PIANJ Updates Online Agency Handbook to Reflect New Agents’ Ownership Law

March 9, 2004

The Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey Inc. announced that it has updated its Online Agency Handbook to incorporate the new law it helped to secure protecting agents’ ownership rights.

“PIANJ fought tirelessly to ensure that when one insurance company transfers its business to another the transferring policies continue to be serviced by the agent of record. Additionally, the company to which the business is transferred must offer contracts to the agents of the transferring company which contain terms concerning ownership of expirations and commissions that are no less favorable than the terms of their current contracts,” stated John D’Agostino Jr., CIC, president of PIANJ. “The updates to the handbook reflects these changes and others-offering information on agency termination, renewal protections, accident surcharges and more.”

The announcement noted that in-depth information on new laws, which can be found in the updated handbook include the following:
— Agency termination: How package (auto/homeowners) policies handled in agency termination situations have been addressed by the Department of Banking and Insurance by an advisory opinion;
— Renewal protections: A new section has been added on cancellation of premium-financed policies including notice requirements, responsibilities of the premium-finance company and how return premiums should be handled;
— Accident surcharges: The definition of “at-fault accident” has been amended by raising the monetary threshold for an at-fault automobile accident surcharge from $500 to $1,000; and
— Postmark rule: Renewal premiums now will be deemed to have been received on time, if mailed prior to the due date and received by the insurer within three business days after the due date.

The handbook also includes “contact information for company rating organizations; information on the New Jersey Insolvent Health Maintenance Organization Assistance Association; explanation and function of the claims ombudsman and carrier requirements relating to internal appeal procedures; and the updated Department of Motor Vehicles numerical and alphabetical company code listings,” said the announcement.

The bulletin noted that the “PIANJ Agency Handbook is a member-exclusive benefit and can be accessed at: www.piaonline.org/NJ/HandBook/IndexHB.shtml. Members can register for PIANJ-exclusive online benefits by visiting www.piaonline.org/register-m.shtml and completing the short online form.

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