PIA Partners With InsureZone to Launch PIA Market Access Program

Register to learn more about PIA Market Access during a free webinar on July 11 at 3:00 PM ET.

PIA is proud to announce a partnership with InsureZone, Inc., based in Fort Worth, Texas. Through PIA's partnership with InsureZone, PIA members will be able to access over 50 national and specialty carriers plus real-time, online rating for personal and commercial lines.

PIA Market Access, available at www.PIAMarketAccess.com, is a wholesale market access program that will help PIA members access personal and commercial lines markets from a number of admitted "A" or better-rated companies. Agents submitting applications through the platform can receive quotes from most of these companies through a technologically advanced personal and commercial lines rater.

"PIA Market Access can help those agents who may have difficulty obtaining carrier appointments while initially growing their book of business gain access by utilizing InsureZone's contracts," said PIA National President Timothy Russell, CPCU, of Southport, Connecticut. "Not only will agents in this program retain ownership of their book of business, but if they should choose to leave, there are no exit fees. A win-win for agents everywhere."

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PIA Urges Senate to Act on NFIP Reauthorization

Congress should move quickly on legislation to provide a long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), urged PIA in a letter to Senate leadership. "We encourage the Senate to act soon on legislation, rather than risk the program lapsing after its July 31 deadline in the middle of hurricane season. Any reauthorization of the NFIP should contain improvements to the program but take care not to include provisions that would have unintended negative consequences." PIA noted it opposes any provision that would cut the Write-Your-Own (WYO) reimbursement rate without a strong protection for agent compensation.





FEMA Stretched Thin at Start of Hurricane Season

Reservists at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) account for about half of the agency's disaster-response personnel. They are dispatched as needed to help recovery efforts following natural disasters. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, however, about 500 reservists ignored FEMA's deployment request, according to FEMA officials.

Reservists are allowed to turn down up to three assignments each year, meaning FEMA cannot count on a full reserve force during peak periods. With the 2018 hurricane season already underway, FEMA is scrambling to hire more people who are willing to depart at a moment's notice for assignments that can last months at a time.

Internal documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that the agency's disaster-response force is understaffed by 26 percent. Staffing shortages often compel FEMA to shift personnel from one disaster to the next and, in some cases, rely on workers who do not know how to do the job effectively, according to interviews with 15 current and former FEMA workers. Some local officials say the agency's mission of bringing federal aid where it is needed is hampered by its constant turnover.





Join the PIA Peers Facebook — Great Networking Tool!

The PIA Peers Facebook group is for members of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) and their affiliated state associations. This agent-to-agent group was created for PIA members to discuss topics and challenges they are confronted with on a daily basis such as challenges with the market, technology, social media usage, agency marketing, and more; off-topic discussions are discouraged and are subject to removal. The information in this group is not intended to serve as legal, accounting, financial, insurance, investment advisory or other professional advice. Contact the page administrator for more information.





IDR Survey: Agent Use of Digital Advances

Independent insurance agents have made important advances in awareness and use of digital technologies in the last two years, according to the Insurance Digital Revolution's (IDR) second Insurance Digital Transformation Survey. Today, the majority of agents, 95 percent, say that digital technologies are important or very important to their success, a substantial increase from the 58 percent who responded similarly in 2016.

"Insurance is a complex product and the majority of customers want a relationship with their insurance professional, helping them through the process and handling their unique needs," said Mike Becker, CEO of PIA National. "This is where independent agents still hold the advantage over other options, like insurtechs and direct writers. But agents can't stand still. They need to embrace digital tools that will enhance that relationship."

"The results of the survey are encouraging. But there is still work to be done," Becker said.

Additional findings include:
  • Agents want more carrier support including commercial lines download, e-signature and better customer-facing solutions
  • 95% say that digital technologies are important or very important
  • In the past two years, the percentage of agents utilizing e-signature, quoting on web sites, customer facing portals has increased
  • Only four percent of agents said carriers' customer facing technology is excellent
  • Only 37% of agencies have a written security plan or hold cybersecurity training. Despite the lack of protection 55% rate their cybersecurity protection as good or excellent.
PIA is a founding member of IDR, together with Associations & User Groups Information Exchange (AUGIE) and Agents Council for Technology (ACT). IDR is an industry advocacy and communications initiative to accelerate adoption of digital technologies that enable independent insurance agents to improve customer satisfaction, grow business, and increase profitability.







PIA Branding Program: Consumer-Friendly Issue Papers

PIA Branding Program Home Page (ALL consumer-friendly issue papers available here)

New Hurricane Preparedness Issue Paper:
Contact:
PIA Branding Program:Dana Anaman (danaan@pianet.org,
703-518-1382)
One-pagers: Lauren Pachman (laurenpa@pianet.org,
703-518-1344)