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PIA Western Alliance knows you want to be the best in the field, and the best way to stay on top is to stay informed. PIA Weekly Industry News Brief is an informative e-news brief that delivers the most relevant industry content.

 

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THIS WEEK! Washington Joint Conference 2018

Posted By Staff Reporter, Monday, September 17, 2018

 

The PIA Washington/Alaska and Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Washington annual Washington Joint Conference and Trade Show is almost here. The conference is this week — September 19 - 21, 2018 — at the Hyatt Regency, Lake Washington, Renton.

It’s a beautiful setting and perfect for a couple of days of networking, connecting with old friends, making new friends, getting some education and having some fun.

This year’s annual trade show theme is going to be a carnival. As always companies supporting the PIA and the IIABW will be showcasing the latest in products and services.

Carnival games will be in the Trade Show and Exhibitors will have a carnival themed booths. Sound fun? It will be.

Plus, all agents wanting to attend just the trade show can do so for free. No charge. Attendance is on us. 


Attending the rest of the joint conference — however — come with a price. You can find information on registering by clicking here.

With that we encourage agents/brokers, CSRs and marketing reps to attend and learn from industry experts, network with fellow agents and company representatives while enjoying one of the finest resorts in the Northwest.

By the way, this is the only annual statewide industry event in Washington. So you won’t want to miss it.

Special thanks to our Title Sponsors Liberty Mutual & Safeco Insurance. There are more sponsorships available. Click here to learn more about how to sponsor.

Companies? Want to exhibit. Let us know. We have a few booths left. Click here to learn more.

Lastly, here’s are links to conference agenda and to the conference’s sessions and workshop:

Agenda: http://www.wajointconference.com/Agenda

Sessions & workshops: http://www.wajointconference.com/Sessions

Tags:  PIA Western Alliance  Washington Joint Conference 2018 

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Special Report: The Next 9/11?

Posted By Staff Reporter, Monday, September 17, 2018


It has been 17 years since the 9/11 attacks radically changed this nation and ultimately, the world. Many authorities believe the next 9/11 won’t be a military strike but — instead — could be a massive cyber attack.

Airports and airlines will — however — again be a key to the predicted attacks.

Airlines and airports are still very vulnerable says Tampa International Airport IT head Michael Stephens. He put the danger in perspective for the House Homeland Security Committee’s subcommittee on transportation and protective security. “Cybersecurity risks, without question, represent the most preeminent and existent threat to the continuous safe, secure and efficient operations on U.S. airports and the global aviation system,” he told a congressional hearing on the matter.

There are no regulations governing cyber networks used by airports and airlines. Rep. Bonnie Coleman is a Democrat from New Jersey. She’s working on a bill to require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to require airlines and airports to adopt baseline cybersecurity standards.

Her bill — however — is in the earliest stages of development.

Bad guys — she noted — could hack into the computers and servers that run boarding systems, air traffic control systems and any number of systems that control flights. An attack in those areas could cripple the system and dangerously disrupt businesses in the U.S.

A survey from the federal government’s  Airport Cooperative Research Program on cybersecurity best practices at airports says there is a huge problem:

  32 of the 41 airports responding said they have cybersecurity programs in place

  Just 49% of the people who run the programs feel they are adequate to protect from a cyber attack

Officials from the Department of Homeland Security and others working in the cybersecurity area believe it is only a matter of time before a cyber security breach happens at an airline or at many airlines.

Other problems are also present when it comes to airport security. Reports say an investigator from the Department of Homeland Security was recently able to breach a plane on a tarmac. Other security tests — as noted earlier — found huge holes in security inside airports and outside on the tarmac.

And most of us are aware of the employee from Horizon Airlines who hijacked a plane last month at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac). Richard Russell was fully-credentialed and had a Security Identification Display Area badge. That means he was authorized to work around aircraft.

Russell worked on the airline’s tow team that tows airplanes onto the tarmac for takeoff and also did baggage loading and unloading. So as a ground support employee, he — or others for that matter — have a great deal of access to jets and other aircraft.

No one knows how he learned how to fly an airplane but he grabbed a plane and took a joy-ride around SeaTac doing all kinds of aerial stunts before crashing and dying near Tacoma, Washington.

The air traffic control people he communicated with at SeaTac said Russell told them he learned to fly the plane by playing video games and that it wasn’t that hard to figure out how things worked in the cockpit.

Horizon is owned by the Alaska Air Group and its CEO Brad Tilden said the plane was inside the security fence so no security measures were violated. Russell was fully screened and had a criminal background check.

No red flags were found and an anonymous source at Horizon told CBS News, “We vet against someone who would hijack a plane for terrorism. This is an Horizon Air employee with a clean background, no known criminal activity, no terror relation, and wanted to commit suicide. TSA isn't screening for that because you cannot. We're the processor; the employee (Horizon) is the steward.”

Erroll Southers is a former FBI agent and now works as a transportation security expert. He told CBS the guy likely had some kind of pilot training. If he knew how to do loops in the air then he had the skills to attack people on the ground or fly into buildings.

"The greatest threat we have to aviation is the insider threat. Here we have an employee who was vetted to the level to have access to the aircraft and had a skill set proficient enough to take off with that plane,” Southers said.

Christopher Porter of the cybersecurity company FireEye told the subcommittee meeting the federal government needs to create and lay out a baseline on cybersecurity that clearly defines the roles of airlines, airports and the federal government.

“There may be parts of the aviation sector that have underinvested in cybersecurity because they can't justify it as a business expense, but everyone will be required to do it. I think that would make it a lot easier for them to bring things up to par,” he said.

Commenting on her still-in-development bill, Coleman said, “We must urge security agencies to think creatively about potential new attack actors as terrorists continue to search for new vulnerabilities to target. With that in mind, we must do more when it comes to the cybersecurity of transportation systems. We cannot allow them access to cockpits via cyber means.”

The September 11th attacks in 2001 got airports and airlines — because of new federal involvement in what they do — to tighten security. This has only been moderately successful because tests to the passenger boarding systems and the luggage screens seem to have holes.

Huge holes sometimes.

Republican Rep. John Katko of New York — who is also on the subcommittee — said cyber criminals and terrorists may now be able to attack via an airliner without even having to be in the cockpit of the plane. “The specter remains, a plane could technically be weaponized against us and be taken over by bad guys through cybersecurity threats,” he said.

The events of 9/11 on that horrible day 17 years ago radically changed insurance. Losses hit $32.5 billion. In today’s dollars that figure is much, much higher. Only Hurricane Katrina produced a higher insurance payout.

The 9/11 attacks impacted a number of insurance lines:

  Property

  Business interruption

  Aviation

  Workers compensation

  Liability

  Life

Out of the attacks came the federal government’s Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) which shares the insurance burden with insurers and caps insurance losses. It has been extended to December 31, 2020 and is now called the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015.

Source links: The Hill, CBS News, Insurance Information Institute

Tags:  911  PIA Western Alliance  Special Report 

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One for the Books — Basic Auto Warning Symbols

Posted By Staff Reporter, Monday, September 17, 2018


 Automobiles are much in the news lately with the soon to be coming onslaught of self-driving vehicles. To say the least they are controversial. For insurance they are a nightmare in the potential for income and claims loss.

 Self-driving vehicles are also dangerous when one of them is operated by someone not paying attention to what the vehicle is telling them. The deaths of several people during experimental driving prove that fact.

 That people may not understand a vehicle that drives itself led the insurance search engine The Zebra to poll 5,000 people and ask them what they know about their ordinary cars and trucks when a warning light pops up.

 The researchers started with these questions:

  As of 2016 there were 222 million licensed drivers in the U.S.

  There were 263.6 million registered vehicles

  What do we know about the three most common and important warning lights?

  Tire pressure warning light

  Coolant temperature warning light

  Oil pressure warning light

Here’s what was found:

  73% of Americans don’t know what their oil pressure warning light means

  40% don’t understand the coolant temperature light

  30% don’t understand the tire pressure warning light

The next step in the questioning is how long does it take us to deal with a warning light when one pops up. The answers are kind of shocking:

  Same day —  19%

  Within a week — 34%

  Within a month — 10%

  Never — 11%

  I’ll fix it myself — 23%

Waiting too long is costly.

Here’s what The Zebra says ignoring these lights can run in terms of dollars:

  Oil pressure problems start at $500 and work their way up

  Waiting longer than a month could end up with the need for a new engine. It can run $2,000 to $4,000

  Coolant temperature warnings — if you wait too long — can again end up in total engine failure and a price tag of $2,000 to $4,000

  Tire pressure problems aren’t quite as expensive but tires aren’t cheap and neither are rims of a rim ends up being damaged

The conclusion? It’s obvious. The faster you respond, the less problems and the lower the cost of repairing the vehicle.

Source link: PropertyCasualty360.com

Tags:  Auto warning symbols  autonomous vehicles  PIA Western Alliance  self driving vehicles 

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Hurricane Florence Brings FEMA & Congress into Focus

Posted By Staff Reporter, Monday, September 17, 2018


Hurricane Florence slammed into North Carolina on Friday and stalled over the weekend. At the time this is written — Monday morning — damage assessments have not been completed.

The storm brought huge amounts of rain and flooding everywhere. From an insured and uninsured perspective, damages will be very, very high.

The question now is how well the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will handle the disastrous consequences of the hurricane. It didn’t get very good grades from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for how it handled last year’s major hurricanes and the wildfires that decimated parts of the nation.

The report said back-to-back hurricanes and catastrophic wildfires in California overwhelmed federal disaster responders last year. It forced FEMA to use — in some cases — uncertified workers in key roles. When Hurricane Harvey hit, FEMA was 30% understaffed and by the time Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the challenges were overwhelming.

A GAO official noted, “These events came at a time when FEMA was already supporting 692 federally declared disasters and tested the nation’s ability to respond and recover from multiple concurrent disasters.”

Experts will tell you the biggest percentage of damage from any hurricane comes from the storm surge and the flooding caused by torrents of rain. Rob Moore of the Natural Resources Defense Council — an environmental group that wants safer communities — said that leads us to Congress and the failure to reform and renew the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

“They have not dealt with the gorilla in the room which is proactively addressing these types of disasters for the future. Too much of the US’s response to natural disaster is completely reactionary, we throw a bunch of money after it happens,” he said.

Moore and his group think it would cost the U.S. government less to require those whose homes have been damaged, or destroyed and rebuilt multiple times to relocate. It is one of the reforms the group wants Congress to adopt.

The 21st Century Flood Reform Act (H.R. 2874) does some of that. Or at least it is a good start. The bill limits coverage in the future and the discounts for high-risk properties. It modifies premiums and the surcharges paid by policyholders and expands the ability of private insurers to sell flood insurance.

The bill passed the House and is still sitting in the Senate.

 

Source links: Bloomberg, PIA National, The Washington Post, Insurance Business America

Tags:  flooding in North Carolina  Hurricane florence 2018  Insurance content  PIA Western Alliance 

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Moody’s on Commercial Insurance & Current Rates

Posted By Staff Reporter, Monday, September 17, 2018

 

Moody’s thinks the commercial insurance sector is going to be stable for the next year to 18-months. Healthy core earnings and balance sheets that are solid led Moody’s Investors Service to issue the positive rating.

Spokesman Bruce Ballentine said, “Commercial insurers held up well despite the large catastrophes of 2017 and will generate good core earnings in 2018-19. Insurers will benefit from higher rates in property lines and stable-to-rising investment yields, tempered by slightly worse combined ratios in casualty lines.”

In fact, the report says commercial lines pricing is very favorable compared to the last few years. Property rates are higher after last year’s difficult catastrophe season. Casualty rates are also climbing.

Willis Towers Watson’s Commercial Lines Insurance Pricing Survey (CLIPS) is out and it agrees with the Moody’s report. In the second quarter of 2018 commercial prices — on average — jumped 3%. The report noted that price changes of this magnitude have not been seen in four years.

Ben Williams of Willis Towers Watson North America said, “Almost all lines show a more rapid pace of price increases. Notably, mid-market and large accounts prices have recently seen the largest increases. This is fodder for thought, as the history of CLIPS suggests that larger accounts have been leading indicators of market adjustments,” he said.

Source links: Insurance Journal, Business Insurance

Tags:  Commercial Insurance  insurance content  Moody  PIA Western Alliance  Rates 

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The Sharing Economy — A New Insurance Opportunity

Posted By Staff Reporter, Monday, September 17, 2018


The sharing economy is growing. Employed in this economy are people working as contractors for firms like Uber, Airbnb, Task Rabbit and others. Statistics gathered by the data gathering firm Statista says by 2021 some 86.5 million people will be participating in the sharing economy.

That’s a 23% jump from today.

Laird Rixford is the CEO of Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC). His company provides marketing, ratings and management software services to the industry. Rixford said, “It’s critical that brokers and agents understand how ride-sharing and these gig-type things really impact insurance.”

He makes his point by noting that an Uber driver can drive anywhere and be covered by their personal auto insurance policy. Once they answer the call and go to pick up a fare, that insurance no longer covers them.

This is why agents who understand those nuances will do very well in the gig economy — an economy desperate for proper insurance. “This gig economy has created the ability for more people to pick up ad-hoc, part-time jobs. The amount of people that insurers, agents and brokers can now sell additional coverage to has exploded,” he said. 

Source link: Insurance Business America

Tags:  insurance  PIA Western Alliance  Sharing economy 

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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Staff Reporter, Monday, September 17, 2018

Arizona

Cellphone Ban in Phoenix: The city of Phoenix has put a ban on cellphone use while driving. The fine is $250 for the first violation and it goes up from there. Unlike some states and cities with phone bans, Phoenix considers driving and talking or texting as a primary offense and police can stop drivers just for that issue.

The city didn’t do an outright ban. Worries that it would become a target of the Legislature’s overturning similar pre-emption laws is the reason. Mayor Sharon Wolcott said the Arizona League of Cities and Towns think the local laws being passed can be imposed.

The Legislature doesn’t seem to want a ban. A law similar to that enacted by Phoenix passed the Senate but died in the House. That has led to a bunch of different local laws and some in the Legislature are concerned about the “unfairness” of some of these local laws.

State Rep. Steve Farley, of Tucson wants a state law because he thinks the local laws are unfair to drivers.

“We wanted to make darn certain it [the Phoenix ban] wasn’t an issue of pre-emption,” Wolcott said.

Source link: Insurance Journal

 

California

Power Company & Wildfires

 Southern California Edison says it needs $582 million to make improvements that will make its equipment more wildfire proof. That money will come from ratepayers.

That means higher bills.

Wildfire liability is the concern of the power companies and to protect themselves from huge losses, improvements need to happen. To get that rate increase and make improvements to towers and power lines, Edison needs permission from the state.

Expect more similar requests from power companies in the near future.

Source link: The Los Angeles Times

 

Department of Insurance Bans NRA Insurance: The California Department of Insurance has told the National Rifle Association that it must stop selling insurance policies that cover the legal cost of injury or damage done when using a gun legally. The policy is called the Self-Defense Insurance Policy and it comes with the NRA's Carry Guard membership program.

There are 2,400 policyholders in California. Violations will get a $5,000 a day fine.

Source link: CBS News

 

Oregon

SAIF Dividends: Oregon’s workers’ compensation program SAIF has declared two dividends for its customers. The board of directors said a $120 million primary dividend is being paid to policyholders and a second dividend of $40 million has been paid to policyholders for successful safety policies.

The is SAIF’s ninth-straight substantial return.

Source link: Insurance Journal

 

From the Department of Insurance: Workers’ Compensation Rate Change Notice

1. The Department of Consumer and Business Services has announced a 9.7 percent average reduction in pure premium rates for employers in 2019. For more information go to: https://www.oregon.gov/newsroom/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?newsid=2918.

2. Caption: 2019 Workers' Compensation Premium Assessment Rates

Each year, the Department of Consumer and Business Services adopts by rule the workers' compensation premium assessment rate that is paid by all employers to fund workers' compensation and workplace safety and health programs. In the “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Hearing,” filed with the Secretary of State on Aug. 27, 2018, the department explained that a proposed premium assessment rate would be announced by the middle of September.

Based on economic forecasts, department analysts recommend a premium assessment rate of 7.8 percent. The proposed increase from 7.4 percent to 7.8 percent will allow the department to maintain current service levels throughout 2019. Please refer to Exhibit 1.

Additional assessments to fund the Self-Insured Employer Adjustment Reserve and Self-Insured Employer Group Adjustment Reserve are expected to remain unchanged from 2018 levels. However, these too are proposed rates and are subject to change during the rulemaking process. Please refer to Exhibit 2.

A hearing on the proposed workers' compensation premium assessment rates will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Room F (Basement) of the Labor & Industries Building, 350 Winter St. NE, Salem, Oregon. Written testimony will be accepted through 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, by the Director's Office of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, 350 Winter St. NE, P.O. Box 14480, Salem, OR 97309-0405.

Text of the proposed rules, as well as the other rulemaking documents, can be found at: https://www.oregon.gov/dcbs/cost/Pages/rulemaking.aspx.

Address questions to Amy Hilgemann, Rules Coordinator; phone 503-947-7872; fax 503-378-5969; or email amy.k.hilgemann@oregon.gov.

 

Update: Proposed Workers' Benefit Fund (WBF) assessment rate:

In a recently issued notice of proposed rulemaking hearing, the Workers' Compensation Division announced that the proposed assessment rate would be published by the middle of September.

In a news release dated Sept. 10, 2018, the department announced that the proposed 2019 WBF assessment rate is 2.4 cents per hour worked, a decrease of 0.4 cents from the current rate of 2.8 cents per hour. Please review also Exhibit 1, "Workers' Benefit Fund Assessment Recommendation for CY 2019." The news release also explained that the average cost of workers' compensation insurance coverage in 2019 will go down. 

Hearing information:

Sept. 20, 2018, 4 p.m.

350 Winter Street NE, Room F (basement)

Salem, Oregon 97301

Send written comments to:

Email – fred.h.bruyns@oregon.gov

Fred Bruyns, rules coordinator

Workers’ Compensation Division

350 Winter Street NE (for courier or in-person delivery)

PO Box 14480, Salem, OR 97309-0405

Fax – 503-947-7514

The public may also listen to the hearing or testify by telephone: Dial-in number is 1-213-787-0529; Access code is 9221262#.

The closing date for written comments is Sept. 27, 2018, 5 p.m.

If you would prefer to receive notifications of rulemaking hearings and meetings by text messages, please sign up  here: https://service.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORDCBS/ subscriber/new - Next to "Subscription Type," select "SMS/Text Message."

 

Bulletin 2018-07: Regulation of Association Health Plans in Oregon:

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (the division) has received numerous inquiries about its guidance concerning associations and Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs). This bulletin summarizes and clarifies guidance for issuers, associations, MEWAs, insurance agents, and producers in light of the recent United States Department of Labor (DOL) final regulation titled "Definition of Employer Under Section 3(5) of ERISA-Association Health Plans" (AHP rule).

Attached is the full bulletin as released by the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS).

More information will be made available on the Division of Financial Regulation website https://dfr.oregon.gov

bulletin2018-07.pdf — https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/ORDCBS/2018/09/10/file_attachments/1069511/bulletin2018-07.pdf

Workers' compensation costs to drop for sixth-straight year:

Oregon employers next year, on average, will pay $1.12 per $100 of payroll for workers’ compensation insurance, down from $1.23 in 2018, under a proposal by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). That figure covers workers’ compensation claims costs, assessments, and insurer profit and expenses.

This will mark the sixth year in a row that businesses will experience an average decrease in their workers’ compensation costs. Those costs have steadily declined over the years – even as workers continue to receive strong benefits – because of Oregon’s long-running success in managing the workers’ compensation system.

“Everyone from employers and workers to insurers and government has played a role in making workplaces safer and keeping business costs low,” said Cameron Smith, DCBS director. “As the numbers show, Oregon’s comprehensive approach continues to pay off.”

Part of Oregon’s success stems from efforts by the Workers’ Compensation Division. Those efforts include enforcing requirements that employers carry insurance for their workers, keeping medical costs under control, and helping injured workers return to work sooner and earn their pre-injury wages. Another part is Oregon OSHA’s focus on preventing on-the-job injuries by enforcing workplace safety and health rules, and advising employers about how to improve worker safety and health.

Employers’ cost for workers’ compensation insurance covers the pure premium and insurer profit and expenses, plus the premium assessment. Employers also pay the Workers’ Benefit Fund assessment, which is a cents-per-hour-worked rate.

The pure premium rate – filed by a national rate-setting organization and approved by DCBS – is the base rate insurers use to determine how much employers must pay for medical claims and lost wages. Under DCBS’s proposal for next year, the pure premium would drop by an average 9.7 percent. In fact, the pure premium will have declined by an average of 40 percent during the 2013 to 2019 period.

Pure premium is the key factor behind annual cost changes. The decrease is an average, so an individual employer may see a larger or smaller decrease, no change, or even an increase depending on the employer’s own industry, claims experience, and payroll. Also, pure premium does not take into account the varying expenses and profit of insurers.

Driving the average decrease in the pure premium are lower medical care costs and less severe claims. Underpinning the steady decline in pure premium are the successful efforts of the Workers’ Compensation Division, Oregon OSHA, the Workers’ Compensation Board – which resolves disputes over the state’s workers’ compensation and workplace safety laws – and injured worker and small business advocacy services.

Those programs are funded by the premium assessment.

The premium assessment is a percentage of the workers’ compensation insurance premium employers pay. It is added to the premium. It would increase from 7.4 percent this year to 7.8 percent in 2019. The increase is needed to partially offset the decline in pure premium and to keep pace with a growing economy. This modest increase maintains stable funding for state workers’ compensation  regulation and worker protection programs that preserve historically low costs.

The Workers’ Benefit Fund assessment provides benefit increases to permanently disabled workers and to families of workers who died from a workplace injury or disease. It also supports Oregon’s efforts to help injured workers return to work sooner – through incentive programs to employers – and earn their pre-injury wages.

The fund’s revenue comes from a cents-per-hour-worked assessment. It would decrease from 2.8 cents per hour worked in 2018 to 2.4 cents per hour worked in 2019. The fund is healthy, made so by a growing economy, which allows the rate to be reduced.

The decrease in the pure premium is effective Jan. 1, 2019, but employers will see the changes when they renew their policies in 2019. The assessment changes are effective Jan. 1, 2019.

Oregon’s workers’ compensation premium rates have ranked low nationally for many years. Oregon had the seventh least expensive rates in 2016, according to a nationally recognized  biennial study conducted by DCBS. That was an improvement from Oregon’s ranking as the ninth least expensive state the last time the study was done, in 2014.

The following chart summarizes all of the changes and includes the date, time, and place of the assessment public hearings: https://www.oregon.gov/DCBS/cost/Documents/wc-summary.pdf

Annual Oregon average pure premium rate changes and average changes by industry: https://www.oregon.gov/DCBS/cost/Documents/pure-premium-rate.pdf

More information about Oregon workers’ compensation costs: http://www.oregon.gov/DCBS/cost/Pages/index.aspx

 

Washington

From the Department of Insurance: Kreidler approves 7 insurers, 13.8% rate increase for Washington's health exchange

Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler approved seven health insurers to sell 40 health plans for 2019 in Washington state's Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder. The average approved rate for insurers that sell inside the Exchange is 13.8 percent. Plans will be available in all counties. Insurers initially requested a 19.8 percent rate increase.

Source link: Washington Department of Insurance

 

Notice to start rulemaking on charitable gift annuities

We are starting rule making R 2018-13 to update and clarify accounting requirements for the definition of unrestricted net assets for charities that issue charitable gift annuities.

Comments are due October 19, 2018; please send them to rulescoordinator@oic.wa.gov.

For more information, including the notice to start rulemaking (CR-101), please visit the rule's webpage. — https://www.insurance.wa.gov/charitable-gift-annuities-r-2018-13?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

 

Notice of rule making on adjuster licensing education

We are considering rulemaking R 2018-14 to create new and amend some existing sections of WAC 284-17-123 to clarify the special education condition found in RCW 48.17.380(3)(d) for an adjuster license candidate.

Comments are due by October 15, 2018; please send them to  rulescoordinator@oic.wa.gov.

For more information, including the notice to start rulemaking (CR-101), please visit the rule's webpage. — https://www.insurance.wa.gov/adjuster-licensing-special-education-criteria-r-2018-14?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

Tags:  Around the PIA Western Alliance States  Insurance industry content  insurance news 

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AGENTS – IT’S TIME TO GET READY for The Washington Conference & Trade Show

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, September 11, 2018


Washington’s only agent and company conference and trade show will be here next week. Not only is it the only conference of the year, but it’s the best possible use of a couple of days of your time.

The 2018 PIA and IIBW WA Joint Conference and Trade Show is September 19 – 21 at the beautiful Hyatt Lake Washington?

This is a one-size fits all event that features education, the latest in products and services, inspiring speakers, networking and — best of all — fun!

All agents/brokers, CSRs and marketing reps are encouraged to attend. And the best part is Agents actively employed by an agency can attend the Trade Show on Friday for FREE thanks to the generous support of our sponsors.

Outside of time spent with the industry you love, you can also enjoy one of the finest resorts in the Northwest. It is the Hyatt Regency Lake Washington at Seattle's Southport. This is a AAA Four Diamond award winner and perfectly combines the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest with modern amenities.

Click here to register

Click here to see this year’s agenda

Click here to see this year’s sessions & workshops

 

We hope to see you there!

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Mergers & Acquisitions — Huge Numbers Again in 2018

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, September 11, 2018


A prediction from industry analysts at Marsh, Berry & Co. says for the second year in a row mergers and acquisitions will top 500. The prognosis is based on the 289 deals done through the end of July.

Last year’s number ended up at 557 with five of the top 10 brokers completing transactions.

MarshBerry Executive Vice President Phil Trem said his company came to that conclusion after analyzing data from an S&P Global Market Intelligence report and noted it will be the second time 500 has been reached since 2005. That year saw the first time M&A activity hit the 500 figure.

This year private equity-backed broker consolidations are at the top of the list. Others making an impact on the list are public and independent insurance brokers as well as banks and thrifts.

Leading the pack:

  Assured Partners — 19 deals

  BroadStreet Partners — 19 deals

  Alera Group — 18 deals

  Acisure — 17 deals

  Hub International — 16 deals

The amount of money involved in these deals is rising significantly.

Trem went on to say, “The average base purchase price, as of the 12 months ending June 30, 2018, has exceed (eight times) earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (‘EBITDA’) for the first time in our records. Demand for quality firms is helping drive the activity and values.”

He does — however — predict a slowdown because of rising interest rates and the recent tax reforms. What Trem wouldn’t predict is when.

 

Source link: Business Insurance

Tags:  Berry & Co  Insurance Industry News  Marsh  Mergers and Acquisitions  Phil Trem  PIA Western Alliance 

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Cyber Security: Alexa & Google Home

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, September 11, 2018


Smart home technology is worrisome to cyber security experts. It’s pretty easy for bad guy players to attack your now web-connected refrigerator, microwave oven or any number of other items in your well-connected home.

Two forms of technology aren’t a worry to former NSA hacker Jake Williams. The one-time hacker has since left government and founded the info security firm Rendition Infosec. Williams said the fastest growing areas of smart home technology is Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home. More and more they’re being tasked with running household items.

You’d think that makes them a major-league target for hackers. Williams says yes they are but no they aren’t. And the reason they aren’t is because both companies work hard at making the products secure.

“Would-be attackers don’t care what you’re talking about at home. They’re looking to monetize data,” he said and added there is more data to be had getting to your bank account than these two products.

In fact, getting to that bank account or to those important passwords and account information is much easier via your laptop or smartphone. There’s a lot of software installed on them that is used on a daily basis. Most of us don’t do the regularly recommended software security checks.

Nor do we often make sure software we download is from a trustworthy site.

Smart speakers — as he calls Alexa and Google Home — do not work the same way. The first way they work is impossible to hack because it’s your voice giving a command. The second is the servers at Google or Amazon.

They’re very secure.

Williams said Alexa Skills is one possible target area and is one that the user needs be careful with. The skills you download to Alexa need to be from — much emphasis here — a trusted source.

The security system you need to use — Williams adds — is one that enables a multi-factor authentication and sets up sets up full encryption. This is especially important for phones and laptops.

Source link: Digital Trends

Tags:  cyber security experts  PIA Western Alliance  Smart home  technology 

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