Top 7 Independent Agent Issues of 2017

In a recent issue of Independent Agent, IA editors and Big “I” leaders rounded up the year’s biggest stories for the independent agency system:

Hurricanes wreak havoc on the U.S. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma alone caused $150-200 billion in damage to Texas and Florida, according to an estimate from Moody’s Analytics. That’s a serious blow to the insurance industry—the growing consensus, according to Willis Towers Watson, is that combined losses from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria will exceed $100 billion. Such a staggering total is likely to prompt a market correction for commercial lines in 2018. Keep an eye on the February issue of IA for a more in-depth commercial market forecast.

Tax reform plows ahead. Just this week, Congress passed the widest-ranging tax reform legislation in decades—and it promises to impact the tax liability of agents and brokers in 2018 and beyond. Throughout the process, the Big “I” led a coalition of other major producer groups in expressing concerns about the bill’s initial treatment of some small businesses, resulting in improvements to the final bill’s treatment of pass-through entities. The Big “I” government affairs staff also worked closely with the American Society of Association Executives and other key stakeholders to advocate against a provision that would have subjected royalty income derived from the licensing of a tax-exempt organization’s name or logo to taxation. Removal of this provision saved the Big “I” and its state associations from millions of dollars in new taxes.

NFIP reauthorization pushed to 2018. The NFIP, which must be periodically reauthorized by Congress, was set to expire on Sept. 30. The program has since been extended through multiple short-term reauthorizations. At press time, the NFIP is set to be reauthorized again through a continuing resolution that would fund the government through early January 2018.

Throughout 2017, the Big “I” was at the forefront of policy discussions surrounding flood insurance, including advocating against cuts to the NFIP. The Big “I” worked with other stakeholders to garner concessions in the U.S. House of Representatives’ reauthorization bill to protect millions of dollars in annual compensation for agents and brokers. The Big “I” also continues to make the case for the gradual development of the private market as a complement to the NFIP.

See the other 4 issues that impacted independent agents the most in 2017, including insurance data security, the overtime rule, ISO property form changes, and InsurTech expansion

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