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NFIP Back On Track After FEMA Relents

For two days after Christmas, it looked like the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) would get pulled into the federal government shutdown. But then quick action by a bipartisan group of lawmakers and business groups, including PIA, prompted a reversal by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

On December 26, five days after Congress extended, and the president signed into law a six-month extension of the NFIP, FEMA notified stakeholders that, despite Congress's action, the NFIP would not be permitted to operate normally. As a result, agents and insurance carriers that administered NFIP policies were advised that they were prohibited from selling NFIP policies during the shutdown.

PIA National, along with other members of industry, sprang into action, urging congressional leaders and contacts in the administration to reach an immediate resolution to this untenable situation. They were joined by key members of Congress, who maintained that FEMA had made a big mistake.

Then late Friday Dec. 28, FEMA rescinded the guidance it had issued just two days earlier that insurers should no longer sell new policies backed by the flood insurance program during the government shutdown. Stakeholders had pointed out that FEMA's action contradicted Congress' passage of a six-month extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) on the evening of Dec. 21, just hours before the government shutdown began.

READ: Yes, FEMA is still selling flood insurance policies

David I. Maurstad, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation with FEMA, issued a statement late Dec. 28, saying:

"On December 26, 2018, FEMA informed you that due to a lapse in annual appropriation the NFIP may not sell new insurance policies, renew existing policies, or make monetary endorsements on existing policies. Effective immediately, this guidance is rescinded and NFIP Insurers may resume the sale, renewal, and monetary endorsements for flood insurance policies. Please treat the program as operational since December 21, 2018 without interruption. We appreciate your support, understanding, and patience these past few days."

New CA Rule Bans Gender Rating of Auto

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issued new regulations to prohibit the use of gender in private passenger automobile insurance rating in California. The Gender Non-Discrimination in Automobile Insurance Rating Regulation became effective on Jan. 1, 2019.

"These regulations ensure that auto insurance rates are based on factors within a driver's control, rather than personal characteristics over which drivers have no control," said Jones.

This is not the first regulatory action Commissioner Jones has taken to prevent gender-based discrimination in California's insurance industry. In 2012, the Commissioner promulgated regulations that prohibit and prevent the denial of coverage or denial of claims for medical services based upon an insured or prospective insured's actual or perceived gender identity.

Upcoming PIA Events
02/05/2019 -- North Shore Chapter Meeting

02/13/2019 -- Baton Rouge Chapter Meeting

02/20/2019 -- CISR Personal Lines Misc.
(Shreveport, LA)

02/21/2019 -- Northwest Chapter Meeting

02/26/2019 -- CISR Agency Operations

02/27/2019 -- CISR Personal Auto
(Baton Rouge)

02/28/2019 -- CISR Agency Operations

03/12/2019 -- Northeast Chapter Meeting

03/13/2019 -- CISR Personal Auto

03/13/2019 -- New Orleans Chapter Meeting

Virtual Exhibit Hall

Check out our
Virtual Exhibit Hall

PIA Announces 2019 PIA InsureTech Showcase

The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) has announced a showcase for InsureTech innovators whose ideas can specifically advantage independent insurance agents.

The 2019 PIA InsureTech Showcase will take place on April 2, 2019 in Crystal City, Virginia. PIA has issued a call for InsureTech presenters for this showcase whose ideas can be embraced by insurance agents to enhance their competitiveness as part of the independent agency distribution system.

"This event will provide a unique opportunity for innovators to showcase practical applications for emerging technologies that can specifically help independent agents succeed, not focused on disruption but empowerment," said PIA National President Keith A. Savino.

"The initial perception was that InsureTech represented a threat to independent agents, but the evolution is to then focus on the power and strength of the agent channel. PIA will help provide a platform for their launch," Savino said. "The technology exists today to empower agents to better serve their clients, in real time. The goal is to create enhanced opportunities for independent agencies by expanding our business and consumer experience solutions. Agents need to embrace these innovations."

The 2019 PIA InsureTech Showcase will be moderated by Bill Hartnett, who spent 18 years with Microsoft heading up its vertical marketing for the banking, insurance and capital markets sectors. Previously, Hartnett was an agent and broker who ran a family agency which is still thriving in Rhode Island and was a PIA national director and board member from Rhode Island. "My roots are in the American agency system and I still think it’s got a lot of life left in it, contrary to popular belief sometimes," Hartnett said.

InsureTech innovators may apply for a limited number of speaking slots at the April 2, 2019 session. Interested individuals should contact insuretech@pianet.org.

The Stephen W. Cavanaugh Scholarship Fund
Is Now Open for Applications

This scholarship fund was established in January 2007 by the Louisiana Workers' Compensation Corporation (LWCC) to honor the memory of Mr. Stephen W. Cavanaugh. Mr. Cavanaugh served as the President and CEO of LWCC until 2006. He was an extraordinary leader who made lasting contributions to the insurance industry in Louisiana. He is succeeded by Kristin W. Wall, who has served as President and CEO since Mr. Cavanaugh's departure. To find out more about this scholarship click here and to apply go to https://brafscholarships.org/.

PIA Announces Call for Award Nominations

PIA National has announced a call for nominations for three prestigious awards in its 2019 Spring Awards program. Nominations are being accepted now through February 20, 2019 for the association's Professional Agent of the Year, Customer Service Representative (CSR) of the Year and Young Insurance Professional (YIP) of the Year awards.

The deadline for all nominations is February 20, 2019. Nomination forms are currently available to download at www.pianet.com/awards. To enter, all completed nomination forms must be emailed to awards@pianet.org.

"These national awards are the highest honors independent insurance agents can receive from their peers," said Gerald F. Hemphill, a Virginia agent who chairs the PIA National Awards Task Force. "PIA encourages our affiliates and members to nominate their fellow deserving PIA members for these awards."

All three awards will be presented during a gala luncheon ceremony on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, in Arlington, Virginia, held in conjunction with the 2019 PIA Federal Legislative Summit and Spring Governance meetings.

PIA members submitting nominations will find nomination forms and further instructions at: www.pianet.com/awards. For questions or additional information on the awards, contact Sade Hale at awards@pianet.org or 703-518-1350.

This is the 14th consecutive year that the PIA National Young Insurance Professional (YIP) of the Year award is sponsored by Rough Notes magazine.

Webinars Spotlight

PIA Market Access Webinar today at 2:00 p.m. CST. PIA Market Access is a wholesale market access program that will help PIA members access over 50 national and specialty personal and commercial lines markets from a number of admitted "A" or better-rated companies. PIA members participating in the PIA Market Access Program will retain ownership of their book of business, and if they should choose to leave the program, there are no exit fees. Agents can expect to see competitive commission rates. Register.

Other upcoming PIA webinars:

AVYST eForms Wizard Webinar — January 24 at 2 PM ET

DocIT for Agents Webinar — February 14 at 2 PM ET

Hartford Flood Webinar — February 22 at 2 PM ET

Thanks to Our 2019 PIA Partners:

Capital Premium Financing

Excalibur National Insurance Company

LUBA Workers' Comp

Markel FirstComp

SafePoint Insurance

SageSure Insurance Managers, LLC

Stonetrust Commercial Ins. Co.

Professional Insurance Agents of Louisiana
4021 W. E. Heck Ct., Building K • Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70816
(800) 349-3434 • (225) 766-7770 • (225) 766-1601 (fax)