December 20, 2016
LEGISLATIVE NEWS
The sold-out crowd of Big "I" Ambassadors and Senators at the Governor's Mansion last January
IIAN Is Gearing Up For Unicameral Session Starting January 4
New Bill Addressing Uninsured Independent Contractors Is Top Priority
IIAN's Legislative committee and Legislative Advisory Council members are gearing up for the 2017 Unicameral "long session" starting January 4 and scheduled to run until June 2.  Since the General Election on November 8, LAC Big "I" Ambassadors have been getting to know Nebraska's 17 new state senators, and welcoming back incumbents. 
      "Building personal relationships with state senators and supporting them before and after the election cycle is what our Ambassadors program is all about," comments LAC Chairman John Deardorff.  "Those relationships will make a huge amount of difference when we re-introduce our new bill to address the industry-wide problem of independent contractors who are not insured for workers' compensation in January."
New Bill On Uninsured Independent Contractors
       An expert IIAN Legislative committee task force has been developing language for a new bill over the fall months, and working with the senator who will sponsor and introduce it.   "The 2016 short session worked against our first bill to address this issue (LB 276 - introduced in 2015)," says Legislative committee chairman Bob Hoppe.  "It just ran out of time to be debated and passed by the full Legislature before the last day of the session (April 20).
     If you are interested in joining 96 Big "I" Ambassadors and becoming an LAC "insider", check out the IIAN 
LAC page.   And all members are invited to the 2017 Day at the Capitol issues briefing and Senators Luncheon at the Governor's Mansion on January 25, 2017.  It's a great way to "make a difference" in just one morning, and we'll give you all the information you need to succeed!  
FIO Faces Uncertain Future
The Federal Insurance Office (FIO), which was created under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 to gather and collect information on the insurance industry, could be reexamined in 2017 given the results of the recent election. Since its inception, the FIO, which is housed in the Department of Treasury, has been a concern for insurance industry stakeholders, as many feared the potential for federal infringements on the long-standing state-based system of insurance regulation.
    Although the FIO has no regulatory authority, the insurance industry, including the Big "I", has worked to ensure that it does not experience "mission creep"  by taking any actions that would move the regulation of insurance away from states' hands. With President-elect Trump already stating that he plans to overhaul much of Dodd-Frank, the FIO's future becomes uncertain. Under new Republican oversight, it is conceivable that the FIO's structure could be changed or the office itself could be eliminated.   Regardless of the potential changes to come, the Big "I"remains dedicated to preserving state insurance regulation and communicating the state system's track record of success to legislators on Capitol Hill.                              
INDUSTRY NEWS
Edge of 2017 - The State of the Independent Agent Channel
By Matt Dickerson, president of Safeco Insurance
I'll be honest-I'm more excited about the future of the independent agent channel than I've ever been in my 30 years in the insurance industry.  
Yes, challenges continue to arise with rapidly changing technologies, the ever-evolving needs of consumers and pricing pressures from direct carriers. But we also have incredible opportunities to compete in the current marketplace and define our future together as carriers and agency partners.
Heading into 2017, here's where the industry stands-and how we can work together to leverage the changing landscape and our unique strengths.     Read more . . .
Zenefits Zapped With Multi-Million Dollar Penalty
In a win for law and regulation-abiding health insurance producers everywhere, Zenefits last week received a $7 million penalty from California insurance regulators. The action stems from a licensing-violation investigation launched last year and marks one of the largest penalties ever assessed by the California Department of Insurance (DOI).  The San Francisco-based company allowed employees to sell, solicit or negotiate policies to consumers without first being licensed as insurance producers, a violation of insurance laws.  In addition, the company entices businesses with the offer to supply employee benefits software and to act as a health insurance broker.
     As part of the settlement agreement announced last week - and accounting for the self-reporting of violations, replacement of the CEO and implementation of corrective actions - the California DOI agreed to suspend half of the penalty if Zenefits continues to comply with licensing and regulatory mandates.
     And now 
Missouri  insurance regulators have fined health-benefits broker Zenefits $62,000 for engaging in unlicensed activity in the state. Regulators in New Jersey and Arizona previously fined Zenefits $100,000 and $15,000, respectively, and Tennessee officials levied a fine of $62,500 against the company. South Carolina and Minnesota regulators have also conducted investigations into the company's practices, culminating in fines. Zenefits still faces unresolved investigations in numerous other states.
TECHNOLOGY
What you can learn from the 2016 Agency Universe Study about agency technology
The 2016 Agency Universe Study - also known as the AUS - was recently released as a collaboration between the Big "I" and leading independent agency companies. This biennial study was completed by 1,972 independent agents giving their detailed insights on all critical areas of running their businesses, including agency revenue and markets, carriers represented, customer service centers, agency staff, future planning, marketing information sources, and technology. The 127-page Study Full Report, and Summary E-book are both available via the Big "I" Research  AUS web page.
     ACT has summarized the 'Technology' section of the 2016 Agency Universe Study. Please find the summary  here , providing you with insights on agencies' tech challenges, use of comparative raters, management systems, and other technology aspects.
  
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
UPCOMING EVENTS
Thank You For Your Membership & Support   
IIAN's staff and Board of Directors would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your membership. We are so glad to have you as part of the Big 'I' family and appreciate your support of your association!
We wish you, your organization, and your family a merry Christmas, and healthy and prosperous 2017! Contact us any time for information and assistance.
          

Holiday Schedule:  The IIAN office will be closed at noon on December 23, back open on December 27; also closed on January 2, 2017.
                        
IIAN Foundation Scholarships - Apply By March 1, 2017
The IIAN Foundation is now taking applications for five scholarships for high school students who intend to major in business or a business-related field, and one scholarship for college sophomore/juniors majoring in business and intending to work in the insurance industry.

NEW MEMBERS
Welcome to our newest Big "I" members!
Baehler Insurance Agency & Associates
Don Baehler - Papillion
Dennis Insurance
Cathy Dennis - Uehling
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