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.


Why New York State Employers Should Offer Enriched DBL Coverage

Five ways it benefits employers to provide a living wage for workers on NYS DBL.

In the months leading up to the election, there’s been a lot of talk about Americans having the opportunity to earn a living wage. While some states have minimum wage laws in line with their costs of living, the Federal minimum wage as of 2016 is only $7.25 as of July 2016. Most of us reading this might remember earning that much during high school or college—it’s certainly not enough to raise a family or buy a home. New York State workers—and their employers—face another wage challenge: Mandatory NYS DBL payments cap out at 50 percent of an employee’s paycheck, up to $170 per week. This is not a living wage. And the financial burdenNYS-DBL-Businesspeople is even greater if the employee is facing medical bills and co-pays or the birth of a newborn and the added expenses that come with a child.

But there is a solution.

It’s important for New York State business owners, CFOs, and HR directors to understand why they should offer enriched DBL coverage in New York to provide employees on temporary disability with a living wage. If you’re a broker, please share this information with your customers to start earning commission on these enriched mandatory benefits today.

1. Enriched DBL coverage can encourage employee retention.

An injured or ill employee on temporary disability shouldn’t have to worry about how they will pay their bills. If your organization isn’t taking care of them, they might use their time off to polish up their resume and look elsewhere.

2. A robust benefits package helps attract top talent—even across state borders.

Today’s employees, particularly millennials, want to have it all in a job: Salary, flexible hours or work locations, and a robust, customizable benefits package. Providing enriched DBL—even if the majority of your employees don’t use it—lets you beef up your benefits package.

Additionally, New York-based businesses in Manhattan or on the New York / New Jersey border should consider that they are competing with New Jersey-based businesses—which already have a generous mandatory disability benefits package—for top talent. A NYS DBL package that rivals New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Benefits might help you attract the best employees from over the bridges.

3. As far as benefits go, enriched DBL provides employers and HR directors with a lot of “bang for their buck.”

With minimal employer contributions, which can be shared with employees at a rate of one-half of one percent of the employee’s wages up to 60 cents per week on pre-tax dollars, employers can offer generous NYS DBL coverage of up to $850 per week. Few benefits cost so little yet provide so much value.

4. With New York introducing Paid Family Leave in 2018, enhancing DBL benefits to keep pace will improve employee morale and loyalty.

In states that offer Paid Family Leave, this benefit for new parents and anyone caring for an ill or injured loved one has been shown to improve employee morale and loyalty. More importantly, co-workers don’t mind helping out to cover for employees taking Paid Family Leave.
Offering enriched NYS DBL benefits for employees who are ill or injured can help ensure co-workers won’t resent those who are out on PFL, because they know they have the same protection should they ever be unable to work.

Additionally, New Jersey employers found that the state’s generous paid leave package helps reduce stress amongst employees who took leave, as well as their co-workers, which can impact the company’s bottom line, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.

5. Top executives benefit, too.

When you enrich your DBL benefits package in New York, your disability benefits package will increase, too, up to the maximum of $850/week or $1020/week with in-hospital coverage. You can also add an Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) rider to the policy, with a tiered plan that will provide your C-suite with the most coverage available.

Find out more about Enriched DBL in New York State in this post, or bind your NYS DBL quote for a company with fewer than 50 lives here.


The DBL Center Now Offers Medicare Advantage Plans

Earn robust commissions when you refer your customers to our Medicare specialist.

Brokers who write their policies through The DBL Center now enjoy yet another advantage in addition to our excellent choices in disability insurance and ancillary benefits and our personalized, white-glove service. We recently signed with a Medicare specialist who can help you earn robust commissions with lifetime renewals on Medicare Advantage policies.

More than 40 million Americans qualify for Medicare.What Do Medicare Advantage Plans Offer?

Previously known as Medigap coverage, and sometimes called Medicare Plan C, Medicare Advantage plans are a private insurance option to Medicare Parts A and B. They provide all the coverage of Medicare Part A (hospitalization) and Part B (healthcare coverage). But these plans offer added benefits beyond government-provided Part B coverage. These benefits may include expanded choices in healthcare providers, lower deductibles, prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D), and even vision, dental, or hearing coverage.

When Can Customers Sign Up?

If you know anything at all about Medicare, you might know there are specific enrollment periods.

Three months before an individual turns 65, up to three months after their 65th birthday, that person can enroll in any Medicare Advantage plan.

Current Medicare recipients can change their Medicare Advantage plans or switch to Medicare Advantage every year between October 15 and December 7.

That means, the time to inform your customers about Medicare enrollment is right now. Many people don’t realize they can change plans during this Annual Enrollment Period. But you’ll always have an influx of new leads as your current customers turn 65, too.

Our Specialist Understands the Options… So You Don’t Have To

Medicare Advantage plans come in many forms, including HMO and PPO plans and a host of others. It can be confusing to sift through all the options—and then explain them to customers who may have, previously, been accustomed to simply taking whatever health care coverage their employer offered.Medicare-Advantage-Graphic

When you write Medicare Advantage policies through The DBL Center’s Medicare Division, you don’t have to understand the intricacies of Medicare, including enrollment periods, penalties, and private plans. Simply introduce your customers to our Medicare specialist, who will explain the choices, match your clients with the best plan, and write the policy.

You collect robust commissions with lifetime renewals… and virtually no extra work. It’s consultative selling at its best. You build the relationship, and become their trusted resource. Our specialist steers them the right way. We all make money.

A Growing Population of 65+ Americans

Your current disability and ancillary benefits clients will, someday, turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare.  Chances are, you also know people in your personal life who are currently trying to make sense of the confusing “alphabet soup” of Medicare. Here’s your chance to help as their trusted resource and introduce them to someone who can guide them through the Medicare maze.

Here at The DBL Center, we are always looking for ways to help our brokers expand their book of business and earn more money. In 2010, there were 40.3 million Americans over the age of 65, and that number continues to grow as Baby Boomers age.  With 31 percent of Medicare enrollees purchasing Medicare Advantage coverage, it’s the right time to tap into this lucrative market.

Contact The DBL Center Ltd. today to get started earning robust commissions on Medicare Advantage plans.

Photo © Aidan Sally, Flickr Creative Commons

 

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Communicating Voluntary Benefits to your Customers and their Employees

Brokers: Are you taking these steps to show your customers the value of voluntary benefits?

As healthcare premiums continue to rise while coverage levels drop, smart business owners and HR directors are finding ways to recruit new talent and retain employees by offering voluntary ancillary benefits. This opens an opportunity for P&C and health insurance brokers to tap into new streams of revenue by bundling ancillary benefits with mandatory insurance coverage like DBL and TDB.

But knowing how to communicate these benefits is important for HR directors to get buy-in from employees. Insurance brokers are in a unique position to help spread the word about the advantages of voluntary benefits.

These tips can help.

1. Get buy-in from top executives first.

If a broker is to successfully sell voluntary benefits to an organization, it starts at the top. Focus on selling a comprehensive package of voluntary benefits to the c-suite, that way those executives (including the HR director) can knowledgeably spread the word to their employees.

Many voluntary benefits, including Group Life / AD&D, provide tiered coverage levels, where high earners gain the greatest return on their investment, so it makes sense to sell to the c-suite first.

2. Be prepared with answers to common employee questions.

Most employees thinking about investing in voluntary benefits want to know:

– How much will they save compared to buying coverage individually?
– What are the risks if they don’t invest? (i.e., How much will it cost if they have to pay for these unexpected expenses out-of-pocket?)
– Are there any tax benefits to the investment?

They might also be interested in knowing the percentage of their colleagues who’ve invested in voluntary benefits, and which benefits other people like them have found to have the greatest value.

3. Use technology as well as face-to-face meetings to convey information.

Consider setting up a Benefits Calculator on your website, or publishing a blog that addresses frequently asked questions and spotlights industry trends. You’ll establish your brokerage agency as an expert, gain trust with customers, and potentially attract new leads, too. HR directors, busy executives, and business owners can then use these resources to make informed decisions about voluntary benefits and also share the information with their employees. (Don’t forget to check The DBL Center blog regularly, too, for information you can share with your customers.)

4. Tailor benefits packages to your customers with personalized options.

Today’s workplace is unique in that it spans three to four generations of workers, from the incoming “Founders’ Generation” or Gen Y, to Millennials, GenX, and Boomers, who still make up about Voluntary benefits are another piece to the puzzle for earning greater commission as an insurance broker.. While financially savvy Millennials are likely interested in 401K packages to begin planning for retirement now, GenXers may be thinking about life insurance as they face middle age. Dental and vision coverage might appeal to Boomers with mounting medical needs.

If you can, poll employers and their employees about which benefits will appeal the most, and put together insurance bundles that meet these needs. The DBL Center is here to shop the best benefits packages for you based on what your customers want.

5. Know the key advantages to voluntary benefits in order to convey them to your customers.

Voluntary benefits provided through an employer offer many advantages over individual benefits. Employees are likely to find greater value in voluntary benefits—even if the employer isn’t sharing any of the cost. When they buy from a broker they trust who, in turn, uses an insurance wholesaler to find the best coverage with the lowest premiums, everybody wins. It’s all about leveraging industry relationships and insurance bundles to deliver the greatest value to the customer.

It’s also more convenient for employees to choose from a pre-selected package and then have costs deducted directly from their paychecks. Paying for insurance with pre-tax dollars results in added cost savings, too.

6. Make sure employees at every level understand benefit offerings.

Employees can’t invest in voluntary benefits if they don’t know what their company offers. While buy-in from top execs is key, smart brokers will also look for opportunities to speak directly to employees at every level.

Consider hosting a lunch-and-learn, where you outline the advantages of voluntary benefits in a fun, informal setting. You can even bring in a comedy act to break the ice and make attendance at the meeting more enticing. You’ll get employees in a good mood and build trust, which will make them more likely to buy.

Let Your Insurance Wholesaler Help

As your back-office support staff, The DBL Center Ltd. is here to provide you with the tools you need to better sell voluntary benefits and provide you and your customers with the white glove service you deserve.


How to Bundle Insurance, Build Loyalty, and Save Your Customers Money

Bundle insurance benefits packages to save your customers money and earning more commission with bigger sales.

If you’re a health insurance, disability insurance, or P&C broker you understand the pain of dwindling profit margins, increased premiums, and reduced choices for your customers. Good brokers look for ways to save their loyal customers money and deliver greater value.More brokers, today, are discovering they can save their customers money on disability insurance and ancillary benefits if they bundle insurance benefits together and purchasing from one wholesaler.

The Time-Tested Concept of Bundling Services

The idea of “bundling” services to save money isn’t new. About a decade ago, before streaming video services broadened our television horizons beyond cable, consumers bundled their home phone, cable, and Internet service together for substantial savings. People still do it today—although there are even more technology options available.

In the insurance industry, P&C brokers are very familiar with a number of ways to bundle insurance coverage. Individual and business customers alike may bundle property and auto insurance under one carrier for significant savings.

Why not take that one step further and bundle insurance products like your corporate customers’ ancillary benefits under one carrier, too?Smart brokers bundle insurance to save their customers money.

Whether you’re a broker currently selling P&C products, health insurance, or disability coverage, you can bundle insurance together through The DBL Center Ltd. and pass the savings on to your customers. They might be encouraged to purchase additional ancillary benefits or products like enriched DBL with the savings. You’ll build loyalty and develop even better relationships with your corporate customers as you take a consultative selling approach to your business.

What Can You Bundle?

Traditionally, many companies bundled health-related insurance products like vision and dental coverage through their health insurance provider. But the Affordable Care Act has led to increased premiums and decreased coverage.

Smart brokers—including P&C and best-in-class health insurance brokers—can fill those gaps when they bundle insurance like dental and vision coverage, previously purchased through health insurance companies. It makes just as much sense, today, to bundle ancillary benefits with mandatory disability coverage—a product your customers in New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii need to buy anyway.

The DBL Center also provides long-term disability, Group Life / AD&D, enhanced disability, and other benefits in bundled packages for cost savings and easier management of policies. We can even help you provide customers with 401K employee retirement benefits. For smaller businesses and individuals, we offer disability income replacement (DI) coverage and individual life insurance, giving our brokers endless options to cater to any size customer.

Let The DBL Center Do the Work

By working through The DBL Center Ltd., you always have one point-of-contact for all your insurance sales, commission checks, and customer service, saving you time. And you’ll save your customers even more money by letting us help you bundle insurance benefits under one carrier.

We will shop around to find your customers the best rates, including the lowest premiums and highest quality coverage, in a bundled benefits package. We do it all, acting as your white-glove back office service staff to write the policies and service your customers in a white-label capacity, freeing you up to sell more insurance, recruit new customers, expand your book of business, and cash commission checks made out directly to you.

Bundling benefits makes sense for brokers and their customers. So does working with an insurance wholesaler to capitalize on a number of different ways to bundle insurance. Why not call The DBL Center and get started today?