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Isn't she a beauty?!

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Safeco Auto Insurance PIA Western Alliance PIA insurance KKLUB

 1967 Pontiac GTO. Watch how it was restored - tap on the image above.


Your insurer's car is loaded with options,
make sure their insurance policy is too.


For more than 85 years, Safeco has delivered new and better ways to protect cars and drivers with auto insurance. Whether it be a sedan, hybrid, minivan, station wagon, SUV, pickup truck or anything in between, provide personalized coverage that's right for your client. If trouble comes along, we'll make sure they are taken care of every step of the way.



Safeco's Insurance
Coverage Options









 what is KKLUB?


Safeco is a proud member of PIA Western Alliance's KKLUB.



Tags:  KKLUB Member Safeco  PIA Insurance  PIA Western Alliance  Safeco Insurance 

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Oregon Governor Raids SAIF — PIA Oregon Reacts

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Professional Insurance Agents of Oregon — PIA Oregon — is just one of many groups in Oregon disturbed over Governor Kate Brown’s decision to grab funds from the quasi-private State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF) to beef up the PERS retirement system.

Brown’s decision takes $486 million from SAIF’s $1.9 billion surplus.

Negative reaction around the state was immediate. PIA Oregon Lobbyist Lana Butterfield said the governor’s decision is not a good one and she checked off a few reasons why:

  SAIF’s reserves are essential to protecting the safety of Oregon workers and ensuring low rates for employers throughout state. 

  Small businesses, school districts, local governments and non-profits depend on SAIF’s affordable rates and safety programs to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.

  Raiding SAIF’s reserves will negatively impact worker safety and accident prevention.

  Any excess premiums (that created the reserves) should go back to the employers who have paid them.

And the bottom line? SAIF’s funds ought not be used as a piggy bank by Salem politicians trying to cover unsustainable costs in PERS.


"Many PIA members serve small businesses. SAIF has stepped up to serve this community of small businesses that often have difficulty securing coverage,” she said. “It provides a very reasonable price for a high level of worker benefits and safety. If SAIF reserves are swept, it is likely employer rates will increase substantially over time.  This is not good for Oregon, small businesses or PIA members.”


In her news release on the decisions to shore up PERS, the governor said, “Oregon’s public employee retirement system, or PERS, is first and foremost an essential benefit for our public employees. In exchange for dedicating their lives to public service, Oregon has made a promise to provide them a secure retirement after decades of teaching our kids, fixing our roads, keeping our neighborhoods safe, fighting fires, or helping our children in foster care.”


Brown said it’s important to keep the promises the state made to those workers. Anything less is “kicking the can down the road.”


The editorial board of Portland, Oregon’s newspaper, The Oregonian published an editorial that urged the governor to reconsider her decision. It said:


“While the Legislature in 1982 passed a law expressly authorizing such a transfer, it would be controversial and risks destabilizing an entity that has competently, reliably and efficiently administered workers compensation for public and private employers for years. In trying to address the PERS crisis, Oregon should not do anything to trigger another,” the editorial board wrote.


In a story in Weekly Industry News last week, we referenced what happened with the 1982 decision of the Oregon Legislature. It authorized taking $80 million of SAIF’s reserves. A lawsuit followed and the Oregon Supreme Court said the state acted illegally and ordered the money returned.


With interest, $225 million was returned to SAIF and its policyholders. The attorneys fees and the cost of the litigation totaled a staggering $20 million.


If a decision is made by the Legislature to grant the governor’s decision to take that money, Weekly Industry News assumes lawsuits will be filed.


PIA Oregon is part of a coalition of business groups and associations opposing the governor’s decision. The group published a response a couple of weeks ago when the governor began talking seriously about taking the SAIF funds.


“SAIF’s revenue’s come via premiums from the 47,000 small businesses, school districts, nonprofits and local governments who depend on the company to cover their workers,” the group wrote. “The system is working well for workers and employers and this could significantly disrupt the balance that exists within the system. Make no mistake that this will impact rates paid by employers as SAIF fights to rebuild it’s reserves.”


The group called the governor’s decision, a dangerous game.


“They are literally stealing from one pot to cover liabilities in another and hoping that you can pay it back before something bad happens. That’s a dangerous game,” the coalition stated.


“Additionally, that would require significant changes to SAIF’s operating structure and should be done after careful study rather than as a hasty bailout strategy for PERS. SAIF is unlike other insurers in that it operates solely within the state of Oregon and is required to focus 100% on workers comp (mono-state and mono-lines).”


Republicans immediately criticized the SAIF raid decision. House Republicans said, “While recent Secretary of State audits reveal many agencies are prone to waste, SAIF has built enviable reserves, annually returning dividends to clients and covering thousands of claims. Ironically, cash reserves built on years of workplace safety and sound fiscal practice are viewed as easy pickings to shovel into the ever-deepening PERS pit.”


Mike Salsgiver is the Executive Director of the Associated General Contractors. He agrees and said SAIF’s reserves should be off limits. “You can be certain that raiding hundreds of millions of dollars from SAIF's reserves will negatively impact worker safety and accident prevention. That means higher rates for employers, reduced benefits for workers, or fewer investments in accident prevention. Any way you cut it, Oregon small businesses and workers lose,” he said.


Oregon Business & Industry represents Oregon’s largest employers. Spokeswoman Samantha Tipler said her group agrees that the SAIF raid is a bad idea. “We will strongly oppose this effort to raid SAIF to bail out PERS. The PERS solution should stand on its own.”


The governor’s PERS rescue plan has a couple of other components:

  After giving each family $100, the state will keep — one time — the income tax kicker. Brown hopes it will raise $400 million to 500 million.

  Repatriation funds already dedicated under 2018 Senate Bill 1566 (and Senate Bill 1529) for a total of $83.3 million.

  Windfall revenue from variable sources, including direct, above-trend revenues from capital gains and estate taxes to the account.


Keeping the kicker — funds returned to Oregonians if tax collections exceed income projections by 2% — will require a two-thirds vote by the Legislature to happen. It has no chance since the idea has to get support from both parties.


In last week’s Weekly Industry News, we covered a letter to The Oregonian from former PIA Oregon/Idaho president Rich Kingsley. He hit the nail on the head with his description of the governor’s decision.


“It was a stupid stunt then,” Kingsley wrote. “And to think of doing it again is still stupid, and reckless.”


Source links: Governor Kate Brown, Weekly Industry News — link 1, link 2, link 3OregonLive.com, Willamette Week

Tags:  insurance content  insurance news 2019  PERS  PIA Western Alliance 

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Utica’s E&O Tips — Premium Audit

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Errors & Omissions (E&O)Loss Prevention Tips

Your insureds don’t like surprises, especially when it comes to the topic of audits. Without proper explanation and timely, adequate handling procedures, policies subject to audit can lead to surprises and E&O claims against your agency.Your agency works long and hard to establish a relationship with a prospect. You learn about his or her business, analyze loss exposures, develop and present a comprehensive risk management plan, including insurance coverage, and win the case.

Now it’s time to think about audits, as a number of policies are subject to audit.

The following are some suggestions for your agency to ensure that your customer understands what it means to be audited and what he or she can expect.


  Identify which policies are subject to audit.

  Determine why the policy is subject to audit, whereas some other policies are not.

  Improper Workers Compensation class codes and territory issues are often discovered during an audit, and can result in premium changes.

  Check with the carrier prior to choosing classifications and developing premium.

  Document your conversation.


  Notify your client in writing, on the proposal, that his or her exposure will be audited.

  Explain the audit process and timing.

  Clarify the difference between a physical audit, phone audit, and self-reporting audit.

  Explain why the client’s premium can change from the initial proposal or policy premium. Talk to him or her about how growth, previously unknown exposures, changes in operations, new products and/or operations, acquisitions, etc., can result in premium changes.

  Reinforce his or her responsibility to maintain adequate records. Advise what specific information will be needed to complete the audit. 


  Utilize proper premium calculation forms. If the carrier has its own form for calculating premiums for policies subject to audit, use that form. 


  Strategize how to respond to an audit. 

  Discuss with agency management, or the producer, the best approach to promptly disclose premium increases to the client.

  In the event of a mistake, advise your client that you are looking into the matter.

  Collect your information and contact your E&O carrier.

  Together, determine if there are any solutions to the problem.

  Discuss how best to communicate with the client.

While not all premium audit problems can be avoided, proper knowledge, explanation, and planning go a long way toward maintaining a positive relationship with your customer and minimizing the E&O exposure to your agency. 


Purchase a Utica policy direct from the PIA!

pia for errors and omissions insurance



Tags:  E&O  errors and ommissions  Pia western alliance  Utica 

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M&A Activity — Growing ​

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 16, 2019


OPTIS Partners tracks mergers and acquisitions. The company said the first quarter of 2019 saw M&A activity continuing to be hot. By “hot,” the company means 151 agencies changing hands. That’s one more than was seen in the first quarter last year.

These are agencies that sell P&C insurance, employee benefits, or both.

The largest number of the transactions were picked up by Patriot Growth Insurance Services. There were 18 of them and 17 closed. Other top buyers:

  Acrisure — 16

  Hub — 12

  Gallagher — 10

  Broadstreet Partners — 10

OPTIS Partners also noted there were only 57 unique buyers in the first quarter transactions. That’s the lowest number in any quarter since 2014.

Source link: Insurance Business America

Tags:  insurance content  insurance news 2019  M&A Activity — Growing  pia western alliance 

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Your Taxes — Paycheck Withholding Changes

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 16, 2019

April 15th has come and gone. Hopefully, you didn’t end up having to pay, and by that date all of your 2018 taxes are behind you.

Next up — this year’s challenge.

It appears the IRS will be implementing more changes based on the tax reforms enacted for the 2018 earning year. The change that will impact most of us has to do with what is withheld from your check.

A new W-4 form is going to be issued that the IRS says better balances what is withheld from your check to what ought to be withheld. In other words, you shouldn’t end up owing and the IRS ought not end up owing you.

That form is currently under construction.

Pete Isberg works for the payroll and human resources consulting company, ADP. He says the new form makes the simple more complex, and filling it out will be almost like doing your taxes all over again.

Isberg noted the final form hasn’t been released yet but he and other tax preparation companies and payroll firms have seen a draft. “It’ll be a much bigger pain,” he said. “The accuracy will be 100 percent, but the ease-of-use will be zero.”

The purpose of the release of the draft was to get feedback from them. Isberg said the form asks for:

  Non-wage income like interest and dividends

  What you’ll itemize and other deductions

  Income tax credits expected for the tax year

  Those with multiple jobs to estimate annual wages

“It looked a lot more like the 1040 than a W-4,” Isberg says.

In fact, the new form — he says — is so complex that it references 12 IRS publications that will help you fill it out. The worry of his company and others is confusion. Employers will be confused as to what it should contain and so will employees.

Training will likely be required.

Isberg also noted that some worry that the form probes into issues that workers might not want to share with their employers like how much their spouse makes, or whether they have another job on the side.

IRS spokeswoman Anny Pachner said those concerns are being taken into account and the next version — in May of this year — will make some changes. In the meantime, “We encourage taxpayers to take advantage of that opportunity and send us comments on the redesign,” she said.

Once those comments are received, a changed version will be released mid-summer.

That may not help. Kathy Pickering of the H&R Block Tax Institute said you’ll need a tub load of information to fill out the form. They include past 1099 forms, paystubs from last year’s earnings and more; things like:

  Your filing status

  Number of dependents

  Information about your itemized deductions such as home mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and charitable deductions

  Earnings from all jobs

  Information about non-wage income such as business income, dividends, and interest

“If you’re married, and both you and your spouse work, it will also be helpful to know information about your spouse’s income,” she also pointed out.

Plus, adding to the complication, states are also looking at new withholding forms.

Source link: MSN Money

Tags:  2019 insurance content  industry news  Insurance Content  pia western alliance 

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Oregon Mutual & Insuritas — Home & Auto Solutions

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 16, 2019



Oregon Mutual KKLUB PIA Western Alliance

PIA Western Alliance K-Klub member Oregon Mutual and Insuritas are partnering to integrate Oregon Mutual’s portfolio of property & casualty insurance products into Insuritas’ meta-agency platform.


The partnership between the oldest mutual insurance carrier on the West Coast, and one of the nation’s most established insurtech distribution platforms will connect them to over 3 million potential new members across Oregon, Washington, Idaho & California. The point is to further the commitment of both companies to empowering their customers to find the right coverage at the right price for all of their insurance needs.


Insuritas COO is Matt Chesky. “We are thrilled to partner with a team like Oregon Mutual’s that shares our passion for protecting and serving our policyholders,” he said. “Oregon Mutual has built a strong reputation for focusing on their roots and advocating for the best interests of their members and the communities they serve, while also embracing technology and thinking progressively about how they can enhance their member experience. We couldn’t ask for more in a partner.”


Oregon Mutual VP Sales and Marketing John Jolliff agrees. He said, “Positioning our product on the Insuritas meta-agency platform allows us to help customers buy our products through a highly personalized, digitally rich mechanism that pairs them with professional agents to aid in their purchasing decision. As a mutual company, our mission aligns strongly with that of Insuritas’ credit union partners, and we are proud that through Insuritas we will be able to partner with several of the leading credit unions in our markets.”


Tags:  Insurance content 2019  Insurance News  KKLUB  Oregon Mutual  PIA Western Alliance 

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Oregon Young Insurance Professionals - join us in Salishan!

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Oregon Young Insurance Professionals 2019

Tap the banner above for more information!



ONLY $199.00


Tags:  2019 oregon idaho conference and tradeshow  Oregon young insurance professionals  OYIP  PIA Western Alliance 

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​ObamaCare Update — The Newest Bandaid & A New Lawsuit

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 9, 2019

It’s called Medicare X. Democrats Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado and former vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine of West Virginia authored the plan and if it passes anyone would be able to buy a Medicare plan for their health care needs.


Bennet said this is a more realistic idea than the single payer system, Medicare for All.


“I just think this is a much more practical way of trying to achieve the objective of universal coverage, and over time, a reduction in our expenditures on health care, then practically any other proposal that’s been made since the ACA was passed,” he said.


Kaine and Bennet’s plan leaves ObamaCare and the current private system intact and just allows people of any age to go the Medicare route if they want to go that way.


The plan also expands access to tax credits to help people buy ObamaCare coverage. Those credits can be used to purchase the Medicare plan or ObamaCare-based insurance. Kaine and Bennet also do not want anyone to have to pay more than 13% of their income toward insurance premiums.


A similar version was also introduced in the House where it stands a much better chance of being heard.


While ObamaCare isn’t likely to be repealed and replaced this year or next by Republicans like President Trump called for, but he’s still fighting in the courts to make changes to the law. One battle shaping up to wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court is the decision by Texas Judge Reed O’Connor that ObamaCare is unconstitutional. His reasoning is based in the tax reforms of 2017 making the individual mandate null and void.


Since it’s gone, O’Connor said the entire law is unconstitutional.


Two Republican attorneys general — Montana’s Tim Fox and Ohio’s Dale Yost — have filed suit to stop O’Connor’s ruling. They say he went too far and overstepped his authority.


"No sound application of neutral rules and precedents — whether based on the Constitution’s original public meaning or Supreme Court precedent — could lead a court to strike down an entire congressional act based on the unconstitutionality of a single, inoperative provision within it," the states wrote.


The two attorneys general say it’s clear to them that when the tax reform package repealed the individual mandate, Congress intended to leave the rest of the law intact and that O’Connor knows that. "Congress would have been crystal clear if it had wanted to do something as extreme as making the entire Act rise or fall with the constitutionality of a completely inoperative provision," the brief they filed said.


The real worry — of course — is the protection of pre-existing conditions.


“The court’s decision, if affirmed, will deprive millions of non-elderly Ohioans and Montanans of coverage for pre-existing conditions. It will also negatively affect countless others who organized their affairs in reliance on the Act’s many unrelated provisions,” Fox said.


Fox and Yost say — ironically — even opponents of ObamaCare want to protect pre-existing conditions. “It is understandable that some who dislike the Affordable Care Act would cheer the result below. But they should remember that what goes around comes around. If allowed to stand, the decision ... will be used to invalidate any number of federal and state laws," the brief said.


Source links: The Hill — link 1, link 2

Tags:  insurance content  insurance news  joey leffel  Medicare  Obama  pia western alliance  weekly industry news 

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What can MAPFRE do for you?

Posted By Staff reporter, Tuesday, April 2, 2019

MAPFRE is a proud supporter of the PIA Western Alliance's KKLUB.

What can Mapfre help you with?


Quick Links





Global Presence
MAPFRE Across the Globe - MAPFRE S.A.
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  • Insures over 13.2 million cars and over 5 million homes
Local Focus
Serving California, Oregon, Washington & Idaho
  • Offers a wide range of insurance solutions for the home, vehicle, life and travel
  • Is the 21st largest Property-Casualty Insurer
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  • Has a network of more than 4,600 independent agents and broker
  • Has a presence in 19 states
  • Rated "A" (Excellent) by A.M. Best

Tags:  KKLUB PIA  Mapfre Insurance  PIA Western Alliance 

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PIA's Kickoff of the Oregon Young Insurance Professionals Meeting — An Incredible Success!

Posted By staff reporter, Tuesday, February 26, 2019




The inaugural meeting of Oregon’s Young Insurance Professionals Association (OYIP) happened last Thursday night in Salem, Oregon. The point of the association is for older agents and company representatives to mentor Oregon’s young and new insurance agents.


One OYIP, Andrew Shepherd is getting ready to start his own agency. He lives in the Portland, Oregon suburb of Gresham. Andrew — who watches his children in the evenings —  learned about the event a couple of hours before it happened. Impressed, he quickly found a babysitter for the kids, hopped in his car and made it to Salem on time and ready to connect with others in the industry.


“It is an awesome experience. It is wonderful that you guys are able to connect very knowledgeable people to those of us who are new to the business,” Andrew told Weekly Industry News.


As for the benefits of his hastily organized trip? “I got some good connections that I will be calling later. These are good people to know,” Shepherd said.


Good people to know, indeed. But that’s the point of the Oregon Young Insurance Professionals Group. Saying last Thursday’s kickoff is a success is an understatement. Salem’s Ram Restaurant and Brewery was packed with agents young and old; all there to exchange business cards, life stories and discuss all-things insurance.


Former PIA Oregon/Idaho Agent of the Year, Mike Joy of Sublimity Insurance is one of the event organizers. He’s been in insurance since 1994. Like many of the insurance professionals Weekly Industry News talked with during the evening, Joy said throughout his career he benefitted from an industry that regularly met in events like conventions and conferences. 


In those days there was strength in numbers. Joy said that is still true today but networking, and ways for agents to connect with others in the industry has — sadly — declined.


“I think the most important reason [for OYIP] is for younger and new agents to get together and strengthen the independent side,” he said. “Over the last 10 or 15 years agent networking has gone away. I think we need to bring that back to where everybody knows everybody and you get the communication back. There is strength in numbers.”


Like Joy, Red Shield’s Jim Brown — a one-time PIA Oregon/Idaho Company Person of the Year — has been a huge supporter of the PIA since he entered the business years ago.


“You have to bring new blood into insurance. Old farts like me will soon be gone. Without young blood in this industry it is going to die. And we don’t want that to happen”, Brown noted.


Continuing his comment, Brown said, “When I started there was this older group of agents that mentored us young ones. They taught us how to network, and taught us how to be in this business. I wanted to be a part of this OYIP group because we have to perpetuate the insurance business; make sure that these young insurance professionals can take up where we left off.”


Brown’s bottom-line? “A group like this is good for consumers, good for the industry,” and he added “It’s good for business growth. It’s just good overall.”


Sam Patterson is a young agent working at Rhodes Warden Insurance in Oregon’s beautiful Mid-Willamette Valley. He’s brand new to insurance — sort of. Like many who get into the business, Patterson has family in the industry. His father — Mike Patterson — is Rhodes Wardens president.


An agent for just five months, Patterson said he likes the hours and the freedom of the business. The hours are great, and he’s in a place where he and his wife can comfortably raise their children.


That said, even though his dad is in the business, and he very much appreciates his father’s input into his career, and though he’s quite familiar with insurance, Patterson says he needs to develop his own contacts and find ways to get advice from others in the industry.


“I like that people are here from all aspects of the business,” Patterson told Weekly Industry News. “There are companies here, and people from other independent agencies. I can learn from everyone here. They have all kinds of experience levels.” 


Like other newbies attending, Patterson said this is a great event — and a terrific organization to join — for those just starting out. “I’m getting tips and advice and learning where markets go,” he said. “It’s really handy, especially when you’re first starting out. You don’t know where to send things. This gives me people to talk to and connections to give me advice.”


Success in insurance — Patterson notes, and that those who’ve been in the business for a long-time attest — all boils down to relationships and connections, and the good advice that comes from them.


Easton Lort of AIC Insurance in Milwaukie, Oregon agrees. He smiled and said, “I’m trying to find my piece in the puzzle and learn from everybody else’s mistakes.”


“Many of the people here have been in the business 20-plus years so they have a wealth of knowledge. There are things they can steer me away from and I’m all ears. I’m definitely open to their advice. I do know you have to work hard. You get out of it what you put into it,” Lort said.


Like others that are new to insurance, Easton said he’s trying to find his way in this community while learning how he can be involved personally and connect to people in his own community.


Rich Sorem of RGS Insurance is excited about the formation of PIA’s OYIP group. He is PIA Oregon/Idaho’s board chairman. Sorem said this is an “about time” event and is exciting. “I know we’re moving in the right direction,” he said. “This turnout is a testament to that fact.”


He — like others attending the kickoff meeting — believe an organization like PIA’s OYIP committee is good for the perpetuation of the association. “The PIA needs to get young agents to learn about us, and what the association can provide to them as far as learning about the industry, education and the importance of belonging to an association,” Sorem added.


It all boils down to relationship building, Sorem explains, “The insurance industry is based off relationships. It’s important for our clients and for agents getting to know agents. And let’s face it, young agents are the backbone of future of this industry.”


Are you interested in joining the Oregon Young Insurance Professionals Association? Contact PIA’s Joey Leffel for more information about how to get involved. She can be reached at 888-246-4466, ext. 116.

Tags:  Oregon Young Insurance Professionals  OYIP  PIA Western Alliance 

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