How We See It
by Richard A. Poppa, IIABNY President & CEO
So many articles, books, opinion pieces and songs have been written about the horrible attack on Sept. 11, 2001 that it seems there may be nothing new to say. But, a new perspective is not what is important. Remembrance, reflection and commitment rise above.
Together, we remember the lives lost; the unprecedented devastation; and the incredible number of families and individuals that were so terribly impacted by the cowardly events of that day. We owe it to the memory that will live inside of us forever to try to make a positive contribution to the future of our society.
From my standpoint, we can do that by both taking individual responsibility and accountability for ourselves and our families and by doing our very best to extend a helping hand to those who are less fortunate. As Americans, we have so many blessings, yet our nation and world are plagued with so many in need - we must individually step forward and help.
My experience with independent insurance agents is that they are front and center when it comes to helping individuals and communities. For that commitment, please accept our sincere thanks and appreciation. If we each do our part and cultivate that ethic with all the people we touch, we can’t help but create a better world for us and the generations that follow.
Richard A. Poppa, CAE, AAI
Let us know how you see it. Email IIABNY Insider with your thoughts, opinions or reactions. If you would like your response to be considered for publication in “How We See It,” please provide your name and phone number where you can be reached.
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Agility Offers Help for Knowing What to Do in a Disaster
You have only 15 minutes to evacuate? What do you take? Where do you go? How would you continue servicing your clients? Those were a few of the questions employees at IIABNY member agencies had to address during and after the terrorist attack on New York City on Sept. 11, 2001 and, more recently, during and following Superstorm Sandy in 2012. During a free, one-hour webinar scheduled at 2 p.m. Sept. 18, Agility Recovery will provide answers to those and other questions when IIABNY’s endorsed provider of disaster planning and recovery services presents “The NEW 10 Steps to Preparedness – Lessons from the Past.” Online registration is available.
This webinar is part of an ongoing campaign by the U.S. Small Business Administration and co-sponsor Agility Recovery to promote preparedness among small businesses through the PrepareMyBusiness campaign and National Preparedness Month.
Make sure you also visit the Disaster Planning & Recovery section on IIABNY’s website for a disaster and emergency response and recovery plan template created specifically for IIABNY members. The section also offers communications tips, suggested social media posting postings and access to the Agents Council for Technology article “Using Social Media to Enhance Disaster Communications.”
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NFIP's Website for Agents Provides Plenty of Resources
Among the online tools provided by the National Flood Insurance Program are resources designed to provide on-demand training and education as well as marketing and advertising guidance for agents participating in the NFIP. For example, Agents.FloodSmart.gov offers access to a recorded webinar comparing and contrasting the issues agents and lenders encounter in the marketplace when flood maps are revised, including Grandfathered rating, the PRP (Preferred Policy Risk) eligibility extension and flood zone discrepancies.
Of special note is the site’s Marketing and Advertising section, which offers information about building a marketing plan, the NFIP’s co-op advertising program, marketing calendar, integrated campaign library and other interactive tools. Did you know September and October are ideal months for radio and cable television ads promoting flood insurance, according to the NFIP.
Agents.FloodSmart.gov also provides an advertising toolbox, complete with templates that can be used as boilerplates for ads in newspapers and:
- Yellow Pages
- Direct Mail
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Look to the Big 'I' Flood Program for Your Clients
The Big “I” Flood insurance program is stronger than ever and growing. As other companies are withdrawing from the National Flood Insurance Program’s Write Your Own or WYO program, many IIABNY members have turned to Big ”I” Flood. IIABA staff has worked with Selective Insurance for many years to provide members NFIP primary coverage and access to excess flood products. Why Big “I” Flood and why Selective? First, Selective is a longtime supporter of IIABA and its member agents. And Selective, which has participated in the NFIP’s WYO program since 1984, has been rated "A" or better by A.M. Best since 1930. Through Selective, the Big “I” Flood program offers your agency:
- Personal and industry-leading knowledge from the Big “I” and Selective team
- 18 percent commission for new business and 15 percent commissionon renewals
- Book rollover assistance and potentially higher commissions
- Access to instant zone determination, quotes, policy changes and inquiries
- Education on flood insurance and how to protect your clients
Get started today by either registering or updating your profile for Big “I” Flood at www.bigimarkets.com. Click on the registration/update link and complete the registration. Your registration gives you access to Big “I” Flood and all the other specialty products available through Big “I” Markets.
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Agent Participation in NY Health Exchange Moves Closer with Registration Debut
The next step for agents to access NY State of Health, the state’s health insurance exchange, is here after the state Department of Financial Services this week began accepting registrations for those agents who have completed producer certification training for the small business marketplace. New York State Association of Health Underwriters is partnering with IIABNY to present a series of SHOP certification classes this fall. Certification training and registration through DFS is required to access the exchange’s enrollment portal. NY State of Health will begin accepting applications on Oct. 1 for policies effective January 1 and later.
If you completed the certification course and passed the required exam (94 percent in IIABNY’s classes passed the exam), you will need to login at the DFS website and select the “Insurance Industry” tab at the top of the page. Wait at least 48 hours after completion of your certification training to log in, to ensure that your class attendance information has reached the DFS. Agents will not be able to register on the website until their class information from their class provider is received by DFS. After navigating to the DFS website, proceed with the registration process by:
- Clicking "Agents & Brokers"
- Clicking "New York State of Health Exchange Information for Licensed Producers"
- Scrolling to bottom and clicking on "Producer Login Page"
- Logging in (Your user name is your license number WITHOUT the letters, and your password is the last four digits of your Social Security number, plus your eight-digit date of birth)
- Clicking upper right tab "NY State of Health Exchange"
- Following instructions to complete the registration process
The final step in the registration process is through the actual health exchange broker portal when it opens for business on Oct. 1. NY State of Health will e-mail an official access code to log into the broker portal page of the marketplace portal. Invitations will be e-mailed on a rolling basis throughout the day beginning at 8 a.m. on Oct. 1 to all brokers who have completed the SHOP certification training and DFS registration.
The SHOP certification classes presented by IIABNY and NYSAHU, including a special Saturday class on Sept. 21 in Elmsford, continue through Oct. 23 at sites throughout New York. Visit the IIABNY website for a complete schedule and online registration.
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Twelve NY Agencies Serve as Industry Models after Earning Best Practices Recognition
IIABNY congratulates the dozen member agencies who are among the elite group in New York that qualified as a 2013 Best Practices Agency. Seven of the agencies making the cut appeared on the 2012 list. They were identified by IIABA and Regan Consulting as employing the Best Business Practices in the insurance industry. The Best Practices distinction recognizes the agencies for their operations, after having their procedures, growth, productivity, profitability and financial stability reviewed. Based on how they ranked, these agencies are considered models for other agencies around the nation to adopt.
The 2013 qualifying agencies are:
- Austin & Company, Albany
- BNC Insurance Agency, Rye Brook
- First Niagara Risk Management, Rochester
- Gilroy, Kernan, & Gilroy, New Hartford
- Lawley Insurance, Buffalo
- M&T Insurance Agency, Buffalo
- Mang Insurance Agency, Norwich
- Merriam Insurance Agency, Schenectady
- R.J. O'Brien Insurance Agency, Glens Falls
- Seely & Durland Insurance, Warwick
- Spain Agency, Mahopac
- York International Agency, Harrison
The annual Best Practices Study originated in 1993 as an initiative to help independent agents build the value of their most important asset, their agencies. By studying the leading agencies and brokers in the country, the Big "I" hoped to provide member agents with meaningful performance benchmarks and business strategies that could be adopted or adapted for use in improving agency performance, thus enhancing agency value.
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Announcing TrustedChoice.com Profile Publishing Day — Sept. 19!
The new Trusted Choice® consumer website is LIVE. But if you haven't published your enhanced profile, agencies further away from your location are showing up in the website’s listings before you when a consumer searches for a nearby Trusted Choice agent. In order to make sure that consumers see you first, you must complete and publish your profile.
To help, we are having a special publishing day. Staff will be standing by via phone at (855) 372-0070 or e-mail to help New York Trusted Choice agencies get set up. Also, look for a message in your inbox within the next few days inviting you to register for a step-by-step webinar that begins at 11 a.m. on Sept. 19.
To "sweeten the pot," someone will WIN the Ultimate Trusted Choice Swag Bag – an embroidered messenger bag filled with goodies like Trusted Choice apparel, a $100 Visa gift card, iTunes and Starbucks Gift Cards and more. How do you enter to WIN? Just publish your profile any time by 11:59 p.m. Sept. 19.
Got technical questions? Call Project CAP at (855) 372-0070. Need to contact IIABNY? Email Julie MacConnell, the association’s marketing and communications director.
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Big 'I'-Backed Legislation Streamlining Agent Licensing Passes Full U.S. House
IIABA is praising the U.S. House of Representatives for overwhelmingly approving the bipartisan insurance agent licensing reform bill, H.R. 1155, the “National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act of 2013” or NARAB II yesterday by a 397-6 vote.
The bipartisan bill was introduced by House Insurance Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) and Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) in March with 42 original cosponsors. The bill currently boasts the support of 86 bipartisan sponsors.
NARAB II would build upon regulatory experience at the state level, promote consistency in agent and agency licensing and improve marketplace responsiveness. The legislation would provide for streamlined non-resident insurance agent and broker licensing while preserving state insurance regulation and consumer protections. This pragmatic bill would achieve much needed reciprocity in producer licensing and help policyholders by permitting greater competition among agents and brokers and giving consumers greater choices.
NARAB II passed the full House in two previous Congresses by voice vote. It also received strong bipartisan and bicameral support in the 112th Congress. The Senate companion bill, S. 534 by Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) was also introduced in March, currently has 24 bipartisan sponsors, and passed the Senate Banking Committee by voice vote in July.
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What Do You Think? We Need Your Opinion
How satisfied are you with the New York State Insurance Fund? What about the state Department of Financial Services or Department of Motor Vehicles? Is national flood insurance reform important to you? How about the agent's role in the health insurance exchange or New York’s business climate?
By completing this short survey, you will help us focus our legislative and company advocacy on the issues that are most important to the success of your business. Your opinion means a great deal to us, that’s why we need to hear from you.
Give us 5 minutes of your time, and your voice WILL be heard. Take the Short Survey.
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Benefit Walk on Long Island is Start of More to Come
The commitment independent insurance agents and brokers have demonstrated to helping children with life-threatening conditions continues. Benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Team Trusted Choice is behind The Walk For Wishes® 5K Run/Walk, the first in a series of events involving you, your co-workers, clients, friends and community. The walk will take place Sept. 29 at the Dowling College/Brookhaven campus in Shirley.
Please register here
Email, Print and Hang this Sign
Post this on your social media channels
Proud sponsor of @MakeAWish Walk for Wishes. Please join us to build wishes in our community! @ Trusted_Choice
Leaders: Encourage your staff to attend, consider sponsoring an office team.
More info: E-mail Julie MacConnell.
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Still Time to Register for Private Screening of 'Overdraft'
Now eclipsing $16 trillion, America’s debt is the number one economic crisis facing the country today. The nation's economy has a direct impact on your agency's ability to survive and thrive. Please join us at 4 p.m. Sept. 24 in Melville for a special IIABNY member private screening of “Overdraft,” a powerful documentary about the debt crisis in America. Former Pres. Bill Clinton; Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker, Erskine Bowles, co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Travelers Companies chairman and CEO Jay Fishman are among the key business, political and economic leaders featured in the documentary who share the factors that have contributed to the debt and possible solutions. Read more and register...
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