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PIA Western Alliance knows you want to be the best in the field, and the best way to stay on top is to stay informed. PIA Weekly Industry News Brief is an informative e-news brief that delivers the most relevant industry content.

 

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Safeco & QBE — Stunning Agency Deal

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Safeco and specialty insurer QBE North America have entered into a stunning new agreement that impacts agency policies in 47 states. No details have been disclosed yet but the deal is done.

QBE is going to transfer its book of business — sold by more than 900 independent insurance agents — to Safeco which is now owned by Liberty Mutual. The two main lines impacted are personal auto and personal property.

Safeco says this improves its position in the personal lines market and gives it a chance to expand its distribution network. QBE North America said this lets it focus on other lines of business like its specialty, core commercial program, crop Westwood and reinsurance businesses.

QBE North America CEO Russ Johnston said, “As we sought to focus our strategy as an integrated specialist insurer, we thoughtfully chose Safeco for its ability to consistently deliver an experience of excellence to our agents and customers. By intensifying our focus, we can leverage our applied expertise to innovate and deliver exceptional end-to-end solutions that not only meet but exceed customer expectations.”

Safeco’s senior vice president of distribution strategy and operations Gary Fischer thinks the deal is good for his company, too. “Safeco prides itself on providing innovative and industry-leading solutions to our agency partners. Throughout this process, QBE’s dedication to their customers and independent agent partners has made this partnership particularly exciting to all of us as we work to provide a smooth transition,” he said.

The deal was effective on August 15th.

Source links: Insurance Business America, Carrier Management

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Weekly Industry News 

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Your Employees, SmartPhones & Driving

Posted By Joey Leffel, Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Many of you are business owners with employees driving here and there on company business. Some of you are employees doing the same. While you or they are en route — and with how busy we all are these days — the temptation is to be on the smartphone with calls or texting or doing email checking.

Temptation often leads to action. It has the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) concerned. The council has found the frequency of workers’ compensation claims up by 17.6% between 2011 and 2016. A big part of that jump is on-the-job auto accidents.

On the clock car crashes jumped 5%. Worse, over 40% of the work comp fatalities involved motor vehicle accidents.

One positive is the frequency of lost-time claims has been on a downward path since 2010 which leads back to the negative. Lost time claims from car crashes while on the job is rising steadily.

The only conclusion one can come to — and that the NCCI has come to — is the increase is due to the use of smartphones while driving. Smartphone use has doubled from 42% in 2011 to 81% by the end of 2016 and may contribute to the increase

Here are other findings from the NCCI report:

  Motor vehicle claims — due to head, neck and other body part injuries — cost 80% to 100% more than others

  The largest increases in accidents are in the taxi-cab company class

Source link: Business Insurance

Tags:  Employees; smartphones; driving;Weekly Industry Ne  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry 

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In Focus: Wildfire — The Importance of Insuring to Value

Posted By Joey Leffel, Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The California wildfires — and those of other nine states in the PIA Western Alliance — have emphasized the need for agents and insurers to make sure the policies of our clients insure the home or business to value.

Here’s why. Whether you believe in global warming or not, no one disputes that warmer temperatures mean more fires. Or so says Canada’s University of Alberta fire scientist Mike Flannigan. The fact is, “Hotter, drier weather means our fuels are drier, so it's easier for fires to start and spread and burn more intensely,” he said.

Fannigan noted fires in the last 35-years have doubled the amount of land destroyed. That’s because the fuel that fans them has increased. That’s drier trees, brush and plants.

“The warmer it is, the more fire we see,” he added.

Flannigan pointed out that the five hottest April to Septembers in the states in the West have burned an average of 13,500 square miles. That’s three-times what was seen in the coldest April to Septembers.

He got that data from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Tim Brown of NOAA says fuel moisture levels — those drier trees, brush and plants — is now sitting at close to record levels in California and Oregon.

Here’s an odd statistic. Randy Eardley of the NIFC said we aren’t seeing more wildfires. What we’re seeing is more area being consumed by those incidents. “The year 2000 seemed to be some kind of turning point,” he said and noted from 1983 to 1999 fire acreage consumption didn’t go over 10,000 square miles in a year. Since 1999 we’ve seen more than 10,000 square miles burned 10 times including 2015 and 2017 when more than 15,000 square miles were destroyed.

It also happened in 2006.

This leads us to insurance. While his advice is important for all states, Guy Kopperud of CoreLogic used California as an example. Pointing to the homes destroyed in the state’s wine country last year, Kopperud said finding enough contractors to do the job is almost impossible. Add to that California’s rigid licensing requirements and it’s tough to get the job done.

That means by the time a home or business owner can find someone to rebuild they may not be covered.

“The frightening part is that if we don’t get a large percentage of those homes approved, find contractors, and break ground in the next three, four, or five months, what that means is that they’re going to run out of time for the homeowners who are paying rent, which is covered through their policy,” Kopperud said.

That — again — leads to the importance of carriers, agents and the insured to communicate and determine the actual value of a property so it has the proper insurance. This applies to all of the states in the West, most of whom are on fire.

“We try to impress upon our insurance carriers, our clients and our industry in general how important insuring to value is,” Kopperud concluded.

That leads to a whole other set of problems. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and his department say the plethora of wildfires in the state are making it harder for people to get and hold onto homeowners insurance.

“We are not at a crisis point yet, but you can see where the trends are going,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t think it will be very long before many insurers stop renewals or even stop writing homeowners policies altogether in some critical areas. This year’s fires in Oregon, Washington, Montana and other PIA Western Alliance states could see the same thing happening.

Last year insurers lost $12 billion in California alone because of wildfire. This year’s losses could go even higher and that’s a big concern.

That has Jones expecting increases in the line and he thinks some parts of California will be reclassified from safe to high-risk. With 3.6 million homes in the wildlife urban interface and more than one million of those homes at very high or high risk, that is a very high possibility.

By the way, California currently has 24 counties with that classification. This could also be a trend soon in other states in the West for the same reason.

Then there’s those who’ve been dropped completely. In California non-renewals jumped 15% from 2015 to 2016 because of fire risk. In the 24 high risk counties more than 10,000 policies were non-renewed in 2016.

Along with that comes complaints to the insurance department where complaints about insurers has tripled from 2010 to 2016.

Cancellations have forced people to go to surplus lines or California’s insurer of last-resort FAIR program. However, it only covers the basics.

Fortunately for consumers, California’s insurance laws prohibit insurers from passing the loss costs onto consumers all at once. So we can probably expect big jumps in insurance rates in the Golden State for the next several years.

And then there’s this possibility from a report issued by Jones and his department. It said “more and more homeowners who cannot afford insurance may decide to go uninsured, risking their life savings and ultimately seeking relief from federal and state governments.”

This may also apply to other PIA Western Alliance states. The advice is good. Talk to clients in the wildlife urban interface and make sure they are properly insured.

Source links: Tri-City Herald, Insurance Business America, Insurance Journal

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Weekly Industry News 

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FBI Warning — ATM Thefts Planned

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Cyber criminals are planning a large scale attack on ATMs in the U.S. Banks have been warned and now you have been warned by the FBI who recently uncovered the plan. The choreographed cash-out — as it is being called — could happen soon.

This came to media attention on the website Krebs on Security. It is run by Brian Krebs who is a journalist specializing in high-tech crime.

While it may not impact consumers on a direct level, FBI spokeswoman Lauren Hagee said the agency calls this kind of crime jackpotting. It is done with the installation of malware on the ATMs and when accessed it will dispense all the money in the machine.

“The FBI routinely advises private industry of various cyber-threat indicators observed during the course of our investigations. This data is provided in order to help systems administrators guard against the actions of persistent cyber criminals,” she said.

Source links: Carrier Management, Insurance Journal

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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Dilemma: Understanding Insurance — Homeowners

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Insurance.com surveyed 1,000 homeowners on homeowners insurance. Over half of them don’t understand their policies — at all. How bad is it? Bad. This sums up the study:

  84% of homeowners think you pay a deductible when you file liability claim

  48% don’t understand what liability home insurance covers

  24% don’t know how much liability insurance they have

  33% don’t compare rates to make sure they’re getting the best deal

  25% say they’ve never read their policy

That — of course — could leave them vulnerable and underinsured.

Worse again. Too many don’t comprehend or are confused about parts of the home insurance policy:

  Just half — 52% — know what liability insurance covers

  20% think liability covers damage to the home

  Just under 20% say it covers injuries for themselves and their families

Not a surprise:

  Women are more likely to understand liability insurance than men

  The figure is 55% to 49%

  Just 44% of those 25 and 34 will know anything about homeowners

  Over half of those in the other age groups had the right answer

  85% of those over 65 understand liability insurance

That said, we go back to the opening statement: 

  84% incorrectly think a deductible must be paid on a liability claim

  Just 16% — correctly — know you don’t

Then there’s the medical part of liability insurance:

  75% don’t understand how medical payment coverage differs from liability

  25% correctly know the payments cover up to a set amount for those injured in a home regardless of who is at fault

  20% say they don’t know the answer at all

  20% believe it is only for medical bills for them and their family

And — again — women were more likely than men to understand medical payments:

  28% of women answered correctly

  22% of men answered correctly

Replacement cost — another mystery to homeowners:

  52% understand replacement cost repairs damage to the home or replaces it at current prices

  33% think it applies only to personal items that are damaged or stolen and they are paid for after depreciation

  41% correctly know it's the total replacement cost of the home

  24% say it is the amount it will cost to rebuild a home with the same materials used in its construction

  23% think it is the market value of the home

  12% say they have no clue

As for personal property coverage:

  60% know a homeowners policy replace personal possessions up to a certain limit

  29% think it replaces all items in a home

  7% think it replaces trees and landscaping

  4% think it just covers valuable items like jewelry, antiques or art

Flood insurance is another critical area of misunderstanding:

  66% know home insurance doesn’t cover flood damage from groundwater

  70% of women know that

  80% of people 45 to 54 know that

  80% of people 55 to 64 know that

  Less than half of those 25 to 34 know flood insurance isn’t part of homeowners

Credit scoring is one area people are informed on and 88% know credit history can influence the rate paid for homeowners insurance.

Letting insurers know:

  87% will notify the insurance company about an addition that adds value to the home

  67% will notify the insurance company about a renovation project that doesn’t increase the footprint but that increase the home’s value

 

When it comes to telling the insurance company about increased risk:

  31% who add things like a pool or a trampoline don’t mention it

  52% who add a dog to the family don’t mention it

Last — comparing rates:

  33% of homeowners don’t compare rates to get the best deal

  39% of women don’t and 24% of men don’t

  27% — 32% of men — compare rates when the policy is up

  39% say they compare rates every two or three years

Source link: insurance.com

Tags:  flood insurance  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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A.M. Best — Downgrades & Upgrades

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A.M. Best just released its report Downgrades for U.S. P/C Industry Increase in First Half 2018. The bottom-line is that catastrophic weather occurrences in 2017 caused the number of downgrades to go up. Things are reversed this year. In other words, upgrades outnumbered downgrades.

The firm said overall the ratings activity for the first six-months of this year are largely favorable.

Best said the positive actions were due to disciplined and tightened underwriting standards. Higher risk-adjusted capitalization and improved enterprise risk management capability also helped.

“The majority of companies managed their exposures effectively, reflecting improved risk management capabilities and robust reinsurance programs. However, the P/C industry does face challenges, including growing frequency and severity issues in the automobile segment; the cost and time devoted to systems implementation; and, in the reinsurance segment, the impact of soft pricing margins,” A.M. Best said in a news release about the report.

It’s the third straight year that upgrades outdid downgrades.

  Upgrades were 7.1% compared to 7.4% in 2017.

  Downgrades rose 6.3% and are up from 2.4% in the first half of 2017

  The most common rating action — at 78.6% —is affirmations

A.M. Best also noted the first quarter of 2018 saw the P&C industry post an underwriting profit of $3.9 billion. That compares to an $840 million loss in the first quarter of last year. Lower catastrophe losses improved profitability and there is a $7 billion favorable loss development.

Both commercial and personal lines were given a stable outlook. Reinsurance remains in negative outlook territory.

 

Source link: Insurance Journal

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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What’s that Smell — Safeco Sued Over Skunk Attack

Posted By Joey Leffel, Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Safeco won’t comment because it is an ongoing case. However, you have to know the insurer thinks the whole business stinks, and it is the business of stinking, and what stunk that led to the lawsuit.

 

Here’s what happened.

 

Katherine Schaeffer said a skunk sneaked into her house in the middle of the night September a year ago. Her dog and the creature tangled. The dog got itself sprayed and that spray ended up permeating her residence.

 

Schaeffer believes the skunk ruined possessions valued at $112,000. Plus, she wants Safeco to cough up $38,000 for “other costs” that include cleaning the home and the living expenses of having to live elsewhere while the mess was remediated.

Safeco — she says — has only given her $2,000.

 

Taylor Scott is her attorney. He says a big part of Schaeffer’s problem is that she’s been unable to fully explain her stance on the claim to Safeco’s adjusters in Chicago. Scott said even with repeated treatments not much in the home could be salvaged.

 

He said he even told Safeco’s adjusters he’d send the comforter off her bed so they could smell it for themselves. They — of course — declined. “You can’t take a picture of stink,” he said. “You’ve got to be there with your own nose.”

 

Worse, he said Schaeffer and her dog both smelled of skunk for days after. “Going in public was very embarrassing as heads turned, noses were fanned and people quickly moved away,” the attorney added.

 

Scott argues that her homeowners policy had a special personal property rider that ought to cover the expenses. Schaeffer said she paid an extra $50 per year for the rider.

 

Source links: OregonLive.com, Insurance Business America

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Safeco sued  skunk attack  Weekly Industry News 

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More Controversy — Trump & ObamaCare

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Like most everything the Trump administration is doing, the newly-approved short-term health insurance plan it has rolled out is controversial. How controversial — we guess — has to do with your view of the Affordable Care Act and the president himself, and how the two relate to each other.

 

And now to — maybe — how it all relates to you...

 

President Trump says health insurers are “going wild” over the new options and that very soon millions upon millions of us will sign up for the new type of coverage.

 

Here are the details. The administration has approved the sale of short-term, limited-duration insurance. President Trump calls them low-cost alternatives to the higher priced plans of ObamaCare. The lower prices, as you know, means less coverage and a higher cost for pre-existing conditions — if an insurer will even cover them at all.

 

The plans also do not have to cover prescriptions, maternity, mental health issues and substance abuse treatment.

 

In a statement on the rollout Trump said, “So all of the insurance companies are going wild, they want to get it. You’re going to have great health care at a much lower price.” Then in a tweet he noted the plans will be “somewhat different, result the same. Much less expensive health care at a much lower price; will cost our country nothing.”

Insurers aren’t so sure.

 

Some think the new plans have a lot of downside for consumers. Plus, they need to be approved by insurance regulators in the individual states before they can actually be sold. Many insurance commissioners oppose the idea so it may be a long climb upward for the short-term plans.

 

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) spokeswoman Myra Simon said you’ll start seeing advertising for the plans this fall. However, they will likely be hard to find since not everyone will be eligible to get one and a lot of state insurance commissioners aren’t going to approve them.

 

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association agrees and said, “the broader availability and longer duration of slimmed-down policies that do not provide comprehensive coverage has the potential to harm consumers.”

 

Jeff Smedrud is the CEO of Pivot Health. His company already offers short term plans and says the insurance industry is not up to speed on what must be done to offer them. He said look for minor improvements by October but not much else until 2019.

 

As to whether these plans will actually end up making insurance less expensive? AHIP’s Simon said not so fast. A lot of people may want to buy these plans thinking they’ll save money and if something catastrophic happens they can always jump back to ObamaCare and pick up new insurance from HealthCare.gov.

 

She then referred to the AHIP official statement on the short-term plans. “We remain concerned that consumers who rely on short-term plans for an extended time period will face high medical bills when they need care that isn’t covered or exceed their coverage limits,” the statement said.

 

Simon said with very few exceptions, you can only sign up for Affordable Care Act plans during open enrollment. That’s from November 1st to December 15th. So if something critical comes up people might wait months to get into a comprehensive plan that covers the ailment.

 

“It’s not simple to move back and forth,” she said.

 

Here’s another problem insurers have with the Trump plan. It comes courtesy of Gary Claxton of the Kaiser Family Foundation. He said these plans may end up making insurance more — not less — costly.

 

The administration says short-term plans can be picked up to cover 90-days. It also allows insurers to offer coverage up to 36-months. That means they’ll be taking on more — not less — risk. “You’ll have to pay more up front because there’s a longer time during which you could get sick,” Claxton said.

 

Smedsrud agrees. “The longer you cover somebody, the more likely it is you are going to have a claim,” he explained.

 

Even though the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is asking state regulators to approve the plans, many oppose the short-term policies. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones — and others — are saying no. They note the plans are not good for consumers and are not a good substitute for something more comprehensive.

 

“These policies are substandard, don’t cover essential health benefits, and consumers at a minimum don’t understand [what they’re buying], and at worse are misled,” he said.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar disagrees. “We believe sensible state regulation of these plans is important.

 

But millions of Americans are in need of affordable insurance options, and states can help build this market outside of Obamacare’s broken regulations,” he said.

 

His plea is falling on the deaf ears of many regulators and many insurance companies. They believe the plans will drive up costs for all other health insurance. Jessica Altman — who is the insurance commissioner in Pennsylvania — said insurers she’s talked with say this creates a dangerous secondary market.

 

That market will take people healthy people away from ObamaCare and when they leave prices will rise. “The individuals who are able to access these plans, those willing to take the risk, they won’t have significant needs, they will be disproportionately healthy, so that will lead to a more expensive individual market, and will drive up prices for those who need it,” she said.

 

Jones said the California Legislature is looking at a bill to permanently ban the sale of short-term plans. Right now the state allows such plans for 185-days.

 

Hawaii has already passed a law that prohibits people from purchasing a short-term plan when they are eligible for a plan on the ObamaCare exchange. Maryland’s Legislature passed a bill that says short-term plans can be purchased and can last three-months. They cannot be renewed.

 

The Oregon Department of Insurance issued a statement on the matter. It said federal regulations do not limit a state’s ability to establish laws regarding these short-term plans and, “It is a violation of Oregon law to market, sell, or offer short-term health insurance policies that exceed three months, including renewals, and a new policy cannot be issued to a customer within 60 days of expiration.”

 

Washington State’s Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler — a staunch defender of ObamaCare — said he’s working on new rules to allow coverage for three-months with no renewal. He also wants very strong transparency requirements.

 

“What I worry about the most is the agents and brokers selling the plans. They are looking at the [large] commission, and that blinds them to their legal responsibility,” he said.

 

That responsibility is to inform consumers about the limitations of a short-term plan, a concern shared with Altman in Pennsylvania. She said she’s already revoked the licenses of eight agents and brokers who misrepresented how a short-term plan works.

Tennessee’s insurance commissioner is Julie Mix McPeak.

 

She worries — like the others in this story — that consumers will not truly understand what they are buying.

 

“We have to really make sure consumers know what they’re purchasing, and they’re aware of what’s covered and what’s not covered. The last thing we need is for consumers to have surprise bills,” she said.

 

Part of the problem her state faces is the lack of competition. There is only one insurer in the ObamaCare exchange in Tennessee. “We need competition. Having a plan that can be a stopgap measure, and affordable, is not necessarily a bad thing,” Mix McPeak added.

 

Kriedler agrees temporary is not necessarily a bad thing. He and Altman understand there is a need for that kind of a plan but that’s not how the administration is marketing the new policy.

 

“The message getting out there is that these plans can and should be looked at as an alternative to major medical coverage,” Altman said. “There are so many things those plans don’t have to do or cover. So on their face, these plans are not comparable to [ObamaCare] compliant plans,” she said.

Source links: Insurance Business America, The Hill

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Obama Care and Trump  President Trump  Weekly Industry News 

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Taxes, Pass Through Businesses, PIA National & More

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 14, 2018

 

In a major win for small-business insurance agencies and brokerages, the proposed regulations issued August 8th by the U.S. Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) specifically state that “insurance agents and brokers” are not excluded from taking the 20% pass-through tax deduction that was passed as part of the tax reform legislation signed into law late last year.

 

Many members of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) own independent insurance agencies organized as sole proprietorships, partnerships, or Subchapter S corporations. Such small businesses do not pay corporate income tax. Instead, their income “passes through” the firm and appears directly on their owners’ individual tax returns, where it is taxed as normal income.

 

The 20% deduction — subject to other limitations imposed by law or regulation — will lower the tax bills of these individuals.

 

PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker noted Treasury’s proposed regulations explicitly specify that insurance agents and brokers are not barred from taking the deduction.

 

“PIA has been aggressively advocating for this tax relief for pass-through entities since passage of the tax reform law (P.L. 115-141) last December, on behalf of PIA members. We advocated for the language that was ultimately adopted by Treasury and the IRS in their proposal,” Becker said.

 

Lauren Pachman, Esq. is PIA’s counsel and director of regulatory affairs. “PIA was gratified to see the proposed Treasury regulation explicitly excludes insurance agents and brokers from the category of businesses that are not permitted to take the 20% pass-through deduction. It’s a good day for small-business insurance agencies, whose businesses will be taxed the way pass-through entities were intended to be by Congress,” he said.

 

Insurers might not do so well. The IRS has ruled that companies have to include their aggregate foreign cash position when calculating their one time transition tax from foreign source earnings. That’s the tax imposed on them when they bring their foreign cash back to U.S. soil.

 

The cuts passed by Congress last year treat untaxed foreign earnings as repatriated and puts a 15.5% tax on that cash or cash equivalents. An 8% tax is added to the rest of the earnings. The transition tax — most of the time — can be paid off in installments over an eight year period.

 

That could impact insurers.

 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act creates a historic opportunity for American companies to bring capital back home from overseas to invest in our domestic economy and create jobs for hardworking Americans. Our administration’s policies are focused on creating a more competitive system for business, which has already led to greater economic and wage growth.”

 

The online publication The Hill did an analysis of the new Treasury guidelines. Like PIA National, the publication said the pass-through businesses will like the new rules.

Owners of multiple related pass-throughs will be especially pleased. It’s not uncommon for many pass-through businesses to have owners who have multiple businesses. They’ll want to aggregate them.

 

The guidance allows for aggregation.

 

Some of the rest of the nation’s businesses will fare well and some won’t.

The Treasury guidelines say real estate — considering the president’s former profession you can now hear those on the left groaning and see them pointing fingers — is the big winner. High earners in brokerage firms don’t do that well but agents and brokers aren’t included in those restrictions.

 

Others so-called winners:

•  Bankers

•  Chefs

•  Web designers

•  Electricians

•  Plumbers

 

The big losers:

Lawyers and patient-seeing doctors are considered service businesses and the high-income owners of those businesses do not qualify for the deduction. Some in those two businesses were looking to get the pass-through deduction but that’s not going to happen.

 

Others:

•  Lobbyists

•  Employees wanting to be independent contractors

 

You can read all of the details in The Hill article.

 

Source links: PIA National, Insurance Business America, The Hill

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  taxes  Weekly Industry News 

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Protecting Your Agency from Phishing

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 14, 2018

 

 

Cyber attacks continue to evolve. These days there are so many different ways your company can get hammered that it’s impossible to keep up. Specialty insurer Beazley did a study and found attacks on email accounts continues to be one of most popular.

 

Organizations using Office 365 have been the hardest — but not only — system hit.

In the second quarter Beazley Breach Response (BBR) Services found email compromise accounted for 23% of the cyber incidents reported. Those attacks were equally distributed among a number of industry sectors.

 

What makes email so popular says Katherine Keefe, head of BBR Services is efficiency. All a hacker has to do is compromise the email account of one employee and it can gain access to the entire organization. It can also lead to inroads into other businesses because of how emails are exchanged.

 

She says easily preventable attacks can be devastating and costs can top $2 million for some businesses.

 

As for Office 365, the Beazley experts say disabling third-party applications with access to the application can reduce attacks. The most popular inroad is PowerShell.

 

“Business email compromise attacks are among the more expensive data breaches we see. Years of emails often need to be combed through to identify personally identifiable information or protected health information that has been compromised. In the majority of cases, multiple inboxes are compromised,” Keefe said.

 

The July edition of Beazley Breach Insights says these are the current trends:

 

Hack or Malware — 39%

•  Accidental disclosure — 22%

•  Social engineering — 10%

•  Insider — 10%

•  Portable device — 6%

•  Physical loss / non-electronic record — 5%

•  Payment card fraud — 1%

•  Unknown / other — 7%

 

Source link: Insurance Journal

Tags:  Cyberthreats  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Phishing  Weekly Industry News 

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