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PIA Top Priority Private Flood Insurance Bill Introduced

WASHINGTON — The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) thanks Congressmen Dennis Ross (R-FL), Kathy Castor (D-FL) and Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Jon Tester (D-MT) for today introducing the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act.

"This legislation, a top priority for PIA in 2017, seeks to encourage the development of a private flood insurance market, with strong consumer protections being overseen by state insurance regulators," said PIA National Vice President of Government Relations Jon Gentile. "We thank the bill's sponsors for their leadership on this important issue. PIA members from around the country will be in town next month for our Federal Legislative Summit asking members to support this measure," Gentile said.

The bill will expand flood insurance options for consumers by clarifying the definition of a private flood insurance policy as that which provides flood insurance coverage issued by an insurance company that is licensed and approved by the state insurance regulator. "It ensures that private flood insurance can be used to satisfy the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP's) continuous coverage requirement, an essential aspect of ensuring policyholders are not penalized for moving from one policy to another," Gentile said.

PIA opposes the immediate privatization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), but supports sensible solutions for encouraging the growth of the private flood insurance market with measures such as this. In addition, PIA supports the long-term reauthorization of the NFIP when it comes up for renewal later in 2017.

"PIA will strongly advocate for this measure to be a centerpiece of the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program," said Gentile.

The NU/PIA Agent Survey Is Released

More than a year ago, PIA began talks with the National Underwriter about joining together to conduct the most comprehensive and exhaustive survey of America's independent agency force that has ever been attempted to date.

Results of the National Underwriter/PIA Independent Agent Survey have now been released in the March 2017 issue of National Underwriter. Here is a link to the results as they appear in the magazine. On PC360.com online, selected results will be updated daily for the next two weeks. The findings provide revealing insight into the demographics, books of business and industry challenges of independent Property & Casualty insurance agents, as well as rankings of their most highly rated carriers.

"This data will be useful to PIA, in developing our own strategies to help our members succeed, and to carriers in their dealings with their appointed agencies," said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker. "The scope, breadth and depth of this study are truly significant," Becker said. "Importantly, it probes just what agents need from their carriers to ensure mutual growth and profitability."

Upcoming PIA Events
04/03/2017 -- 14th Annual James C. Herndon Memorial Charity Golf Tournament

04/04/2017 -- CISR Personal Auto (Shreveport, LA)

04/04/2017 -- North Shore Chapter Meeting

04/05/2017 -- CISR Commercial Casualty II (Lafayette, LA)

04/05/2017 -- PIA National Federal Legislative Summit and Spring Governance Meetings

04/06/2017 -- PIA National Federal Legislative Summit and Spring Governance Meetings

04/08/2017 -- PIA National Federal Legislative Summit and Spring Governance Meetings

04/11/2017 -- CISR William T Hold (Kenner, LA)

04/12/2017 -- CISR Personal Residential (Baton Rouge, LA)

04/12/2017 -- PIA of Baton Rouge Chapter Meeting

Virtual Exhibit Hall

Check out our
Virtual Exhibit Hall

PIA on the Buy Button in Rough Notes

The March 2017 issue of Rough Notes magazine has a feature article on the Buy Button as conceived by PIA. PIA National Vice President/Treasurer Keith Savino, a managing partner of Warwick Resource Group LLC, who is a former ACORD board member and current past chairman of NetVU (Network of Vertafore Users), is interviewed in the article.

Savino advocates a concept called the Buy Button and is working with an initiative spearheaded by PIA, with initial support from ACORD, agency automation vendors, other agent associations, and insurers, all dedicated to providing independent agents access to a real-time binding process. PIA has launched a major initiative to promote the Buy Button.

"PIA National took a leadership role," says association Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Becker. "Part of the impetus was PIA Partnership research showing that commercial lines customers who prefer to do business with independent agents nevertheless want their agents to be fully capable, digitally." PIA adopted a position in support of the concept, which has been endorsed by the American Insurance Marketing & Sales (AIMS) Society and NetVU, among other organizations. Read the full article.

House GOP Reveals ACA Replacement Plan

House Republicans unveiled their much anticipated health law replacement plan on March 6, slashing the law's Medicaid expansion and scrapping the requirement that individuals purchase coverage or pay a fine. But they opted to continue providing tax credits to encourage consumers to purchase coverage, although they would configure the program much differently than the current law.

The legislation would keep the health law's provisions allowing adult children to stay on their parents' health insurance plan until age 26 and prohibiting insurers from charging people with preexisting medical conditions more for coverage as long as they don't let their insurance lapse. If they do, insurers can charge a flat 30 percent late-enrollment surcharge on top of the base premium, under the Republican bill. Read more about the GOP plan from the non-partisan Kaiser Health News.

The legislation has been the focus of intense negotiations among different factions of the Republican Party and the Trump administration since January. Complicating the effort is the fact that Republicans have only 52 seats in the Senate, so they cannot muster the 60 necessary to overcome a Democratic filibuster. That means they must use a complicated legislative strategy called budget reconciliation that allows them to repeal only parts of the ACA that affect federal spending.

Some conservative Republicans such as Sen. Rand Paul (KY) have criticized the new GOP plan as "Obamacare Lite," while Democrats quickly condemned the bill.

READ: Selling Health Insurance Across State Lines Won't Save Money

Both the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees are scheduled to mark up the legislation Wednesday. The committees do not yet have any Congressional Budget Office analysis of how much the legislation would cost or how many people it would cover.

Thanks to Our 2017 PIA Partners:

American Strategic Insurance (ASI)

Capital Premium Financing

LUBA Workers' Comp

Markel FirstComp

Prime Rate Premium Finance Corporation

Stonetrust Commercial Ins. Co.