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Update on National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization

With Congress just getting back in session this week after the midterm elections, federal legislators will have a busy lame-duck session to complete outstanding work that they didn't get done before the elections. Congress only has a few short weeks to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is scheduled to expire on Nov. 30. This brief period will include leadership elections in each chamber's party conferences, along with the Thanksgiving holiday recess.

Unfortunately, Congress chose to separate the NFIP from the appropriations process when the program was extended earlier this year for the seventh time. As a result, the program is in danger of lapsing for a significant amount of time. If Congress fails to act, the program will expire in the immediate aftermath of another devastating hurricane season. In the absence of a must-pass legislative vehicle to which it can be attached, the program is in danger of expiring for an extended period, putting millions of policyholders at risk. In the wake of 2018 Atlantic Hurricanes Florence and Michael, Congress should take no chances with the homes and businesses of policyholders.

PIA National has issued a national grassroots alert asking Congress to pass an extension of the NFIP beyond its current expiration date. PIA members are encouraged to take a few moments to send an action alert, which can be found here, or by visiting PIA's advocacy center at https://pianet.com/grassroots/action.

PIA Urges Bipartisanship in 116th Congress

After the election results were known, PIA issued a statement saying "PIA will continue to promote the valued role of professional independent insurance agents in the new 116th Congress by seeking business-friendly policies that encourage a strong, competitive insurance market that serves insurance consumers well. With the Democratic party now set to control the House, and the Senate to remain in Republican control, PIA encourages the next Congress to find bipartisan solutions to strengthen our economy."

"PIA will continue to advocate for policies that help independent insurance agents protect consumers: a strong National Flood Insurance Program and crop insurance program; the strengthening of employer-sponsored health care; and opposition to proposals that chip away at the successful state insurance regulatory system," said Jon Gentile, PIA National vice president of government relations. PIA looks forward to accomplishing some of these goals during the lame-duck session of the 115th Congress, as we prepare for the new Congress to be seated in January.

Impact on Our Issues

It's good to note that apart from health insurance, insurance generally is not a hot-button topic in Congress. The approach to most insurance issues is more bipartisan. We hope the changes to the composition of Congress will encourage a renewed spirit of bipartisanship in terms of creating opportunities for insurance agents to expand their businesses and increase the take-up rate for flood and other essential lines of insurance.

While a lot has been accomplished under two years of singular control—including passage of tax reform, which led to many agents and brokers being able to qualify for a very helpful pass-through tax deduction—we now may see positive actions as the result of this split Congress.

Upcoming PIA Events
12/04/2018 -- North Shore Chapter Meeting

12/04/2018 -- Northeast Chapter Meeting

12/06/2018 -- YIPs Holiday at the Races

12/07/2018 -- New Orleans Christmas Banquet & Installation

12/12/2018 -- BR Chapter Christmas Party & Installation

12/13/2018 -- Northwest Industry Social

12/18/2018 -- Acadiana Chapter Meeting

01/09/2019 -- New Orleans Chapter Meeting

01/16/2019 -- 1752 Club Annual Meeting
(Lafayette, LA)

01/17/2019 -- YIPS Annual Winter Conference

Virtual Exhibit Hall

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Virtual Exhibit Hall

Disaster Relief Center
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Disaster Relief Center

Open Enrollment for Marketplace Coverage

The open enrollment period for 2019 health insurance coverage through Marketplaces and other individual plans is here. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has a fact sheet.

In addition, with the start of the enrollment period, some states are issuing warnings about non-ACA compliant short-term health plans.

Some states point out that there is a difference in the level of coverage consumers can find with short-term health plans, and health plans that meet all the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). One of the stronger warnings comes from the state of New Jersey, which cautions against "skimpy health plans and junk insurance… which fail to meet the standards of New Jersey law, are prohibited in the state" and "do not supersede New Jersey laws."

Florence Toll $17 Billion, Half Not Covered

North Carolina estimates that Hurricane Florence caused nearly $17 billion in damage to homes, businesses and farms. Up to half of that amount may not be covered by private insurance or government aid. The latest estimates from the state Department of Insurance mean that the physical and economic harm caused by Hurricane Florence has outstripped the combined damages of two previous storms, Hurricanes Matthew and Floyd.

The state estimates that private insurance will cover $4.8 billion in storm losses from Florence, the federal government has pledged $2.5 billion in aid, and the state has proposed spending $750 million, on top of $56 million approved by the General Assembly during a special session in early October. That leaves an estimated $8.8 billion in uncovered costs, according to Gov. Roy Cooper's office.

Thanks to Our 2018 PIA Partners:

Capital Premium Financing

Excalibur National Insurance Company

LUBA Workers' Comp

Markel FirstComp

SafePoint Insurance

SageSure Insurance Managers, LLC

Stonetrust Commercial Ins. Co.