Regional News


Over the next 20 years, the nation’s 78 million Baby Boomers will retire, with fewer younger workers to replace them. Without preparation and mechanisms in place to transfer critical knowledge from older workers to younger workers, every industry is at risk of losing its competitive edge. Besides preparing their own firms for the approaching workforce changes, agencies can help their clients be proactive in getting ready to face this challenging situation.

To address what it calls “the most ‘predictable surprise’ of the early 21st century,” the MetLife Mature Market Institute® produced a report last year called “Searching for the Silver Bullet: Leading Edge Solutions for Leveraging an Aging Workforce.”

There is no “silver bullet” to address the needs of an aging workforce, according to Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. “What’s needed, instead, is a portfolio of strategies and solutions that balance the need to retain older workers while also transferring knowledge to younger workers, so that business performance can be sustained.

“By learning from others and putting practices in place now, employers will be better able to navigate the dramatic changes coming in the workforce,” adds Timmermann. “Organizations that haven’t prepared properly will have fewer options to minimize the impact of retiring Baby Boomers in order to sustain business performance.”

Drawing on the experiences of employers that have put innovative initiatives in place to address the changing demographics, the study provides insights about:

• Retaining high-performance older workers longer

• Effectively transferring and retaining their critical knowledge

• Creating positive transitions as more older workers retire

• Hiring from an increasingly large pool of retirees

• Adjusting strategies to effectively utilize a multi-generational workforce

The report includes case studies from four companies that have begun programs to address the changing workplace, focusing on: using flexible work arrangements to keep good employees; how to transfer knowledge more effectively; preparing older workers for the transition to retirement; and how to use retirees effectively. It also provides tactics for leveraging retirees in the workplace as well as implications for employers.

The report is available at Click on “The Changing Workforce.”

Northeast Regional News

Annual conventions planned

Maine Insurance Agents Associa-tion—March 30-31, at the Wyndham Portland Airport Hotel in South Portland. (, click on “other states”)

Professional Insurance Agents of Connecticut—March 16-17, at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. (

Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey and New York Joint Conference—June 7-9, at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (

Delaware Association of Insurance Agents & Brokers—June 9-11 at the Atlantic Sands Hotel in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. (

Young agents plan events

Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New Jersey Young Agents Council—January 23-24, at the Minerals Hotel in Hamburg, New Jersey. (

Connecticut Young Insurance Professionals—February 6-8 at the Horizon Inn in Wilminton, VT. (

New York Young Insurance Professionals—March 6-8, at the Kaatskill Mountain Club in Hunter, New York. (

Three Northeast states rank low in “economic freedom”

Three Northeastern states—New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York—ranked 48th, 49th and 50th respectively in a recently released national “Economic Freedom Index” produced by the Pacific Research Institute. Published in association with Forbes, the index scores states based on 143 variables, including regulatory fiscal obstacles imposed on businesses and residents. New Hampshire, with a rank of 8th, is the only Northeastern state to rank in the top 30.

The number one ranking goes to South Dakota, which has no corporate income tax, no personal income tax, no personal property tax, no business tax and no inheritance tax.

New Jersey

Auerbach elected president of PIA National

In September 2008, Kenneth R. Auerbach, managing director and general counsel for E & K Agency, Inc., in Eatontown, New Jersey, was elected president of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA National).


Auto rates raised

Last fall, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company reported that it would increase the overall rate level in Connecticut an average of 5.8%. Even so, according to State Farm, this higher rate level is 29.8% lower than it was 17 years ago.


Assisted living costs highest in southern Maine

Southern Maine has the highest assisted living costs in the nation, according to the 2008 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home & Assisted Living Costs. Southern Maine’s average monthly base rate for assisted living is $4,708. North Dakota has the lowest average monthly base rate for assisted living communities at $1,980.

Southeast Regional News

Annual conferences to be held

Delaware Insurance Agents & Brokers—June 9-11 in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. (

Florida Association of Insurance Agents—June 18-20 in Orlando, Florida. (

Independent Insurance Agents of Mississippi—June 14-17 in Destin, Florida. (

Professional Insurance Agents of Virginia & D.C.—June 28-30 in Roanoke, Virginia. (

Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia—June 10-14 at Amelia Island, Florida. (

Young agents conferences planned

Young Professionals Council of the PIA of Virginia/D.C.— March 6-7 at the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia. (

Young Agents Committee of the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia—February 19-20 at the Marriott Century Center in Atlanta, Georgia. (

Young Insurance Professionals of Louisiana—March 12-14 in New Orleans (

Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina Young Agents Committee—July 12-15 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. (

Report ranks states on economic freedom

With a rank of 9th, Virginia is the only Southeastern state to rank in the top 10 in the “U.S. Economic Freedom Index” produced by the Pacific Research Institute. Published in association with Forbes, the index scores states based on 143 variables, including regulatory fiscal obstacles imposed on businesses and residents. Other Southeastern states ranking in the top 20 include: Georgia (11th), Alabama (16th), South Carolina (17th), Mississippi (19th) and Delaware (20th).

The study can be accessed at

North Carolina

Regional meetings planned

The Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina will sponsor: the Eastern Agents Conference, February 17-18 in Triangle Park, North Carolina, and the Western Agents Conference, March 26-27 in Asheville, North Carolina. (


Small businesses begin enrollment in premium subsidy plan

In September, enrollment began for the Health Insurance Partnership, a premium subsidy initiative for small businesses. Eligible businesses may receive a subsidy of up to 50% of their health insurance premium. To be eligible a business must have 2-9 employees, an average wage below $50,000 and have offered no health insurance to its employees during the previous 12 months. The Health Insurance Partnership is a coordinated effort between the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Maryland Health Care Commission, participating insurance carriers, and employers.

Midwest Regional News

Annual conventions planned

Michigan Association of Insurance Agents—February 24-26 at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. (

Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers—April 15-16, at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Plymouth, Minnesota. (

Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin—May 6-7, at the Marriott-Madison West in Middleton, Wisconsin. (


Asbestos law upheld

In October, the Ohio Supreme Court handed down a ruling that upholds the nation’s first asbestos litigation reform legislation. The landmark measure passed in 2004. HB 292 requires asbestos claimants to meet a minimum level of medical criteria before filing an action. According to Lynda Mounts, American Insurance Association vice president and deputy general counsel, “The Court recognized that the Legislature’s intent was not to take rights away, but more clearly define a reasonable process to address the asbestos litigation crisis that has for too long unfairly penalized citizens, businesses and the state’s court system.”


Child health insurance program expands

As many as 10,000 children became eligible October 1, 2008, for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program under a recently approved expansion, according to state officials in a story by the Associated Press. The expansion of eligibility to children up to age 19 in households earning up to 2.5 times the federal poverty level was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in May. The new eligibility level is a sliding scale that includes families of two earning up to $35,000 per year and families of four earning up to $53,000.


Young agents to gather

The Michigan Young Agents Council Spring Conference will be held June 10-12, at Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island, Michigan. (

Credit scoring ban appealed

In October, insurance industry advocates filed an appeal to the state Supreme Court in response to an August ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals prohibiting the use of credit-based insurance scoring. The ruling reversed a 2005 lower court decision allowing the use of such scoring. According to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), in Michigan, credit-based insurance scoring is used only to provide discounts for insurance customers.

Southwest Regional News

Rural/small agents conferences set

Missouri Association of Insurance Agents—March 26-27 at the Holiday Inn Select in Columbia, Missouri. (

Kansas Association of Insurance Agents Rural & Small Agents Conference—January 27-29, at the Holiday Inn in Salina, Kansas. (

Independent Insurance Agents of Nebraska Small & Rural Agents Conference—February 4-5, at the Holiday Inn in Kearney, Nebraska. (

Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa Rural Agents/Small Town Agency Conference—January 27-28 at the Des Moines Airport Holiday Inn. (

States rank high in identity theft

Texas and New Mexico ranked in the top 10 states in number of identity theft victims in 2007—the latest figures that are available. According to the Insurance Information Institute, Texas ranks 4th and New Mexico ranks 9th.

Young agents plan meeting

Young agents from the Big “I” associations of Oklahoma and Missouri will meet for the 2009 Young Agents Mid-States Conference June 7 - 9 in Branson, Missouri. For more information, go to the state Web sites (,

Auto rates rise

Last fall, State Farm Mutual Automobile Company raised overall rate levels in Kansas (an average of 1.6%), Missouri (an average of 1.8%) and Nebraska (an average of 2.6%). According to State Farm, overall rates in these states are lower than they were five years ago.

3rd quarter losses high

According to ISO’s Property Claim Services unit, U.S. property/casualty insurers paid an estimated $11.5 billion from storm losses in the third quarter of 2008, making it the fourth largest third-quarter loss in a decade. Contributing to the third quarter losses last year were 11 catastrophes spanning 22 states. Two South-western states were in the five states with the most losses: Texas and Louisiana.


Workers comp rates decline

Employers will pay lower premiums for workers compensation this year, according to Insurance Commissioner Marcy Morrison in the Denver Business Journal. The drop is due to a 16% decline in the average cost of lost wages and loss costs.


Annual meeting scheduled

The Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma will hold its annual meeting—Hypopanty 2009—April 23 - 24. (

Western Regional News

Annual meetings planned

Professional Insurance Agents of Washington/Alaska—June 12-14, at The Lodge at Suncadia in Cle Elum, Washington (

Professional Insurance Agents of Oregon/Idaho—May 31 - June 2, at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon (

Nevada Independent Insurance Agents—June 21-23 at Harrah’s in Lake Tahoe, Nevada (

Utah Association of Independent Insurance Agents—June 5-7, at Zermatt Resort in Midway, Utah (

Association of Wyoming Insurance Agents—June 17-19 at the Holiday Inn in Cody, Wyoming. (

Young agents plan conferences

Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of Washington—June 11-12, at the Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla, Washington. (

Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of California Young Brokers & Agents—June 4- 6, at Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, California. (


Nilsson installed as IIABA chairman

In September, C. Brett Nilsson, CIC, became chairman of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. A senior vice president of The Buckner Company based in Ogden, Utah, Nilsson was first elected to the Big “I” Executive Committee in 2003.


Governor Schwarzenegger acts on insurance legislation

In September, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law several insurance-related bills, including AB 2956, which revises statutory definitions relating to producer licenses to distinguish between the acts of an insurance agent and the acts of a broker.

The governor also vetoed some insurance-related bills. He declined to sign AB 2969, which would have required that a physician who conducted a utilization review of workers compensation medical treatment services be licensed in California; SB 1115, which specified that in making workers compensation apportionment determinations physicians would not consider race, religious creed, color, national origin, age, gender, marital status, sex or genetic predisposition as a cause or other factor of disability; and SB 1717 which would have increased the number of weeks that permanent disability benefits are paid.


Auto rates increase

Last fall, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company increased its overall rate level in Oregon an average of 0.6%. According to State Farm, the company’s overall rate change in the state is 14.7% lower than it was four and a half years ago.

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