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Jul 01
City of Stamford Offers Flood Risk Information To Property Owners, Others

​We have received a request from the City of Stamford, CT to publicize the following information:

The  City  of Stamford  Environmental  Protection  Board  (EPB)  responds  to inquiries  by owners, agents, bankers, real estate brokers and other interested parties regarding flood mapping,   
floodplain   management   and   other   pertinent   flood   related   information. Information that may be obtained as part of this free service includes:

  • A determination as to whether a property is situated in or outside of a Special Flood Hazard  Area  (SFHA)  as  reflected  on  the  Flood  Insurance  Rate  Map  (FIRM)  for Stam ford, Connecticut ;
  • Pertinent  flood  insurance data for a site, such as the flood zone designation, base flood elevation (BFE) and/or the location of the regulatory floodway as reflected on the FIRM for Stamford, Connecticut;
  • Available historical flood information; and/or
  • Available information regarding the approximate location of wetlands or other sensitive areas.

lf a property lies within the SFHA, EPB Staff will inform the interested party that federal law requires the purchase of flood insurance if the property has been financed by a federally backed mortgage or loan. Handouts describing the mandatory flood insurance requirement are available from the EPB.

Requests for flood map and other related information may be made by phone (203-977-4028) or by email ​ (rclausi@stamfordct.qov​ ). When Covid-19 emergency protocols are relaxed, the EPB will resume processing in person flood map information requests at our office on the 7th Floor of the Stamford Government Center, 888 Washington Boulevard,
Stamford, Connecticut 06904. Walk-in service will generally be available between the hours of B:00AM and '12:00PM, Monday through Friday. To ensure the accuracy of our response, flood map information requests should include some basic data to help staff pinpoint the location of the property, such as the address, a legal description, or a copy of a current survey, aerial photograph, or the Assessor's Card.

Additional flood information and related resources are available on our website at:

Jun 29
Industry Roundup: ​Legal Clashes Await U.S. Companies Covering Workers' Abortion Costs; Adapting to Changing Policyholder Behaviors & Expectations; Cyber Pirates Prowling Ship Controls Threaten Another Big Shock; Health Insurance Premiums Poised to Jump
Legal Clashes Await U.S. Companies Covering Workers' Abortion Costs

A growing number of large U.S. companies have said they will cover travel costs for employees who must leave their home states to get abortions, but these new policies could expose businesses to lawsuits and even potential criminal liability, legal experts said.

 

Adapting to Changing Policyholder Behaviors & Expectations

There is a need to evolve data analytics alongside changing customer behaviors and expectations.

 

How Cannabis Legalization in NY is Affecting Landlords One Year Later

Landlords should first check with their insurers before renting to determine whether any loss arising from marijuana use by a tenant must be excluded.

 

Cyber Pirates Prowling Ship Controls Threaten Another Big Shock

There's an emerging threat to global trade: cyber piracy able to penetrate on-board technology that's replacing old ways of steering, propulsion, navigation and other key operations.

 

AM Best Downgrades Members of NLC Insurance Companies Pool

AM Best has downgraded the Financial Strength Rating to B++ (Good) from A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings to “bbb+" (Good) from “a-" (Excellent) of the insurers that operate under an intercompany pooling agreement and are collectively referred to as NLC Insurance Companies Pool (NLC), headquartered in Norwich, Conn.

 

Health Insurance Premiums Poised to Jump Next Year for 13M People

Those with health insurance through the government's Health Insurance Marketplace can expect to pay more next year.

 

Wall Street Banks Quietly Test Cyber Defenses at Treasury's Direction

With global tensions rising over Ukraine, the US financial sector's cutthroat competitiveness is giving way to collaboration in the belief that a cyberattack against even a small group of minor banks – or a third-party service provider – could endanger everyone in a highly connected system.

 

G-7 Weighs Russia Oil-Price Cap Via Insurance, Shipping Ban

The Group of Seven nations is discussing a price cap on Russian oil that would work by imposing restrictions on insurance and shipping.

 

Why Insurance Apps Don't Replace Agents, but Make Them Look Better

JD Power's latest survey showed that increasingly snazzier web and mobile app offerings don't offset high insurance rates when it comes to customer happiness.

 

The Big 'I' and Insurance Business America Team up for Special Report

Insurance Business America (IBA) has teamed up with the Big “I" to launch the Rising Stars Special Report 2022, which identifies and celebrates young insurance professionals who are committed to their insurance career with a clear passion for the industry and have gone the extra mile to distinguish themselves among their contemporaries. ​


Jun 23
Industry Roundup: Pandemic Takes Toll on Mental and Physical Wellbeing, Leading to More Online Insurance Purchases; Price of Homeowners Insurance Jumps 34%; U.S. Commercial Auto Q1 Premiums Make Significant Jump Over 5 Years

Pandemic Takes Toll on Mental and Physical Wellbeing, Leading to More Online Insurance Purchases

A Swiss Re Institute survey of 11,000 consumers worldwide conducted two years into the COVID-19 pandemic found that the pandemic led to an increase in online insurance purchases as well as a greater willingness to share personal health data, particularly among the younger generation.

 

State Farm Hit by Summary Judgement Reversal

A court order which granted summary judgment to State Farm over a breach of policy case has been reversed.

 

Price of Homeowners Insurance Jumps 34%

QuoteWizard® released their annual "State of Home Insurance" report and found that the average price of home insurance has increased by as much as 34% in some states since 2021.

 

NY Botanical Garden can go Forward with COVID Business Interruption Suit

A New York state appeals court is allowing the New York Botanical Garden to go forward with a business-interruption loss suit against an insurer that refused to pay for losses due to COVID-19 shutdowns.

 

U.S. Commercial Auto Q1 Premiums Make Significant Jump Over 5 Years

According to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis, direct premiums written for the liability business line by U.S. commercial auto insurers in the first quarter were significantly higher than in the same period in 2018.

 

New York's High Court Rejects Trump Bid to Skip Testifying in AG's Civil Suit

New York's highest court on Tuesday rejected former President Donald Trump's last-ditch effort to avoid testifying in the state attorney general's civil investigation into his business practices, clearing the way for his deposition next month.

 

Lightning Caused $1.3 Billion in U.S. Homeowners Claim Payouts in 2021

According to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple I), more than $1 billion in lightning-caused U.S. homeowners insurance claims were paid out to 60,000-plus policyholders in 2021.

 

Former NY Insurance Regulator Joins Lemonade

Lemonade has hired New York's former top insurance regulator, Scott Fisher, to help lead its legal team.

 

New York City and Miami Have Most Homes at Risk of Storm Surge Damage

CoreLogic risk modeling data shows that nearly 7.8 million homes with more than $2.3 trillion in combined reconstruction cost value (RCV) are at risk of hurricane-related damages.

 

Hardened U.S. Cyber Insurance Market Here to Stay

According to an AM Best report, a 16% increase in claims and only a modest reduction in the loss ratio despite significant rate increases highlights the segment's ongoing challenges.


Jun 21
Big I Connecticut Earns Gold Level Insurance Education Honors from IIABA

​By Sue Keegan, Education Administrator


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We are excited to announce that Connecticut has earned a Gold Level 2022 Excellence in Insurance Education award from IIABA!

The criteria for this award includes creation of new programs, ways to deliver education in our "new normal," innovation, and marketing.    

We are honored to continue to deliver you award-winning education opportunities!


Love, your awesome education team,
Jim, Sue, Tim, Lisa and Kim
Jun 09
Big I CT is focused on attracting agency talent! 10 free spots available for The Summit on June 21

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Big I Connecticut is strategically focused on attracting and training new talent for the industry.  Through our friendship with the CT IFS (Connecticut Insurance & Financial Services) Board, Big I CT has 10 free tickets to The Summit on June 21 in Hartford for Future Talent. Innovation is enhancing every industry—including insurance. Join prominent leaders to hear unique perspectives on the evolution of the insurance industry, embracing new technology to achieve peak performance, and long-term sustainability.

Future Talent includes current graduate and undergraduate students, as well as those who have graduated within the past two calendar years (2020 - 2021). Please share with your interns, college & university partners and your employees who qualify or who may have kids who qualify! Future Talent can apply here. If you have a young employee who falls outside of that criteria but is under 40, please have them email Sue Keegan to discuss other free ticket opportunities.  For all other interested attendees, get your tickets here.

Jun 09
Industry Roundup: ​Trump Set to Undergo Questioning in July in Insurance Probe; Helping Commercial Clients Prepare for a Hurricane; The Reasons it's so Hard to Insure Cryptocurrency Operations

Trump Set to Undergo Questioning in July in Insurance Probe

Former President Donald Trump, his namesake son and his daughter Ivanka have agreed to answer questions under oath next month in the New York attorney general's civil investigation into his business practices, unless their lawyers persuade the state's highest court to step in.

 

Helping Commercial Clients Prepare for a Hurricane

The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1, and with most predictions pointing toward an above-average amount of activity this year, it's imperative that insurers check with their commercial clients to ensure they're properly prepared.

 

Tech Firms Selling Insurance: 'Do You Want Fries with That?'

As more companies from outside the industry move into the insurance business, they'll be looking to make strategic acquisitions of IAs and tech-savvy agencies with already built products.

 

The Reasons it's so Hard to Insure Cryptocurrency Operations

In order to secure appropriate and affordable coverage, cryptocurrency players need to have a compelling story to tell potential insurers.

 

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear COVID Business Interruption Case

The US Supreme Court decided Monday that it will not hear an appeal of a decision that denied coverage for losses caused by COVID-19 shutdown orders, effectively closing the last door for such claims in the federal court system.

 

Cyber Continues as Outlier in Otherwise Stabilizing Commercial P/C Market

A mid-year update on the commercial property/casualty market from USI Insurance Services is the latest to report rate stabilization in most lines of business – except for cyber.

​ 

Health Insurers Poised to Pay $1 Billion in Rebates to 8.2 Million People this Year

8.2 million policyholders are expected to get a piece of $1 billion in premium rebates this fall from various insurers, according to a preliminary analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

 

FEMA to Launch Initiative to Modernize Building Codes in Cat-Resiliency Effort

Federal officials are launching a new initiative to modernize building codes so that communities can be more resilient to hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and other extreme weather events that are intensifying due to climate change.​

Jun 06
Connecticut Legalizes Adult-Use Cannabis

​A guest post by Ryan Ascenzo, Senior Broker, Professional Liability, Burns & Wilcox Brokerage


Last year, Connecticut legalized cannabis for residents who are 21 and older. This year, some key milestones will arrive for the state, including the opening of recreational stores in permitting towns.

With the passage of an Act Concerning Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-Use Cannabis (“RERACA"), many are looking to seize the opportunity to participate in this new commercialization in anticipation of what could potentially be a rapidly growing industry. 

The lottery for anyone wanting to participate in Connecticut's cannabis industry as a retailer closed at midnight on May 4, 2022. The Department of Consumer Protection (“DCP"), at the time of this article, reported a surge in applications submitted—exceeding 15,000—with the majority applying for Retailer, Hybrid Retailer or Micro-Cultivator.

Before sales can begin, a supply chain must be established and entirely licensed. This includes stores, testing labs, and growers that must have enough capacity to supply the retail market. The DCP is responsible for licensing and regulating medical and adult-use cannabis establishments in Connecticut.

There are 14 different cannabis licenses and registrations issued by DCP as follows:

  • Growing: Cultivator, Micro-Cultivator, Producer
  • Manufacturing: Product Manufacturer, Food and Beverage Manufacturer, Product Packager
  • Sales: Retailer, Hybrid Retailer, Dispensary Facility
  • Deliver & Transportation: Delivery Service, Transporter
  • Individual Licenses and Registrations: Backer, Key Employee, Employee

 

As with any new foray, insurance should be a consideration

On January 1, 2022 the Connecticut Insurance Department (“CID") published (here) a Report on Access to Insurance by Connecticut Insurance Establishments. In summary, the report acknowledges that like other businesses the cannabis industry faces a variety of risks which would require access to insurance to mitigate these exposures.

One of the most complex issues facing the cannabis industry is that despite being legal in many states cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. As a result of the federal law, many financial institutions including insurance companies are hesitant to work with cannabis companies. Compounding this reluctancy is that many carriers have hesitated to enter the admitted market due to little data and unknown risk factors of the young industry.

Given these unknown factors, coverage is mostly available on a non-admitted basis where surplus lines insurers mainly focus on the development of new coverages and products. At this time the CID has spoken with other states with developed cannabis markets who have indicated the cannabis industry does have access to the necessary insurance coverages in the open market to operate their businesses.

 

Management and professional liability insurance

In the report the CID provides a framework of insurance coverages that are important for businesses that choose to operate in the cannabis industry of which financial lines of insurance are mentioned.

Below is a focus on the financial lines of insurance that protect individual insured persons and the business' balance sheets from claims arising out of business decisions made by individuals on behalf of the organization.

Other types of insurance considerations include Commercial General Liability, Property, Workers Compensation and Agricultural coverages.

Directors & Officers Liability (D&O): D&O insurance coverage provides defense costs, settlement and other damage payments to preserve the personal assets of individual directors, officers and corporate assets of a company. Even a single owner's assets can be at risk for allegations of mismanagement of their company (Side A coverage). If a company's by-laws provide indemnification to a director or officer the company's assets would be at risk to provide such indemnification (Side B coverage). For claims made against the entity, Side C coverage would apply but note for publicly traded companies' coverage only applies for securities claims. Any private, public or non-profit company can benefit from a D&O policy as allegations can arise from employee whistleblowers, vendors, competitors, investors, customers, or bankruptcy trustees. A D&O policy can also help attract top C-level executives and board members.

Employment Practices Liability (EPL): Any company that has at least 1 employee should consider EPL insurance. The coverage provides any private, public or non-profit company with defense costs, settlement or other damage losses from claims brought by employees or non-employee third parties for allegations that their legal rights have been violated. Allegations can include discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination or retaliation. These allegations can be disruptive, harmful to reputations and financially draining.

Fiduciary Liability: In order to attract and retain top talent from top to bottom of the organization it may offer generous benefit and retirement plan options to employees. With this offering comes potential liabilities imposed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and other regulations that establish standards of conduct and liabilities for deemed fiduciaries. A Fiduciary Liability policy can cover defense costs, settlements or damage payments for claims by plan participants, regulators or other parties for failure to act in the best interest of a plan.

Cyber Liability/Security: Any company that has an online presence whether it be an informative website or retail platform can be exposed to the perils of cyber threats. This insurance coverage provides 1st and 3rd party coverages to company to help resolve and mitigate a cyber threat. 1st party coverage covers costs incurred by a company to respond to a cyber attack such as ransomware payments, notification costs, costs to hire experts, costs to replace damaged data or hardware and any lost business income. 3rd party coverage covers the defense costs, settlements or financial loss from lawsuits or regulatory fines and penalties. The coverage also offers policyholders access to cyber security professional to help improve their cyber security.

Professional Liability/Errors & Omissions (E&O): Not all cannabis companies will need a Professional Liability/Errors & Omissions policy. A simple way to determine whether or not there is a need for one is if your company provides a cannabis related to others in exchange for a fee. Cannabis related delivery services may need to consider such a policy. Manufacturers may also consider a Manufacturer's E&O policy in the event their manufacturing of product causes financial harm to an affected party. The insurance coverage provides defense costs, settlements and damage payments to claims from parties who feel that the services was not performed or was negligently performed and as a consequence the alleging party suffered a financial loss.

Crime/Fidelity: To round out a comprehensive Management and Professional Liability program the addition of Crime/Fidelity insurance is a first party non-liability coverage that protects a business from the unfortunate event of a crime resulting in loss of money, securities or property of the insured. The most common threat to any business continues to be employee theft/dishonesty/embezzlement, robbery, burglary or counterfeit currency but more modern, sophisticated crimes such as social engineering fraud are increasing and can be potentially covered.

 

Partnering with a trusted advisor is essential for success

In conclusion, the CID article outlined the insurance coverages that cannabis related businesses should consider along with the risks within and resulting from a still evolving industry. Some states, vendors or clients have indicated insurance as a requirement for licensing or to act as counterparty necessitating the need for some of these coverages to meet those requirements.

Commercial carriers can leave gaps such as exclusions, different limits, and terms and conditions that make it necessary to partner with a trusted insurance advisor who understands these products and their limitations.

Burns & Wilcox Brokerage provides specialized expertise for large, complex, and difficult-to-place risks including cannabis related companies. Leveraging the full expertise of its organization, Burns & Wilcox Brokerage delivers seamless access to global market centers on an admitted and non-admitted basis and offers comprehensive solutions and expertise for difficult-to-place risks, including Property, General Liability, Excess Casualty, Professional Liability, Transportation and Marine.

 

Please visit www.burnsandwilcox.com to learn more about our full complement of services offered. ​

Jun 02
Industry Roundup: ​3 Unintended Consequences of Well-Intentioned Cyber Regulations; Autonomous Vehicles: Predictions vs. Truth; North Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins with Ripe Conditions for Above-Average Activity; Acrisure Touches $23B in Valuation

3 Unintended Consequences of Well-Intentioned Cyber Regulations

Policymakers worldwide are stepping up efforts to create cyber regulations that can help mitigate and boost society's resilience against these threats and assert control over how some technological innovations are used.    

 

Autonomous Vehicles: Predictions vs. Truth

The cause of most accidents is human error; distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving and reckless driving are the top four causes of accidents. If we could eliminate these and other driver-related factors, the number of accidents would significantly drop.

 

North Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins with Ripe Conditions for Above-Average Activity

The pre-season forecast update for North Atlantic hurricane activity continues to forecast 18 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major (Category 3 and above) hurricanes, according to storm tracking service Tropical Storm Risk (TSR).

 

Victim of New York Subway Shooting Sues Gunmaker Glock and Parent Company

Glock Inc. and its parent company were sued by a New York City woman who was seriously injured when she was seriously wounded by a gunman who opened fire aboard a crowded morning rush-hour subway train in Brooklyn last month.

 

Acrisure Touches $23B in Valuation After Latest Funding

Acrisure said on Tuesday it had raised $725 million in a fresh funding round led by a wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, valuing the insurance brokerage at $23 billion.

 

Europe Seeks G-7 Coordination on Russian Oil Insurance Ban

According to people familiar with the matter, the European Union is working with some Group of Seven members to coordinate a ban on providing the insurance services required to ship Russian oil anywhere in the world, a move that could further limit Moscow's ability to finance its war in Ukraine.

 

Lowering Interstate CDL Age Limits Brings More Risk Than Reward

Research, data and real-world experience prove that young, inexperienced drivers have higher crash rates than older drivers with more experience, and motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year-olds.


Ransomware Attacks Up More Last Year Than in Prior Five Years: Verizon

Verizon released its 15th annual report on data breaches last week, finding that ransomware attacks increased by 13 percent in a single year—representing a jump greater than the prior five years combined.

 

Insurance Premiums Doubling for Some Aviation, Marine Businesses

Insurance premiums are doubling or more for some aviation and marine businesses particularly exposed to the war in Ukraine, increasing costs for airline and shipping firms, industry sources say.

 

Crypto Insurance – How the Market is Expanding

It may have shrunk in recent months with currencies such as Bitcoin plummeting in value, but the global cryptocurrency market cap – as of Thursday, May 26, when Roberts spoke to Insurance Business – sat at $1.29 trillion, according to tracker Coin Gecko.

May 26
Hiring New Agents? MyAgencyCampus has Your On-Boarding Solution!

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Visit MyAgencyCampus​ and enter code NewHire at checkout for 20% off!

May 19
Industry News: Insurers Raise Cyber Rates Significantly Amid Costly Losses; A New Generation of Independent Agents Calls for New Hiring Tactics; U.S. Traffic Deaths Jump 10.5% in 2021 to Highest Number Since 2005

Is That 18-Year-Old Driving Your Commercial Truck?

Driver shortages have led to trucking companies exploring options to recruit new drivers, but is lowering the age requirement the best option?

 

Tesla Bets It Can Bring Down Insurance Costs, Make Driving Safer

Tesla Insurance is offering comprehensive coverage and claim management for Tesla owners in select U.S. states, with additional states coming in the future and says they can do it cheaper.​

 

Insurers Raise Cyber Rates Significantly Amid Costly Losses

Direct-written premiums collected by the largest U.S. insurance carriers in 2021 swelled by 92% year-over-year, according to information submitted to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, an industry watchdog, and compiled by ratings firms.

 

Fraud Adds Billions to Insurer Disaster Payouts

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), property and casualty insurers paid $4.6 billion to $9.2 billion extra in disaster claims due to insurance fraud in 2021, a cost policyholders bear through their insurance premiums.

 

Why are US Commercial Insurance Rates Continuing to Climb?

A new report from the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) has looked into the impact of inflationary pressures on commercial lines insurance in the US and identified three main drivers of commercial insurance rate increases.

 

US Auto Insurer Elephant Insurance Rocked by Cyberattack

US insurance company Elephant Insurance and its subsidiary Apparent Insurance have announced that a recent cyber incident may have exposed the personal information of its customers.


A New Generation of Independent Agents Calls for New Hiring Tactics

Younger insurance professionals are looking for meaning in their work and stellar workplace culture — not just a paycheck.

 

U.S. Traffic Deaths Jump 10.5% in 2021 to Highest Number Since 2005

U.S. traffic deaths jumped 10.5% in 2021 to 42,915 – the highest number killed on American roads in a single-year since 2005, U.S. regulators said Tuesday in its preliminary estimate.

 

Independent Agents, Brokers Continue Record Run Performance

For a fourth consecutive quarter, independent insurance agents and brokers have set yet another organic growth record.

 

Allianz Subsidiary Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Investors

According to a plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors in New York, Allianz Global Investors U.S. pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud and admitted that it lacked internal controls and oversight for a series of private-investment funds and made false and misleading statements to investors.

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