By PIWA Legislative Representative Robert Pastel, Esq.
Benjamin Lawsky was confirmed unanimously by the Senate on Tuesday to become the first Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services. Mr. Lawsky has extensive prosecutorial and legislative background. Last week, he outlined the timeline for the merger of the Insurance and Banking departments to the Senate Insurance and Banking Committees.
Currently he is meeting with various stakeholders. Following this discussion there were be internal working group meetings, with a possibility for further discussions with stakeholders. Merger of the departments should begin in August. Former Insurance Superintendent James Wrynn has been appointed by Governor Cuomo to be a deputy superintendent of the new agency.
The state's legislative session is expected to end on time and is currently scheduled to end on Monday, June 20th. As a sign of the end of session, on Tuesday leaders also tentatively announced an agreement on a 2% tax cap sought by the very popular Governor Cuomo.
Wholesaler issues: The Senate will be considering legislation that would allow for the implementation of Slimpact (S 4869 by Senator Seward). However, neither the executive nor the Assembly have signed on to the measure. As you know, provisions were adopted in the on-time budget which allow for the tax on 100% of the NY risks, to become effective in July.
Additionally, the Insurance Department has promulgated a regulation which has increased the capitalization requirement for foreign surplus lines insurers (not including alien insurers.)
The legislature is also considering legislation to permit more permissible activities for surplus lines subsidiaries in New York (S.3665 by Senator Breslin.)
A commercial lines modernization proposal is expected to be advanced by the Executive this session. The legislature is currently discussing a proposal to expand of the use of the free trade zone activities to add a category three for premiums from $25,000 to $100,000.
The surplus lines modernization proposal was re-introduced by Assemblyman Morelle (A.3800).
PIWA will provide additional updates at the conclusion of the session.
PIWA Spring Fling offers guidance, networking
PIWA's inaugural Spring Fling Educational Forum and Networking Event was held May 19 at St. Johns University in Manhattan. PIWA has a long-standing relationship with St. Johns School of Risk Management, as it provides the Abe Snyder Memorial Scholarship each year to a St. Johns student.
The college provided the perfect setting for the PIWA educational forum, in which company representatives provided in-depth guidance on a variety of general liability, professional liability and commercial property coverages.
More than 50 people participated in the program, gaining insights and tips on how to write lines of business ranging from vacant buildings to technology company cyber liability.
Matthew Marrin, ASLI, representing General Star, discussed how that carrier deals with general liability submissions from multiple wholesalers, noting that the first complete submission will be reviewed, blocking all others (Hint: don't send in incomplete apps!). In noting that they plan to thin out their brokerage list, he suggested that this will provide greater value to the brokers they continue to represent.
Seth Fischer, CPCU, ASLI, AIS, representing Western World, discussed the increased standards to which professionals are held and noted that his company provides a package that includes both general liability and professional liability coverage. He encouraged wholesalers to understand the underwriting appetite of their carriers and only submit business they know the company will be interested in.
Jeffrey Norton, representing Beazley, reviewed coverage features important to adequately protect technology firms (large and small) and reminded wholesalers to check that any policy they are consider has the types of coverage the company needs.
Dan Millea, representing Markel, talked about private company D&O coverages, noting that D&O, along with EPL and fiduciary coverage, is critical to a company. Without it, he noted, it is difficult for a carrier to entice qualified people to serve on its board. A good reminder to brokers seeking to write D&O: company directors can be held personally liable for a company's action, and that liability can be extended to the director's spouse and estate.
Steven Hornbeck, from Crum & Forster, provided a detailed review of vacant property exposures and coverage options. He focused on why it is critical for vacant property to be properly underwritten, reminding participants of the COPE acronym (Construction, Occupancy, Protection, Exposure) used in underwriting property risks.
Christina Caputo, from Beazley, closed the program by reminding participants of what an underwriter is looking for in a good submission, and what the wholesaler can do to make it easier for an underwriter to quickly and accurately assess a risk.
Thanks, company sponsors
Please join PIWA in thanking the companies who sponsored the Spring Fling program-the event wouldn't have been possible without their generous support.
Excess Line Association of New York
Cowles & Connell of New Yorks
Morstan General Agency
Russell Bond & Co., Inc.
Watch for PIWA's next event
PIWA will be conducting another event this fall -- watch for details!