PIA of Louisiana's 73rd Annual Convention
July 9-12, 2016 • The Grand Hotel
Point Clear, AL
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Watch PIA's 10-Year Anniversary of Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita Video

Gearing Up for the Upcoming Legislative
Session: A Note From Our Lobbying Team
at Adams & Reese

During the Louisiana Organizational Session two weeks ago the Senate was quick and efficient with their re-election of Senate President John A. Alario, Jr. (R-Westwego) and election of Senate Pro Tempore Gerald Long (R-Winnfield). Senate chairmen and members of committees were released a couple days later. The Louisiana House of Representatives took a bit more time to hash out their procedures. Representative Taylor Barras (R-New Iberia) became the House Speaker, in what I believe, is the first time in State history that the Governor of Louisiana's revered contender did not win the speaker position in the beginning of a new election cycle. Representative Walt Leger, III (D-New Orleans) was re-elected to Speaker Pro Tempore. Both being a great statesman, the House has an abundance of respected leadership to guide them in this next election cycle. Speaker Barras (pronounced "Bah-Rah") was elected as a surprise candidate to many and did not have chairmanship discussions completed due to the unexpected change of events which led up to his win in the speaker race. Those chairmen and member committee positions were released about an hour ago showing the House of Representative's further push toward their independence. Please find the Senate and House Committee chairmen and vice chairmen (along with a link to the committee members) for this upcoming session below.

Special session will begin Sunday, February 14, 2016 focusing on tax increases, ending corporate tax breaks, and the current budget short falls for this fiscal and next fiscal year. Governor John Bel Edwards (D-Amite) has been very straightforward that no one industry will be picked out; rather that all industries will feel a pinch. When the call for Special Session is released we will be able to share with you how long it will last. Regular session will begin March 14 and last until June 6.

Chair — Rep. Kirk Talbot
Vice Chair — Rep. Major Thibaut

Link to full House committees: http://house.louisiana.gov/H_Reps/H_Reps_StandCmteesAllInfo.aspx

Chair — Senator John Smith
Vice Chair — Senator Ryan Gatti
Link to full Senate committees: http://senate.la.gov/Committees/Assignments.asp

Please join us for our Joint Fundraiser for Senate Insurance Committee Chairman John Smith — this Wednesday evening. Click here for details!

Upcoming PIA Events
02/16/2016 -- Acadiana Chapter Meeting & Flood CE

02/17/2016 -- 1752 Club Annual Meeting @ 6:30 p.m.
(Lafayette, LA)

02/18/2016 -- YIPs Annual Winter Conference

02/19/2016 -- YIPs Annual Winter Conference

02/23/2016 -- CPIA-1 Position for Success
(Lafayette, LA)

02/24/2016 -- Northwest Chapter Meeting

03/01/2016 -- Northeast Chapter Meeting

03/02/2016 -- New Orleans Chapter Meeting

03/02/2016 -- Ethics, Right vs Right sponsored by PIA of Louisiana and the Northeast Chapter of PIA

03/08/2016 -- CISR Personal Residential
(Baton Rouge, LA)

Virtual Exhibit Hall

Check out our
Virtual Exhibit Hall

PIA National Holds "Buy Button" Forum at ACORD

PIA National hosted an industry meeting it called on January 21, 2016, at the headquarters of ACORD in Pearl River, New York, to discuss the concept of agents offering a level of purchasing capability on their websites, known as a "buy button."

More than 50 agents, carriers and vendors attended the session, participating in discussions by three panels. There was a sense among participants that the industry is moving toward an online binding capability that independent agents may choose to utilize. Some participants likened development of a "buy button" capability to earlier milestones in technology development.

Industry leaders meet during PIA's forum on an agent "Buy Button."

There was considerable discussion of whether or not independent agents offering an online purchasing/binding capability on their websites would undermine the agent value proposition, or add to the value that the agent brings to the process.

"We have to recognize as agents, we have an ability to possibly use this technology to reach a market segment that we're not currently getting to—but yet, we also have to be aware of our value proposition. So, it's kind of a delicate balancing act," said PIA National President Robert W. Hansen, Jr.

PIA National conducted this forum to put the topic on the table, with agents and their views at the center of objective discussion, as a means of performing due diligence on an emerging issue.

"This is a new concept for many, so it's important to carry out due diligence and have objective conversations about the effect it could have on the industry," said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker. "We are particularly grateful to ACORD for hosting this meeting, which enabled some the industry's top forward-thinking leaders to share their thoughts on the matter."

Stay tuned for additional details on the discussions held at this PIA National forum.

PIA National Releases Advocacy and
Policy Priorities for 2016

PIA National released PIA's 2016 Advocacy and Policy Priorities, which include preserving the role of agents in healthcare reform; defending state regulation of insurance; cultivating agent licensing uniformity; promoting small business & tax reform; and safeguarding important property/casualty programs.

"In 2015, PIA had great success in advocating for independent insurance agents at the federal and state level," said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker. "PIA successfully defended the independent agency system and advocated on behalf of independent agents at the federal level. We intend to build on that success in 2016."

PIA helped achieve two victories in the year-end "omnibus" appropriations funding measure: a two-year delay of the "Cadillac Tax," a 40% tax on certain employer-based health plans, and the passage of the Policyholder Protection Act, which prohibits federal regulators from using assets designated to pay out insurance claims to "prop up" an affiliated bank.

PIA also successfully advocated for the reversal of a $3 billion cut to the Federal Crop Insurance Program. In addition, PIA actively advocated for the passage of the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act (PACE), enabling states to keep the current definition of a small group market in health insurance at 50 or fewer employees

"This Congress has broken free of gridlock to act on many issues to the benefit of professional insurance agents and their customers, approving bills endorsed by PIA," said PIA National Vice President of Government Relations Jon Gentile. "We look forward to continuing to work with lawmakers to support the independent agency system and Main Street insurance agents everywhere."

The full document is available at: http://pianet.com/docs/2016/piapolicyplan2016/.

Storm Damage Could Cost Billions

Insurance experts predict that the blizzard that recently hit the East Coast will cause economic damages in the billions of dollars. Aon Benfield, a global reinsurance firm, released a report on January 24 about the considerable water damage that storm surges from the recent storm caused to homes, businesses, beaches and infrastructure in coastal areas. While the storm buried parts of the Northeast in snow, coastal portions of New Jersey and Delaware were beset by storm surges that sparked coastal flooding. The storm surge caused considerable flood damage that some experts say far exceeds 2012's Hurricane Sandy. "We're potentially looking at one of the costlier winter storm events in recent memory," said Steven Bowen, meteorologist for Aon Benfield.

Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, said that the level of insured losses from severe winter weather is increasing. Hartwig cited data compiled by the institute showing that losses for both of the last two years were significantly higher than the average losses the industry faces each winter. Insured losses related to weather totaled approximately $2.9 billion in 2015, an increase of 26 percent compared with the $2.3 billion in 2014 and 53 percent compared with the $1.9 billion in 2013. Hartwig noted that despite the large increase in losses during recent years, the U.S. insurance industry is "financially prepared for anything Mother Nature has in store."

Thanks to Our 2016 PIA Partners:

American Strategic Insurance (ASI)

Capital Premium Financing

LUBA Workers' Comp

Markel FirstComp

Prime Rate Premium Finance Corporation

Stonetrust Commercial Ins. Co.