PIA Weekly Industry News
Jan. 15, 2014

PIA National's Annual Federal Legislative Summit

The 2014 PIA Federal Legislative Summit is less than three months away. The FLS is a gathering of PIA members. In one day, these members descend on Capitol Hill and meet with their individual state congressional delegations. If you've never been, this might be the year you want to attend. Insurance issues grow exponentially each year. The PIA National Government Affairs Committee is currently determining the issues most important this year to PIA members.More

PIA Partnership: 'Closing the Gap' — a new tool

A new tool designed to help independent insurance agencies achieve growth and profitability has been unveiled by PIA and its agency-company council, The PIA Partnership. Closing the Gap – Growth & Profit provides agents with calculators to help agencies project and plan for new business growth and profitability on a five-year basis.More

PIA National: Another refutation of the McKinsey Report

PIA has again challenged various assertions in a report issued in November by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co.'s Financial Services Practice. The McKinsey report's November headline proclaimed "The end of an era for the local insurance agent." After the article was published, National Underwriter published an extensive article, "PIA on McKinsey Report flawed premise wrapped in a faulty analysis," with PIA agents around the country commenting on the report. Now, National Underwriter has produced another article titled, "Challenges and opportunities for agents and brokers in 2014."More

Insurers, Obamacare payments

It's anybody's guess when someone signs up for health insurance on HealthCare.gov whether a payment is being made to the insurer picked to provide insurance. Sometimes the consumer isn't paying. At other times the exchange’s payment system isn't getting the money to the insurer. It's a real mess.More

Disaster 2013: Less death, damage than average

Munich Re — the world's largest reinsurer — keeps track of natural disasters. Around the world, floods, storms, earthquakes and other disasters took more than 20,000 lives. They did $125 billion in damages. The firm's annual report says that is way below the average of the last decade.More

Update: HealthCare.gov

CGI Federal's term as lead contractor for the federal government's Affordable Care Act exchange — HealthCare.gov — is over. The company received $88 million of the $394 million designated for HealthCare.gov for what most agree is a colossal failure.More

Reform the flood reform battle rages

Bills in the U.S. Senate and House want to reform the flood insurance reforming Bigger-Waters Act. The legislation's critics say that by enacting the increases in the cost of flood insurance in the National Flood Insurance Program in order to bring the price of insurance in line with actuarial rates, works well on paper but not in real life.More

NAIC's 2014 leadership committees

This came to Weekly Industry News from National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The organization has named its 2014 committee chairs and vice chairs, and assigned members to the organization's standing committees.More

Rates 2014: A buyer's market

Commercial property rates have been rising for the last couple of years. Those increases brought an end to the soft market — though some disagree. That has been terrific news for the industry. The big question now is: "What about 2014?"More

Homeowners rates declined 2013

HomeInsurance.com RateReport tracks homeowners insurance prices. It found the average 12-month homeowners premiums dropped from December 2012 to December 2013. On average premium was about $823 — or 9.5 percent less than 2012's average of $900. Before that premiums rose three years in a row.More

Obamacare enrollment numbers finally released

In 2013, the Congressional Budget Office projected the Affordable Care Act would have 7 million enrollees in 2014. The Obama administration said so far, 2.2 million people have signed up. It's an improvement over the numbers from late last year, but still short of what will be needed for the Affordable Care Act to succeed.More

Do's and don'ts of reducing chances of an E&O claim
by Curtis M. Pearsall, CPCU, AIAF, CPIA — President of Pearsall Associates Inc. and Special Consultant to the Utica National E&O Program
The duties of a producer or account executive/customer service representative in an agency present tremendous challenges and responsibilities. It's hard work and is not getting any easier. The knowledge expected would fill volumes and the workload probably seems like it never ends. These staff members deserve a tremendous amount of credit because without them, the agency would not be the same. While the degree to which these men and women perform this job professionally and ethically can greatly determine the agency's success, it can heavily determine the agency's errors-and-omissions risk, too.More

Insurance industry ad blitz to preempt Medicare cuts
This time around, the insurance industry isn't even waiting for the Obama administration to threaten cuts to private Medicare plans: It's launching a peremptory strike.More

Environmental group says $7.8 billion wasted by crop insurance program
Insurance Journal
A report commissioned by the Environmental Working Group says that the federal crop insurance program over-compensated Corn Belt farmers by $7.8 billion during the 2012 drought.More

Obamacare closes 2013 with negative opinion, including Michael Moore
Just before 2013 ended CNN/ORC International and Rasmussen Reports did surveys on public opinion of the Affordable Care Act.More

Everything is seasonal, so why not burglaries?

The National Insurance Crime Bureau says burglaries are seasonal and the top months are — in order — December, April and September. The NICB got its information from the insurance application software vendor Enservio. In its data, Enservio painted an interesting picture of burglary. Claims are rising as frequency increases. And the value of what's being stolen is also rising.More

MarketScout: December 2013 rates

MarketScout released its December 2013 rate figures recently. Commercial property casualty rates rose 3 percent on average from November to December. Commercial auto did best at a 4 percent jump. Fiduciary, surety and crime were tied for the lowest increase at 1 percent.More

Contentment is the enemy of greatness
By C. Fredrick Crum
I recently heard a quote from Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life." The quote goes as follows: "If you don't learn contentment, you'll never be happy. You'll always want more." Needless to say Rick Warren's quote caused me to shout, "You are wrong, you are dead wrong!" In my world, you are either in a state of improvement or a state of decline. There is no plateau. There is no contentment. While others are busy being content, the rest of us are happily working to pass them by.More

Google's moving in
Insurance Networking News
Google has agreed to buy Nest, creator of "smart" thermostats and smoke alarms, for $3.2 billion in cash. And while the word "insurance" doesn't appear anywhere in the press release — or in any of the other recently released versions of this story — "the Internet of things," which is one of Insurance Networking News' Top Five Trends for 2014, does mention it. And, the potential applications for P&C insurers are many, if not immediately apparent.More

Around the PIA Western Alliance States