Brokers: Are Your NYS DBL Customers in Compliance with PFL?

One of The DBL Center’s preferred carrier partners, AmTrust, offers the information you need to help your clients get ready for PFL and ensure compliance.

“At the early stage of any new insurance regulation, education is key.” This is how Joy Maas, Director of Marketing, Sales, and Accountant Management for AmTrust Financial Services, a top provider of New York and NJ state disability benefits, began our recent conversation about the Paid Family Leave regulations going into effect January 1, 2018.

For employers, education means learning how to ensure compliance with the new regulations, understanding what the PFL benefit covers, and knowing where to turn with questions they might have.

For our insurance brokers, it means partnering with carriers, through The DBL Center, who are prepared to offer PFL as a rider to existing DBL policies. More importantly, it means taking advantage of the tools and resources available so that you can continue to educate your clients on what they need to know.

“One of the best ways brokers can get more attention and write more business, right now, is to be the expert on the topic of PFL,” Maas continues. “Be the educator.”

Resources for Brokers
Since the day the news broke about PFL, The DBL Center has kept our brokers updated with information via our blog, newsletters, and a seminar series hosted and sponsored by The DBL Center and featuring our top carriers.

Brokers who show their customers they are well-versed in PFL will be in a position to earn additional business by writing PFL riders to existing DBL policies, and brokers who write their business with The DBL Center have a choice of top carriers and a host of resources at their fingertips.

PFL Compliance is Key
Of all the details available about PFL, compliance is, perhaps, the most critical. Brokers can use consultative selling techniques to build trust and explain how employers can purchase PFL coverage to avoid hefty fines and liabilities.

Employers should know, PFL compliance requires that they:

  • Post the NYS Workers’ Comp Board’s prescribed notice(not released yet) explaining PFL benefits in a conspicuous place
  • Share the NYS Workers’ Comp  Board’s handouts on PFL
  • Update Employee Handbooks to discuss PFL
  • Remind employees out on FMLA that they may be eligible for PFL benefits
  • Continue providing health insurance to eligible employees out on PFL
  • Notify employees that they must give 30 days notice to take PFL if possible—for instance, in the event of a birth, adoption, foster care, or military deployment

Penalties for Non-Compliance
Additionally, employers should know that the Workers’ Comp Board is allowed to assess non-compliance penalties up to ½ of 1 percent of the employers’ weekly payroll for the period of non-compliance, as well as mandating that the employer pay any PFL claims. An additional penalty of up to $500 may also be assessed.

Non-compliance is pricey, while PFL compliance is simple. And although we don’t know the premium rates at this time, we should know soon. When the rate is announced, you’ll be sure to read about it here on The DBL Center blog and in our newsletter.

Let the Education Continue
Maas asserts that the brokers who are willing to educate their clients on PFL are the ones who will win the business—and possibly even sell enriched DBL policies at the same time. “Let your clients know what PFL means, how it looks, and what they can do to prepare,” she tells brokers.

Maas and her colleague, David Clark, will co-present a seminar sponsored by The DBL Center Ltd. and hosted by DBL Center Partner Michael Cohen on June 7, 2017, from 2 to 4 PM at The DBL Center headquarters in Melville, NY. For details please send an email to info@dblcntr.com.  Space is limited.

At this fun and informative event, both AmTrust and DBL Center representatives will answer our brokers’ questions about PFL  and share all the details you need to sell this new mandatory benefit knowledgeably.


Five Things DBL Brokers Should Tell their Customers about Paid Family Leave

The DBL Center and ShelterPoint Life help clear up confusion about Paid Family Leave in New York

Are you ready for Paid Family Leave in New York? No doubt, employees are ready to enjoy more socially conscious, financially viable leave to care for newborn children, aging or sick loved ones, or adopted or foster children. But many employers still have questions and concerns about the policy. Here’s what DBL brokers should know in order to educate their customers.
Kids-in-Water
1. Employers can begin payroll deductions to pay for PFL premiums as early as July 1.
Just as individuals may begin saving money in advance of an important event, employers can begin making payroll deductions for PFL beginning this July. Because DBL and PFL premiums will be due annually on a concurrent basis, this timing can help business owners manage cash flow as they phase in this new benefit. “Collecting PFL premium from payroll early alleviates some of the upfront financial burden on the employer,” writes insurance carrier ShelterPoint Life in a blog post on the company’s PFL micro-site.

2. Employers should consider continuity of operations and contingency planning in anticipation of employees using PFL beginning January 2018.
Contingency planning is important for any organization, at any time. But new PFL regulations could make it more financially feasible for new fathers to take time off to be with their new babies, for mothers to take extended maternity leave, and for employees of any age to take time off to care for loved ones without the financial concerns they might have had in the past. To maintain company morale and efficient business operations, it’s important to have a plan in place to temporarily fill these positions.

3. Employers should understand how and when their employees can use Paid Family Leave.
Employers will want to consider how they manage Paid Family Leave and other Paid Time Off. It’s important to understand:

  • DBL and PFL cannot be paid concurrently, and DBL and PFL cannot be combined to extend past the 26-week maximum benefit for any 52-week period. HR departments should understand when an employee is eligible for DBL and when PFL is appropriate.
  • Employees who have accrued paid time off may combine those days with PFL to earn their full salary for a portion of the leave, or keep their vacation time and collect only PFL benefits.
  • Employers may require employees to use accrued vacation time instead of PFL benefits.

4. Not every insurance carrier will offer PFL coverage.

PFL coverage is a rider to DBL policies, and both benefits will be mandatory in the state of New York beginning January 2018. However, not all insurance carriers will elect to offer PFL coverage. If a carrier elects not to provide PFL coverage, they must exit the DBL market and notifiy the insurance regulators accordingly.

For brokers, this means some of your customers will have to move their DBL policies to a new carrier as early as July 1. At The DBL Center, we’re committed to helping our brokers move those policies to preferred carriers prepared to offer DBL policies with PFL riders.

5. For employers, choosing the right broker will be the key to a seamless transition.

The DBL insurance industry is expecting a shake-up. Brokers who choose The DBL Center will be prepared to weather the storm. And employers who choose our brokers will find the transition seamless, as The DBL Center provides our usual white-glove, white-label service and acts as a full-service, back office to write and issue DBL policies with PFL riders. The new PFL coverage has been years in the making, and The DBL Center is ready to help our brokers educate and serve their customers.

Have more questions? Consider attending our free seminar, held May 10, 2018, from 3 to 5 PM at The NYC Friars Club, 57 E 55th Street, NY, NY, sponsored by The DBL Center, ShelterPoint Life, and the New York Business Council. RSVP today at michael.cohen @dblcntr.com, as seating is limited. Refreshments will be served.


ShelterPoint Life Insurance Executive Shares Important Facts about PFL in New York

The opportunities under Paid Family Leave are too powerful to ignore.

Are you an insurance broker worried about managing the added operational and transactional requirements of New York’s new Paid Family Leave laws? Although the rate has yet to be announced (as of this writing), and no one knows the commission potential, one top DBL carrier isn’t worried — and says you shouldn’t be either.

Photos courtesy Nicole Best, Best Photography
Photos courtesy Nicole Best, Best Photography

New York State PFL  is one of the most comprehensive policies of its kind in the country offering paid time off and job security for employees. We covered some of the specifics of the mandatory Paid Family Leave benefits here. But if you’re a broker, you probably still have questions. Fortunately, The DBL Center, along with ShelterPoint Life, one of our top carriers, is prepared with answers.

How Much Commission Can Brokers Earn?
Commissions will depend on the rate, which is yet-to-be-announced, although we’re expecting to find out by early-to-mid May. “Our commitment is we are going to do everything possible to make fair payments to brokers,” says DeWitt M. Smith, Senior Vice President and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer for ShelterPoint Life, a top-rated insurance carrier poised to offer Paid Family Leve coverage through brokers across New York State.

Because of the additional premiums that will be deducted from employee wages and paid by employers, there could be a “nice increase in potential commission revenue,” continues Smith. “We believe the State appreciates the efforts involved by the brokers, and will make it possible for us to offer incremental increases in broker commissions.”

In short… we’re still waiting to find out how much commission brokers can earn. But The DBL Center and ShelterPoint Life are ready to make it as easy as possible for brokers to streamline PFL sales, enabling brokers to maximize those potential profits. “We’re working to take the worry and stress out of all the transactional and compliance-related issues that go along with PFL,” says Smith.

How Much Work Will It Take?
Writing PFL coverage will represent an added step in a consultative selling approach for DBL brokers in New York. In spite of the news coverage, many employers and HR executives still don’t understand what PFL means or what they need to do to get coverage in place. Employers can begin making payroll deductions for this coverage as early as July 1, so it’s up to you, the trusted broker, to educate your customers on their options.

Fortunately, ShelterPoint Life and The DBL Center are working to make it easy. If you currently write your NYS DBL policies with ShelterPoint Life through The DBL Center, PFL coverage will take the form of a simple rider added to the DBL policy. “For brokers accustomed to working with us in a simple, automated way online, adding PFL coverage to existing policies should be easy,” says Smith.

Brokers who offer PFL should also be ready for an influx of new customers, as only select carriers will write PFL coverage. Brokers who work with The DBL Center have an advantage, because our brokers can continue to write both DBL and PFL coverage policies through us.

My Customers Have Questions. Where Can I Go To Find the Answers?
The PFL education process will take time. Yet, it represents a great opportunity for brokers who work with The DBL Center to employ their consultative selling skills to give customers the answers they can’t find elsewhere. “We’ve had a dedicated task force in place since the day the law was signed,” notes Smith. “We also have a robust external communications strategy, with a dedicated PFL micro-site, blog, and newsletter designed to provide answers to brokers, employers, and employees.”

Browse the ShelterPoint PFL micro-site, formulate a marketing strategy to educate customers, and be certain to turn to The DBL Center should you (or your customers) have additional questions. You might also make plans to attend our informative seminar, sponsored jointly by ShelterPoint Life, The DBL Center, and the New York Business Council, to be held May 10, 2017 from 3 to 5 PM at The Friars Club, 57 E 55th Street, NY, NY. Seating is limited, so RSVP today by emailing michael.cohen@dblcntr.com.


5 Small Steps to Raise Your Insurance Agency Profile

Your insurance agency is sure to get noticed if you use these tactics to reach prospective clients.

The world of insurance is changing rapidly, but word-of-mouth referrals remain the biggest source of leads for property and casualty brokers.

Word-of-mouth, today, means a lot more than attending local networking meetings or playing golf with business owners and HR directors.

To get noticed in a crowded environment, your insurance agency needs to stand out in every way. And this means raising the bar for the way you present your company and showcase your brand—online and off.

These five tips can help you raise the profile of your insurance agency and showcase your brand as trustworthy and professional. And remember, The DBL Center Ltd. is always here to help as your general agency insurance wholesaler, providing white-glove service to you and your customers.

1. Welcome callers with a professional voice mail.

Is your agency small? Is your office manager often overworked? Don’t waste time answering phones when a professional voice mail or answering service can help your customers reach who they want faster—without pulling employees away from their regular duties.

2. Create a strong social media presence.

More than 70 percent of insurance agents say they view social media marketing as their primary means to reach millennial customers. If you’re looking to connect with today’s up-and-coming HR directors and build trust, you need to be online. And while insurance agents know that, studies show they aren’t necessarily acting on it effectively. According to a survey by KnownCircle, Inc., a social media referral service, less than 30 percent are engaging with customers on social media. In fact, most agencies (more than 60 percent) simply build a social proSocial-Graphfile on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and then ignore it.

Set your agency apart by building a social profile that is consistent with your branding, and then keeping it updated with relevant content.

3. Build a better website.

Does your website look like it was designed in 2005? Or even 2010? Like clothes, cars, and home décor, web designs go out of fashion. If your website was designed more than five years ago (or looks like it was!) it’s time for an update.

While you’re re-designing the site, make sure the branding across your organization (from your website to social media platforms to business cards, letterhead, and in-office signage) are all consistent, modern, and enticing.

4. Provide 24/7 service to your customers.

Today’s customers are more demanding than ever, largely driven by millennials. According to one article in Entrepreneur, 71 percent of millennials say the most important thing is that an organization values their time. And 25 percent expect a response within 10 minutes of reaching out to a company via social media.

This goes back to building a strong web presence, paying attention to how customers feel about your brand, and engaging with your customers—which would all make sense if you were dealing direct with consumer.  However, because you are working in a B2B environment, you have the luxury of streamlining that path to engagement and customer service: Give your customers an easy way to get help 24/7 through your insurance wholesaler.

5. Use a wholesale general insurance agency as your full-service, back-office support staff.

Here at The DBL Center Ltd., we make it easy for you to preMobile application (1)sent a professional image and white-glove support to your customers. We are your full-service, back-office support staff answering questions, helping your customers file claims, and providing information on claims filed. Our professionally designed web interface makes it easy.

And, as a broker working with us, our mobile app and website make it easy for you to provide the service your customers need, too. Whether you’re writing a new policy or upgrading mandatory DBL to enriched DBL coverage to give your customers more value, we are here to help you serve your customers with speed and professionalism.


Is It Time to Sell Your Insurance Brokerage?

When it’s time to move on, The DBL Center can help.

We live in an uncertain world. No one is sure what the economy will do, how a revamped national health care plan will affect health insurance brokers, or the cascading effects such a plan will have on property & casual brokers. Many of us in the industry (including The DBL Center) plan to stay the course, adapt, and prevail. But that may not be the right course of action for every broker.
Money-Boat
P&C brokers have a number of reasons they may want to sell their agency. There may not be an adult child or close friend willing and able to take over the family business. Maybe the owner is just ready to cash in on the fruits of their labor after all these years and enjoy retirement, or maybe there is a health issue. Or maybe an agency owner wants to take a full advantage of today’s valuation and multiples on today’s agencies across the country.

When selling is the right exit strategy, who do you sell to? This isn’t an easy decision.

Turn to Those Who Know

You know how to run an insurance brokerage. But you probably don’t know how to get the most value for it when you decide to sell.

The DBL Center Ltd. and Helfer & Associates, a consulting and advisory firm focused exclusively on the insurance agency industry, have forged a mutually beneficial agreement to help DBL Center brokers formulate and deploy an exit strategy when the time comes.

Kenny Helfer, Managing Partner of Helfer & Associates,  is a trusted consultant specializing in independent insurance agencies and brokers that provide both property & casualty, as well as life & health benefits. Kenny’s firm provides substantive value for any agency owner looking to take some chips off the table for a variety of reasons. He prepares strategic road maps and financial analytics for agency owners looking for potential exit strategies. This includes formal introductions to all the major buyers in the market, based on the personal relationships Kenny has developed over his years in the industry. His proven track record, expertise, and assistance spans all phases of the preparation and sale. His goal is to maximize the value of an agency of any size and to generate the best possible deal, structure, and outcome for his agency clients. Most importantly, he guides the entire process and removes the stress that could come with the most important business transaction of one’s life.

Weathering the Change

Undoubtedly, the sale of an insurance brokerage can create stress on existing employees involved in the acquisition, which can lead to the loss of top talent within the agency. Employees may be unsure of their job security, the new management structure, and their new employer’s expectations. Helfer & Associates works with the new management team to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible to improve retention of the firm’s greatest asset – their people.

Stay with Those You Trust

One mistake insurance brokerages often make following a sale is switching their wholesale insurance general agency. When a larger firm buys a smaller firm, they might switch wholesalers to keep everything under the umbrella of the parent company—simply because that’s the way the larger firm has always done things. This isn’t always the right choice.

If brokers are accustomed to working with a best-in-class insurance wholesaler with access to top A+++ rated carriers and a host of value-added products and services like The DBL Center, changing insurance wholesalers can create culture shock, frustration, and, again, problems retaining top employees.

If your insurance wholesaler is providing the white-glove service you and your employees have come to expect, finding a way to continue working together following the sale could help ease the transition to new ownership, retain top employees, and maintain the firm’s value. After all, it is the people, the insurance products, and the service that gives a brokerage firm its value—before and after the sale.

The DBL Center Ltd. works hard to earn, and sustain, our brokers’ trust. We provide a host of value-added services, as well as carrying many ancillary lines of coverage to help brokers easily expand their book of business and increase commissions. With advanced technology that allows our brokers to more easily write and manage accounts, The DBL Center stays at the forefront of the insurance industry. We believed informed customers are our best customers, so we stay ahead of important industry news, like New York’s new Paid Family Leave law, passing the information on to our brokers as it is announced. We are ready with top carriers who can provide brokers with the products they need once mandatory PFL goes into place.

Is It Time?

Choosing to sell your insurance brokerage and leave your livelihood is not an easy decision. And it’s obviously not the right choice for everyone. But when the time comes, DBL Center Ltd., working with Helfer & Associates, can help you create an exit strategy you can feel good about while helping to maintain consistency within the organization.

Contact us to find out how you can get the highest valuation for your agency.


5 Ways The DBL Center Delivers Better Service

Insurance brokers can receive better service working through the right insurance wholesaler.

Being an insurance broker isn’t easy, especially in these challenging times. Will Obamacare stay or will it go? How will that affect health insurance brokers, as well as those who provide ancillary benefits? The industry could be facing another major shake-up–but even that’s not guaranteed.

One way to prepare yourself for success in uncertain times is to build a reliable team. That team should include an insurance wholesaler who provides the white-glove, white-label service you and your customers deserve. Here are five ways The DBL Center sets itself apart as a wholesale insurance broker providing disability insurance, ancillary benefits, and more. Contract

1. Enjoy a single point-of-contact for most benefits.

From disability insurance, which is mandated in New Jersey, New York, and Hawaii, to up-sell benefits, which can help brokers increase their earnings, The DBL Center provides what today’s brokers need to service small to mid-size businesses and larger firms.

Your customers come to you for disability coverage. You can help them increase their employee benefits packages with enriched DBL in
New York, and ancillary benefits such as vision, dental, and Group Life/AD&D coverage.

2. Bind quotes quickly and easily online.

You can compare rates and bind DBL coverage for businesses with under 50 lives in just a few clicks online. Our AA+ rated carriers also permit customers to easily begin and track claims online.

At DBL Center, our technology sets us apart and makes it easier for you, as the broker, to do your job and provide your customers with a higher level of service.

3. Book entertainment to thank special clients or give your employees a nice bonus.

Whether it’s the holiday season, start of summer, or any other occasion, it’s nice to take a break. Through our partnerships with The Friar’s Club and Steiner Sports Marketing, we can book comedic and sports guests for any occasion. Thank a special customer by adding entertainment to their corporate outing, or host an event yourself to thank all your top-tier customers. When we say we are more than just disability insurance, we really mean it. We are here to serve our brokers.

4. We can provide investment options for your customers.

From Roth IRA’s to 401Ks, we have an investment advisor on staff that can help you provide the best options to your employees. You can also add a revenue stream to your brokerage by offering retirement benefits to the HR directors you already work with. Best of all, there’s no added work on your part—just added commission. Connect our investment expert to your customers, and we’ll steer them down the right path for retirement savings.

5. Use our app to manage your book of business from anywhere.

The DBL Center already provides the capability of managing your book of business online, with our account representatives at your service when you need a more personal touch or have questions.

Now in development, our new mobile app for Android and iOS will permit you to manage your book of business from anywhere. Don’t wait until you’re back in the office to process that new account; do it immediately so your customers can have their Certificate of Insurance sooner. Take care of business on the road, at home, or from the coffee house. Wherever you happen to be, our mobile app makes it easy to check in and manage your insurance sales.

White Glove Service, High Tech Capabilities

DBL Center blends the best of old-fashioned concierge service with the latest technology to enable our brokers to do more in less time and focus on increasing their commissions.

We may not be sure what direction the industry will take in the next two to four years, but The DBL Center will be by your side, providing the tools you need to thrive as an insurance broker.


New York Leads the Way in Paid Family Leave

Brokers can profit by providing your customers with the information they need about Paid Family Leave.

Last year, New York State announced new Paid Family Leave regulations to be phased in over four years starting in January 2018.

Photos courtesy Nicole Best, Best Photography
Photos courtesy Nicole Best, Best Photography

The regulations would give New York families the best coverage in any state, surpassing even California, which currently has the most generous PFL laws in the country.

To recap what Paid Family Leave provides to employees (from our April blog post, which you can read here):

PFL mandates up to 12 weeks of job-protected, paid leave for all New York employees, regardless of the size of the company, for any of the following reasons:

  • bonding with and caring for a newborn, adopted, or foster care child during the first 12 months
  • caring for a seriously ill family member
  • addressing important needs related to a family member’s military service.

Draft of PFL Regulations Released

Yesterday, the State of New York governor’s office published an important press release outlining developments in the PFL law, as well as a draft of parts of the new PFL regulations. The regulations are now in an important, 45-day pubic commenting period, so changes can still be made. One of our top carriers, Shelterpoint, compiled the regulations in an easy to read format.

Local Change Sets an Example for the Nation

Described as the “nation’s strongest and most comprehensive Paid Family Leave policy,” the policy seeks to support our state’s working families. While past presidential administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have touted support for women and families, the fact is, the U.S. has failed when it comes to putting the legislation in place to support parents and other caregivers.

New York’s PFL policy, like those of California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey, creates a benchmark for other states to follow in providing families with the financial support they need when caring for children and the elderly, and to assist military families in their times of need.

What PFL Means to New York Insurance Brokers

PFL is mandated insurance coverage, just like NYS DBL. Employers will be turning to their DBL insurance providers for the information they need. Obviously, writing PFL policies represents another stream of revenue for brokers—and because it’s mandatory, it’s an easy sell. Your customers know and trust you. They will come to you with questions. It’s important to be prepared with the right answers.

That’s where The DBL Center comes in. We are your back-office for insurance sales and service, including DBL, ancillary benefits, and now, PFL coverage.

What We Know Right Now About PFL in New York

We know that the new insurance will be employee-funded and community rated, but we don’t yet know the rates. It will be up to carriers to set commissions, which will be dependent on the state-mandated rates in order to keep this employee-funded coverage affordable.

As always, the best way to make money on these policies is to bundle them with other coverage to maximize commissions. Rely on The DBL Center as your back office staff to do the legwork, so you can optimize your time and maximize your profits.

Get Involved

We urge our brokers to read through the regulations, think about them carefully, and propose suggested changes in writing, which will serve to benefit insurance brokers and their customers.

Most importantly, keep an eye on this site to read the latest news and developments about PFL in New York. The times they are a’changing, as they say.


Life Insurance Purchases: Studies Show Consumers Are Receptive

Even with Trump’s proposed tax code changes, term life and Group Life / AD&D still a safe bet.

Are you a property & casualty, disability, or health insurance broker looking for new revenue streams? Life insurance might just represent another avenue to increase your book of business.Father-Son-Life-Ins

According to the Insurance Barometer Study, conducted jointly by not-for-profit research industry trade association LIMRA and the non-profit educational organization Life Happens, today’s consumers not only are receptive to life insurance purchases, but are also vocal advocates for it.

According to the study:

        66 percent of consumers are “somewhat likely” to recommend life insurance to others

 

      86 percent of consumers believe most people need life
      insurance
      60 percent of American own either individual life or group life / AD&D coverage
      34 percent said they were likely to buy life insurance in 2016

Surprisingly, the younger generation seems to show a maturity beyond its years, with 77 percent of millennials saying they recommend owning life insurance.

Life Insurance Purchases in the Trump Era

Although the study concluded in mid-2016, the new political climate and proposed tax changes should not affect the decision to buy life insurance. As life insurance broker Chris Acker states on LinkedIn:

“Regardless of tax reform possibilities, if you need life insurance, then BUY life insurance. Don’t put off protecting the very family that means the world to you just because a tax change ‘might’ happen.”

It’s hard to argue with that logic, and, as a broker, if you spot this gap in your customers’ coverage, it’s your responsibility to point it out and provide them with options.

But how could new tax code affect life insurance purchases? For the vast majority of term-life and Group Life / AD&D policy holders, the answer is: It won’t.

We’re not tax advisors, and you should speak to your accountant or a tax attorney if you’re considering investing in permanent (i.e. “whole” or “cash value”) life insurance. If Trump’s tax code passes, it could eliminate the tax-free build-up that is a major incentive to invest in whole life.

If you own a cash value policy, you can borrow money up to the amount you’ve paid into the policy without any tax penalties. In 2017 and beyond, if Trump’s proposed policy passes, that money would be taxed.

But if you’re purchasing a term life policy, universal policy, or investing in Group Life / AD&D with your employer, you don’t see those tax benefits anyway. Nothing changes.

And, keep in mind, if you’re already a whole life insurance holder prior to 2017, the new tax law wouldn’t apply.

Brokers: Make Life Insurance Part of Your Consultative Selling Approach

It’s not difficult to understand when it’s laid out in a few concise paragraphs, as above. Life insurance remains a good investment and a necessity to protect your family and provide income for them if you pass away.

But there is a lot of fear surrounding the current administration, and some of that fear could lead to hesitation to purchase life insurance. Customer education will be the key. Term life insurance and Group Life / AD&D policies won’t change.

Business owners and consumers, alike, can trust the brokers who provide their other benefits, including disability coverage, dental, and vision insurance, to shop for the best deals on Group Life and individual life insurance coverage.

For customers who are considering whole life insurance, term life can be a good “placeholder” policy until tax law changes get sorted out.

Corporate and individual customers need brokers they can trust in these confusing times. If you step up with the information they need, policies from top-rated carriers, and the white-glove service The DBL Center can help you provide in a white label capacity, you’ll always be top of mind.

You’re the one your customers turn to when they need guidance and when they’re ready to make a purchase. We can help.

The DBL Center… more than just disability insurance.


Insurance Brokers: How Tech Savvy Is Your General Agency?

Insurance brokers should be able to rely on their wholesale general agency to lead the digital revolution within the insurance industry.

A recent article in The Digital Insurer pointed to chatbots—sophisticated artificial intelligence programs that can answer questions and provide customer service for companies in much the way human representatives can—as replacing insurance underwriters in the foreseeable future. We beg to differ.

The jury’s still out on chatbots and widespread acceptance of this technology, especially when it comes to B2BThe DBL Center's new mobile app for our insurance brokers. insurance sales. Insurance brokers work in a high-touch industry, where consultative selling is a key, and relationships build business. A consumer looking for the lowest price on car insurance may accept a chatbot to provide a quote. But a business is not going to trust a computer program—even a sophisticated one—to write a mandatory disability insurance policy for 100 employees in their company.

The high level of personalized, white glove service The DBL Center provides is one reason we have more than 4,000 insurance brokers across 15 states, who rely on us to supply mandatory disability insurance (TDB in NJ and DBL in NY), as well as ancillary benefits, group life AD&D, and a growing list of additional insurance and investment services, to their business customers.

But as much as we are, and will remain, a service-oriented business, we do consider ourselves pretty high tech, too, here at The DBL Center.

Get Easy Online Quotes

While much of the industry was still relying on cold calls for insurance sales and faxing documents to bind quotes, we began providing the ability to bind a quote for NY DBL coverage for fewer than 50 lives online with a few clicks. The automated system operates through our portal, permitting agencies to quickly and easily compare prices and coverage with top-rated insurance carriers in our industry. Agents can bind the quote with just a few clicks, without ever speaking to a representative.  Of course, we are available if you do have any questions, need guidance through the process, want to upgrade to an enriched DBL plan, or add ancillary benefits. But our entire system is designed to make the process quick and easy for the insurance brokers who do business with us.

Insurance Brokers Can Manage Accounts Easily Online

Our proprietary insurance broker’s portal, available to insurance agents who write their business through The DBL Center, gives our customers access to a host of information. Brokers can:

– Track their book of business
– Track commissions and export the data
– Issue their own Certificates of Insurance (DB-820) in real-time

These capabilities put our brokers in better control of their businesses, and frees up our staff to focus on areas where the human touch is needed to provide the next level of customer service.

Your Wholesale Agency Goes Mobile

The next phase of our development involves a mobile app that provides our brokers with expanded capabilities to manage their book of business from anywhere they might be. Brokers no longer have to wait to return to the office to issue DB-820s, get quotes, or write new business.

With the rise in telecommuting and flexible hours, brokers who write their business through DBL Center can now enjoy the freedom of working from virtually anywhere, achieving new levels of productivity and, in turn, serving their customers better.

High-Tech and Still High-Touch

While the app puts advanced capabilities at our brokers’ fingertips, it will also help The DBL Center team take our service to the next level. By automating several behind-the-scenes processes, we’ll be able to free up our staff to provide better, faster service when our brokers and their customers need the high-touch experience that is expected in this industry.

Best of all, our brokers don’t have to be exceptionally tech-savvy. That’s our job. We’ve worked with top developers to make the app as easy to navigate and as intuitive as possible.

As the world undergoes a digital transformation, the insurance industry can’t afford to be left behind. We provide the tools to help our insurance brokers make the transition in order to increase productivity and earn more.

Learn how you can expand your book of business with The DBL Center by your side.


Disability Claims Rise After the Holidays

Are you ready with enriched disability coverage for your employees or customers?

If you’re running a business or have a full-time career, are raising a family, and managing to juggle the other responsibilities of adulthood, you already know the holidays are stressful. But did you know the months following the holidays are more dangerous than other times of the year?

A study done by The Hartford, one of The DBL Center Ltd.’s top insurance carriers, showed that short-term disability claims went up in January and February. Are you ready?

Why Do Disability Claims Go Up in the Winter?

January and February are challenging months for many people. The rise in prevalence of colds and the flu can lead to increased respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia, which sometimes requires hospitalization and a short-term leave from work. The Hartford study shows that 66 percent of all winter disability claims were illness-related, which also can include depression. Additionally, 22 percent of claims were for pregnancy/childbirth, and 11 percent were due to accidents.Empty table in a conference room

Slips and falls on ice, car accidents, accidents and injuries related to snow shoveling, as well as winter sports injuries all contribute to increased disability claims in the winter. Depression and stress-related illnesses also tend to rise in the northeast during the long, cold winter days. Although the study was completed in 2009, these facts haven’t changed. But there are ways you can make a difference in your workplace.

Focus on Employee Health and Wellness

Encourage employees to take a sick day—and visit a doctor—when they are sick, to help prevent the common cold from turning into pneumonia and to keep them from spreading germs around the office. Frequent hand-washing is shown to be the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Make sure the restrooms and kitchen are stocked with hand soap.

Consider implementing stress-reduction programs such as office massage or lunch-break yoga classes. If you don’t have an employee gym facility on-site, consider adding gym membership reimbursement to your perks and benefits package. Studies show regular exercise may help the body fight off colds.

Be Prepared with a Plan

When employees go out on short-term disability, their team members must pick up the slack. Cross-training employees on mission critical tasks, so that someone can fill in when there’s an unexpected illness, or even a planned maternity leave, can help keep office stress levels down and maintain employee morale.

Make sure employees understand the expectations and reward them in tangible ways and with praise when they step up to help out their co-workers.

Offer Enhanced DBL to Help Avoid Long-Term Claims

If an employee’s short-term disability coverage can’t help them get through the rough patch, they might be tempted to consider other alternatives, such as applying for long-term disability (Social Security Disability Insurance). They might use their short-term leave to find another job with a better benefits package.

The Benefits of Enriched DBL and TDB Disability Coverage

New York-based businesses can provide an enriched DBL package, which increases benefits beyond the New York State minimum of $170/week. Businesses in New Jersey can offer long-term disability coverage to dovetail state-mandated temporary disability benefits (TDB), and may also save money by bundling TDB coverage with other ancillary benefits such as dental, life insurance or add a group short-term disability policy over and above the state-mandated benefit.

Beat the Winter Blues with Better Disability Coverage

Business owners and HR directors should consider beating the winter blues with enriched DBL or privatized TDB. You can switch your disability insurance providers on the first day of each quarter: January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.

If you’re an insurance broker, this is the perfect time to write new business by letting companies in New York and New Jersey know about the advantages of privatized disability coverage with personalized service and benefits beyond the New York State minimum, so they can be prepared for the possibility of increased disability claims in the first months of the new year.

Let The DBL Center Ltd. help you get through the winter with the disability coverage you need.