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2013: 110613 IIABNY News - Abstract

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11/06/13 -- Preparing for Next Legislative Cycle Begins Now

IIABNY Insider

November 6, 2013

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IN THIS ISSUE:

  Albany Capitol icon

Looking Ahead to 2014 Legislative Session
The legislative session for the New York State Legislature doesn’t resume until January 2014, but it’s no secret incumbent lawmakers running for re-election have their sights set on positioning themselves for the next campaign. In light of the upcoming 2014 campaign season, it’s anticipated the Senate and Assembly are not likely to vote on legislation that might be perceived as controversial after both houses are gaveled back into session. However, that doesn’t mean lawmakers will be sitting on their hands either.

Several issues of interest to IIABNY members are expected to be in line for legislative scrutiny and possible action. They include:

  • auto insurance reforms, including changes to combat no-fault insurance fraud
  • a renewed push to reform the state’s so-called “Scaffold Law” by amending sections 240 and 241 in New York’s Labor Law
  • possible legislative tweaking of the state health insurance exchange, NY State of Health

The State Legislature is projected to be in session beginning Jan. 8, 2014. IIABNY’s legislative team is always working with state lawmakers, regulators and other state officials on behalf on the association's members and is currently drafting the organization’s Legislative Position Paper, which will be completed before the end of 2013. Be sure to look for it and the next issue of Capitol Report when it resumes publication after the 2014 legislative session opens.

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 Legislative Roadmap icon

Believe it or Not! It's Time to Open Up IIABNY's Legislative Roadmap
Yesterday’s elections are over, of course, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to begin planning how you can help shape New York’s legislative future in the coming year. If you’ve never been involved in the political process before, IIABNY can show you how you can be a strong advocate for the industry on which your livelihood depends. The association has created a “Legislative Roadmap” (note: you can click on the graphic to zoom in) for its members that offers a step-by-step guide to becoming a more effective supporter of the Independent Agency system in New York.

The roadmap covers everything from becoming a local point person for IIABNY’s Legislative team and building personal relationships with legislators to staying engaged in legislative activities by paying attention to the IIABNY’s email blasts, phone calls and following the association’s social media channels to keep track of our legislative activities. There’s even a month-by-month timetable you can follow and strategies for grassroots success.

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U.S. Capitol icon

Protecting Your Interests through Political Action Committees
More than 100 years ago when Theodore Roosevelt first uttered the phrase “speak softly and carry a big stick,” he was referring to how the U.S. government should conduct foreign policy. In 2013, the “big stick” is often viewed by lawmakers in Washington, D.C. and at state capitols across the nation as the political might organizations wield through their political action committees or PACs. IIABA and IIABNY were no different last April when members from both associations visited with legislators and their staffs during the Big “I” Legislative Conference. Incidentally, the 2014 event will be held April 9 through April 11, 2014 at the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington D.C. In a departure from past years,  L Day – IIABNY's premiere legislative event – will be held later in the year on March 25, 2014, once again at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.

Established by IIABA, InsurPac is the national political action committee that supports candidates for federal office who have been advocates and supporters of the independent agency system and small business. In the 2012 campaign cycle, contributions from IIABNY and other Big “I” members helped InsurPac distribute more than $1.8 million, resulting in winning at least 236 House and Senate races for a 84 percent congressional victory rate.

IAPAC or the Independent Agents Political Action Committee is the non-partisan political action committee established by IIABNY to raise funds for contributions to candidates for elected office in the State of New York. Contributions support state candidates only, such as those running for the Assembly or Senate. IAPAC’s primary function is to spur the election of candidates to the New York Legislature who are responsive to the needs of independent agents.

You can make a contribution to InsurPac online or by downloading, printing, completing and returning the contribution form posted on IIABNY’s website. For more information about the importance of InsurPac and carrying a big stick, email IIABNY’s Kathy Weinheimer or call her at (800) 851-8853, ext. 239. You can also send a contribution form and payment to IAPAC in care of IIABNY, 5784 Widewaters Parkway, 1st Floor, Dewitt, NY 13214.

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Industruy News icon

Lobbyist a Bad Word? Really?
Among the select few association lobbyists listed by The Hill in its Top Lobbyists 2013 list is IIABA president and CEO Robert Rusbuldt. The Big "I" executive is among the advocates in the nation’s capital that have risen to the top of their profession to earn a slot on the weekly magazine's annual list.

Here’s how The Hill, described them:

Some of the Top Lobbyists are hired guns who have proven to clients that they can shape the agenda on Capitol Hill. Others are advocates who derive power from the grassroots, turning old-fashioned organizing into potent political power. Some work for a single business or corporation, giving them the ability to speak with authority on economic and tax policy. Last but not least are the lobbyists and leaders for trade groups, who help industries present a united front in legislative battles.
While everyone on the list exerts influence in Washington, not all of them are registered lobbyists. Since The Hill began publishing its Top Lobbyists list more than a decade ago, the word “lobbyist” has become a “Scarlet L” that many strive to avoid. The industry has also expanded into new forms of advocacy that go beyond face-to-face meetings with decision makers.
The Hill uses the term “lobbyist” broadly here to encompass the people who are working day in and day out to influence federal policy. While not every advocate on the list fits the traditional K Street mold, they all have one thing in common: a proven ability to make things happen in Washington.

Visit The Hill website to see the list of corporate, "hired guns," grassroots and other association lobbyists recognized by the Washington, D.C.-based publication.

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IIABNY Advocacy icon

Election Postscript
IIABNY congratulates Bill Lindsay III for his victory in yesterday's election for the Suffolk County Legislature's 8th district seat. While we don't normally take interest in county legislative races, this one took on special significance because of the derogatory remarks attributed to the campaign of Lindsay's opponent, Anthony Musumeci, about "insurance salesmen." Lindsay is regional vice president of The Capacity Group of New York, LLC, an insurance brokerage and IIABNY member.

As we reported in the Oct. 30 issue of IIABNY Insider, IIABNY president and CEO Richard Poppa, CAE, AAI and IIAB of Suffolk County president Joanne Bentivegna, CIC, CRM reached out last week to Musumeci and requested he publicly disavow himself from the offending campaign advertisement.

IIABNY will continue to advocate on behalf of its members and educate the public on the value of independent insurance agents and brokers.

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NYS DFS logo icon

DFS to Producers, Insurers: Don't Try to Skirt Obamacare Rules
The New York State Department of Financial Services has reminded insurers and producers that state law forbids them from renewing small group health policies early in order to evade new federal health care reform requirements. The U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or ACA, popularly known as “Obamacare,” requires individual and small group health plans effective on or after Jan. 1, 2014 to provide at least a package of 10 essential health benefits:

  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health and substance abuse disorder services, including behavioral health management
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

The New York State Legislature inserted provisions in one of the 2013-14 budget bills prohibiting insurers and producers from permitting the renewal of small group health policies with expiration dates between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2014, “so as to renew the same policy prior to the policy's annual renewal date for the sole purpose of evading the requirements of the affordable care act and regulations promulgated thereunder…”

The notice DFS emailed to insurers and producers this week reminded them of these new provisions. “Health insurance producers that steer small employer groups toward early renewal of coverage for the sole purpose of avoiding the requirements of the ACA may be in violation of the Insurance Law,” the department said. “Likewise, insurers who early renew coverage for small groups for the sole purpose of avoiding the requirements of the ACA may also be in violation of the Insurance Law.” The notice also stated that DFS would not consider inadvertent errors to be violations.

The complete text of the notice is posted on the Information for Agents and Brokers page on the DFS website.

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Flood Insurance icon

Flood Insurance Rates will Rise for Some NYers, Writes FEMA Official 
Just because the temperatures have turned much cooler, you probably thought you could stop thinking about flood insurance? If so, think again. As the Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to implement the federal Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012, some New York agents might have clients who will face increasing premiums in 2014. FEMA’s Dennis Kuhns, a division director in the agency’s federal insurance and mitigation administration, has written an article that speaks specifically to how the act can impact New York residents.

In the article titled “Certain Flood Insurance Subsidies Eliminated: New York Policyholders Could See Rate Increases,” Kuhns advises agents to help their clients understand the changes that started being implemented Oct. 1 and prepare themselves for new premium bills. Read the full Kuhns article, which is posted on the IIABNY website.

Please note: IIABNY will track any potential congressional delays under discussion that might affect implementation of the reforms and inform members of any changes.

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Cash icon

Superior Payment Plan Offers Chance to Win Extra Cash
We could all use extra cash, especially during the holiday season. If you’re interested in a chance to win a $250 Visa gift card, Superior Payment Plan, LLC, IIABNY’s endorsed premium finance provider, is behind a special contest we’re calling “Black Friday Spending Cash!” And get this; it’s for IIABNY members only. Here’s how to enter.

For each premium finance quote you request from Superior until Nov. 22, you will be entered to win the gift card. You can prepare a quote online at superiorpayment.com or request one by calling (866) 856-1112 or via email. The winner will be drawn at 5 p.m. Nov.22 and receive the gift card to spend before Black Friday (Nov. 29). Call the Superior team at (866) 856-1112 with questions or for more information on how to get started.

As the name implies, Superior Payment Plan is committed to providing superior customer service to its brokers and their insureds who require extended terms for the payment of their insurance premiums.

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