Welcome to the latest issue of the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma newsletter, your source for the latest insurance news in Oklahoma.
The mission statement of the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma, working in the public's best interest, through active member participation, is to be the unrelenting advocate of independent insurance agents and to fulfill the education, political, and business needs of its members.
NEARLY 19 YEARS WITH IIAO, SUSAN TITUS HAS RESIGNED HER POSITION
It is with much sadness that I have resigned my position from IIAO. This was a very difficult decision to make but one that needed to be made so I could focus on my health and my family. My time at IIAO has been incredibly rewarding for me, both personally and professionally. I was blessed to work alongside some of the best insurance people in the country. I am pleased to be able to count many of IIAO's members as my friends. I appreciate the encouragement and support both IIAO and its members have provided me. As I move into this new season of life, I will always cherish the memories, laughs and successes we all shared. Please keep in touch!
CONGRATULATIONS TO 2013 OKLAHOMA BEST PRACTICES AGENCIES
Congratulations to the following agenies that qualified to be 2013 Best Practices Agencies.
- Ed Berrong Insurance Agency
- Hub International|CFR
- INSURICA Insurance Management Network
- Professional Insurors Agency
- Wilcox & McGrath Ins: Member of BancFirst Ins Srvs
TRADE SHOW, CONTINUING EDUCATION AND HOBBY LOBBY TOUR TO BE FEATURED AT OKLAHOMA CITY KAIROS
Register today for Kairos 2013 in Oklahoma City on October 29-30 for an event packed full of continuing education, networking and a trade show featuring products and services for the independent agent. Make sure you plan a visit to the trade show to visit with the following companies: Access Insurance Company, AFS/IBEX Financial Services, American Resources Insurance Co., Amerisafe, Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies, CNA, Commercial Insurance Underwriters, Delta Dental of Oklahoma, Equity Insurance Company, GAINSCO Auto Insurance, Graham Rogers, Hallmark Insurance Company, IIAO Eagle Agency, Insurrisk Excess & Surplus Lines, IPFS, Kemper Specialty, McGowan Companies, McNeil & Company Insurance and Risk Management, Midlands, M.J. Kelly Company, National Lloyds Insurance Company, National Security Fire & Casualty Co., Oklahoma Agents Alliance, Oklahoma Insurance Department, One General Agency, Patriot National Insurance Group, Quomation Insurance Services, Service Professionals, Inc., Specialty Insurance Managers of Oklahoma, Strategic Comp, Taber Brokerage, TAPCO Underwriters, Travelers Insurance and Wall Stree Brokerage. For more information or to register, click here.
INSURE OKLAHOMA GRANTED EXTENSION
BY: Randy Ellis
Calling it a great win for the people of Oklahoma, Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday announced the state successfully has negotiated a one-year extension for a modified version of its Insure Oklahoma program.
The program provides subsidized health insurance for about 30,000 low-income Oklahomans.
"This is a great victory, a great win for the people of Oklahoma," Fallin said.
Fallin's enthusiasm was echoed by the state's small business leaders.
"This is a big relief for the small-business owners and employees who use Insure Oklahoma," said Jerrod Shouse, Oklahoma state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. "Our members tell us that access to affordable health insurance is their No. 1 priority, and this extension gives small business owners and their employees some extra breathing room."
"Insure Oklahoma has made a big difference in the lives of thousands of families, and it's good to know they won't lose coverage on Jan. 1."
Federal officials initially refused to extend the program, which was set to expire at the end of this year, but now have agreed to extend a modified version of it through the end of 2014.
The extension is just for one year, but Fallin said she hopes federal officials eventually will agree to extend the program beyond the end of 2014 and even consider using it as a model for other states.
CPCU ANNUAL I-DAY
The Northeastern Oklahoma CPCU Society Chapter would like to invite IIAO members to the annual I-Day.
The I-Day will be October 31, 8:30-4:00 at the Renaissance Hotel in Tulsa, OK. The $75 registration includes 2 hours of Oklahoma CE credit (legislative update and ethics), a full lunch and presentations about tornado activity.
Click here for more information.
COMMISSIONER DOAK RECEIVES DOUBLE DIGIT DECREASES FOR OKLAHOMA WORKERS' COMPENSATION LOSS COSTS
An annual filing most insurance carriers will use to develop rates for workers' compensation insurance shows a dramatic decrease in loss costs, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak announced today. The overall loss cost decrease of 14.6 percent takes effect Jan. 1.
"This is fantastic news for Oklahoma businesses," said Doak. "Reducing workers compensation costs by enticing new companies to come to the state and allowing current businesses to expand operations can trigger a new wave of economic prosperity. These decreases over a period of time will help to make Oklahoma much more competitive."
The National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. (NCCI) is an advisory organization that studies workplace injuries, collects workers' compensation data, analyzes industry trends and prepares rate recommendations. The NCCI credits most of the decrease to the passage of SB 1062, which makes substantial changes to Oklahoma's workers' compensation system. The 14.6 percent projected reductions in loss costs represent the part of a workers' compensation insurance premium for indemnity and medical payments and associated claim adjustment expenses, not reflecting overhead and profit.
"I commend Gov. Mary Fallin, Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon and Senate Pro Tempore Brian Bingman for dedication to improving the state's workers' compensation system," continued Doak. "With their outstanding leadership and belief in pro-growth policies, Oklahoma will continue to thrive."
LAW REGARDING LOSS RUNS
The following is the statute that refers to loss runs, as a reminder.
O.S. 36, Section 1204.1 - Insurers' Duty to Make Loss Runs or Claims History Available to Policyholders:
Property and casualty insurers and advisory board or advisory organizations shall make loss runs or claims history available to current and former policyholders within thirty (30) days upon a written request by the policyholder.
12 OKLAHOMA CHARITIES RECEIVE HIGH RATINGS
Charity Navigator has awarded 4-star ratings to 12 nonprofit agencies in Oklahoma. Two of which are the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. With your help IIAO has given the food banks a total of $85,500. We are proud to continue our efforts to help these fantastic organizations with the great work they do.
Trusted Choice/IIABA News
PROJECT CAP FILLS A NEED FOR INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENTS
With the launch of the Consumer Portal all that remains for you to do is to head over to www.projectcapmarketing.com and sign up today. This is a fantastic opportunity for you. The insurance marketplace is rapidly changing, and now you have the opportunity to profit from this moneymaking tool. There is no cost to sign up and all leads are free until November 1st.
Project Cap is exactly the right product at the right time for all of us. Let's start with you: your customized portal delivers qualified prospects directly to you. Not only that, your portal positions you as the local expert, the go-to insurance expert in your area. Now, consider the portal from the consumer's perspective. The portal is ideal for the harried consumer who actively searches online for the best deals. Now these consumers have an easy 1-step place to go to find a Trusted Choice agent they know they can trust. Our collaboration with Project Cap allows us to contribute to future portal enhancements. Moreover, our relationship clearly positions our association as a key player in our industry. The portal you have been waiting for is now ready for you. Go to www.projectcapmarketing.com today to get started.
TRUSTED CHOICE SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN RAISES $150,000 FOR MAKE-A-WISH IN RECORD TIME
Trusted Choice®, the consumer branding program for independent insurance agents and brokers, exceeded its goal of 15,000 Facebook "shares" during the month of August one week early in a special social media campaign to raise money for Make-A-Wish®.
For every "share" from the Trusted Choice® Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TrustedChoice) during the month of August, Trusted Choice® will donate $10 to Make-A-Wish. Trusted Choice® committed to donating a minimum of $100,000 and a maximum of $150,000.
"Trusted Choice® is excited and proud to once again use social media in such a positive way to raise money and awareness for Make-A-Wish," says Dave Evans, Trusted Choice® executive director. "We are pleased to have sponsored wishes for more than 21 children with life-threatening medical conditions since our first social media campaign in 2011 and excited to announce that our $150,000 contribution will sponsor even more wishes."
This is the third year Trusted Choice® has held a social media campaign to benefit Make-A-Wish. The social media campaigns have raised more than $320,000 and the grant activity an additional $525,000. Collectively, Trusted Choice® has raised almost $1 million for Make-A-Wish since 2011.
"Independent insurance agents and brokers have a strong track record of active participation and charitable giving in their communities and this annual project is an important opportunity for all of us to join forces for a very worthy, national campaign," says Robert Rusbuldt, Trusted Choice® president and Big "I" president & CEO. "Independent agents are there to instill confidence and hope in their clients and customers, and that's what Make-A-Wish does. Make-A-Wish is there for wish kids and their families in their greatest time of need, just like Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents."
BIG "I" PRAISES HOUSE ACTION ON NARAB II
Sept. 10, 2013 - The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big "I") today praised the U.S. House of Representatives for overwhelmingly approving the bipartisan insurance agent licensing reform bill, H.R. 1155, the "National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act of 2013" (NARAB II) by a 397-6 vote.
The bipartisan bill was introduced by House Insurance Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) and Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) in March with 42 original cosponsors. The bill currently boasts the support of 86 bipartisan sponsors.
NARAB II would build upon regulatory experience at the state level, promote consistency in agent and agency licensing and improve marketplace responsiveness. The legislation would provide for streamlined non-resident insurance agent and broker licensing while preserving state insurance regulation and consumer protections. This pragmatic bill would achieve much needed reciprocity in producer licensing and help policyholders by permitting greater competition among agents and brokers and giving consumers greater choices.
"NARAB II is vitally important for tens of thousands of Big 'I' members who operate on a multi-state basis," says Robert A. Rusbuldt, Big "I" president & CEO. "We would like to particularly thank Reps. Neugebauer and Scott and their incredible staff for their tireless work on this important legislation that will ease consumer access to insurance markets while also leaving important consumer protections in the capable hands of state insurance regulators."
NARAB II passed the full House in two previous Congresses by voice vote. It also received strong bipartisan and bicameral support in the 112th Congress. The Senate companion bill, S. 534 by Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) was also introduced in March, currently has 24 bipartisan sponsors, and passed the Senate Banking Committee by voice vote in July.
"The Big 'I' is very encouraged by today's bipartisan action on NARAB II and would also like to thank House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) for their support on this issue," says Charles E. Symington, Big "I" senior vice president for external and government affairs. "We hope the Senate will take up this legislation in the near future and we look forward to working with Senate leadership to move the bill to the Senate floor as soon as possible."
AGENT/BROKER REGISTRATION FOR FEDERAL EXCHANGES NOW OPEN
Part II of the agent/broker registration process for the Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces (FFMs) officially launched today. As announced in our July 31st Government Affairs Update, Part I (online training) has been open since August 1st.
In Part II, agents/brokers who wish to serve in the individual market may now complete identity proofing on the CMS Enterprise Portal: https://portal.cms.gov/
Please contact Ryan Young of the IIABA Govt. Affairs office with any questions at Ryan.Young@iiaba.net
SELLING HEALTH INSURANCE IN EXCHANGES ACROSS STATE LINES
While the CCIIO has not provided a detailed or definitive answer on this question yet, here's what we anticipate based on initial discussions with state regulators:
If you sell health insurance and are licensed in multiple states, you may be wondering how the certification process will work in the new health insurance marketplace.
- Agents who operate in more than one federally facilitated marketplace (FFM) will only need to complete the training and registration process once. After that, they should be able to access and work within other states that also have federally run exchanges.
- Agents who work within a FFM jurisdiction and want to access states that operate their own exchanges will likely have to complete the state-specific training and certification process. At this time, nothing requires a state to recognize the certification from another state that has its own exchange.
While the lack of consistency among state-based exchanges does not lend itself to reciprocity, we've asked the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to revisit the issue and investigate whether partial reciprocity could be achieved. Agents who have a proven understanding of exchanges should not have to complete modules that cover the basics multiple times. We'll keep you apprised of any developments.
OBAMACARE CAUSES OKLAHOMA HEALTH INSURANCE RATES TO SKYROCKET
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak said Tuesday that Oklahomans should prepare to pay more for health insurance in the federally facilitated marketplace mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
"Our fears have been confirmed," said Doak. "For some consumers, the cost of health insurance will increase significantly. This is more proof that ObamaCare will hurt Oklahoma families and businesses. I continue to support Attorney General Scott Pruitt's lawsuit to overturn this overreaching and potentially disastrous federal law."
After filings were made by the insurers that plan to offer products in the marketplace, the Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID) has learned that health insurance rate increases in individual markets range from 30 percent to more than 100 percent. These changes affect both new policies effective in 2014 and existing policies as they are renewed in 2014 and amended to conform to the law's requirements. The actual rate for an individual will depend on several factors, including age, geographical location and tobacco use.
The leading drivers of the increased rates are:
- The morbidity factor or market risk of guaranteed-issue entrants with no annual or lifetime limits;
- The incorporation of Essential Health Benefits to make plans ACA compliant;
- Taxes and fees being passed through the rates to the consumer.
"From an actuarial standpoint, this confirms the obvious," said OID Chief Actuary Frank Stone. "Insurers must increase their premiums due to the additional requirements of ObamaCare."
The rate increase for the small group market is expected to range from 10 percent to 25 percent. The increase is smaller because the small group market has had guaranteed issue since 1995.Individual consumers may not have to pay the full premium for health insurance due to federal tax credit subsidies, which create an additional hidden cost to Oklahoma taxpayers.
TRYING TO GENERATE FURTHER GROWTH IN YOUR AGENCY
- A Case Study
From its start in 1869, Roger Keith and Sons is now in its fifth generation of ownership. Yet this suburban Boston independent agency does not rest on its laurels from years gone by: It responds to market forces and uses keen financial and agency management to generate new growth. Today its leadership team combines organic growth, acquisitions, and a niche for sustained success - with the help of a bank that specializes in helping agencies.
Learn more here.
CISR PERSONAL RESIDENTIAL
This course gives you the expertise you need to guide your customers through the often complex and confusing process of purchasing homeowners insurance-making decisions that insure their valuable assets.
This class will be in Tulsa on September 18th and in Oklahoma City on September 19th.
This course is approved for 8 hours of CE in Oklahoma, including 2 hours of ethics and 1 hour of legislative credit.
E&O Risk Management - Meeting the Challenge of Change
This course is for anyone in your agency and all experience levels. Everyone walks away from this course with ideas and notes on things you hadn't thought about to help prevent Errors and Omissions in our agency. Hurry and sign up today-it could save you money. Email Lyra@iiaok.com to see if you qualify for the discount.
This course is approved for 6 hours of CE in Oklahoma including 3 hours of ethics.
How to qualify for the Westport/SwissRe 10% Credit* -
An insured who obtains their professional liability coverage for insurance producers through the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma sponsored program will earn a 10% credit on their total annual premium, if they attend an approved loss control seminar and have a three-year claim-free history. This credit will apply to the annual premium due as of the next policy anniversary date or policy inception date and, depending on continued loss free experience, will continue for two additional consecutive policy years after attending the seminar, for a total of three policy periods.
*You must have a three-year claim-free history to receive this credit.
Please click here to see the seminar requirements for agency personnel that needs to attend for credit.
CISR Commercial Casualty II -NEW COURSE!
This course, like Commercial Casualty I, will strengthen your ability to have productive, assured interactions with customers in the area of commercial casualty exposures and coverages. The course focuses on Business Auto, Workers Compensation, and Excess/Umbrella Liability Policies.
This is the first time this course will be offered in Oklahoma. This course will count if you are working towards your CISR or our CISR Elite designation and is also approved for 8 hours of CE in Oklahoma including 1 hour of ethics and 1 hour of legislative credit.
JAMES K. RUBLE SEMINAR- IN STILLWATER
The most value for your dollar. You will not only receive your update for your designation, but you will also get Continuing Education credit while you attend. This course is approved for 16 hours of CE including 2 hours of ethics and 1 hour of legislative credit.
Farmowners Liability Issues
Toys, Toys, and More Toys
Lease Property Exposures
National Security Fire & Casualty Company
Mid-Continent Casualty/Mid-Continent Group
Mercury Insurance Group
Union Standard Insurance Group
Comp Risk Management
Independent Insurance Agents Association of OKC
IIAO Eagle Agency
One General Agency
Specialty Insurance Managers of Oklahoma
Central Insurance Companies
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Midlands Management Corporation
EMC Insurance Companies
Taber Brokerage Services
Patriot National Underwriters, Inc./Old Glory Insurance Company
Columbia Insurance Group
Chubb Group of Insurance Companies
M.J. Kelly Company
National American Insurance Company
State Auto Insurance Companies
Union Mutual Insurance Company
The Hanover Insurance Group
Swett & Crawford of Texas, Inc.
Triangle Insurance Company
Farmers Alliance Insurance Companies
Cornerstone National Insurance Company
Equity Insurance Company
Risk Placement Services
Westphalen Insurance Services
Republic Group of Insurance Companies
Bailey Special Risks, Inc.
Small & Rural Agents Conference
Registration is open to everyone for KAIROS 2013. The Trade Show is full, CE courses are approved for CE and the fun, informative tour of the Hobby Lobby faciliies is booked. Hurry and register today, space is limited.