May 30, 2017
IIAN Receives Inaugural National Membership Champion Award
Presented At IIABA Legislative Conference 
The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America bestowed the inaugural Big "I" Membership Champion award to the Independent Insurance Agents of Nebraska for membership development during the recent national Big "I" Legislative Conference in Washington,D.C.   The award recognizes a Big "I" state association's 
exemplary membership recruitment and retention initiatives and success.
     "For its creativity and dedication, the Big 'I' is excited to present the inaugural Membership Champion award to the Independent Insurance Agents of Nebraska," said Spencer Houldin, Big "I" chairman, who presented the award. "In the past year, the IIAN team has increased its membership by 12.9% by launching an effective marketing campaign that uses email, office visits, and employee training and on-boarding components." 
     The award was presented to Krae Dutoit, IIAN president; Carol McClelland, IIAN CEO; and Jeremiah Gudding, IIAN marketing director.  Brenda Kaiser, IIAN membership programs director, also contributed to IIAN's successful campaign.                                  
IIAN InsurPac Chairman Vincent Christensen, right, accepted the national InsurPac "Eagle Award"at the Young Agents luncheon in Washington, D.C.  IIAN achieved the largest percentage increase in InsurPac contributions nationwide in 2016.   Bob Hoppe. left, serves on the national InsurPac Board of Trustees. 
The Big "I" Storms The Hill 
IIAN Member Delegation Lobbies Congress
On May 3 and 4, 13 IIAN members and staff joined hundreds of agents from all 50 states at the national IIABA Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. Led by IIAN President Krae Dutoit and Legislative Committee Chairman Bob Hoppe, IIAN's representatives held a series of meetings with Nebraska's Congressional delegation to lobby on behalf of agents -- meeting personally with Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse, and Representatives Adrian Smith, Don Bacon, and Jeff Fortenberry, and their staffs, on the same day the U.S. House passed the American Health Care Act.
We asked our elected officials to:
oppose any cuts or caps to Federal Crop Insurance
- support the protection of the employer sponsored health     insurance system, including the repeal of the Cadillac tax
- support the reform of small business and individual tax rates, along with corporate rates
- support restricting/eliminating the Federal Insurance Office
- support  10-year re-authorization of the National Flood Insurance program and gradual development of a private market   Read more on the issues
    Also included in IIAN's contingent were winners of Big "I" Young Agent conference scholarships,
Brian Bradley, Lincoln, and Shelly Polsley, Omaha; along with Todd Anderson, who represents IIAN on the IIABA Crop Insurance Task Force, Vincent Christensen, Mark Lisko, Greg Zimmer, Sandra Ryks, John and Amy Deardorff, Adam Backer, Larry Palmer, Carol McClelland, and Jeremiah Gudding.  Attendees heard from Congressional leaders such as Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WVA).
Photo:  Senator Sasse talks Flood Insurance with IIAN leaders at the Nebraska Breakfast in Washington.

On The Hill - read the latest developments on the Crop and Flood Insurance programs.

Unicameral Session Wraps Up Early On May 23
2017 Session Relatively Unproductive, Shortened By Wrangling Over Debate Rules
The Nebraska Legislature adjourned sine die on May 23, 2017 on Day 86 of the scheduled 90-day session.  This 2017 session was relatively short (86 of 90 days) and unproductive (26% of bills passed vs. the usual 33%) by historical standards.  Out of 86 working days, about 30 were spent squabbling over rules of debate - and the need to pass an $8.8 billion two-year budget hung over the session from the first day to the last.  
IIAN took positions on or monitored 28 bills impacting the insurance industry this session - and only five of those bills passed, including three Insurance Department-backed bills.  Of note are
LB 241, which provides an exception to the annual privacy notice requirement under the Privacy of Insurance Consumer Information Act; and
LB 406, which allows cancellation/non-renewal notices to be mailed by bar-coded first-class mail, in addition to registered or certified mail.

All but one of the remaining 23 bills on IIAN's list were held over to the 2018 "short session", including IIAN's two major issues for 2017-18:
LB 643,  which would double the current minimum auto financial responsibility limits (Banking, Commerce & Insurance Committee), and
LB 553 to address the continuing problem of independent contractors who do not insure themselves for workers' compensation (Business & Labor Committee).  It is patterned after a 2015 Iowa law which has been working well in the marketplace. IIAN developed a compromise amendment AM620 to address specific concerns expressed by insurance company groups; however, they have indicated they will not drop their opposition and will not offer alternative amendment language that would be acceptable to them.
      "We will continue to work with stakeholders to have LB 553 advanced to the floor for debate early in the 2018 session," commented Bob Hoppe, IIAN Legislative committee chairman.  "We want to thank all of the members of IIAN's Legislative Advisory Council for contacting their senators about LB 553, our bill sponsor, Senator John Lowe from Kearney, and the six senators who signed on as co-sponsors."    These two bills were among 35 total bills held back by their respective Committees.
Click here for this session's final Unicameral Update and more information from IIAN Legislative Representative Jim Cavanaugh.  
Do You Hold a New York Non-Resident License?
You Must Comply With New Cybersecurity Regulations By August 28 - Find Out How
The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) finalized a  data security regulation that imposes new requirements on all banking and insurance entities in the state, starting March 1, 2017. The mandates will take effect gradually over the next two years, with many notable elements requiring compliance by August 28, 2017.  The regulation impacts 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.
      The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York (IIABNY) is providing all Big "I" members access to outstanding resources they have developed on how to comply. Click here to access everything you need.  To download the members-only cybersecurity agency policy template, click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and use the password "security".
P&C Industry Logs First Q1 Underwriting Loss in 5 Years
A.M. Best also estimates first-quarter cat losses at $7.6B, up 48% from 2016
After adjustment for loss reserve development, the reported accident year combined ratio rose 2.1 points to 104.0 - the worst of the last five Q1 periods.
Increasing incurred losees continue to hinder underwriting results, according to A.M. Best research.  The Property & Casualty industry reported a first-quarter net underwriting loss of $841.5 million, Best states in its latest "First Look" report.  That's significantly less then the $2 billion net underwriting profit recognized in Q1 2016 - and the only first-quarter underwriting loss reported over the last five years, according to Best.
     What's more, based on responses from its quarterly survey, Best estimates P&C industry three-month 2017 catastrophe losses of $7.6 billion, up 48% from the same period of 2016 and accounting for six points on the industry's overall combined ratio.
Source:  PC360                                                                     

Impact of Auto Insurance Losses
State Farm plans to shut 11 U.S. facilities, displacing 4,200 workers, after a $7 billion annual underwriting loss last year on auto policies.  Allstate, Hartford and GEICO are among companies that have been burned in recent years by higher claims expenses from car crashes as more drivers are distracted by electronic devices.  Higher repair costs have also hurt as drivers are logging more miles.
Stop Ransomware Attacks - Update Your Operating System!
Even though the new round of ransomware called  WannaCrypt  (also referred to as 'WannaCry') that has been making the rounds since May 12 is old news, IIABA's Agents Council on Technology (ACT) strongly encourages all members t update your operating systems .  Microsoft had issued a patch on March 14 to cover this attack for systems such as Windows XP and Windows 7.  It has since been learned that WannaCrypt was most effective against Windows 7 machines.   While this particular attack did not target Windows 10 users, agencies need to stay focused on a  Cyber Hygiene  program.
     Another point of encouragement is to upgrade older systems to newer, e.g. moving from Windows XP to Windows 10.  Older systems are more vulnerable than newer systems, and administrators who are trying to save on costs by not moving to newer systems will usually run greater risks of compromise.     Here are links to authoritative articles on the WannaCrypt ransomware:
The ACT Security Issues work group is developing its focus areas for the remainder of 2017 and into 2018.  You'll hear much more about industry resources to be created soon.
New Training Series For New Agency Owners
Based on input from agency owners from across the country, the Big "I" has developed a new four-part Right Start Training Series:  An Agency Toolkit to Grow Your Business and Gain Appointments.  The series of four free, one-hour webinars gives new agency owners and startup agencies the tools and techniques they need to not only gain but also retain appointments with top carriers.  A certificate of completion will be provided to participants that have attended all four sessions on June 29, July 20, August 24, and September 14.
More information . . .

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

Independent Insurance Agents of Nebraska
(402) 476-2951