Big ‘I’ VU Executive Director Discusses Usage-Based Insurance on National TV

Recently, Chris Boggs, Big “I” Virtual University executive director, appeared numerous times in a news segment on both CNBC and the PBS “Nightly Business Report.”

Over the course of several days, the story explored several facets of usage-based auto insurance, spotlighting challenges, trends, costs, and innovations as insurance carriers and consumers leverage the latest in-vehicle technology to gauge individuals’ driving habits.

So far, more than half a million viewers have tuned in to the news report, which is scheduled to be broadcast again this weekend as part of CNBC’s nationally syndicated “On the Money” program.

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Big ‘I’ Names New Federal Government Affairs Counsel

Heather Eilers-Bowser has joined the Big “I” Capitol Hill team as federal government affairs counsel. Her role will include federal legislative and regulatory policy analysis and working with members of Congress and their staff on issues impacting the independent agency system and the insurance market.

Eilers-Bowser comes to the Big “I” from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), where she served as legislative counsel and was the point person for legislative and federal regulatory activity relating to financial solvency, life insurance, annuities, Dodd-Frank reform implementation, title and mortgage insurance issues, international insurance issues, risk retention groups, agent/adjuster issues, and more. Prior to her tenure at the NAIC, Eilers-Bowser also served as counsel for Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and as a legislative assistant to two other members of Congress.

“Heather has that rare combination of Capitol Hill experience from working with various congressional offices and insurance policy expertise from her time with the NAIC and will put that knowledge to good use in her new role,” says Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of external, industry & government affairs. “We welcome her to the Big ‘I’ government affairs team and look forward to her contributions to our advocacy efforts.”​

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Big “I” Applauds House Repeal of “Cadillac” Tax

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”)  applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for passing legislation which would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) 40% excise tax or “Cadillac” tax. Reps. Joe Courtney (D-Connecticut) and Mike Kelly (R-Pennsylvania) are the lead sponsors of H.R. 748, the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act.

“As the country’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents, the Big ‘I’ is greatly concerned about the impact of the ACA’s 40% excise tax,” says Charles Symington, Big “I senior vice president of external, industry & government affairs. “This harmful tax will not only hit many of our small business members and their clients starting in 2022, but over time will affect more and more individuals because the tax threshold is tied to a very slow measure of inflation. This snowball effect will do irreparable damage to the employee benefits marketplace. The Big ‘I’ fully supports repealing this destructive tax and thanks Reps. Joe Courtney (D-Connecticut) and Mike Kelly (R-Pennsylvania) for their hard work to ensure this tax never sees the light of day.”

Congress has repeatedly acknowledged problems with the “Cadillac” tax and most recently delayed the tax until 2022. Starting in 2022, the ACA will impose a 40% tax on health benefits that exceed an established annual cost. The Alliance to Fight the 40 predicts that the tax will lead to a reduction in employer-sponsored coverage and an increase in employee cost sharing— the exact opposite of the ACA’s stated goals. This will be harmful to middle-income Americans across the country. For these reasons, the Big “I” strongly supports legislation to repeal this tax.

“It is imperative that Congress protect the employer-sponsored healthcare system for the 181 million Americans who depend on it,” says Wyatt Stewart, Big “I” senior director of federal government affairs. “Given the overwhelmingly bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, the Big ‘I’ strongly urges the U.S. Senate to pass this legislation as soon as possible.”

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2019 Legislative Update: Property Insurance Policy Deductibles Must Be Paid (HB 2102)


House Bill 2102, which passed in the 86th legislative session, requires consumers to pay the required deductible on all claims on property insurance policies. In an attempt to stem the practice of shady roofing contractors offering to “absorb your deductible,” HB 2102 requires policyholders to provide “reasonable proof of payment” to the insurer.  If proof of payment of the deductible is not provided, the insurer may refuse to pay recoverable depreciation or replacement cost holdback owed.

Reasonable proof of payment includes a canceled check, money order receipt, credit card statement or an executed installment plan. A contract to provide goods and services of $1000 or more requires proof to be provided to the insurer. Every property insurance policy will contain a statement which clearly states that “Texas law requires a person insured under a property insurance policy to pay any deductible applicable to a claim made under the policy.”

Agents will no doubt play an important role in notifying their clients of the new legislation. TDI will develop and implement an education program for consumers and IIAT will be working closely with TDI in the implementation of this new requirement. IIAT will provide updates as information is available. This legislation is effective September 1, 2019.  If you have questions, please contact Lee Loftis at

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Millennial Insurance Consumer Myths Debunked

A new Liberty Mutual Insurance and Safeco Insurance research study shows that millennial insurance consumers’ views of insurance are largely aligned with older generations, dispelling many myths about this generation and presenting a huge opportunity for the independent agent channel.

While there is a widely held assumption that younger buyers always shop online and only care about price, our research shows that millennials are not more price-focused than previous generations and that they want the ease, choice and advice that IAs provide.

“Millennials are now the largest generation of adults in the U.S., and this generation is heading into their peak earning years, starting families and buying homes,” said Tyler Asher, President, Independent Agent Distribution, Liberty Mutual Business Lines and Safeco Insurance. “We at Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance want to help IAs transform their agencies to meet the needs of millennial customers and win in a digital-first world.”

Our research team conducted a survey among 2,860 consumers – roughly 1,600 millennials, 600 Gen-Xers and 600 baby boomers – to learn about the differences in attitudes toward insurance, what influences millennial purchasing decisions, and how IAs can attract younger customers to compete with direct-to-consumer carriers.

The millennial insurance customer research builds off our original Agent for the Future™ survey, where we found that 55 percent of agents said the rise of the millennial consumer segment would have a major effect on their agency by 2020.

Here are a few key findings from our new research:

Millennials care about more than just price

Millennials are not more price-sensitive than older generations. When it comes to purchasing insurance, only 31 percent said they wanted the cheapest price, even if it means a basic policy.

Millennials want you to help them become informed consumers

Millennials want to be informed consumers, and 53 percent said they need to know all the details of their policy. Of those who worked with an agent, 80 percent said they want their agent to help them understand insurance

Millennials want to work with seasoned professionals

Only 9 percent of millennials want their agent to be close to their age. When asked to describe their ideal agent, they said they want to work with someone who inspires trust (50 percent), is a seasoned insurance professional (49 percent), and makes a point to get to know them (29 percent).

Millennials are loyal customers

While millennials are more likely than older generations to shop for insurance online, more than half bought insurance through an exclusive or independent agent, and 81 percent plan to use their current agent again.

For additional insights, please visit

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P&C Insurance Industry Experienced Steady Growth in 2018

PropertCasualty360 reports that, in 2018, the nation’s top insurance companies and groups achieved more than $681.24 billion in direct written premiums, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in its 2018 Market Share Reports for Property/Casualty Groups and Companies.

Figures from 2018 highlight a 5.3% increase in written premiums in the U.S. market compared to 2017.

The annual report, which includes detailed information on market share and loss ratio from the top 125 U.S. property and casualty insurance companies and groups, showcases data in countrywide and by-state charts. State Farm, Berkshire Hathaway, Liberty Mutual Group, Progressive and Allstate Insurance made up the top five insurance companies/groups in the report.

The report also offers insight into the market share and loss ratio data for the top writers in 30 lines of business, including fire, homeowners’ multi-peril, workers’ comp, products liability, commercial auto and more.

The report’s highlights 

  • The top 10 groups made up 47% of the P&C market in the U.S.
  • Commercial auto liability had the largest increase in written premium from any line of business.
  • Private passenger auto liability was the line of business with the highest amount of written premium in 2018.
  • Over the course of 10 years,  burglary and theft experienced a 109% increase in written premium — the largest of any line of business.
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Ask Regina

Q. My customer was involved in a not-at-fault accident and the car is a total loss. The payoff is higher than the value of the car. Is the at-fault party responsible for the amount left on the loan?

A. No. The at-fault party is only legally liable for the actual cash value of the vehicle. That’s why you should consider offering Gap Coverage to every customer that adds a vehicle that is financed.

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Thanks to the Insurcon Lead Underwriters and Sponsors

IIAT’s Insurcon was a success due in part to the generous contributions of numerous conference underwriters and industry sponsors. Be sure to thank representatives from our lead underwriters the next time you see them. Each year, they help make the conference special!


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View Photos from Insurcon19


View the Insurcon19 Photo Album

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