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OIA surrenders PIA National charter

PIA National has partnered with Ohio agents for many years, however, given the challenges and opportunities that face IAs in the changing marketplace, it is critically important for us to utilize IA resources in the most prudent manner possible.

After extensive consideration and valuation of our options, we are surrendering our PIA National charter in the state of Ohio.

We’ve prepared the following FAQ to provide insight into our decision-making process and help explain what it means to you.

Q: Why is OIA disaffiliating from PIA National?

A: There is a redundancy of services between the two national agents’ organizations.

One example is in advocacy efforts at the federal level – 44 percent of PIA National resources are expended on federal advocacy, while 30 percent of IIABA’s resources are dedicated to federal advocacy. We frequently receive updates from both national organizations within minutes of each other that essentially say the same thing.

The redundancy of federal advocacy efforts is not only an inefficient use of resources, it is likely hurting the IA system. Multiple messages and PACs dilute our messages and send mixed signals to public policymakers.

Despite combining our efforts at the state level in 2013, Ohio agents have still been paying twice for federal advocacy services, among other duplicate services offered by both national organizations. Independent agents would be better served by one combined national organization.

Q: Does Ohio leadership believe the two national organizations should merge?

A: Like the two state-level Ohio agents’ associations did in 2013, we encourage PIA and IIABA to pursue merger discussions.

We believe one national association with a singular focus on helping independent agents, and not competing with one another, is the best path forward for independent agents.

Over half of the state agents’ associations have merged within their respective states in the past 30 years. In addition, mergers have recently occurred in the national property and casualty insurance association community. Both the national carrier associations and wholesalers merged their national associations (American Property Casualty Insurance Association – 2018) (Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association – 2017).

Having successfully completed a state-association merger in Ohio, OIA would welcome the opportunity to participate in merger discussions with the two national agents’ organizations.

Q: When does this change take effect?

A: The change is effective April 9, 2019.

Q: What programs will no longer be available?

A: We are not aware of any unique programs, services or offerings that differentiate PIA National from the IIABA. Nearly all of the programs available through PIA National are also available through IIABA, with IIABA offering a much wider breadth of programs.

Q: Will my Utica E&O policy be affected?

A: No, not at all. Your Utica E&O policy is written through OIA’s in-house independent insurance agency, which has its own arrangement with Utica. You can continue to contact OIA’s trusted team of advisors for your E&O, cyber liability, umbrella and EPLI coverage. For questions about your E&O policy, including all of our available markets, please contact Judy at (800) 555-1742.

Q: How will the CIC and CISR program in Ohio be affected?

A: There is no impact on the CIC and CISR programs, or any other professional development classes offered by OIA. We will continue to offer the same great programs, including the addition of new pre-licensing classes and additional online courses. OIA’s relationship with The National Alliance (creator of the CIC and CISR programming) is completely independent of our relationship with PIA and will remain unchanged.

Q: I am currently enrolled in a PIA Trust program. What should I do?

A: You have two options. There are comparable programs offered through IIABA and we are happy to help walk you through the steps to switch. If you prefer to stay in a PIA Trust program, there is an option to join PIA at the national level for $225 per year by visiting pianet.com/join/nationalonlymembership.

Q: I currently access the Hartford Flood program through PIA National. What should I do?

A: You have two options. There is a comparable program offered through an IIABA partnership with Selective Flood and we are happy to help with book rolls between Hartford and Selective. If you prefer to continue using the Hartford program through PIA, there is an option to join PIA at the national level for $225 per year by visiting pianet.com/join/nationalonlymembership.

Q: What will OIA do with the funds previously forwarded to PIA National?

A: OIA will repurpose the resources currently dedicated to PIA to support Ohio agents’ ability to compete in the modern marketplace. This includes investing in and/or building additional resources and services.

For example, OIA is now leveraging data analytics for independent agencies by providing performance benchmarking reports and insights to propel growth.

Q: Can I still maintain a separate PIA National membership?

A: Yes, you may still join PIA at the national level. PIA National membership fees are $225 per year and you can sign up by visiting pianet.com/join/nationalonlymembership.

Q: I have the PIA logo on my website. What logo should I use instead?

A: We recommend you use the OIA member logo as it is most likely to resonate with your clients. To download the OIA logo for use on your marketing materials, please visit this page. If you would like to utilize a national brand as well, we recommend the Trusted Choice logo.


Please contact Jeff Smith with any questions regarding the disaffiliation from PIA National. 

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Click below to read the full letter sent to OIA members.

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In Reversal, Flood Insurance Program Resumes Normal Operations During Shutdown

Last Friday evening, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will resume the normal sale of new insurance policies and the renewal of expiring policies.

This order rescinded an earlier decision that halted sales operations by the NFIP because of the current government shutdown and lapse in appropriations.

The reversal came after banking, insurance and political leaders from both parties criticized the halting of sales of new and renewal flood policies. Critics said that FEMA was ignoring the intent of Congress to keep the NFIP operating during a shutdown expressed when on Dec. 21, 2018, it passed legislation that reauthorized the NFIP until May 31, 2019.

Insurance, Banking Groups Balk at Limits on Flood Insurance Operations During Shutdown

Critics also argued that any disruption in sales of flood insurance could hold up real estate closings. “FEMA’s unexpected decision will complicate and delay loan closings for borrowers who are required to carry flood insurance and seek NFIP coverage for as long as the government shutdown continues,” the American Banking Association (ABA) said in a statement earlier yesterday.

FEMA said all NFIP insurers have been directed to resume normal operations immediately and advised that the program will be considered operational since Dec. 21, 2018 without interruption.

Sen. John Kennedy, R- La., a sponsor of the NFIP reauthorization bill, was among the lawmakers trying to get FEMA to restart normal operations.

“It’s taken a lot of phone calls to Washington, D.C., but FEMA finally came around to what I recognized from the beginning. My reauthorization legislation, which was signed by President Trump into law, prevents any disruption to the National Flood Insurance Program,” said Sen. Kennedy.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services, was among those who also urged FEMA to reconsider what she called its “harmful and incorrect interpretation of its authority” and resume its “important work of providing flood insurance.”

This article was originally published by Insurance Journal on December 28, 2018.

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Gov. Kasich declares state of emergency in 17 Ohio counties

Gov. John Kasich has declared a state of emergency in 17 counties due to severe storms and heavy, persistent rains that occurred in much of Ohio in late February.

In response to Kasich’s declaration in Adams, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Clermont, Columbiana, Gallia, Hamilton, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Muskingum, Scioto and Washington counties, the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) has also issued a bulletin to allow insureds in those counties to defer insurance premium payments and extend time constraints in which insureds must take certain actions. Read the entire bulletin here.

ODI’s bulletin applies to insureds, insured properties and claimants in the named counties, and is effective between March 7, 2018 and May 24, 2018.