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Thanks to the support of 235 OIA members, $50,615 was raised in 2019 for Ohio Insurance Agents Political Action Committee, achieving the goal of raising at least $50,000 to help promote a strong economy and a competitive insurance marketplace in Ohio for you and your clients.
When we crunched some numbers and looked at how we did in regard to agency participation, we realized that the group with the greatest PAC participation rate, both in monetary value and in number of contributors, is not an agency at all. It is OIA, which raised more than $3,600 from 15 staff members. This serves as a testament to the inspiration and culture that OIA members have created at OIA and how much our staff believes that peace of mind is not a commodity and understands that the PAC is a critical element in promoting, progressing and protecting independent agents, who in turn, best protect Ohioans and their way of life. We hope to break even more participation records this year.
In addition to OIA, three agencies raised more than $1,000 for OIA PAC. These agency champions are: Webb Insurance Agency, Inc. of Lima; Associated Insurance Agencies, Inc. of Westerville and Phelan Insurance Agency, Inc. of Versailles.
Thank you for providing OIA with the necessary political resources to effectively advocate for insurance consumers and independent agents. Our goal is to raise $50,000 this year. With two Ohio Supreme Court seats lost in 2018 to activist judges the two seats up for election in 2020 on the Ohio Supreme Court are the most important elections we have faced in decades. If we lose these seats, there will be a significant shift in judicial philosophy on the Court. We will be back to an era like Scott-Pontzer when the Court made astonishing decisions -- like extending employers’ UM/UIM to employees who got into accidents in their own cars, on their own time. Together we can prevent this from happening. Make your 2020 contribution to OIA PAC today.
Contact Carolyn Mangas
Gov. DeWine recently signed House Bill 2 (H.B. 2) creating a program aimed at helping Ohio employers with filling existing workforce vacancies within their own company, as well as helping to “upskill” their current employees. The program, called TechCred, allows businesses to join training partners (such as universities, community colleges, Ohio technical centers, and private training providers) to apply for up to $2,000 in reimbursement for employees who receives a credential. While the TechCred program was rolled out last September, H.B. 2 codifies the program process and provides more guidelines as to how the program will be administered.
During the first grant window that was open last fall, the state approved applications from 234 employers resulting in 1,576 credentials being awarded to workers.
The second grant application window is currently open through the end of January. Businesses can join training partners to apply for up to $2,000 in reimbursement per employee who receives a credential via the TechCred program through Jan. 31.
With technology evolving rapidly in the insurance industry, programs like TechCred may help agencies gain the training needed to thrive in the future. Notably, credentials can be earned in the areas of information technology, business technology and cybersecurity.
TO Learn more about the TechCred program and apply:
The Ohio Department of Insurance recently released data showing estimated rate changes for the top 10 homeowners and auto insurers in 2018. The data shows that Ohio continues its trend of having some of the best rates in country, with homeowners rates continuing to remain stable and auto rates continuing to increase, but only slightly.
Homeowners Rates Continue to Remain Stable
Recently released data from the Ohio Department of Insurance shows that estimated rate changes among the top 10 homeowners insurers for 2018 ranged from -3.4 percent to 5.2 percent. When averaged, the overall rate changes were negligible as they averaged zero percent.
Of the ten insurers that make up close to 75 percent of the market in Ohio, two insurers decreased rates, one kept rates flat, and seven increased rates. Of the insurers that increased rates, five took larger rate increases in 2018 than in 2017, with the exception of Nationwide and Grange Insurance.
The largest rate reduction was a 3.4 percent decrease by State Farm. The largest increase of all 10 insurers was a 5.2 percent increase by Cincinnati Insurance Company.
Ohio continues to boast the ninth lowest homeowner's rates in the country, with an average annual premium of $850.
Auto Rates Continue to Increase, But Only slightly
It is estimated that the ten largest auto insurers increased their rates an average of 0.5 percent in 2018 – a lower average increase than the average rate change of 3.9 percent in 2017.
Rate changes in 2018 ranged from a rate reduction of 4.8 percent by State Farm to an increase by Nationwide of 9 percent. Of the 10 insurers that make up 77.5 percent of the market in Ohio, two insurers decreased rates, two kept rates flat, and six increased rates. Notably, only four of the 10 auto insurers took bigger rate increases in 2018 than they did in 2017.
Ohio’s auto insurance premiums average $727, which is the 14th lowest in the country.
Ohio’s combined average premiums for home and auto are $551 below the national averages.
Remind your clients that Ohio has a long history of enjoying some of the best rates in the country and continues to do so as a result of our competitive insurance marketplace which only exists because of our stable regulatory, legislative and judicial environments.
Also see: Insurers put brakes on rising auto rates in Ohio last year
Distracted Driving is Enemy No. 1 for Stable Personal Auto Rates
The Ohio BWC is continuing their trend of lowering workers’ compensation costs for Ohio’s private employers. In July, a 20 percent cut for private employers took effect and this will be followed by another $1.5 billion of the agency’s revenues being given back to Ohio employers covered by the BWC system.
The latest rate cut, which will save Ohio’s private employers more than $200 million, is the largest rate cut in nearly 60 years.
The $1.5 billion dividend equals 88 percent of the premiums employers paid for the policy year that ended June 30, 2018 (calendar year 2017 for public employers). While the bulk would go to private companies, an estimated $114 million would go to counties, cities, townships and other local government entities. Nearly $50 million would go to public school districts.
BWC will begin sending dividend checks to employers in late September.
This dividend marks the fifth time since 2013 the agency has returned at least $1 billion to employers following strong investment returns, falling injury claims and other operational efficiencies.
Employers are free to spend the funds as they wish, but BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud urges businesses to invest in workplace safety.
In total, BWC has saved employers nearly $10 billion in workers’ comp costs through dividends, credits, rate reductions and greater efficiencies since 2011.
Overall, the average rate levels for the 242,000 Ohio employers in the BWC system are at their lowest in at least 40 years.
The Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) recently issued Bulletin 2019-05 which provides guidance to insurance agents who wish to give promotional or advertising items to potential insureds or insureds in exchange for the opportunity to market insurance products. This bulletin supersedes, replaces and rescinds Bulletin 2009-13 which was issued in 2009 by then ODI Superintendent Mary Jo Hudson.
While the content of the updated bulletin is relatively the same as it had been in past years which generally provides that ODI does not interpret the offering of promotional and advertising items, or meals to be an unfair inducement provided the item does not exceed $50 and is not tied to the purchase of an insurance product, it does provide significant clarification for agents who want to hold contests, raffles and drawings.
The updated bulletin contains language to address contests, raffles and drawings that involve a prize in excess of $50. The bulletin clarifies that as long as the raffle or drawing is open to the general public where all participants are given a free chance to win, so long as it is not tied to the sale or solicitation of insurance and no purchase or renewal of insurance is required to enter, win, or claim the prize, it is not considered an unlawful solicitation or promotion even if the gift exceeds $50 in value. Bottomline: you can hold a contest, raffle or drawing with a prize that is worth more than $50 as long as it is open to everyone and participation is not contingent on the person obtaining a quote or purchasing or renewing a policy.
OIA routinely receives questions about rebating and inducements. If you have questions, contact Carolyn Mangas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ohio Insurance Agents Association, Inc. (OIA) provides this information with the express understanding that 1) no attorney-client relationship exists, 2) neither OIA nor its attorneys are engaged in providing legal advice and 3) that the information is of a general character. You should not rely on this information when dealing with personal or professional legal matters; rather, seek legal advice from retained legal counsel.