not have enough funding power to handle all of the flooding damage of Sandy. November 2012 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 18
& The Hartford Flood Program PIA’s program with Hartford Flood recently hit a milestone. It has resulted in higher commissions being paid to PIA members enrolled in the program. Any commissions paid at the lower rates that should have been paid at the higher rates will be done so retroactively.
Here are the new and former commission rates which are payable on each policy. • Traditional/Standard Flood Program: • New Business or Transfer Business: commission increased from 19% to 20% • Renewal Business: commission increased from 18.5% to 19.5% Flood Solutions Program • New Business or Transfer Business: commission increased from 15% to 16% • Renewal Business: commission increased from 13% to 14% PIA’s web page on the program (www.pianet.com/ floodinsuranceprogram) briefly describes the difference between the Traditional/Standard program and the Flood Solutions program, which has The Hartford’s Flood Insurance Processing Center doing much of the work. n
We are seeking quality agency appointments to become part of our “Worry Free” family. Simply bundle your customer’s auto, home and business insurance into IMT’s “Worry Free” bucket, and you will be worry free too.
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Preparing for the Winter Rainy Season Winter rainy season is approaching fast, and customers need as much information as possible to prepare. As an agent, you can ensure that your customers are covered for flood. Flooding during the winter rainy season can cause extensive damage to homes and businesses in your community. Heavy rains, snow melt, ice jams and flash flooding all pose a risk this time of year. Be sure to inform your customers of these risks and encourage them to purchase flood insurance to reduce the financial burden of a flood. Typically, there is a 30-day waiting period before a policy goes into effect, so it is important to have insurance in place before winter rainy season starts. Visit Agents.FloodSmart.gov to find key talking points and messaging necessary to engage and teach customers or prospects about the importance of buying flood insurance. You’ll also find interactive tools, widgets and testimonial videos that will help communicate flood risk. Embed the Cost of Flooding Tool — on your website to illustrate to customers how costly a flood can be. A few inches of water can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Using the tool, prospective customers can raise the water level from 1 inch to 4 feet and watch the calculator ring up the estimated cost of damage. Seeing the large totals will help customers understand the need for flood insurance.
The Flood Risk Scenarios Tool — is another interactive, sharable tool that paints a simulated picture of the differing flood scenarios that correspond to specific environmental factors such as snow melt, flash flood and new construction. Post the tool online for customers visiting your site to pull it up and explore during face-to-face meetings. Customers can learn how levees work as well as how they can fail or be overtopped with the Levee Simulator Tool. This virtual illustration walks viewers through a hypothetical journey of flood scenarios near levees. Testimonial Videos — provide real-life stories from people who survived floods. Hearing their stories will help your customers realize that floods can happen to anyone, anywhere — and that flood insurance can help them rebuild their homes and lives. And be sure to REGISTER to become a FloodSmart agent. Go a step further: Show proof of 2 hours of flood insurance training in the past 2 years, and receive free, qualified leads through the NFIP Agent Referral Program. So before the first flakes of snow — or first drops of winter rain — begin to fall, visit Agents.FloodSmart.gov. n
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for America’s Small Business • Exceptional customer service • State-of-the-art technology • Instant online quotes • Online renewals
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Soft News on the Hard Market
Rates Continue to Rise MarketScout’s October 2012 rate report has been released. The firm’s CEO Richard Kerr said overall rates rose 4% compared to October of 2011. Commercial rates jumped 4%. That’s not as good as the 5% rise in September. Property, business owners and general liability went up 5% compared to September’s 6%. Work comp rose the most at 6%.
Kerr said, “While the composite rate may have moderated in October, we believe Superstorm Sandy will cause a month-on-month composite rate increase in November. It will take months before we know the magnitude of insured claims, but as time passes, the projection for insured losses continues to increase.” Rates have been rising steadily all year. A.M. Best posted a report last week showing significant improvement over 2011. Improved underwriting results have tripled industry income from $7.0 billion at the end of June 2011 to $20.4 billion at the end of June this year. Underwriting losses continue to be posted but the combined ratio is improving. For the first six months of 2012 the ratio is 101.0. That’s down eight full points from 2011’s rate of 109.5. n
Cyber Attacks a Critical Crisis Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is worried. Cyber attacks on the nation’s largest financial institutions are increasing. She says they are “actively” under attack. “Right now, financial institutions are actively under attack. We know that. I’m not giving you any classified information. I will say this has involved some of our nation’s largest institutions. We’ve also had our stock exchanges attacked over the last [few] years, so we know ... there are vulnerabilities. We’re working with them on that,” she said.
© Courtesy www.fbi.gov
Napolitano made that comment to The Washington Post. When asked what the hackers are after — money or information — she declined to answer. “All I want to say is that there are active matters going on with financial institutions.” Who has been hit? Wells Fargo. Bank of America. JPMorgan Chase. They all suffered denial of service attacks. Go past banks to the nation’s infrastructure and the concern grows. “One of the possible areas of attack, of course, is attacks on our
nation’s control systems — the control systems that operate our utilities, our water plants, our pipelines, and our financial institutions. If you think that a critical systems attack that takes down a utility even for a few hours is not serious, just look at what is happening now that Mother Nature (referring to Superstorm Sandy) has taken out those utilities.” And Napolitano says the attacks will not stop. “The urgency and the immediacy of the cyber problem; the cyberattacks that we are undergoing and continuing to undergo can not be overestimated.” n
November 2012 | Main Street Industry News |www.pianeia.com| 23
A New Internet Marketing Initiative …
AGORAGATE The Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) NE IA has announced a new Internet marketing initiative called Agoragate. Agoragate (agragate) allows participating agents to dramatically increase their visibility online, positioning them as the local insurance hero, when searchers conduct insurance-related web searches. Through Agoragate, participating agents create a profile and purchase one or more niche microsites (personal and/or commercial lines) that are tied to the agents’ geographic location of choice, housed on the consumer centric website EnhanceInsurance: www. enhanceinsurance.com. These websites are interconnected not only to each other, but to a series of EnhanceInsurance.com web pages that feature useful insurance articles related to current events, commonly asked questions or city/state geographic areas. The Agoragate solution not only provides useful information for the general public, but also features a single participating agent as the local “hero,” an agent who can meet and address the web surfers’ insurance needs. Through Enhance Insurance, Agoragate aims to help consumers find answers to insurance questions while connecting them to independent insurance agents to enhance their insurance buying experience in multiple categories including:
l Long Term Care Insurance Agents l Commercial Insurance Agents l Health Insurance Agents
Using the IP address of web surfers’ computers, Agoragate is able to determine their geographical location and thus dynamically insert the profile of the closest local agent who can best meet their insurance needs as determined by the words they type into the search engine (e.g. an auto agent if “auto” or “car” was one of the words they typed in Google). PIA of Nebraska & Iowa Executive Director Cathy Klasi stated, “Enhance Insurance by Agoragate will provide the opportunity for independent agents to pool their strength nationally to compete locally. Independent agents have always been an integral part of the American Insurance System and we must maintain our presence in the midst of direct marketers and captive companies’ immense advertising budgets.” We invite you go to PIANEIA.com to learn more about the Agoragate product on EnhanceInsurance.com and what it can do for you and your agency. n
l Auto Insurance Agents l Home Insurance Agents l Life Insurance Agents November 2012 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 24
November 2012 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 26
Nebraska CIC Conferees The CIC Program began in Nebraska in 1978. There are currently 733 Nebraska participants in the prestigious CIC Program and 272 CICs in the state.
The CRM program gained national esteem and recognition since its origination in 1995. There are currently 78 Nebraska participants in the elite CRM Program and 11 CRMs in the state.
National CIC Statistics Total Participants: 68,348 Total Designated: 31,058 Nebraska CIC Statistics Total Participants: 733 Total Designated: 272 CICs Conferred Today: 17
The National Alliance provides insurance and risk management professionals with unparalleled education and affiliation opportunities.
Ms. Billie Aguilar, CIC Allied Insurance Lincoln, NE
Mr. Nathan Mastel, CIC Allied Insurance Lincoln, NE
Ms. Michelle L. August, CIC, AU Continental Western Group Lincoln, NE
Mr. Samuel J. McNair, CIC McNair Agency, Inc. Imperial, NE
Mr. Eric John Brott, CIC State Farm Insurance-Gale Breed Agency Lincoln, NE
Ms. Jennifer S. Miller Allied Insurance Lincoln, NE
Ms. Sheila A. Burger, CIC, AU Continental Western Group Lincoln, NE
Ms. Lisa Dawn Miller, CIC, CPSR Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company Omaha, NE
Ms. April K. Empfield, CIC, CISR Joe Morten & Son, Inc. Grand Island, NE
Mr. Todd Price, CIC Ryder, Rosacker, McCue & Huston Grand Island, NE
Ms. Connie L. Evans, CIC, AAI The Harry A. Koch Company Lincoln, NE
Ms. Dawn D. Rosenberg, CIC, CISR The Harry A. Koch Company Omaha, NE
Ms. Angela Gross, CIC Inspro, Inc. Omaha, NE
Ms. Tiffany Seyler, CIC Ryder, Rosacker, McCue & Huston Grand Island, NE
Mr. Neil S. Grubaugh, CIC Allied Insurance Lincoln, NE
Ms. Natosha A. Van Pelt, CIC Allied Insurance Lincoln, NE
Ms. Dawn Hanson, CIC, AAI The Harry A. Koch Company Omaha, NE This special 33rd Conferment Ceremony was conducted by:
Gloria Thompson, CIC
Member of the CISR Board of Governors
The recognition we offer todayâ€™s honorees has been earned only by the most select group of committed individuals in our industry. November 2012 | Main Street Industry News |www.pianeia.com| 27
November 2012 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 28
Iowa CIC Conferees Ms. Debra S. Abernathey, CIC, CISR TrueNorth Cedar Rapids, IA Mr. Andrew Jihn Ahrold, CIC, CWCP Ahrold Fay Rosenberg Des Moines, IA
The CIC Program began in Iowa in June 1977. There are currently 1,249 Iowa participants in the prestigious CIC Program and 591 CICs in the state.
National CIC Statistics Total Participants: 68,348 Total Designated: 31,058 Iowa CIC Statistics Total Participants: 1,249 Total Designated: 591 CICs Conferred Today: 31
Mr. Joshua J. August, CIC, CPCU, AU EMC Insurance Des Moines, IA Ms. Susan J. Bledsoe, CIC, AU Continental Western Group Des Moines, IA Ms. Heidi Sue Boysen, CIC, AINS, AIS United Fire Group Cedar Rapids, IA Ms. Kelly S. Bulman, CIC Cook Agency, Inc. Waukon, IA Ms. Maria K. Conlon, CIC, CISR TRICOR Insurance Agency Dubuque, IA Mr. Stephen R. Cook, CIC Backbone Insurance Group, Inc. Strawberry Point, IA Mr. Graham R. Dahler, CIC Iowa Bankers Insurance & Services, Inc. Johnston, IA Mr. Brandon A. Darrah, CIC, AU Cottingham & Butler Dubuque, IA Mr. Cody D. Delperdang, CIC Truckers Benefit Association South Sioux City, NE Ms. Tara T. Dolan, CIC Allied Insurance Des Moines, IA
Ms. Lynn M. Fox, CIC, CISR, CPSR Molyneaux Insurance, Inc. Davenport, IA Ms. Morgan Freeburg, CIC Allied Insurance Des Moines, IA Mr. Justin M. George, CIC Professional Solutions Clive, IA Mr. Michael Lee Giddings, CIC Continental Western Insurance Urbandale, IA Ms. Paige Grabau Keele, CIC Allied Insurance Des Moines, IA Ms. Mary L. Griffin, CIC Arthur J. Gallagher West Des Moines, IA Mr. Shane Hammes, CIC Butler Insurance Service, Inc. Davenport, IA Ms. Angela M. Hargens, CIC Allied Insurance Des Moines, IA Mr. David W. Headlee, CIC Liberty Mutual Waukee, IA Mr. Andrew M. Kuecker, CIC, CPCU, ARM, AU EMC Insurance Companies Des Moines, IA Mr. Guy Allen Duane Leman, CIC, CPCU, CFP(R) Allied Insurance Des Moines, IA
November 2012 | Main Street Industry News |www.pianeia.com| 29
Top Stories Ms. Lori A. Piatt, CIC, CISR Molyneaux Insurance, Inc. Davenport, IA Ms. Jane E. Schleisman, CPA, CIC, AU EMC Insurance Companies Des Moines, IA
The CRMs conferred today can now be counted among the 62 total CRM designees in Iowa. The CRM program was first conducted in Iowa in August 2001, and there are currently 345 participants in the state.
National CRM Statistics Total Participants: 18,875 Total Designated: 3,387 Iowa CRM Statistics Total Participants: 345 Total Designated: 62 CICs Conferred Today: 31
Ms. Ann Elizabeth Tiernan, CIC, CISR Millhiser Smith Cedar Rapids, IA Ms. Lori Lyn Trumblee, CIC, CISR Millhiser Smith Cedar Rapids, IA
Mr. Steven M. Sinnott, CIC The Sinnott Agency, Inc. Waterloo, IA
Mrs. Maria C. Vincent, CIC Allied Insurance Des Moines, IA
Mr. Scot M. Smith, CIC Zurich Iowa City, IA
Mr. Robert Westrum, CIC Boehm Insurance Agency Boone, IA
Iowa CRM Conferees Ms. Pamela Sue Bryan, CIC, CRM, CPCU Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company Grinnell, IA
Mr. Matthew J. Murray, CIC, CRM, AAI Cottingham & Butler Dubuque, IA
Ms. JoAnn Furlong Garza, CRM, CPCU, AIC CBCS Dubuque, IA
Ms. Erin E. Osier, CRM, CPCU Holmes Murphy West Des Moines, IA
Ms. Deb A. Gross, CIC, CRM, AAI, AIC Cottingham & Butler Dubuque, IA Ms. Angie Heim, CIC, CRM, CISR Holmes Murphy & Associates, Inc. West Des Moines, IA Mr. Andrew J. Hendricks, CIC, CRM, AAI Cottingham & Butler Dubuque, IA Mr. Aaron P. Krogman, CIC, CRM Cottingham & Butler Dubuque, IA Mr. Douglas James LeMoine, CIC, CRM Friedman Insurance Dubuque, IA
November 2012 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 30
Ms. Teri Rstom, CIC, CRM, CISR TrueNorth Companies, LC Cedar Rapids, IA Ms. Amy Tanny, CIC, CRM, CPCU, ARM, AAI Cottingham & Butler, Inc. Dubuque, IA Mr. Christopher R. Vogel, CIC, CRM, AAI Cottingham & Butler Dubuque, IA Mr. Robert P. Wuebker, CIC, CRM, CPCU, AAI, AU Cottingham & Butler Dubuque, IA
Top Stories The CISR Program began in Iowa in May 1989. There are currently 833 Iowa participants in the highly distinguished CISR Program and 424 CISRs in the state.
National CISR Statistics Total Participants: 70,027 Total Designated: 27,686 Iowa CISR Statistics Total Participants: 833 Total Designated: 424 CICs Conferred Today: 27
Iowa CISR Conferees Ms. Jodi K. Alt, CISR Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company Algona, IA Ms. Lori L. Behre, CISR, AIS Holmes Murphy West Des Moines, IA Ms. Rachel Anne Brockman, CISR Ruhl & Ruhl Davenport, IA Ms. La Vonne Brownmiller, CISR, AU, AIC, AIS, API Van Engelenhoven Insurance Agency Orange City, IA Mr. Zachary Owen Counsell, CISR LSB Financial Cedar Falls, IA Mr. Arnold V. Dicks, CISR Church Mutual Insurance Company Johnston, IA Ms. Patricia Ann Elbert, CISR Pharmacists Mutual Algona, IA Ms. Nora M. Fetter, CISR Sheets Forrest Draper Marion, IA Ms. Julie Fuller, CISR Millhiser Smith Agency Cedar Rapid, IA Ms. Marie Hansen, CISR CSB Insurance Group Johnston, IA Ms. Mary L. Highland, CISR NCMIC Insurance Company, Inc. Clive, IA Ms. Tami S. Klein, CISR Prins Insurance, Inc. Sanborn, IA
Ms. Jody Ann Lippmann, CISR Holmes Murphy Cedar Rapids, IA Ms. Kim Loeckle, CISR PDCM Insurance Waterloo, IA Ms. Megan Ruth McGee, CISR LaMair Mulock Condon Company West Des Moines, IA Ms. Dawn Marie Mennenga, CISR First Gabrielson Agency Clear Lake, IA Ms. Johnna Kay Moore, CISR Molyneaux Insurance Davenport, IA Ms. Linzie M. Morris, CISR First Gabrielson Agency Belmond, IA Ms. Teri L. Paulsen, CISR Molyneaux Insurance Davenport, IA Ms. Debra Ann Richart, CISR Gamrath-Doyle-Vens Mt. Pleasant, IA Ms. Angie K. Sink, CISR Lee Agency, Inc. Muscatine, IA Ms. Crystal M. Staley, CISR NCMIC Insurance Altoona, IA Ms. Jodi M. Stevens, CISR Tricor Insurance Dubuque, IA Ms. Kristie D. Thiering, CISR Lee Agency, Inc. Muscatine, IA
November 2012 | Main Street Industry News |www.pianeia.com| 31
The National Alliance provides insurance and risk management professionals with unparalleled education and affiliation opportunities.
Ms. Melissa Ann Thilges, CISR Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company Algona, IA
Ms. Tonya K. Uhde, CISR First Gabrielson Agency Belmond, IA
Ms. Melissa R. Tillotson, CISR Millhiser Smith Cedar Rapids, IA
The recognition we offer todayâ€™s honorees has been earned only by the most select group of committed individuals in our industry.
As an insurance professional, answering questions and problem solving for
new clients your biggest client potential clients
is an important part of your profession. If a client asks about
rental car coverage business coverage in the home changes on insurance forms
you have the answers? You will. The most successful training program for insurance professionals Register at www.PIANEIA.com 3335 0311
November 2012 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 32
In Your Office Blackberrys Vs. iPadS
For years Blackberrys have ruled business offices around the nation. No longer. Peter Sondergaard of the research firm Gartner said iPads will outnumber Blackberrys by 2014. He said some CIOs are ordering iPads by the tens of thousands and are making iPads standard issue. Another interesting development is more companies allowing employees to use their own devices. With the growing popularity of iPads, the number using them in offices continues to grow. Sondergaard said, “Just two years from now, 20 percent of sales organizations will use tablets as the primary mobile platform for their field sales force. And by 2018, 70 percent of mobile workers will use a tablet or a hybrid device that has ‘tablet like’ characteristics.” n © Some rights reserved by seantoyer
JUST FOR FUN
Great Quotes from some
Great People For months we’ve been inundated with negative political advertising and all night Tuesday night and into Wednesday, pundits, second-guessers and not-so-good sports on both sides of the political aisle have been having at each other.
Socrates: By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
We’re all ready for something more fun.
Zsa Zsa Gabor: I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back.
What could be more fun than some great quotes from some great people. And we start with a really fun political quote from Will Rogers who said, “We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress.”
Here are some others.
Groucho Marx: I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
Rodney Dangerfield: My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying. Spike Milligan: Money can't buy you happiness. But it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery. Bob Hope: I don't feel old. I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap.
Mark Twain: Last week, I stated this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen. I have since been visited by her sister, and now wish to withdraw that statement. George Burns: The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible.
Phyllis Diller: Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty but everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out. Billy Crystal: By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he's too old to go anywhere. n
Victor Borge: Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.
November 2012 | Main Street Industry News |www.pianeia.com| 35
Calendar Of Events
Upcoming Events Calendar 2012 For information and to register Click Here or call (402) 392-1611. Start Date
December 6, 2012
Greater Omaha Committee Christmas Party
Location Omaha, NE
Advertisements Seeking Businesses Business Opportunities Services Community
Post a classified ad? Your ad will stand out! Main Street Industry News is issued electronically to over 8,000 Professional Insurance Agents throughout NE & IA, PIA state and national associations and other organizations that provide products or services to insurance agencies. To advertise contact PIA of Nebraska and Iowa â€“ Executive Director, Cathy Klasi at (402) 392-1611.
Published on Nov 14, 2012