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Watch PIA's 10-Year Anniversary of Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita Video

House and Senate Leadership Agree to Reverse
Damaging Cuts to Crop Insurance

Quick action by Professional Insurance Agents has helped lead to a pledge from the leadership in both the U.S. House and the Senate to reverse deep cuts to crop insurance that were included in a deal to raise the nation's debt limit.

On October 28, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1314, the "Bipartisan Budget Agreement Act." The bill raises the debt ceiling and sets the federal budget for two years. In order to pay for part of it, the deal calls for a severe cut of $3 billion to the federal crop insurance program. Please see PIA National's press release opposing the cuts to crop insurance in the bill. The Senate is currently considering the bill now that it has passed the House.

Once the cuts to crop insurance were announced, PIA activated our grassroots action network. Offices in both the House and Senate were soon completely overwhelmed with calls from PIA agents from all over the country outraged at the proposed cuts and to defend the crop insurance program. Congressional leaders soon got the message and decided to back off from cutting crop insurance. Due to the fast moving process on the budget agreement, and desire to pass this budget deal before Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) took over as Speaker, it was not possible to remove the cuts from the larger budget deal because it would have upended the agreement.

However: House Agriculture committee staff were able to get the House leadership to commit to reverse the cut when Congress takes up the appropriations measure to fund the federal government, which must take place by December 11. Chairman Michael Conaway's (R-TX) press release on this pledge can be found here.

Also, today, October 29 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), during a colloquy on the Senate floor, pledged to work with the House to reverse the cuts to crop insurance when the upcoming federal funding measure is taken up. This colloquy on the Senate floor can be viewed here. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) also noted his determination to reverse these cuts. Other Senators who spoke on the floor about reversing the cuts were Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and John Thune (R-SD). A press release from Chairman Roberts through the Senate Agriculture Committee can be read here.

This is clear proof that both House and Senate leadership heard your voice. This victory shows the power of grassroots advocacy in making a real difference. Without your many calls to your representatives these cuts would have been made, putting the program at risk.

There is more work to be done in the coming weeks! PIA will continue our advocacy to ensure Congressional leadership lives up to their public commitment to reverse these cuts.

Thank you to everyone who called their elected representatives.

Upcoming PIA Events
12/01/2015 -- North Shore Chapter Christmas Party & Installation

12/01/2015 -- Northeast Chapter Christmas Party and Installation

12/04/2015 -- New Orleans Chapter Christmas Party & Installation

12/08/2015 -- PIA Northwest Industry Christmas Social

12/10/2015 -- YIPs HoliDay at the Races

12/15/2015 -- Acadiana Chapter Christmas Party & Installation

12/16/2015 -- Baton Rouge Chapter Christmas Party & Installation

01/06/2016 -- New Orleans Chapter Meeting

02/02/2016 -- CISR Commercial Casualty-1
(Shreveport, LA)

02/02/2016 -- North Shore Chapter Meeting

Virtual Exhibit Hall

Check out our
Virtual Exhibit Hall

A Word About the Election from our Lobbying Team
at Adams & Reese…

Welcome to the Jungle, Jungle Primary that is…

The 2015 elections have brought in a new species in a big way to the jungle that is Louisiana politics. SUPER PACs involvement this year has turned out the most expensive and whirlwind gubernatorial election reporting cycle in Louisiana history. Combined fundraising and SUPER PAC funds for just the Governor's race come to approximately $25 million. Louisiana elections this year also can carry the jungle mentality far into the first term of our new Governor, to be decided in a run-off November 21, 2015.

As you may have seen in our previous email of election results this morning, Representative John Bel Edwards (D-Amite) and U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-Metairie) are headed towards the gubernatorial November 21 run-off. With 40% and 23% respectively out of a 9 person race, Edwards and Vitter will go into a party showdown focusing not only on the future of the state budget, but also on common core, Medicaid expansion, higher education, and healthcare. Here are the top four contender's numbers.

Candidate Votes Percentage
Scott A. Angelle (R) 214,907 19%
"Jay" Dardenne (R) 166,553 15%
John Bel Edwards (D) 444,061 40%
David Vitter (R) 256,105 23%

The other five contenders in the race averaged a 0-1% in all totaling 31,850 votes.


Workers' Compensation Insurance Rates Set to Decline
for Third Consecutive Year

Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon reports that Louisiana businesses are expected to see a decrease in their workers' compensation rates in 2016. The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) recently proposed an overall decrease of 2.7 percent for Louisiana employers from its 2015 workers' compensation loss costs. NCCI is a national organization which analyzes workers' compensation data and files loss costs or rates in 35 states.

Most workers' compensation carriers in Louisiana use the NCCI annual loss cost filing to formulate their insurance rates. This loss cost reduction would mark a cumulative drop in workers compensation rates of 38 percent since 2006 and a 51 percent drop since 1996.

"The workers compensation market in Louisiana continues to be competitive and our businesses are benefitting. In 2007, there were 197 companies writing workers comp; by the end of 2014 we had 235 companies writing here — an increase of 19 percent," said Commissioner Donelon. "That competition is also bringing costs down, with companies today paying nearly 40 percent less for the same coverage as they were 10 years ago."


Sen. Gillibrand Unveils Flood Insurance Bill

A new bill just unveiled by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) would significantly alter the way FEMA documents insurance claims under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Under the Flood Insurance Transparency and Accountability Act, FEMA would make insurance claim documents available to homeowners online, allowing them more involvement in the process following flood-related damages. It would also prevent FEMA from excluding certain types of damages from its flood insurance program.

The proposed legislation comes after reports suggesting contractors hired by insurance companies altered engineering reports to eliminate flood as the cause of damage in the months after Superstorm Sandy ravaged the East Coast. FEMA announced earlier this year it would reopen about 144,000 claims, of which about 16,000 are still under review.

Average MLR Reaches 92 Percent

Insurers spent an average of 92 percent of individual health plan premiums on patient care in 2014, exceeding thresholds set by the Affordable Care Act's (ACA's) medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements, according to a new Urban Institute report. Prior to the ACA's 2010 implementation, the average MLR for all insurers in 29 states fell below the 80 percent figure—but by 2014, every state had an average MLR at or above 80 percent, the report says. The report used data sent by insurers to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

What It Means to Agents: The ACA requirement that insurance companies spend at least 80 or 85 percent on patient care was used by some as an excuse to drastically cut agent commissions. Now that the average MLR has reached 92 percent, it is no longer necessary for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to classify agent compensation as an "administrative expense" under the MLR.

PIA has endorsed the Access to Professional Health Insurance Advisors Act of 2015 (H.R. 815), which was introduced by Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.). The legislation clarifies that producer compensation will not be considered as part of medical loss ratio (MLR) calculations under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Congress needs to pass H.R. 815 now.

Thanks to Our 2015 PIA Partners:

American Strategic Insurance (ASI)

Capital Premium Financing

LUBA Workers' Comp

Markel FirstComp

Prime Rate Premium Finance Corporation

Stonetrust Commercial Ins. Co.