Individual Life Insurance and Carve-Outs for Disability Can Help Your Clients Retain Top Execs

When we write group benefits, including statutory disability and ancillary benefits, we often showcase how insurance coverage like enriched DBL in New York can aid in recruiting and retaining new employees and middle management. But are your clients focused on their high performers, top-tier employees – and themselves, as the company owners? Individual life insurance, fully funded by the employer, and executive carve-outs for disability insurance, can give employers and top executive the coverage they need.

Are you helping your clients explore ways you can enhance their insurance coverage to benefit company owners and high-performing executives?

Starting Salaries are Higher Than Ever

College graduates are earning more than previous generations, and the salaries they command in this tight labor market may not seem commensurate with their experience in any given professional field. The National Association of Colleges and Employers survey lists starting salaries for 2022 college graduates at roughly $55,000, which is 2.5% higher than last year.

Think about this: Undergrads are leaving school expecting a starting salary of $85,000. And if they are going into petroleum engineering or another technical field, that expectation would not be wrong. Technical majors average $80,000 annually, in their first year of work, while petroleum engineers can pull in close to $88,000, according to statistics from ThinkImpact.com.

While salaries for executives and upper management have also increased, these upper-level employees are not receiving raises that put them in line with new graduate salaries. ZipRecruiter.com reports that the average corporate executive salary for 2022 is $82,180 a year.

Look to Individual Life Insurance Coverage and Executive Carve-Outs to Level the Playing Field

Insurance coverage like individual life and disability carve-outs for top-level executives and company owners can aid in employee retention and deliver peace-of-mind to a company’s highest performers.

By reducing monetary worries and stress, the right employee benefits can help foster a positive company culture and a more productive workforce – starting from the top, down.

What Are Executive Carve-Outs for Life Insurance Coverage and Disability?

As most insurance brokers know, typical group life / AD&D coverage delivers a term life policy for up to $50,000, either funded by the employer, paid for by the employee with pre-tax dollars, or offered on a cost-shared basis. The coverage is usually not portable, which means the policy ends if the employee leaves or retires. Any additional coverage beyond the $50,000, funded by the employer, is typically considered a taxable benefit.

However, employers can opt for an EE (executive employee) carve-out to cover high performing individuals, c-suite executives, and owners or partners in a company. These EE carve-out policies are fully funded by the employer and may also generate tax incentives and deductions for the employer. Your clients may not be aware of how this incentive can help them and top-tier employees in their company, while reducing their tax liability.

A universal or whole-life carve-out is typically portable, which means executives hold the policy after the leave. The policy will accumulate cash value, which means it can be part of an executive’s retirement strategy.

Long-term disability carve-outs function in the same way, delivering enhanced, portable benefits to top executives.

Are Executive Carve-Outs Different from Buy-Up Coverage?

Another option to offer your clients is Buy-Up coverage. Like EE carve-outs, buy-up coverage for life insurance can be offered as an incentive to top performers or a reward to employees who have stayed with your company for years. It can help long-time employees feel valued amidst an incoming workforce that is demanding higher salaries and better benefits can past generations.

Buy-up coverage is offered on a voluntary basis, however, and doesn’t cost the employer any money out-of-pocket. It’s typically reserved for executives and high-performers, and can help incentivize longevity within a company.

How Enriched DBL Benefits the Highest Paid Employees in a Company

Finally, New York business owners should consider enriching DBL benefits up to 60% of an executive’s salary. Especially in the face of an uncertain investing environment, where many experts are predicting a bear market on the horizon, executives want to know they can tap into other resources to replace their income in an emergency.

Having enriched short-term disability coverage in the event of a non-work-related accident or illness means they can let their investments sit, rather than selling in a down market, when it may be harder to recoup losses later.

The DBL Center Can Help

Finding the right insurance coverage for your clients requires asking the right questions and honing in on the challenges they may face recruiting or retaining c-suite executives and top-level managers. What are the company executives’ biggest financial fears? How can the right insurance coverage give them peace-of-mind and potential tax savings?

The DBL Center team can work with you to pinpoint the insurance coverage your clients want, from universal life to enriched DBL. Plus, we have the technology, through our Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, to help you track renewals and cancellations and stay on top of your clients’ evolving needs.  It’s never too late – or too early – to help your clients enhance coverage to retain employees and boost productivity.

 

 


Ancillary Benefits: Did You Know The DBL Center Offers These Benefits?

Our brokers have come to trust us for the lowest premium rates and white glove service when it comes to statutory benefits, including DBL in New York, TDB in New Jersey, TDI in Hawaii and, now, Paid Family and Medical Leave in the New England states.

But, through our long-term relationships with top-rated carriers, we also provide a variety of other benefits to assist not just employees, but executive employees and business owners. After all, when accident, illness, or injury strikes, financial hardship does not just affect middle management or hourly wage workers. The pandemic taught us a stark lesson. Financial misfortune can strike anyone, at any time.

For many executive level employees, the right group benefits and disability insurance can help them avoid tapping into retirement investments or high-yield investments for day-to-day expenses. Instead, they can pay low premiums over time and receive the money they need to maintain their standard of living or, in the case of business owners, meet overhead costs to stay in business.

Bundling these executive benefits with ancillary benefits for all workers is often an easy sell. The ones who benefit most from executive carve-outs for life and disability, key person insurance, and enhanced dental and vision benefits are also the decision makers when it comes to employee benefits. They will want to take advantage of the products that not only increase employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention, but also benefit themselves.

Take a look at seven areas The DBL Center can help you serve your customers with group life, enhanced disability, long-term disability and other ancillary benefits. Then give us a call so we can help you quote the lowest rates and appropriate coverage levels for your clients.

Carve-Outs for Individual Life and Disability

Hiring employees at any level is difficult right now. But your clients recognize that their most important employees are their moneymakers – the high-earners who bring in the business, generate the profitable ideas, and contribute to the DNA of the company and its brand.

Carve-out plans enable businesses to provide individual life insurance and disability coverage beyond what the organization’s group benefits provide. These benefits can help entice top talent to remain within your organization. There may also be tax advantages to executive carve-out plans.

Disability or Life Insurance to Fund Buy-Sell Agreements for Partnerships

Partners and co-owners within a business often have buy-sell agreements that stipulate terms in case one partner dies. But if a person should suffer a long-term disability, the buy-sell agreement may not cover that contingency.

A disability insurance policy that includes a buy-sell agreement can provide the funds for salary replacement in the case of short-term or long-term disability. It can also be used to buy out the business if the disability is deemed permanent. Executive partners and co-owners should consider enhancing their policy with these benefits to protect themselves, their family, and their income in the event of accident or illness.

Buy Up Coverage for Long Term Disability or Life Insurance

Buy-up coverage is similar to executive carve-outs, but can be offered on a voluntary basis to any high-income earners or executives. It is not for an elite group that the company owners may deem “irreplaceable,” but to any executive employee who wants to pay for the additional coverage.

Buy-up coverage could deliver as much as 66.67% of an employee’s earnings, up to a maximum benefit of $10,000 in some cases. Depending on the carrier and plan, these numbers may vary. Your DBL Center representative can help you find the plans that are best for your top employees, and they can be provided on a cost-share or completely voluntary (employee-funded) basis.

Business Overhead Insurance

Sole proprietors and small business owners face unique needs and challenges when it comes to their own health and mortality. Business overhead insurance, written as a rider to long-term disability benefits, can help pay a business owner’s expenses to keep the business running even if they are unable to work or an extended time period due to disability.

Key Person Insurance

Similar to executive carve-outs for the individuals who are most valuable to a company’s bottom line, key person insurance covers the business if something should happen to an owner, key executive, or top moneymaker.

If a business could not run, or would not be successful, without a certain individual, key person insurance protects the company if that person dies or becomes disabled. The company is named as the beneficiary of the insurance. Sometimes, this product is called “business life insurance,” as it protects your business in the event of the death of key personnel.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance is becoming more popular than ever as people recognize the value of not having to rely on family members to care for them as they age. Long-term care insurance protects the employee or executive’s assets, and provides a daily amount of money for care should they become ill or disabled.

LTC can be offered as a group benefit, bundled with other ancillary benefits to keep premiums low. Like other benefits, it can be fully funded by the employer, funded by the employee on a voluntary basis, or the premium costs can be shared.

Individual Dental and Vision Coverage with No Waiting Period

When employers shop for dental and vision coverage, they want to know that they can work with their choice of providers locally. They want low deductibles, coverage for most services (including preventative treatments and regular check-ups) and no waiting period for new employees.

If you’d like to offer your clients these advantages with dental and vision coverage, The DBL Center can help. Thanks to our decades of carrier relationships and the ability to bundle ancillary benefits with short-term disability and other statutory benefits, we can help you write the policies that deliver what your clients want in today’s competitive business environment.

Reach out today for more information. 


NYS Disability Benefits Are Not Keeping Pace with Inflation – Here’s How You Can Help

As the economy continues to recover from the shutdowns forced by the pandemic, the U.S. is facing inflation rates like those we haven’t seen since the late 1970s. At last report, the inflation rate was 7.5%, with increases this monthly largely driven by oil and fuel prices. Higher energy costs affect the price of virtually everything else, as it costs more to move goods through the country. Whether you follow the news closely or not, you’ll probably seen the increases not just at gas pumps but at grocery stores and other retailers.

But for New York business owners and their employees, one number has not gone up in recent years: The amount you’ll receive if you have to claim short-term NYS disability benefits. The rate that claimants with an off-the-job illness or injury can receive in NYS disability benefits tops out at just $170 per week for 26 weeks. That rate has not increased since 1989, when Governor Mario Cuomo was in office.

It’s Not the 1980s – But It May Feel Like It

It’s worth noting that 1989 followed an inflationary era in the U.S.

Cuomo’s NYS disability benefits increase may have been “too little, too late,” even then. New Yorkers at the time were struggling with high prices and high interest rates. Those high interest rates made it painful – or impossible – for New Yorkers who lost income due to illness or injury to make ends meet by tapping into investments or by borrowing money. They would have been forced to cash out or borrow against high-yield investments, which could put them behind when it came to saving for retirement. Or they could have borrowed money at high interest rates, also putting them financially behind.

Rising Costs Remain a Problem – Enriched DBL Is The Answer

Of course, this is not the 1980s or early ‘90s. But that $170 per week doesn’t even stretch as far as it did back then. And while interest rates remain low right now, that could change in the next quarter of 2022. That makes it even more critical for employers and employees to review their finances now.

If they should become ill or injured, how will they pay their bills and provide for their family?

Certainly not on $170 per week, when the average price of gas (as an example) in New York metro areas is $4.43 / gallon, according to AAA.com figures.

As a New York disability insurance broker, you are probably experiencing many of the same cost challenges your clients have in New York. But, as an educated broker working with The DBL Center, you also have a solution for these concerns: Enriched DBL coverage.

By enriching DBL insurance coverage for your clients with over 50 lives, you can provide peace-of-mind that they can maintain their standard of living in New York, even if they suffer a non-work-related illness or injury.

Enriched DBL benefits packages written through The DBL Center can provide weekly maximum payouts of $200 to $850, offering between 50% to 60% of salary replacement for workers.

Why Does Paid Family Leave Pay More Than NYS Disability Benefits?   

Enriched DBL is especially critical with today’s high costs of living in New York State. It’s also important to provide this benefit to your workers in light of the recent increases in Paid Family Leave coverage. New York State-mandated PFL benefits reached their maximum rates in 2021, providing 67% of an employee’s annual average weekly wage, up to a maximum benefit of $74,509.

That means you receive more money if you have to take time off to care for a child or a disabled or ill dependent than you would receive if you were injured or ill yourself and could not work.

PFL is undoubtedly an important benefit that helps with workplace equity and helps bridge the gap of income inequality often experienced by working women, who are often the primary caregivers in a household.

But enriched DBL is a benefit that can provide every person in your organization – up to the c-level executives and owners – with peace-of-mind that they can access partial income replacement if they are ill or injured.

Maybe someday New York leaders will see that disability benefits must also keep pace with increasing costs in our state. In the meantime, savvy insurance brokers in New York can do the right thing for their clients by quoting them packages that include enriched DBL and voluntary worksite benefits like accident insurance that can help.

 

 


Expand Your Book of Business and Help Clients with Absence Management

Vision CoverageAlong with employee retention and finding the right employee benefits to keep and retain workers, absence management has become one of the biggest challenges for business owners and human resource departments in 2022.

Paid time off becomes more difficult to manage as employees work from home or request flex-time. Managers deal with employees taking time off due to COVID, quarantines following exposure, and childcare issues if children are forced to stay home from school in quarantine.

Amidst all of these challenges, workers are suffering burnout at increasing rates, leaving managers unsure of how to improve company morale and retain high-quality talent.

One study from Indeed.com, reported by Forbes, found that 52% of survey respondents said they were experiencing burn-out in 2021, compared to 43% in a pre-pandemic survey.

Managing employee absences becomes a big part of the puzzle to improving morale. Having the right systems in place can ensure employees are receiving the time off they need and deserve, being compensated for that time, and also returning to work in a timely manner once their leave is done. This helps ensure financial security for workers, while making it easier for managers to ensure that duties are fulfilled and jobs are completed in the workplace.

How DBL Center Can Help Your Clients with Absence Management

The DBL Center recently partnered with a top absence management firm to deliver absent management services to our broker’s clients. Your brokerage can become a one-stop shop for paid family and medical leave, short-term and long-term disability, ancillary benefits, and – now – absence management services. Best of all, you don’t have to administer the services, since The DBL Center and our partners are your back-office staff.

How To Use Absence Management to Improve Your Service and Increase Commissions

You may not have considered selling absence management services to your insurance clients in the past. But generous employee benefits combined with absence management services can help improve retention rates and make it easier to recruit employees in today’s tight labor market. Your clients need these services now more than ever.

While some companies will not write ancillary benefits on a stand-alone basis, The DBL Center can. We can provide short-term disability, vision, dental, and Group Life / AD&D down to 50 lives. With the money your clients save, you can present them with absence management and leave administration services to save additional time, money and resources.

Benefits of Outsourcing Absence Management

Companies who outsource absence management do not have to struggle to keep up with ever-changing federal, state, and local laws. They might experience less employee abuse of paid time off and sick leave policies. They can be certain they are maintaining adequate records of sick leave and absenteeism. Most importantly, they can be confident they are in compliance with regulations related to the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Consistent, well-managed sick leave and paid time off policies can help boost morale by ensuring adequate coverage for employees who are off and ensuring employees do not abuse time off.

If you can provide your clients with these services – at substantial discounts – you will continue to build their trust and grow your book of business through easy renewals and expanded benefits packages.

Let The DBL Center Do The Work So You Can Reap the Rewards

The DBL Center’s proprietary Broker Dashboard software can help track leave administration, as well as your commissions, renewals, and cancellations for short-term disability policies.

You have probably seen the need for solid, professional, outsourced absence management services in your own organization, as well as for your clients.

Give us a call to discuss new absence management services provided through The DBL Center.

 

 


5 Things Insurance Brokers Need to Know About Cybersecurity

 

The data of more than 100 million Americans was hacked due to cyberattacks on the insurance industry in the past two years. As the keepers of our customers’ important personal and financial data, insurance brokers have an obligation to keep that data safe. Otherwise, you could be opening yourself and your company up to fines, lawsuits, and costly ransomware incidents – where a cybercriminal locks your systems so you can’t access data and requests a large sum of money to free it. Also, a data breach, if publicized, could lead to lack of trust for your brand, a scenario that has immeasurable hidden costs.

We aren’t saying this to scare you. Data breaches are part of the world we live in. They’ve happened to companies as large as Target and Twitter. It’s quite possible to recover from a cyberattack – but if you can reduce the risk of an attack, you’ll have greater peace-of-mind.

Of course, it’s impossible to eliminate all risks. But it’s critical that brokers who deal in employee benefits, including DBL and ancillary benefits, take steps to protect their clients’ information. What do you need to know about cybersecurity and how can you work to make sure your company is as protected as possible against threats in 2022?

Set Up Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication, which requires two logins for users to access your company network or specific software systems, has been shown to reduce the risk of cyberattacks. Even if a password is stolen, the account cannot be accessed without a second means of authorization, such as a code sent to a user’s phone or  email.

Update Software Systems for the Latest Protection

Legacy software systems often don’t have the security technology available to provide the highest level of protection. Moving to cloud-based systems, where data is housed on servers removed from your location, can help prevent the theft of data if someone breaches your network.

Delete Unnecessary Client Data

Hackers cannot steal sensitive data if that data is not available. Delete unnecessary client data, including outdated information or that of former customers, and lock down other data so that only professionals in your organization who need to access it have the capability.

Perform Audits of Network Systems and Software

Many insurance brokers do not think about cybersecurity. But it’s important to keep it at the forefront of your mind with regular audits of your system security. Even if you have an in-house IT team, you’ll want to bring in an outside firm to perform the audit, identify weaknesses in your systems, and make recommendations to close those gaps.

Cybersecurity professionals should assess your company’s security at every level, including your employees’ processes and best practices; the security of the software, apps, and services you use; and your overall network security.

Train Internal End Users

Cybersecurity experts agree that the “weak link” in the security chain for most organizations – including insurance brokers – are the internal end users: the company employees. Train both in-house and remote employees about best practices. Show them the importance of taking an active role in preventing data breaches. After all, it’s their data stored in your network systems, as well as their clients’. Next month we’ll cover more about end-user best practices and training, which includes how to establish and protect passwords and how to maintain network security wherever they might be working from.

 

 


Skyscraper Insurance Talks with DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen

DBL Center President and CEO Michael S. Cohen recently appeared as a guest on the Poza podcast The Risk Taker, hosted by Chaim Berkovic, founder and president of Skyscraper Insurance. The podcast focuses on business leaders who take on unusual challenges, step outside their comfort zones, and achieve success.

During the 40-minute interview, Berkovic and Cohen discussed how DBL Center was founded more than 45 years ago by David Cohen and how he brought privatized short-term disability benefits to Hawaii. You’ll learn how Michael Cohen got into the family business, and the many lanes Cohen has now expanded into as The DBL Center leads the charge in terms of technology in the statutory disability industry.

Below, we share a few highlights from their conversation. But it’s worth tuning into the full podcast here.

You’ll hear the two business leaders talk about connecting with clients of different cultures, taking risks in sales, and treating every account as if it’s a $1 million deal.

Cohen on Educating Brokers on Short Term Disability Coverage

As risks go, selling DBL is one not many insurance brokers take on. Cohen told Berkovic, “They don’t think there’s enough money in it. They don’t know what to ask. They’re not asking the right questions. I know how to help brokers like you get in the door to ask the right questions about disability insurance. Everybody asks about major medical, worker’s comp, or personal lines, but right in the middle between that is the state-mandated short-term disability. The introduction of paid family leave has just blown that door wide open and raised awareness about statutory benefits.”

Cohen on Leveraging Technology for Increased Sales

Although his father David Cohen, laid the groundwork decades ago, Michael Cohen never wanted to be viewed as just “the owners’ son.” In the past several years since taking over the company, Cohen catapulted The DBL Center not just to the top of Google rankings through his team’s marketing efforts, but to rapid growth and expansion across the New England states.

Today, The DBL Center services not just New York, New Jersey and Hawaii but also Connecticut and Massachusetts, which recently implemented statutory paid family and medical leave policies. Cohen helps brokers tap into markets they may not have considered by hiring experts in those regions, and offering a streamlined process for selling and managing statutory benefits.

“I keep it simple,” he told Berkovic. Through the Broker Dashboard, The DBL Center can show brokers the direct-billed DBL and ancillary policies and help them track renewals, cancellations, and commissions. While DBL and PFL may not be what most brokers think of as “big-ticket sales,” these products provide a foot in the door for larger policies. “The DBL Center – and our proprietary Broker Dashboard – are the conduits to helping brokers’ retention,” Cohen said.

Cohen on Absence Management

Recently, Cohen further expanded The DBL Center to offer absence management solutions to brokers’ clients. “We are offering solutions for when workers are taking intermittent leave on a standalone basis, especially in companies with over 50 lives. Most places require you have another plan, like LTD. We can do standalone policies and tie it into DBL,” he said on the podcast.

Adding yet another responsibility to his list wasn’t easy – and it wasn’t a decision Cohen took lightly. But he knew it was necessary to scale The DBL Center to the next level and provide the best service to his clients. “One of the toughest things about my job is that I feel like the brokers are my children. How do I hug all of them at one time? I don’t feel like there’s enough of me to consult and teach everybody. So, I hire people who are experts in their region or their field. I stay in my lane. And the lane has become filled – it’s now one lane, two lane, three lane, and HOV.”

Listen to the full podcast here: The Risk Taker: Skyscraper Insurance with Michael S. Cohen of The DBL Center

 


No Healthcare? Why The DBL Center Specializes in Statutory and Ancillary Benefits

You’ve probably heard the expression, “Stay in your lane.” One of DBL Center founder David Cohen’s favorite quotes was “Stick to sewing.”

Both expressions relate to finding what you’re good at, honing your skills and knowledge in that area, and not wasting time on diversions outside that field. Find the right people to support you in your business who can provide the skills you don’t have – or don’t have the time to pursue.

The DBL Center has always held to this adage, using it to build a national sales force specializing in specific regions or specific areas of coverage.  We used it to build a top-notch outsourced marketing team that works in collaboration with our president and CEO Michael Cohen to keep our website one of the top-ranked in the industry. We used it to create an IT and cybersecurity department that, in the future, will be offering tips to our brokers to help ensure their systems and security are where they should be as we enter 2022.

Most importantly, for 45+ years, we have focused on building our niche as a wholesale/General Agency for statutory insurance and ancillary benefits in a growing number of states.

When David Cohen launched The DBL Center in 1976, he chose a nascent niche that didn’t have many competitors. DBL and TDI were statutory benefits, which should have made for an easy sale. But the real challenge was customer education. No one knew they needed these benefits in New York and New Jersey. Shortly after growing in the New York tri-state area, Cohen took the business to Hawaii, becoming the only TDI insurance company on all the islands.

But: Why Not Offer Health Insurance Policies?

Over the years, many of our brokers have asked why we don’t write health insurance. Impressed by the rates we negotiate with top carriers and our concierge-level customer service, our brokers would love to write all their policies with us, giving them a one-stop shop for employee benefits.

But the nuances of the health insurance industry would require stepping out of what we’ve known for 45+ years. It would require hiring specialists in those fields and diverting our attention away from the areas where we excel.

The carriers in the health insurance field are, largely, different. The policies differ dramatically. And the products, themselves, are more complex than anything we offer today.

Our Expertise In Statutory and Ancillary Benefits Can Increase Your Profitability

By staying in our niche, we can continue to provide concierge-level service in a highly focused field. Our brokers don’t have to know everything about DBL and TDB coverage, because we do. They can turn to us with any questions and to be their full-fledged back-office staff.

When the New York State governor introduced Paid Family Leave in 2017, The DBL Center was on the cutting edge of the news. We were able to get up-to-speed quickly and guide our brokers through one of the most confusing closing periods in our history. We collected censuses, billed premiums, and wrote the necessary riders to DBL policies in New York. All while giving our brokers opportunities and tools to upsell customers to enriched DBL to provide a better benefits package to all employees – not just those who were parents or expecting to become parents soon.

We even provide a platform enabling our brokers to easily track commissions, cancellations and renewals, and we can email reports on demand or on a weekly or monthly basis so they can follow up with their clients.

Our expertise in statutory benefits and ancillary benefits and now, voluntary worksite benefits, enables our brokers to focus on health insurance and other products, knowing that statutory benefits virtually sell themselves. Ancillary benefits, too, are an in-demand addition to benefits packages right now to improve employee morale and combat high quit rates.

Branching Out in Ways that Make Sense

However, through partnerships with other companies, The DBL Center is now in a position to make referrals for healthcare coverage. Through our vast industry connections, we can now introduce you to wholesale insurance agencies and carriers that share our philosophy and values, which we’ve upheld since 1976.

We have always guided our brokers to the best rates and coverage for their clients seeking statutory and ancillary benefits. Now, we can help you grow your business and increase commissions in other ways when it comes to employee benefits and human capital management or absence management.

Hang on, because 2022 is going to be an exciting ride for all of us. We’re glad to have you along for the journey.


New York Disability Insurance and Voluntary Employee Benefits: The Workforce Retention Solution Your Clients Need

Is enriched New York disability insurance the way to keep high-level workers in tech, finance, and other competitive fields?

There’s a mass exodus of white-collar workers from a variety of fields, including finance and technology. What experts are calling the “Great Resignation” continues in spite of six figure salaries for investment bankers fresh out of college and employer accommodations such as flex-time and remote work for professionals in a variety of other industries.

Survey Finds Skilled Employees Leaving the Workforce En Masse

A new survey from HiBob, an HR/people management platform and Fiverr, an online freelancer marketplace, has revealed that it’s not just hourly wage workers who are jumping ship, either. Forty-six percent of HR professionals surveyed said that managers and directors are leaving, rather than entry-level workers.

“This leaves companies with a massive skills gap… They need to fill manager and director roles, ones that require years of experience and knowledge,” said Shany Malbin, general manager of Fiverr Business, in a GoBankingRates article.

The study went on to reveal that it takes, on average, as much as six months to hire new full-time employees. Coupled with the costs associated with recruiting and training new hires, it is in any business owners best interests to retain their in-house talent as long as possible.

But how can New York disability insurance and voluntary employee benefits make a difference?

Skilled Talent Turns to Freelance Gigs

The report revealed that 54% of HR professionals said many workers that resigned started their own business or decided to freelance. Workers are seeking flexibility, the ability to set their own hours, and work from anywhere. The DBL Center, which has excellent retention rates for our key employees, has offered as much flexibility as possible to our workers since 2004. “All I have done over the years is reinvested in technology to keep things current and safe from a security perspective, enabling my team to have continued flexibility,” said DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen.

Offering flexible hours, remote work, and perks like on-site childcare may help keep top employees. Statutory PFL in New York can also entice workers who are caregivers by giving them flexible, paid time off to care for children or their aging parents.

For many workers, statutory benefits like New York disability insurance, along with voluntary employee benefits and enriched DBL packages, could be another draw that keeps them employed. After all, freelancers in New York aren’t required to provide their own New York disability insurance and ancillary benefits are rarely available – or affordable – for self-employed individuals.

Why New York Disability Insurance Matters to Upper-Level Employees

Enriched DBL coverage tends to benefit executive-level employees and management as much, if not more, than it benefits other workers in an organization. Enriched DBL coverage enhances New York disability insurance to a cap of $850 per week. That’s not likely to cover all the monthly expenses of a six-figure, salaried employee – especially in New York. But coupled with accident insurance or critical illness insurance, it can help an ill or injured employee avoid tapping into their investments or rainy-day savings fund, offering peace-of-mind for the employee and their family.

“It takes 7.2 years to double income from investments at a rate of 10%,” explains DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen. “When employees have savings, it’s wise to keep it parked where it can grow.”

Similarly, ancillary benefits like vision, dental, and Group Life / AD&D offer tremendous value to employees who are likely to invest in regular vision and dental care, including braces for their kids.

How You Can Profit from the Great Resignation and Employee Retention Struggles

Insurance brokers are in a unique position to solve workforce retention challenges in a variety of industries, including finance and technology.

Spotlight New York disability insurance and voluntary employee benefits as a way to keep talented employees from taking the entrepreneurial route. Point out the cost savings employers will experience when they bundle statutory benefits like PFL and DBL with enriched DBL and ancillary benefits.

For business owners, enriching their employee benefits package will cost less than recruiting, hiring and training new talent. Productivity won’t suffer and they can focus on growing their business, knowing that their insurance broker is working in their best interests as a crucial part of theirteam


Voluntary Benefits at Work: The Antidote to “The Great Resignation”

In part one of our interview with Larry Estridge, The DBL Center’s new Regional VP of Group Voluntary Worksite Benefits, we talked about Estridge’s plans to work with DBL Center brokers to help them fill gaps in coverage and build loyalty with their clients through expanded voluntary employee benefits.

In part 2, we dig deep into why voluntary benefits at work are so crucial today as we face “The Great Resignation.” Record numbers of employees are quitting their jobs, according to recent reports, and there are more positions available than qualified employees willing to fill them. Additionally, nearly 2/3 of U.S. workers are currently looking for a new job.

Surprisingly, one study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Motivosity suggested that “job satisfaction” is not the key reason people quit their jobs. Findings from other surveys found that the keys to retaining employees come down to a number of factors, including the employee’s culture fit within the company, their relationships with co-workers, and the sacrifices they’d have to make if they quit – such as losing voluntary benefits at work.

Estridge pointed out, “A person is less likely to go down the street to a company’s competitor for another couple of bucks if they know they have a strong benefit package where they are.”

For insurance brokers, The Great Resignation represents an opportunity to cross-sell voluntary employee benefits with statutory lines of coverage and help their customers recruit and retain top talent in tumultuous times.

In our last chat, we touched upon the broad variety of voluntary worksite benefits. Can you explain each product line in a bit more detail?

Larry Estridge: Let’s start with disability insurance – it replaces a portion of income, usually up to 60%, for on- and off-the-job accident and sickness.

Accident insurance pays a scheduled benefit for on-and-off the job accidents, such as burns, broken bones, ambulance rides, and emergency room coverage. It can also help with out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and co-pays.

Critical illness insurances helps employees pay out-of-pocket costs at the time of diagnosis, for things like cancer, liver disease, heart disease, stroke. It’s paid in a lump sum benefit directly to the employee. It can be used for medical expenses, rent, mortgage, groceries, anything they deem important at the time. So, it gives an employee ease and flexibility.

Life insurance is another one of the more common voluntary benefits at work. It’s often used for funeral costs, final expenses, leaving behind money as part of their legacy.

Dental and vision coverage. Those two are self-explanatory and those are the two that are usually associated with voluntary benefits at work.

Why are these voluntary employee benefits so important from a recruiting and retention standpoint, especially during the labor shortage?

A person usually takes a job or a position with a company for the right career path, or they’re looking for a competitive or good salary. But what really keeps a person at a company, aside from the paycheck, is a strong benefits package. Voluntary benefits at work are a main part of the reason companies are able to recruit and retain employees. People are really looking ahead – especially in today’s times.

Do most companies typically go for employee-funded, employer-funded or shared costs?

Larry Estridge: I would say that varies. Most companies offer some group life / AD&D along with dental and vision paid for by the employer. They may provide some LTD or STD, but employees can then choose from different offerings such as critical illness, accident insurance and the like, or they can “buy up” on other offerings. These products can be extended to family members. Usually the cost is absorbed by the employee when they do that.

Many states are introducing Paid Leave, Paid Family Leave, and expanded disability benefits packages. With this coverage available through the state, why is it more important than ever for employers to provide a range of voluntary benefits at work?

Larry Estridge: Going back to these crazy times we live in, employees are becoming more aware of what their benefits are, and what they can and can’t do. Voluntary employee benefits basically allow them to have a choice, to have some control over what their benefit package will look like. Employees can choose what’s most important to them and their families.

Again, the most robust offerings are, the better the pool of employees the owner can recruit into the business. Trying to bring someone on board – or keep them from moving elsewhere – with a strong benefit package is exactly what businesses need to be doing to combat today’s high quit rates.

 

 

 


DBL Center: Blazing a Trail with Voluntary Benefits

Human capital manager ponders voluntary benefits as a retention tool

Larry Estridge, DBL Center’s Regional VP of Group Worksite Benefits shares why disability insurance is just the beginning for our brokers…

Several years ago, The DBL Center redesigned its website and strategized a content marketing campaign to boost visibility and search engine rankings. Along with the new look and fresh content, our team came up with tagline “Disability insurance is just the beginning…”

The tagline spoke to the depth and breadth of The DBL Center’s product lines, including dental, vision, Group Life / AD&D and other ancillary benefits. In February 2017, New York State rolled out the most robust Paid Family Leave package our country had ever seen, and our tagline gained even more relevance.

This summer, The DBL Center brought on Larry Estridge, Regional Vice President of Group Worksite Benefits, to usher in a new era of expanded coverage for our brokers and their clients. His consultative sales approach fits in perfectly with the rest of The DBL Center team. He sat down with us to share his thoughts on voluntary worksite benefits, how these products can help new and current DBL Center brokers, and his future plans with The DBL Center.

Brokers have multiple options in voluntary benefits. What are some of the coverage lines available for DBL Center brokers?

Larry Estridge: Voluntary benefits can range anywhere from accident insurance, short term disability, long term disability, life insurance, critical illness, dental and vision.

Are certain voluntary benefits better suited for specific types of companies or specific demographics?

That’s an interesting question. In my experience, the size of the company really isn’t a trigger for the benefits. It starts with a conversation with the broker, and then a conversation between the broker and their client.

From our side, we help the broker start to determine what the employer’s needs are. Are there any gaps in their coverage? That’s where our expertise will come in.

We ask for a census to better understand the make up of the group. We also look and make sure added coverage makes sense. We don’t want to duplicate coverage. We just want to make sure the broker is doing the consulting they should be doing. We can help them look stronger – and increase their revenue and book of business – in an area where they might not have that expertise. That’s what we bring to the table.

Are there areas of coverage employers should look at to protect themselves, apart from providing coverage to their employees?

Larry Estridge: There are opportunities to look at executive carve-outs, which are things like income protection, disability insurance for executives, funding a buy-sell agreement for the partners, business overhead protection for business owners, key-personnel coverage is also important. These are benefits that are often overlooked because people don’t know to look for these things. We, at The DBL Center, offer this expertise to our brokers and their clients.

What would you tell brokers about the advantage of working with DBL Center for voluntary benefits packages?

Larry Estridge: For those already doing business with us, they already know who we are, what sets us apart, and how great our service is.

For those already doing business with us, they already know who we are, what sets us apart, and how great our service is. For those reading this who are not yet working with us, I want them to see and experience our strong serviceWe have a top-notch veteran team and access to some of the best carriers in the industry.  In both cases, it’s a chance for cross-sell opportunities. The more products they can offer their clients, the more stickiness the broker will have. That means the client is less likely to move onto another broker.

Clients are more apt to stay when you have more lines. Customers are more dedicated to you. As long as the broker is doing their job, the clients aren’t looking to move, because you offer what they need. You don’t have to hear, “We moved someplace else because we didn’t know you offered that product.” 

We can also offer more commissions to our brokers in some cases, because of our relationships with carriers. Our technology helps brokers work more efficiently. And, most importantly, they know we’re doing what we do best, and that allows them to concentrate on their area of expertise.

“Stickiness” is a word I haven’t heard in a while; we used it in the early days of social media. And it’s an appropriate term because it extends beyond customer loyalty. It means you’re the first option the customer considers and they “stick with you” longer – perhaps forever. Wouldn’t you agree?

Larry Estridge: Yes. It means customers are more dedicated to you. As long as the broker is doing their job, the clients aren’t looking to move.

In my more than 20 years of working with brokers, there have been times they’ve confessed that they lost someone because they came back and said their client didn’t know they had access to a specific product. And that’s sad. This is less likely to happen if you can have a conversation with a broker, and look over their business, and notice gaps… It’s a consultative approach and the client is less likely to move onto another broker.

Clients are more apt to stay when you have more lines. You don’t have to hear, “We moved someplace else because we didn’t know you offered that product.”

You mentioned earlier about not looking to duplicate coverage. Can you talk a little bit about that philosophy?

Larry Estridge: I always back off, rather than add duplication or unnecessary coverage. Forcing an unneeded benefit and losing a relationship because of that benefits no one! I know Mike and the team has that reputation of doing the right things and offering the right coverage at the right time. I’ve seen it in my short time here already.

It already sounds like you already fit right in with the team! What are some of your short- and long-term goals with The DBL Center?

Larry Estridge: Short term goals, I’d love to round out this fantastic team we have by growing the business for The DBL Center – bringing in new relationships I’ve nurtured for 20+ years and help them identify the selling opportunities with our carriers. I really want to establish us as a key player in the voluntary worksite and executive markets, so people see us growing and offering more.

From a long-term basis, I’d like to make us an industry standard in the voluntary benefits world, the way we already are with DBL, TDI, and Paid Family Leave. I want to make sure people know we are so much more than a DBL Center.