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Posted by on in Industry News


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Reforming the Local Government Property Insurance Fund

Governor Walker recently signed AB 584, sponsored by Senator Frank Lasee and Representative John Nygren, to reform the LGPIF.  In a signing ceremony at the Capitol, PIA President Rick Clements and Executive Vice President Ron Von Haden (1st and 2nd on left) stood with the Governor, legislators other industry representatives as he signed the new law to be effective June 30, 2016.

PIA legislative team members had been working completely shut down the LGPIF as part of the last biennial budget but that effort hit some political roadblocks so introduction of new legislation had to be passed to force the LGPIF to act in an actuarially sound manner and not as a publicly supported competitor to the private insurance industry.

The private insurance market, led by independent insurance agents across the state, has proven that it can provide professionally designed coverage to local government units at competitive rates and sound insurance principles.  The LGPIF has been in financial trouble for several years but now will have to adhere to stricter rules and regulations.

The PIA team is proud of our involvement in this process to reform the LGPIF and clear a competitive path for independent agents.  We congratulate Senator Lasee, Representative Nygren and Governor Walker for their commitment to a private industry solution to an unnecessary government boondoggle. 


Posted by on in Industry News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                         CONTACT:   Ted Besesparis
April 14, 2016                                                                     703-518-1352

PIA National Names Ryan Von Haden
2016 Young Insurance Professional of the Year

RyanAwards web

WASHINGTON — Ryan Von Haden, Partner and Vice President of Business Accounts with TRICOR insurance in Madison, Wisconsin, has been named the 2016 PIA National Young Insurance Professional of the Year. The award was presented April 8, 2016, by the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) and was sponsored by The Rough Notes Company.

            “You know that a young agent is destined to make his mark on our industry when he has achieved so much, and he’s still just 34 years old,” said PIA National Vice President/Treasurer Tim Russell, in presenting the award. “Ryan is Partner and Vice President of Business Accounts with TRICOR insurance in Lancaster, Wisconsin. He started with the agency in commercial sales in 2006. In 10 years, he grew his own personal book of business from scratch—zero dollars—to $8 million in gross premiums. He became a partner in 2014, the first non-family partner in the 71-year history of the agency.”

            Von Haden has been heavily involved in PIA of Wisconsin (PIAW) and was Chairman of the PIAW Young Professionals Club for six years. During that time, he took a fledgling scholarship program that was happy to award one $500 scholarship to a young student—and turned it into a single day golf outing that provides up to $25,000 annually in scholarships, to deserving students who are pursuing a career in the insurance industry.

            Ryan Von Haden is the son of PIA of Wisconsin Executive Vice President Ron Von Haden, who has dedicated more than four decades of his life to serving PIA. “We are extremely proud of Ryan and his fellow young professionals for the work they have done to provide scholarships as well as his dynamic personal sales and family achievements,” said Ron Von Haden.  

            “Encouraging young people to consider a career as a professional insurance agent must be a top priority for all of us,” Russell said. “We are particularly pleased to partner with the Rough Notes Company in this important effort.”

               The PIA National Young Insurance Professional of the Year award recognizes outstanding achievement by a young insurance professional. Sponsored for the eleventh year in a row by The Rough Notes Company, it was presented during a gala luncheon ceremony on April 8, 2016, in Arlington, Virginia, held during national PIA meetings which followed the 2016 PIA Federal Legislative Summit.

Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America. . PIA’s web address is http://www.pianet.com/ http://www.pianet.com/">www.pianet.com.

This press release is online at:

Ted Besesparis
Senior Vice President, Communications
direct 703.518.1352 | tedbe@pianet.org
National Association of Professional Insurance Agents
400 N. Washington St., 2nd floor, Alexandria, VA 22314-2353
main 703.836.9340 | fax 703.836.1279 | www.pianet.com


Posted by on in Industry News
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Posted by on in Industry News
PIA National - June Government Relations Update

Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Mark-up

On May 21st, the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee held a mark-up for “The Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015,” and was voted out of the committee along party lines, with 12 voting in favor and 10 voting against the measure. The bill was introduced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL). Chairman Shelby’s bill aims to improve transparency within the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) and roll back provisions in Dodd-Frank. The Senate Banking Committee also released a section by section summary, breaking down each provision of the bill.

“The Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015” contains two measures that PIA supports: The Policyholder Protection Act of 2015 (S.798), and the International Insurance Capital Standards Accountability Act (S.1086). The Policyholder Protection Act of 2015 would allow state regulators to protect policyholders in their state by ensuring that insurance companies structured under larger financial institutions could not be held financially responsible for their affiliated bank’s failure or financial crisis. This measure provides protection for the state-based insurance system by prohibiting federal regulators from using assets designated to pay out insurance claims to “prop up” an affiliated bank, and it allows for state regulators to rehabilitate a troubled bank, rather than moving directly to liquidation. Senator Shelby’s bill also includes S.1086, which would establish an Insurance Policy Advisory Committee on International Capital Standards and other insurance issues at the Federal Reserve. This measure would also support increasing transparency and public observer access to working groups and meetings at the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).

Senate Democrats opposed Chairman Shelby’s bill and accused Republicans of trying to roll back broad swaths of the Dodd-Frank law. Democrats on the committee instead supported a narrower bill, offered as an amendment during the markup, introduced by their ranking member on the committee, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), which would provide narrower regulatory relief, confined only to community banks and credit unions. This bill can be read here. The Democratic bill did not include PIA-supported provisions and was defeated along party lines.

After the markup, Chairman Shelby said that he intended the markup to serve as the beginning of negotiations on the regulatory relief bill, and he intends to engage in continued negotiations with Democrats through the summer before bringing the bill to the Senate floor. While the bill passed along partisan lines in the markup, in order to pass the full Senate it will need to be bipartisan due to the 60 vote threshold needed to bypass procedural hurdles.

PIA will continue to be engaged with members of the Committee during the negotiation process to advocate for the inclusion of the Policyholder Protection Act and the International Insurance Capital Standards Accountability Act in a final, bipartisan bill. Please see our press release in support of the Shelby bill here.

Flood Insurance

2015 National Flood Conference

The 2015 National Flood Conference (NFC) was held May 17-20 in Arlington, Virginia. The program included sessions of interest to agents; insurers; underwriters; legal and claims; floodplain managers; lenders; flood servicers; and the government. PIA National participated in the NFC, led by PIA National President Richard A. Clements. Pat Borowski, senior vice president of Industry Affairs, has written a full wrap-up report on the conference and PIA's participation, which can be found here.

Sandy Claims Review Letters Mailed to Policyholders

On May 15, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sent out letters to give policyholders affected by Superstorm Sandy the opportunity to request a review of their Sandy flood insurance claims, to ensure they received a proper loss payment. Policyholders may initiate this claim review in two ways: by telephone or by visiting a webpage to download an application and submit it. The letter was sent by FEMA to approximately 142,000 Sandy policyholders, with the final mailing set to take place on June 11, 2015.

House Hearing on Flood Insurance

The U.S. House Financial Services Committee’s subcommittee on Housing and Insurance is scheduled to hold a hearing on June 2nd titled, “The National Flood Insurance Program: Oversight of Superstorm Sandy Claims.” The sole witness is Brad Kieserman, FEMA’s Deputy Associate Administrator.

The hearing comes on the heels of the recent launch of the U.S. Senate Task Force on Superstorm Sandy, as reported in the May update, led by the senators from New Jersey and New York. Late last month, one Task Force member, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said that he’d like to see the Write Your Own (WYO) private insurance companies participating in the NFIP removed from the program. Senator Schumer claims the WYOs don’t properly represent homeowners and have profit-driven motivations. Senator Schumer has floated the possibility that FEMA work with a single company to sell and manage policies. FEMA has said that all options, including the one Senator Schumer has suggested, are being considered.

PIA is engaging with lawmakers on both the Sandy claims process as well as the future reauthorization of the NFIP, which expires in 2017.


On May 4, 2015, PIA submitted comments on proposed rule concerning the Excise Tax (also known as Cadillac Tax) on High Cost Employer Health Plans (Notice 2015-16). While PIA agrees that controlling healthcare costs is important, PIA is concerned that the forthcoming excise tax will have a disparate impact on certain classes. The tax is intended to target only high cost employer-sponsored health plans, not moderate benefit plans. However, a Mercer survey recently estimated that it would impact 31% of employers in 2018 and 51% of employers by 2022, indicating the excise tax will have a much broader effect than Congress intended.

In addition to our own comments, PIA also signed on to comments with a coalition opposed to the excise tax. As reported in the May government relations update, we are also advocating in favor of two bills that would repeal the tax before it is implemented in 2018.

Regulatory Affairs

The Federal Advisory Committee of Insurance (FACI), a committee of 21 state insurance regulators, consumer advocates, insurance company executives and other insurance experts, met on April 7. FACI advises the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) on important insurance issues. PIA attended the meeting.

The committee discussed price optimization, a controversial underwriting practice of using information unrelated to risk to set rates for a particular insured and is a concern of many consumer advocates. The FACI Affordability and Accessibility of Insurance subcommittee considered the issue and recommended that regulators should scrutinize outcomes of insurance rating practices to see if they are having a disparate impact. At least three states have already issued bulletins on price optimization; Florida has banned the practice and New York has issued a request for information on the issue.

FACI also heard two presentations on risk mitigation strategies: one from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), discussing wind and wire fire mitigation efforts; and one from FEMA, discussing a recent executive order on floodplain management. Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky of New York also briefed the committee on cybersecurity activities, stating that the New York Department is focusing on risk management strategies for insurance and financial services companies. FIO Director Michael McRaith stated that the Department of Treasury is also working on cybersecurity issues.

Jon Gentile
Director of Federal Affairs
direct 703.518.1365 | cell 202.744.2644 | jonge@pianet.org

National Association of Professional Insurance Agents
400 N. Washington St., 2nd floor, Alexandria, VA 22314-2353
main 703.836.9340 | fax 703.549.5190 | www.pianet.com

PIA members are "Local Agents Serving Main Street America."SM
See why independent insurance agents across America are declaring, "I AM PIA."


Posted by on in Industry News

The Obama Administration announced that small businesses won't be able to use the federal government's health insurance website to get insurance until November 2014 in most states, including Minnesota.

Federal officials say small businesses can use agents and brokers, or enroll directly with insurers. Noting that many small businesses already rely on agents and brokers for insurance.

PIA supports this delay in online enrollment for federally-facilitated small group plans (SHOP). The delay allows agents and brokers the opportunity to be the "go to" for enrollment in small group plans.

PIA National is working with the Department of Health and Human Services to develop webinars on this topic.

PIA National President John G. Lee, writing in American Agent & Broker magazine, proclaims that it is a great time to be a Professional Insurance Agent. "Professional insurance agents are strong, innovative, nimble and able to quickly adapt to whatever the marketplace or government throws at us," he says. Read Jonny's full article here.


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