in this issue >>>

-Annual Convention
--Young Agent Scholarship
-E&O Guardian
and more. . .
Agent Newsletter June 28, 2022
Register Today for Big I's Annual Convention
Registration is open for the Annual Convention. The IIAI Annual Convention & Tradeshow will return to Prairie Meadows on August 30 & 31. These dates are a bit earlier than usual so be sure and put them on your calendars today. We anticipate the convention to be back to normal with a full tradeshow; great speakers; CE credits available; and a host of network opportunities. The Convention will be highlighted by our keynote speaker, Frank Somma. Golf will be hosted this year at the beautiful Legacy Golf Course in Norwalk. Whether you are a first time attendee or returning after a long few years of virtual events, we hope to see you in August.
Nominating Committee and Annual Membership
The Nominating Committee consisting of Dave Rowley, Scott Wirtz, Willene White, Quentin Childs, and Andy Young met prior to Annual Planning at Prairie Meadows. Their role is to provide guidance on a new slate of officers for 2022-23 as well as select nominations for a new at-large member for the IIAI Board of Directors. These selections will be announced at the 2022 Annual Meeting to be held at Prairie Meadows on Wednesday, August 31st at 8:15 a.m. We hope you can join us!  
Rising Interest Rates
Members should be aware of the rapidly rising interest rate environment, especially those who may have borrowed money on a floating rate basis. Many small business loans continue to be priced on a floating rate above the Prime Rate. While no one can exactly predict interest rates, we do know that the bias is upward and rapidly so. In its fight against raging inflation, the Federal Reserve has raised rates twice since March and just announced another increase this month. More importantly, the Fed has set a year-end target for rates that is 2-2.5% higher than where we started in 2022. This will directly impact the interest expense that these agencies will pay.
As an example, an agency who borrowed $1 million for an acquisition or perpetuation two years ago with a floating rate loan may be paying $20-25,000 more in interest annually with more rate increases likely to come in 2023. That agency may pay up to an additional $150,000 in interest expense for the remaining life of that loan. Please see InsurBanc's recent article in The Standard.
InsurBanc has long been a proponent of fixed rate loan structures for agency acquisition and perpetuation. As rates increase, agency principals with floating rate loans should consider refinancing their current loan with a fixed rate option, hence protecting them from increased interest rate risk in the near future. Unfortunately, many agency principals are unsure of what their current loan interest rate is since rates have been stable for the last few years.
Members, look at your loan agreements and think about an interest rate strategy for any loans you may have. Speak to your lender or to InsurBanc about how to potentially protect yourselves from this rapidly increasing rate environment.
InsurBanc is available to discuss this topic with you. They have set up the a lon their website for agencies interested in a loan interest rate discussion.
Young Agent Convention Scholarship
We will be awarding six $500 scholarships to Young Agents and new agents in the business that have not previously attended an IIAI Convention. The winners will be selected at random by drawing on July 15th and must attend the 2022 IIAI Convention to qualify for reimbursement. Eligible reimbursement expenses include room, food, registration, golf, and mileage. Please visit our website to register today.  
Changes to Big I Markets Commission Payments
Over the past several years IIABA has encouraged all Big “I" Markets agents to enroll to receive commissions via electronic funds transfer (EFT) as part of our disaster recovery plan. Great progress has been made and we're grateful so many agents have supported the initiative. 

EFT enrollment is now required for all Big 'I' Markets agents to ensure we can fulfill our obligation to remit earned commission to you. The change is effective Sept. 1. To add or update EFT information, log in here. If you need assistance, view our step-by-step tutorial for detailed instructions.

Another new commission distribution procedure will also go into effect Sept. 1. Commission payment will not be made until the net accumulated amount is $50 or greater. This will improve the efficiency and timely distribution of payments during the monthly commission cycle while decreasing processing expenses. 

Big “I" Markets agents will be notified of the changes next week.

Please contact Big “I" Markets staff with any questions and, as always, thank you for doing business with Big “I" Markets. 
E&O Guardian
A key Big "I" member benefit is exclusive access to Big "I" Professional Liability agency E&O risk management information and resources developed specifically to address the unique liability needs of independent insurance agents. Our risk management is designed to help you avoid common errors and lawsuits, keeping your agency focused on what matters most--your business! 

We are pleased to share our renovated risk management site (formerly known as E&O Happens) featuring new navigation, new resources, and a new name! Please check out our new look at

There you'll find:

·   Current articles on risk management topics
·   Unlimited free views of our robust webinar recording library 
·   Sample checklists, disclaimers, client letters to download and more!
CMS Answers FAQs on Agent Compensation for Special Enrollment Periods
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted FAQs regarding compensation paid by issuers to agents and brokers who assist consumers with enrollment during a special enrollment period (SEP) or open enrollment periods (OEPs).

The FAQ document comes at a time when some health insurance issuers in the individual market, who commonly use agents and brokers as part of their marketing and sales distribution channels, have reduced or eliminated commissions and other forms of compensation to agents and brokers for enrollments during an SEP.

The document provides guidance that paying different compensation to agents and brokers for coverage in the same benefit year based on whether the enrollment is completed during an SEP or the OEP is prohibited under federal law and that these practices violate the guaranteed availability protections afforded to these individuals under the Affordable Care Act.

CMS also notes that if an agent believes that an issuer's compensation arrangement or other marketing practice violates applicable federal or state law, they should contact the applicable state authority. Or, in states not enforcing the applicable Affordable Care Act market reform provisions, contact CMS.
Big I Submits Testimony for Senate NFIP Hearing; Reauthorization Bill Introduced in the House
The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a hearing, “Reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program: Protecting Communities from Flood Risk."

The hearing included witness testimony from Ms. Jana N. Henderson, CFM, Office of Mitigation director and state hazard mitigation officer, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency; Dr. Peter Van Doren, senior fellow, The Cato Institute; Mr. Jerry Theodorou, director, Finance, Insurance and Trade Policy Program, R Street Institute; Mr. Douglas E. Quinn, executive director, American Policyholder Association; and Professor Sam Brody, director, the Institute for Disaster Resilient Texas.

The hearing covered several important topics, including the role of the Write-Your-Own (WYO) program, affordability issues, mapping and mitigation, private flood insurance and Risk Rating 2.0.

The Big “I" submitted written testimony that underscored the importance of finally enacting a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP after numerous short-term reauthorizations. Additionally, the Big “I" emphasized the importance of increasing take-up rates for flood insurance—whether it be through the NFIP or the private market.

The Big “I" also advocated for S. 2915, the “Flood Insurance Consumer Choice Act," introduced by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida). This important legislation would clarify that private flood insurance can satisfy NFIP continuous coverage requirements, which means that if a consumer leaves the NFIP for the private market and conditions change, the consumer can return to the NFIP without penalty.

The Big “I" statement also called for allowing refunds for unearned premiums for the mid-term cancellation of NFIP policies if a consumer elects to purchase a policy from the private flood insurance market.

Finally, the Big “I" testimony touched on Risk Rating 2.0 and noted that the Big “I" believes that Risk Rating 2.0, if properly implemented, has the potential to improve the NFIP experience for consumers but the rollout of the program will be critical in determining its success.

Additionally, the Big “I" noted that to make the rollout successful, FEMA must work hand in hand with WYO carriers and agents, noting that FEMA must do more to make the rating process more transparent for both agents and consumers.

In other flood insurance news, Rep. French Hill (R-Arkansas), the top Republican on the Housing, Community Development, and Insurance Subcommittee on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, introduced H.R. 8036, the "National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Extension Act of 2022." The bill extends the NFIP on a stand-alone basis to December 31, 2023. When introducing the legislation, Rep. Hill noted that the “bill offers consumers predictability through the end of 2023 while we work on a long-term solution and reform." The bill has 16 cosponsors, all Republicans, including Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina), the top Republican on the House Committee on Financial Services.

As Congress continues to discuss reauthorizing the NFIP, the Big “I" will continue to provide members with updates in the weekly News & Views e-newsletter.
Big I Members Met with Commissioner Ommen
On June 9th, a group of Independent Agents met with Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen and members of his staff. The group consisted of Andy Young, Bill Pearson, Dave Shutt, AJ Krist, Katie Rosenboom, and Tom O'Meara. The conversations centered around issues faced by our agents throughout the market place. The topics included Health Insurance; Crop Insurance and Personal and Commercial Insurance. The meeting was very open and productive. Commissioner Ommen stressed the importance of continued open communication between the Insurance Division and our members.

ABEN only - click here to view webcasts

Reminder - Security Freeze for Credit Reports
Many Iowans are concerned about identity theft. One tool to help stop identity theft is placing a security freeze on your credit report. This restricts access to your credit information which scammers use to open accounts in your name.
A security freeze does not affect your credit score or prevent you from getting your free annual credit report. A security freeze will still allow certain entities to have access to your credit information, such as:
·   Existing creditors or debt collectors acting on their behalf
·   Government agencies in response to court or administrative orders, subpoenas or search warrants.
On April 10, 2018, Governor Reynolds signed SF 2177 which made changes to Iowa law regarding security freezes, including prohibiting consumer reporting agencies from charging fees for "placing, removing, temporarily suspending, or reinstating a security freeze."   The prohibition of fees regarding a security freeze took effect on July 1, 2018.
There are three credit reporting agencies (EquifaxExperian and TransUnion) that offer three separate credit reports. The Iowa Attorney General's office has information and instructions about obtaining a security freeze on your credit reports.
More Than 1 in 3 Workplace Injuries Occur in First Year on the Job
Regardless of age or industry experience, 35% of workplace injuries occur during employees' first year on the job, according to the Travelers 2022 Injury Impact Report, which analyzed more than 1.5 million workers compensation claims from 2015-2019.
The No. 1 cause of first-year injuries was overexertion, with 27% of claims. Slips, trips and falls followed at 22%. Being struck by an object (14%); cuts and punctures (6%); being caught in or between objects (6%); and motor vehicle accidents (6%) completed the data set.

The most common injuries caused by those incidents among first-year workers include strains and sprains (38%), fractures (13%), contusions (9%), cuts and puncture wounds (6%), inflammation (6%) and dislocations (6%). The most expensive resulting injuries—amputations, multiple traumas, electric shocks and dislocations—account for a mere 8% of total claims but 26% of total claim costs.

Across all employees and every industry, overexertion still leads as an injury cause at 29%. Slips, trips and falls still came in second at 23%; and being struck by an object in third at 14%. However, motor vehicle accidents took fourth place at only 5% among all employees.

Strains and sprains still lead the list of resulting injuries among all workers at 38%, followed by fractures (13%), contusions (8%), inflammation (7%), dislocations (7%) and cuts and puncture wounds (5%).

The restaurant industry is the most dangerous during the first year of employment, according to the report. More than half (53%) of the restaurant industry's workers comp claims come from workers in their first year on the job—representing 47% of the industry's total claims costs.

In a close second, 48% of claims in the construction industry come from first-year workers—and those claims account for 52% of total claims costs. In the services industry, which includes legal, engineering and accounting firms, first-year workers account for 43% of claims and 38% of claim costs. First-year workers in the transportation industry account for 39% of claims and 41% of claim costs.

First-year injuries led to more than 6 million lost workdays over the five-year study, which is 37% of all lost days. Among all injured workers over the same period, construction workers miss the most workdays at an average of 98. Employees in transportation miss the second-most days on average at 88, followed by an average of 69 days for those in the service industry.

“Our data underscores the importance of comprehensive onboarding and training programs for employees, particularly as we continue to navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and see many workers starting new jobs," said Chris Hayes, assistant vice president, Travelers risk control—workers compensation and transportation. “While new employees are among the most vulnerable, many injuries sustained by employees of any tenure can often be prevented if the proper safety measures are in place."
Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa
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