July 2018


PIWA’s ‘Day on the Hill’ and how the 2018 session wrapped up


(L-R) PIWA Board Member Kyle Burch; PIWA President Tony Sidoni; Sen. Seward’s Counsel Morgan Halloran; PIWA Legislative Chair Wil Cote; and Sen. James L. Seward, R-51.



PIWA President Tony Sidoni, PIWA Legislative Chair Wil Cote and PIWA Board Member Kyle Burch spent May 14 at the state Capitol to meet with legislators, including Sen. James L. Seward, R-51, and staff to discuss the wholesalers view on legislation before the state Assembly and Senate. The PIWA representatives explained that its members provide hard-to-place specialty insurance that help retail insurance professionals to help minimize risk for New York individuals and businesses, which allows businesses to operate in challenging environments and provides compensation for victims.


PIWA told its legislative representatives that its members provide insurance in both the licensed and excess-line market (e.g., in 2017, wholesalers accounted for 283,787 transactions with nearly $2.5 billion dollars of New York premiums, placed in the excess line market). PIWA members account for a similar amount in the licensed market.


During their meetings with legislators, PIWA representatives discussed the issue important to its members. Some of the bills were acted on before the New York state legislative session ended on June 20:


·         CE for association membership (S.3960/A.7012-A). Under the terms of the bill, sponsored by Sen. James Seward, R-51, and Assemblymember Pamela J. Hunter, D-128, active members of a statewide professional insurance producer association would be granted six continuing-education credits. PIWA provided a memo in support of the legislation to the state Assembly. This bill passed both houses before the legislative session ended.


·         Punitive damages (S.423-A/A.4734-A). Legislation advanced by the Excess Line Association of New York, which would permit insurance for punitive damages was amended by the bill sponsors, Sen. Seward and Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi, D-119. New York’s highest court has ruled that insurance does not cover punitive damages. These bills would change New York law to permit insurance coverage of punitive damages and civil penalties. The bill excludes personal lines and commercial auto; does not cover insureds for conduct that was intended to cause the relevant harm; and states that coverage must be expressly provided for by an insurance policy. Some insurance companies and insurance trade associations oppose this bill, because they are concerned that there will be more demands made for punitive damages if this coverage is available. This bill did not pass either house before the legislative session ended.


·         Medical malpractice insurance (S.422/A.29). Also advanced by ELANY and supported by PIWA, this legislation is sponsored by Sen. Seward and Assemblyman Kevin A. Cahill, D-103. It would remove the declination requirement by the residual market for medical malpractice insurance. Currently, doctors and dentists have limited viable medical malpractice options, as either scandal or onerous government regulation has limited their choices. Also, risk retention groups, whose New York state regulation is preempted under federal law, operate freely in New York. However, well-capitalized, high-rated nonadmitted companies are not available to New Yorkers under the present statutory regime. PIWA is preparing a comparison for policymakers to compare differences in protection under New York state law for insureds in the licensed market, the residual market, virtually unregulated risk retention market, and the highly capitalized, nonadmitted market (if New York allowed placement). This bill did not pass either house before the legislative session ended.


·         Short-term rentals of private dwellings (S.5978-A/A.8065-A). Sen. Rich Funke, R-55, introduced amendments to his legislation that would regulate AirBnB-type rentals. One provision in the amended bill would mandate minimum insurance by licensed insurance companies only. This bill would prevent such insurance to be written in the well-capitalized, high-rated nonadmitted market. Funke and Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, D-109, who sponsored the bill in the Assembly, were receptive to PIWA’s concerns about these bills and amended the language to allow placement through duly licensed excess-line brokers. This change is similar to the amendments PIWA’s efforts obtained for security guards in a similar bill several years ago. This bill did not pass either house before the legislative session ended.


Additional wins for PIWA members


As you may know, the governor’s proposal for a 900-percent increase in insurance fines in certain instances did not make the final budget. The proposal that would have allowed insurance adjusters with felony convictions also was not adopted.


The following additional PIWA-supported legislation passed both houses of the Legislature before the session ended:


·         ELANY authority extender (S.7626/A.10584). Sponsored by Sen. Seward and Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, D-67, the bill would extend the authority of the Excess Line Association of New York until 2024. This bill passed both houses before the legislative session ended.


·         Prelicensing coursework via internet (S.7634-A/A.9527-A). This legislation, sponsored by Sen. Kathleen A. Marchione, R-43, and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-113, would ensure that prelicensing courses for all forms of insurance are offered in both classroom and correspondence/distance learning formats. This bill passed both houses before the legislative session ended.


·         Exemptions for certain filing requirements (S.7746-A/A.10634). This legislation, sponsored by Sen. Seward and Assemblyman Phillip Steck, D-110, would extend the authority of Free Trade Zone, class-three risks until 2023. This bill passed both houses before the legislative session ended.


·         Electronic delivery of notices (S.5061/A.2476-B). PIWA raised concerns (e.g., under this proposal, the wholesaler is not required to be notified) with these bills, which the sponsors Sen. Seward and Assemblyman Andrew D. Hevesi told PIWA they would consider. This bill did not pass either house before the legislative session ended.


At the close

It was an eventful year for New York state when you consider: the corruption trials; the departure of a popular attorney general; the return of the Senate Independent Democratic Conference to the mainline Democrats; and the 31-31 tie in the Senate, in which 32 votes are needed to pass a bill. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo also found himself another challenger for the governor’s office after the start of another executive-connected corruption trial (involving the Buffalo Billions and Syracuse former-Mayor Stephanie Miner, who also was a former State Committee Chair).


While the legislative session concluded at the end of June, there is talk already that Cuomo may recall the Legislature to Albany to adopt authority to extend speed cameras in New York City. The current authority expires in July.



Were you at the PIWA Spring Reception?


More than 60 insurance professionals gathered for PIWA’s Spring Reception, May 17, at The Standard Biergarten, New York City. Company and Agency attendees gathered at the restaurant for an enjoyable evening of networking.


“This event offers attendees the chance to catch up with industry peers and keep a pulse on what’s going on in the wholesaler industry,” said PIWA President Tony Sidoni.


For more information about the event, including photos, click here.



What’s next …


Are you interested in how the wholesalers market is stacking up? PIWA has compiled this infographic.


Save the date for the PIWA Fall Reception, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, at the HAVEN Rooftop, New York, N.Y.


See the next issue of the PIWA eBulletin in October for more information and events.