February 28, 2017
HAPPY 150TH BIRTHDAY NEBRASKA!
IIAN is proud to be a First 150 Founder in support of our Sesquicentennial Celebration!
            See statewide schedule of events                        March 1 schedule in Lincoln                     
LEGISLATIVE NEWS
IIAN Legislative committee member Andy Bassett, left, waiting to testify at the State Capitol on February 27 
IIAN Testifies In Support of LB 553
New Bill Addressing Uninsured Independent Contractors Is Top Priority
On February 27, IIAN members Andy Bassett of Omaha and Tom Champoux of Lincoln explained to Senators on the Unicameral's Business & Labor Committee, why a new law is needed to address the growing problem of uninsured independent contractors who do not insure themselves for workers' compensation.  IIAN will be working with Senators on the committee and other interested parties to move the issue forward.
  LB 553 was introduced by Senator John Lowe of Kearney at IIAN's behest, and  Senators Kolterman, Lindstrom, Krist, Harr, McCollister, and Powell have signed on as co-sponsors.  Senator Kolterman also testified in support of the bill. Read more about LB 553 and how it will benefit hiring parties/general contractors, independent contractors, and insurance carriers in Nebraska.  It is patterned after a 2015 Iowa law which has been working well in the marketplace.
Read official Unicameral Update report . . .
Unicameral 37 Days Into Session - Only Two Bills Passed So Far 
As of mid-February last year, 26 bills had passed and in 2015, nine 90) bills had passed.  This will make it difficult for many bills to be considered and passed this year.  Only four bills on IIAN's watch list have been advanced for first-round consideration:  two Insurance Department bills (LBs 137 and 406 - IIAN supports), LB 181 to allow an employee who disputes medical findings in a workers' compensation claim to choose a physician and obtain an additional medical exam, and LB 406, which would allow notice of cancellation of policies by first class mail, in addition to certified or registered mail.
    
Check www.iian.org  every Monday for Jim Cavanaugh's "Week In Review" report for updated status on all of the bills IIAN is watching   - see this week's update here. 
Go to www.nebraskalegislature.gov to see the full text and status of any bill.
Young Agent Scholarships Available - Apply By March 15
If you're a Young Agent (age 45 or under, or 6 or less years in insurance), and you'd like to join IIAN's officers and hundreds of other agents from across the country for IIABA's annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., May 3-4, 2017,  f ax or e-mail your application for one of two $1,000 scholarships to the IIAN office by March 15, 2017! 
 
Each $1,000 scholarship should be sufficient to cover conference registration, air fare, and one night's lodging - and most meals are provided by the Big "I".  Scholarship winners can stay for IIABA's Conference events May 4-5 at their own expense - including a Young Agents event and fundraiser, and a panel of top political commentators! 
  See conference schedule.                 Read about the issues.                
REGULATION UPDATE
New York Data Security Requirements Impact Non-Resident Insurance Agencies
After months of development, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) recently finalized a  data security regulation that will impose new requirements on all banking and insurance entities in the state. The mandates will take effect gradually over the next two years, with many notable elements requiring compliance within the next six months.  The regulation will impact thousands of insurance agencies both within New York and beyond, as it will require all resident and nonresident insurance agencies authorized to operate in New York to comply.
      IIABA and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York (IIABNY), will provide additional information concerning compliance in the weeks to come, but insurance agents located or holding nonresident licenses in New York should begin to familiarize themselves with the new requirements immediately. IIABNY will conduct a webinar on the issue on Thursday, March 23
click here for details.                                                                                 Read more . . .
Nebraska Insurance Department Will Allow Transitional Policies
Individual and Small Group Health Insurance in Nebraska
On February 23, 2017, the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) issued guidance that allows the states the option to extend transitional policies for individual and small group health insurance plans to policy years beginning on or before October 1, 2018 provided that all policies end by December 31, 2018. Pursuant to that option provided to the states by CCIIO, the State of Nebraska will allow transitional policies, for both the individual and small group health insurance markets, to continue until December 31, 2018.              Read the Department Bulletin . . .

Nebraska Insurance Homeowners Protection Act
Share Brochure With Your Clients
Whether you are a homeowner, an insurance producer, an insurer or residential contractor, being familiar with the "Insured Homeowners Protection Act" can be an important step in helping yourself or others deal with post-loss repair issues. The act applies to the business of contracting or offering to contract to repair or replace a roof system or to perform any other exterior repair, replacement, construction, or reconstruction work on residential real estate or to perform  interior or exterior cleanup services on residential real estate.                                                Download Department Brochure . . .
ASSOCIATION NEWS
Over 240 agents and industry representatives gathered in Kearney for this year's conference, including 57 young agents and 47 "first-timers".  The conference trade fair on February 1 featured a Young Agent Networking reception and 45 exhibit booths, with piles of cash and booth prizes - all followed by the traditional prime rib buffet, and Young Agents hospitality. 
But it wasn't all networking and fun - conference attendees also earned up to 13 CEUs over two days, including a Crop Insurance update led by IIAN Crop Insurance task force chairman Todd Anderson, York, agribusiness sessions on side-businesses, pollution, drones, and the 2016 ISO Farm program presented by ag guru Cheryl Koch, CPCU, CIC, AFIS, along with professional liability, homeowners, and personal auto solutions, and E&O loss control strategies presented by top expert John Dismukes, CPCU, CIC.  IIABA Federal Government Affairs head Jen McPhillips briefed attendees on Big "I" legislative priorities on Capitol Hill, and congratulated IIAN Legislative/PAC chairmen Bob Hoppe and Vincent Christensen for achieving "Eagle" status in 2016 for InsurPac, and raising the largest percentage increase nationwide last year.  IIAN "Circle of Eagles" Gold and Silver contributors were also honored. 
      Sam McNair of Imperial was the lucky winner of the raffle prize - a three-night Vegas Vacation for two at The Venetian - and the raffle raised over $4,750 for Big "I" PACs!  Dakotah Hueftfle with Lundeen-Isaacson  Insurance in Holdredge was the winner of the $125 Young Agent scholarship, sponsored each year by IIAN Farm & Small Agents committee chairman  Jim Steider  of Seward.   
                                                                  See more photos . . . 
TECHNOLOGY
How mobile friendly is your agency website?
In a recent issue of Steve Anderson's "Tech Tips" newsletter, Steve suggests using Google's website testing service that will rank your website in three areas:  1)mobile friendliness, 2) mobile loading speed, 3) desktop loading speed.
Your website is graded on a 0 to 100 scale for each of the above criteria.  Keep in mind, you will be penalized in a Google search if your agency website is not mobile responsive.  You need to check it often to make sure it is performing well.  Also, the test results provide concrete steps you can take to improve your website in each of the three areas tested.
  
Trusted Choice® Rolls Out The Power of 30 Seconds
The first 30 seconds of any inbound sales call set the tone for the entire customer experience. In that short time agencies can either earn valuable new business or develop an unfavorable view among potential clients.  The Power of 30 Seconds is an online training tool designed to help Big "I" member agents convert inbound sales calls into clients.  Through The Power of 30 Seconds, you will learn how to:
  • establish an effective call workflow,
  • provide a positive customer experience and
  • manage phone system automation.
Boost profit, experience growth and cement your reputation by visiting  IndependentAgent.com/30Seconds
CONGRATULATIONS
UNICO Group Named As Top "Best Practices" Agency
UNICO Group based in Lincoln has been named as one of the top "Best Practices" agencies nationwide in its revenue category.   Every three years, the Big "I" collaborates with Reagan Consulting to select Best Practices firms throughout the nation for outstanding management and financial achievement in six revenue categories: less than $1.25 million; $1.25-2.5 million; $2.5-5 million; $5-10 million; $10-25 million; and more than $25 million. The Best Practices program reviews financial and benchmarking information for the participating agencies and provides updates the following two years. 
Congratulations also to Barney Insurance based inKearney, and Ellerbrock-Norris Insurance based in Hastings, who were named top Nebraska "Best Practices" agencies.

Find out more about the Best Practices program and how to participate.

IIAN PARTNER OF THE MONTH
Thank You!
Their support enables IIAN to present affordable, high-quality member programs.


Independent Insurance Agents of Nebraska
(402) 476-2951
office@biginebraska.org
http://www.iian.org