PIA Minnesota Official Blog
Member Benefit - Free ACA Webinar for PIA Members The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be conducting an Affordable Care Act (ACA) webinar for PIA members that wish to participate in a Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) for the 2015 plan year.
The hour and a half webinar (non-CE) will take place Tuesday, August 12, from 3:00pm – 4:30pm ET. It will cover an array of topics, including information on the FFM registration process as well as training requirements required prior to assisting consumers in the FFM for the Individual Market and the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). To register, see PIA’s bulletin with details.
Registration will close the day before the webinar on Monday, August 11, at 1:00pm ET.
2014 PIA Agency Marketing Guide Now Available- The 5th edition of the PIA Agency Marketing Guide will soon be mailing to PIA members along with the current issue of PIA Connection magazine. PIA members who would like to read it now may access the digital edition at www.PIAAgencyMarketingGuide.com.
The 2014 PIA Agency Marketing Guide is part of an annual series published through the PIA Branding Program www.piabrandingprogram.com. This year’s publication focuses on the strategies and tactics that working agents are using successfully in markets across the country. It emphasizes their use of new technologies and how they are transforming their marketing efforts to take charge of their futures. These agents demonstrate how they are using new technologies to capitalize on the inherent strengths that local, independent insurance agents bring to customers.
“Like all business owners, PIA members want to feel confident that the time and money they allocate to new marketing efforts is well spent,” said PIA National President John G. Lee. “That’s why this year’s Agency Marketing Guide focuses more on real success stories told by agents. Because agents continue to have questions about social media—how to use it effectively, does it work—we made sure to talk to agents about their use of social media and have them share their successes and also some failures.”
In addition to discussing agents’ successful use of social media, the 2014 PIA Agency Marketing Guide provides eye opening tips for incentivizing and training employees, utilizing digital marketing tools, rethinking cross-selling and referral marketing, maximizing sales meetings and many other sales and marketing topics critical to the success of modern insurance agencies.
“PIA’s Agency Marketing Guide is full of practical advice that can benefit any agency,” said Alexi Papandon, vice president of marketing and affiliate relations for PIA National. “My hope is that every independent insurance agent will take some time to read it. Those who do will certainly come away with at least a few ‘aha’ ideas that will improve their agency marketing efforts and their bottom lines.”
To read the 2014 PIA Agency Marketing Guide as well as previous editions of the publication, PIA members should visit www.PIAAgencyMarketingGuide.com.
PIA National wishes to thank the sponsors of the 2014 PIA Agency Marketing Guide: Allied Insurance/Harleysville Insurance, EZLynx, ITC and Rough Notes.
ASK PIA? Certificates of Insurance Q: We are having problems with a large company that continues to request specific language on certificates of insurance. They reject certificates that do not contain their requested language, and in some cases, they have even refused to pay subcontractors unless and until this company is referenced as an additional insured on a certificate. I had heard that such requests may not actually be allowed. Is this correct? A: While Minnesota does not have a law prohibiting special requests on certificates of insurance, Minnesota law DOES prohibit agents from issuing an altered certificate, any certificate form that has not been approved by the Department of Commerce, or any certificate that does not accurately reflect the policy language. There are a couple of places where Certificates of Insurance are addressed within MN Statutes. The first, found in MN Statute 60A.39 CERTIFICATES OF INSURANCE. Subdivision 1. Issuance. A licensed insurer or insurance producer may provide to a third party a certificate of insurance which documents insurance coverage. For the purposes of this chapter, a certificate of insurance is a document that provides evidence of property or liability insurance coverage and the amount of insurance issued, and does not convey any contractual rights to the certificate holder. Subd. 2. Approval. An insurer or licensed producer shall not issue a certificate of insurance or other document or instrument that either affirmatively or negatively amends, extends, or alters the coverage provided by an approved policy, form, or endorsement without the written approval of the commissioner. Subd. 3. Required statement. A certificate or memorandum of property or casualty insurance when issued to any person other than the policyholder must contain the following or similar statement: "This certificate or memorandum of insurance does not affirmatively or negatively amend, extend, or alter the coverage afforded by the insurance policy." Subd. 4. Cancellation notice. A certificate provided to a third party must not provide for notice of cancellation that exceeds the statutory notice of cancellation provided to the policyholder or a period of notice specified in the policy. Subd. 5. Filing. An insurer not using the standard ACORD or ISO form "Certificate of Insurance" shall file with the commissioner, prior to its use, a similar alternative "Certificate of Insurance" covering the same information for use by the insurer. Filed forms may not be amended at the request of a third party. Subd. 6. Opinion letters. A licensed insurance producer may not issue, in lieu of a certificate, an agent's opinion letter or other correspondence that is inconsistent with this section.Another reference is in MN Statute 60K.46 Required and Prohibited Acts. The portion about Certificates found in Subd. 8 reads as follows: Subd. 8. Certificates of insurance. An insurance producer shall not issue a certificate of insurance, or other evidence of insurance coverage that either affirmatively or negatively amends, extends, or alters the coverage as provided by the policy, or provides notice of cancellation to a third party that exceeds the statutory notice requirement to a policyholder. Back in 2008, the Minnesota Commerce Department issued Bulletin 2008-3, that specifically addressed the issuance of certificates with altered language. The bulletin referenced the above statute and went on to say that “violation of these laws could subject the insurer or insurance producer to administrative enforcement, including civil penalties and license revocation.” So, what are your options? Ask the insurer if they are able to comply with the third party special request with a policy endorsement. If so, the language may be able to be included on a certificate. Send a copy of the entire policy instead of a certificate (with your client’s permission, of course) or, simply say “NO” and direct them to the statutes that prohibit you from complying with their request. Some states make this a lot easier. Laws in Georgia and Louisiana, for example, make it illegal to request or possess certificates that are knowingly in violation of the law. If that doesn’t get their attention, the $5,000 fine just might....
PIA CHARITY GOLF OUTING Join us on Wednesday September 3rd 2014 for a PIA charity golf outing at The Wilds Golf Club in Prior Lake. Enjoy a day of golf with your friends and colleagues while benefitting the newly formed Young Athletes Program of the Minnesota Special Olympics Organization. The tournament will include games throughout the day and will end with prizes, sponsor recognition and a buffet-style picnic dinner. To register, please complete and submit the registration form: PIA MN GOLF REGISTRATION. If you have questions contact Cindy Bastyr – 866-694-7070 or firstname.lastname@example.org