Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave Act Deadline Approaches

Insurance brokers across Massachusetts have an opportunity to increase their commissions and better serve Massachusetts business owners through the Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave Act.

By helping your customers privatize Massachusetts PFML before October 1, you can offer premium discounts plus defer fourth quarter premium payments until January 1, 2020.

Here’s what you need to know about the important October 1, 2020 deadline approaching for business owners who want to write privatized paid family medical leave in Massachusetts.

1. Massachusetts business owners can only defer taxes on state-run PFML in MA through October 1, 2020.

Business owners must pay PFML premiums on policies written by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by October 1, 2020. As we still battle the pandemic, many business owners continue to struggle with revenue, paying rent, or even making payroll. Some companies remain closed or at half-capacity right now. If there was ever a time to defer a mandatory expense, it’s now.

If your customers privatize Massachusetts PFML now, they don’t have to deduct payroll taxes for MA PFML premiums for 2020 until January 1, 2021.

Combined with the Paycheck Protection Program portion of the CARES Act, which permits business owners to defer the deposit and payment of the employer’s portion of Social Security taxes through December 31, 2020, this deferment can help free up cash for Massachusetts business owners at a time they need it most.

2. DBL Center brokers can save Massachusetts business owners money on PFML premiums if they privatize before October 1, 2020.

With no signature requirements or red tape, applying for a private plan exemption in Massachusetts is easy. As a broker, you can:

    Help your customers apply for the exemption
    Save business owners money on premiums
    Show your customers how to defer payroll deductions and premium payments through January 1, 2021

But only if you act now. After January 1, 2021, brokers can still write a private plan with faster, more flexible payments and better service. But premium rates will be the same as the state plan.

As Kelvin Joseph of Kool Kel Marketing stated in a recent interview, “Right now, businesses are looking to increase their revenue and reduce their expenses. [DBL Center] has a way to save people money.”

As a DBL Center broker, you can take advantage of our industry knowledge, connections, and relationships with top-rated carriers to save your customers money while providing superior service with DBL Center as your back-office staff.

3. Private plans, by law, must provide benefits equal to or greater than those required by the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.

As in New York and New Jersey, Paid Family and Medical Leave plans in Massachusetts must provide benefits equal to or better than the state plan. If you could get the same (or better) product at the same (or lower) price, wouldn’t you?

It makes switching to a private plan a no-brainer, especially with The DBL Center here to help your customers get the lowest premiums available.

4. PFML benefits in MA begin January 1, 2021, with additional benefits to go into effect July 1, 2021.

As of January 1, 2021, Massachusetts will join New York to offer paid family leave benefits for employees to care for:

    A new infant, adoption, or foster child
    Family members if a spouse is deployed
    A family member with a serious health condition who is also a covered member of the military services

Beginnning July 1, 2021, PFML in MA will also cover time off to care for any family member with a serious health condition.

5. When your customers privatize PFML, you gain access to The DBL Center’s exclusive technology and service to help you track renewals, cancellations, and commissions.

For brokers across the New England region, working with The DBL Center offers many advantages to help you provide outstanding service to your customers as they navigate the confusing terrain of the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.

We act as your back office staff to manage policies, collect premiums, and even track down late payments for you.

Our Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker provides all the information you need to manage your business, giving you access to renewals, cancellations, and commissions at a glance.

Massachusetts business owners may not want to think about another mandatory expense during the pandemic. They need brokers like you on their side to help them save money and receive the superior service they deserve. Reach out to The DBL Center today to help your customers privatize state mandated benefits under the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.


Don’t Be Late (on DBL Premiums): Let The DBL Center Help You Get the Commissions You Deserve

Insurance brokers know that DBL stands for “Disability Benefits Law,” which provides statutory New York State short term disability insurance to qualifying workers through employer-funded benefits packages.

But here at DBL Center, we love a good play on words. We want to remind our brokers that this year, more than ever, the “DBL” in DBL Center stands for “Don’t be late.” That is, don’t be late with your NY disability insurance premiums and delay your incoming commissions because clients haven’t remitted premiums on time.

Are You Leaving Commissions on the Table?

Across New York, businesses have closed as a result of the pandemic. From mom-and-pop boutiques, to law firms, restaurants, gyms, and even larger companies, New York business owners felt the crush of the quarantine, followed by re-opening regulations, and a public that is wary of leaving their homes or spending money.

As we continue to struggle with these challenges, one thing insurance brokers shouldn’t have to worry about is whether or not their clients still in business have paid their premiums.

Yet, it’s a fact of life. Brokers face cancellations due to non-pays, client bookkeeping errors, and other lapses that can delay your commissions.

Even in the best of times, you don’t want to have to waste time chasing down clients. The Covid-19 pandemic complicated it further, because you don’t know who:

• Went out of business
• Doesn’t have the money to pay
• Received a PPP loan but perhaps thought premiums were yet another bill waived due to the pandemic
• Put their statutory DBL last on the list of payments to make, after paying the lease and keeping the lights on

Whatever your client’s situation, if they have an in-force NYS DBL policy or enriched DBL, they owe the premium amount due – and you deserve your commission.

We’re More Than Your Insurance Wholesaler, We’re Your Bill Collector

DBL Center is here to remind your customers “don’t be late,” on their DBL payments. Through our powerful Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, we can track renewals, cancellations, and non-pays.

Then we send those emails and make those uncomfortable calls reminding your clients their New York state DBL payment is due. We use the utmost tact, and will get that bill paid so you can collect your commission.

And if a company has gone out of business? We’ll adjust the Broker Dashboard records to reflect that. No more wasted time on out-of-business companies.

Tracking Lives After Layoffs and Furloughs

Many customers might have NYS DBL premium payments due, but not understand the amount owed due to a change in their overall employee head count. If their bill does not reflect the new number of lives, reflective of layoffs or furloughs that occurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ll recalculate the total amount due.

And, again, get that bill paid so you can collect your commission.

Free Up Your Time to Grow Your Business

When you help your clients purchase NY disability insurance through The DBL Center, we serve as your back-office staff to manage your accounts. That frees you up to do what you do best, which is sell insurance – even in a struggling economy.

With access to our Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, you’ll always know what you’re earning at a glance. You can track accounts ready for renewal, cancellations, and commissions. The Broker Dashboard helps you stay on top of it all – and The DBL Center team is here to help you manage it.

As I stated in my last video interview, the year is more than half over. Halloween is just around the corner and before you know it, we’ll all be closing the books on 2020 and hoping for better things ahead.

Now is the time to start planning for 2021. What will your book of business look like? Are you putting the time into sales or hunting down premium payments? Let us help so we can all look forward to a better future.


Should the State Increase NY Disability Insurance Rates?

Governor Cuomo signs Covid-19 legislation.We’re living in unprecedented times and federal, state, and local governments are looking for ways to adapt. Seeking a balance between regulations and budget, legislation has sought to help Americans keep their businesses open and their employees paid through the vast challenges 2020 has brought us.

Most business owners in New York, along with insurance brokers and other professionals, have concerns about keeping our economy going. Increasing NY disability insurance rates for statutory DBL coverage might be the last thing on people’s minds. But it’s something those of us in the insurance industry should be thinking about.

Should the State Consider Raising NY Disability Insurance Benefits?

NY State Disability Insurance benefits, or DBL, has not increased in decades. With a maximum payout of $170 per week, NYS DBL lags behind New Jersey TDB benefits, and even Massachusetts and Connecticut. The latter two states recently introduced statutory paid leave for non-work related illness or injury.

The last thing New York business owners would want to face right now is a premium increase for any benefits. Many New York City landmarks have shuttered as a result of recent events, and mom-and-pop shops in Main Street areas across upstate and downstate New York have closed permanently or struggle to stay alive.

But an increase in NY state disability insurance pay-outs could yield benefits to employers in the long run, especially as we face uncertainty related to the pandemic. Will DBL claims rise if we see a second wave of the virus? Will the government be so quick to offer Federal aid packages the second time around? Will businesses, already hard hit by recent events, be able to mount a second comeback? No one knows the answers to these questions.

FFCRA Alleviates Pressure on NY State Disability Insurance Brokers

When the first wave of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, hit, the Federal government intervened with the Families First Act. The FFA alleviated much of the pressure on insurance carriers who otherwise would have faced unprecedented levels of claims because of COVID-19.

Here at The DBL Center, we also sprung to action. Our COVID-19 pre-screening software helped eliminate confusion regarding NY State Disability Insurance claims and FFA claims.

If the Federal government had not signed the FFA to help Americans with income replacement if they became ill from COVID-19 or had to care for family members with the virus, disability insurance carriers and brokers may have experienced a situation similar to what P&C brokers in the northeast experienced in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Business owners and the insurance industry, alike, were not set up to respond to an emergency of this scale. Our country was not prepared; but perhaps there is no effective way to prepare for a global pandemic.

Looking to the Future of NY Disability Insurance

Many people reading this, even our brokers who are tapped into the industry, don’t realize that the governor initially had plans to increase DBL benefits when he introduced Paid Family Leave. A short-term disability insurance increase was in the original legislation, but removed before the Paid Family Leave Act was signed.

Increasing NY state disability insurance benefits will help business owners retain high-quality talent, which is a challenge in any economy. New York City, especially, is suffering from “brain drain,” or young, smart, and affluent couples leaving the city. Reports say five percent of Manhattan’s population fled the city between March 1 and May 1 at the height of the pandemic. Further, 69% of tech and finance employees said they would leave New York if they could work from home.

This exodus began years prior to the pandemic because of real estate prices, but was exacerbated this spring.

No, increased DBL may not tip the scales, but having peace-of-mind that you can survive on your disability insurance benefits should you become ill with coronavirus could give many New Yorkers one less reason to leave. Couple that with the most robust PFL policy in the nation, and New York becomes a more family-friendly state.

It’s a good time to make legislation changes right now. New Yorkers have become accustomed to rapid change and increased benefits, including the $600 Federal boost in unemployment benefits.

As always, because it is a shared benefit, DBL represents one way business owners can provide added value to their top employees at a small cost.

Until the time comes that NY State disability insurance benefits rise, business owners can purchase private disability insurance in New York. DBL Center brokers can offer their customers increased benefits through enriched DBL, white-glove service, and faster, more flexible payouts.

What do you think? Is it time for NY to increase their disability insurance benefits?


Private Disability Insurance in New York: Save Money and Create Happier Customers

As New York begins its phased reopening, many employers seek to call back workers on furlough or re-hire employees who have been laid off. Employers may also be looking for ways to reduce expenses as they come off possibly the roughest financial quarter New York businesses have faced in decades.

Now, more than ever, your clients are looking to save money and improve retention (or entice employees back to work). Enriching DBL benefits through private disability insurance in New York is one way your customers can:

  • Enjoy better service
  • Get an enriched benefits package
  • Save money by bundling statutory NY disability insurance with ancillary benefits

Why You Should Encourage Employers to Privatize NY Disability Insurance

The New York State Disability Benefits Law (DBL) gives employers the option to purchase NY state disability insurance through the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF). But writing policies through the NYSIF does not offer the advantages of private disability insurance. New York businesses who write DBL with the NYSIF max out coverage limits at $170 a week for 26 weeks. Who could live on that, especially in downstate New York?

When employers write NY Disability Benefits insurance through a private insurance carrier, they can enhance coverage limits past the state minimum, improve employee retention, and enjoy more personalized service. Additionally, DBL Center has relationships with multiple carriers, to offer a wide range of coverage options.

Why Insurance Brokers Should Choose DBL Center for New York Disability Benefits Coverage

The DBL Center has been helping NY insurance brokers write private disability insurance in New York for more than 40 years. Our instant binding application helps you prepare quotes from multiple carriers in a matter of minutes.

You can bundle enriched NY state disability insurance (DBL) with ancillary benefits like vision, dental, and group life / AD&D for added savings. Plus, you’ll gain access to our state-of-the-art Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, helping you keep sight of it all with just a click.

Compare rates, grow your book of business, and earn more commission while DBL Center serves as your back-office support staff to manage and maintain your policies.

Bind your application for NY disability insurance (DBL) today!

 

 


Privatize NJ Temporary Disability Insurance: As Easy as 1-2-3


Have your customers privatized NJ temporary disability insurance for potential cost savings and superior customer service?

As we reported in October 2018, the State of New Jersey waived the signature requirement for business owners to obtain privatized New Jersey TDB coverage. This opened the door for brokers to write privatized NJ temporary disability insurance to provide customers with:

  • Potentially lower rates when bundled with other coverage
  • Superior customer service from a private carrier
  • Faster payouts, choice of payment methods
  • Choice of carriers
  • Easier claims process
  • Less red tape

By law, premiums must be the same or lower than NJ temporary disability insurance written through the state. At the same time, benefits packages for New Jersey TDB must be the same as – or better – than state benefits.

State Increases Premiums for NJ Temporary Disability Insurance

New Jersey has always had a robust disability benefits package. In January 2020, New Jersey TDB payouts increased to 66.67% of a worker’s average weekly salary, up to $667 per week through June 30, 2020.

As of July 1, 2020, the benefit grows to 85% of a worker’s average weekly salary, capped at $881 per week.

With these benefit increases come a change in premium payments, too.

Employees now contribute .26% on the first $134,900 of earnings, with a maximum annual contribution of $350.74. Employers have a different taxable wage base than employees. Employers contribute based on employees’ earnings, with a cap of $35,000.

Is It Time for Business Owners to Privatize New Jersey TDB?

If your customers have not privatized New Jersey TDB yet, now’s the time. The next deadline to shift policies from New Jersey TDB written by the state to a private plan takes place June 15, 2020.

We can make it easier than ever for you to help your clients privatize New Jersey TDB – and grow your book of business with a statutory benefit with automatic renewals.

Just follow this simple, three-step process.

1. Instruct your customers to obtain form AC-174.

Brokers can no longer download the AC-174 form for their customers, and your insurance wholesaler also can’t provide it for you. Employers first must visit the New Jersey Department of Labor website and fill out the Employer Application.

This form replaces the previous TWES form. If your customer has already registered, they can go here to log in. From either location, they can download the AC-174 form and fill it out.

The census can help you obtain an accurate quote so there are no surprises for your customer when premiums are due.

2. Provide the AC-174 to DBL Center so we can shop policies through our network of top-rated carriers.

The DBL Center does all the work for you from here. We will shop policies and leverage our industry relationships and volume to find the lowest premiums. You may find your customers can save even more by bundling New Jersey TDB with ancillary benefits like vision, dental, and life insurance.

3. Write the policy and track your commissions through our Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker.

Once we’ve secured the best coverage and lowest rates we can find for your clients, it will be an easy sell. After all, what business owner would want to pay more through the state and miss out on concierge-level service and faster payouts?

New Yorkers have benefited from private statutory benefits for years. It’s time New Jersey business owners enjoy the same flexibility and superior service they can get from The DBL Center and our dedicated New Jersey rep and brokers.

Let us help you write the policies for your New Jersey clients. You’ll gain access to our proprietary Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, where you can track your commissions, renewals, and pending cancellations to improve customer retention. You’ll be able to view your book of business at a glance and access carrier portals with a click.

The world seems to be changing here in the Northeast U.S. every day. The service you receive from The DBL Center is one thing you can always count on.


Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act Payment Deadline Approaches

Members of the sandwich generation benefit from the new Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical LEave Act
Earlier this year, Massachusetts introduced the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFML) for W-2 employees as well as some 1099 independent contractors. Benefits won’t go into effect until 2021, but employers can begin paying into the plan now.

July 1, 2020 marks the first deadline for payments.

As a shared benefit, MA Family Medical Leave Act premium costs are split between the employer and employees or contractors. Organizations with fewer than 25 employees can offer the plan to their workers as a voluntary, employee-funded benefit.

How Much Do Employers Need to Pay?

The DBL Center can write FMLA policies independent of other lines, so you can privatize policies under the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act affordably and provide your customers high levels of service.

With the first MA PFML payments coming up, your customers may wonder how much they owe for their plan, whether it’s funded by the state of Massachusetts or written privately.

Your premiums are based on the total number of your lives in your company, which includes all W-2 employees:

    Full-time
    Part-time
    Seasonal

You do not need to count 1099 contractors, as they are responsible to write their own policies and pay the full 0.75% contribution.

When clients provide you with the active employee count and wages earned, they should report figures for the prior 3-month period. Contributions made by July 1, 2020 should include the total headcount from April, May, and June.

What About Furloughed Workers?

As COVID-19, the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to strike across the U.S., many employers have laid off or furloughed workers. If furloughed employees or workers on unemployment have earned at least $4,700 in the prior 12 months before filing, they may be eligible to file a PFML claim in January if they meet all other requirements.

In most cases, employers would still pay into benefits packages for furloughed employees, so these workers would count toward the organization’s number of active lives. However, unemployed workers would not.

During the pandemic, many organizations laid off employees and then brought them back to meet the June 1 deadline for loan forgiveness on a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan issued as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Employees re-hired by June 1 would need to be counted as part of Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act premium payments.

Need Help Calculating Premiums for the Paid Family Medical Leave Act Coverage in Mass?

With so many changes going on for business owners right now, calculating Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act premiums can be complicated. It depends on employers’ total lives for the past three months. These numbers may have varied wildly as employees were furloughed or laid off and then brought back as Massachusetts begins its phased reopening this week.

The DBL Center works with top Massachusetts statutory insurance carriers to provide the best service you’ll find. We’ll help you deliver the best rates and superior service to your customers with privatized Massachusetts PFML insurance policies.

Contact The DBL Center today.


Capture, Track, Improve: New Video Lets Brokers Test Drive the Broker Dashboard

Watch the video and then read on to learn even more about how our proprietary Broker Dashboard can help you capture data about your book of business, track policies and cancellations, and improve your net revenue.

“It’s not about what you earn. It’s about what you keep.” Since the early days of The DBL Center, this philosophy has been the company’s mantra. From founder David Cohen’s handwritten ledger to our state-of-the-art Broker Dashboard, DBL Center provides its brokers with the tools, technology, and service they need to retain more clients.

Times are challenging right now for businesses of all sizes. As small businesses struggle and close, we wonder how many will open their doors again once the pandemic is over. It’s crucial, right now, especially, for brokers to closely track their book of business, including renewals, cancellations, and pending non-pays.

The Broker Dashboard makes it easy.

The video above highlights the Broker Dashboard’s features that enable our licensed insurance agents to track new policies, policies that have lapsed, and overall retention, along with real time calculations of annualized premiums, and total commissions paid.

Having all this information in one easy-to-use, cloud-based app can help brokers manage their accounts – from wherever they might be working.

Let’s review some of the Broker Dashboard features that can help brokers keep more of what they earn and significantly improve their returns – making more in less time than ever before. Because we all know it costs more to sign a new customer than to retain one you already have.

1. Track cancellations.

As small businesses close their doors, it’s important for brokers to track the reason for cancellations and non-pays. Brokers receive emails every two weeks that list policies that are pending non-pay, so you can reach out and make sure the policy doesn’t lapse.

The Broker Dashboard also shows you the reason for the cancellation. You can even sort cancellations based on the size of the account, so you can focus on small businesses who may be struggling and help them find solutions to pay their bills. Nickels, dimes, and quarters make dollars. By tracking your clients through Broker Dashboard, you’ll be in a position to help keep their policies in force… which is good business for everyone.

2. Track new policies.

How much new business are you writing? Are you meeting your agency’s goals for growth?

The Broker Dashboard lets you track countless policyholders and up to date head count giving you real time eligibility, so you can see how much volume you have – from your biggest client to the smallest.

3. Track commissions.

Bottom line: How much are you making? The DBL Center’ proprietary Broker Dashboard shows you how much commission you’ve received across any selected time frame – for the month, the quarter, or the year broken down by product. This is the single-most important piece of information you need to gauge the overall health of your business. These net revenue tracking capabilities, alone, make Broker Dashboard an indispensable tool for your business.

4. Get direct access to preferred carrier websites.

The Broker Dashboard is more than just your net revenue and policy tracker. It is also your one-click portal to preferred carrier websites. Download claim forms and other documents and access important information from any internet-enabled device, regardless of the carrier’s business hours or availability of team members.

In today’s remote working world, business never stops. Broker Dashboard is there whenever you need it.

5. Contact DBL Center directly through the Dashboard.

Have a problem or question? Need to speak to your DBl Center representative? Want to learn more about a specific Broker Dashboard feature? Click the “report an issue” button and someone from The DBL Center will get back to you to help you get the most from your Broker Dashboard app.

There’s never been a greater need for cloud-based tools enabling DBL Center brokers to work from anywhere, at any time.

If you aren’t already using your Broker Dashboard, or would like to learn more about how it can help you track your business in real time, contact us today to schedule a remote WebEx demo.


Federal “Families First Act” Should Relieve Pressure on PFL Claims Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

In an attempt to keep the economy moving and provide Americans with the financial relief they need during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal government has introduced the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act.”

Beginning April 2, this act provides emergency paid sick leave benefits to employees unable to work for a variety of reasons. Employees may be eligible for paid leave if they are unable to work because they are:

  • In quarantine or isolation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and in quarantine
  • Caring for someone in quarantine or isolation as a result of COVID-19
  • Have children in schools or daycare that have closed because of the pandemic

Employers with fewer than 500 employees must provide two weeks’ worth of paid sick leave. Employers will receive tax credits to offset these costs, hopefully minimizing the financial impact on their business.

Employees are also entitled to up to 80 hours of paid sick time at 2/3 the regular rate of pay, and an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave if the employee is unable to work because they need to care for a child whose school or childcare provider is closed for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s important to note that this paid leave coverage is from the federal government and is not related to NYS PFL.

The legislation also ensures that employees do not have to use any other paid time off in lieu of federal paid leave benefits. Employers also cannot mandate that employees find replacement workers.

NYS PFL Claims in Light of Coronavirus Pandemic

Until April 2 when Families First goes into action, New York State has stepped in to help employees with COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave, compensated in many cases through New York State DBL and PFL benefits. To help employees stay afloat during this challenging time, the state has waived the five-day waiting period before PFL benefits kick in.

Employers with fewer than 10 workers and less than $1 million in annual net income will still rely on DBL and PFL benefits for their employees, paid concurrently for a combined $2,884.62.

Those with 10 or fewer employees but net revenue exceeding $1 million, or employers with 11 to 99 employees must provide workers with at least 5 days paid sick leave, not counting any PTO they have accrued in the past. After that, employees can make a concurrent PFL / DBL claim for paid leave from Day 6 onward.

Businesses with 100+ employees and public employers are fully responsible for full salary continuation for a minimum of 14 days.

PFL programs only pay out for the intended duration of the quarantine period, which is 14 days. However, if the employee has not exhausted their paid leave from New York State by April 2, those benefits will end regardless. Employees will have to file a federal claim to begin collecting benefits again, this time under the Families First Act. Benefits under the Families First Act apply to companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Stimulus for Business Owners During the Pandemic

It is not easy balancing the economic well-being of our nation with the health and safety of our residents. It’s a challenge many business owners grapple with, as well, during this trying time.

In addition to lowering the federal interest rate, the U.S. government has introduced – or is in the process of introducing — legislation that will help small and large businesses stay afloat while we fight the pandemic with social distancing and isolation.

Last week, the Federal Reserve introduced the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility, a program that lends money to banks to purchase assets from money market funds. Lending will not affect bank capital requirements, according to finance site Investopedia.

The government also introduced the Term Asset-Backed Security Loan Facility (TALF), enabling the purchase of asset-backed securities backed by auto loans, student loans, and small business loans to unfreeze credit and help stabilize the economy throughout the pandemic and during the economic recovery period afterwards. These measures will run until September 30, 2020, unless they are extended at that time.

The Fed is also working on a Main Street Business Lending Program. We will reveal details as they become available.

Ultimately, avenues will be available to keep large and small businesses afloat and give them access to the funds they need through loans and tax credits. Here at DBL Center, we will do our best to keep you apprised of changing legislation as it pertains to our brokers and their customers.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and know that the DBL Center is here, as always, to serve as your back-office staff as we get through these trying times together – remotely.


Brokers’ Coronavirus Questions about Short Term Disability, Answered

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, business owners in New York and New Jersey may be wondering if short-term disability insurance will cover their absence from work if they are diagnosed with the virus and must stay home from work.

They might also wonder if they can make a disability claim if they have not been diagnosed with the virus but were placed under a precautionary quarantine.

Finally, with schools closing across the country, they might wonder if they can make a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim to stay home and care for school-age children if they don’t have other childcare arrangements.

These are dilemmas many Americans are facing today. DBL Center is working hard to provide our brokers with the answers they need to give their clients’ guidance about what does, and what does not, constitute a short-term disability claim when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.

The policies of our carriers do vary, but you can always reach out to one of our team if you or your clients have urgent questions. You can reach us 24/7 through the new chat feature on our website and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Coronavirus and Short Term Disability Policies: What You Need To Know

In short, a coronavirus diagnosis or a quarantine related to the pandemic does not constitute automatic approval of a short-term disability claim in New York or New Jersey. Some policies from certain carriers, however, may carry quarantine provisions.

Short-term and long-term disability policies typically do not include treatment for a cold or the flu under short-term disability coverage. If an employee is sick and unable to work due to COVID-19, these claims will be determined on a case by case basis, depending on the severity and length of the illness. In some situations, cases requiring hospitalization may qualify for short-term disability in New York and New Jersey.

Claims submitted with a diagnosis of Coronavirus will be evaluated based on all applicable contract provisions. The insured will need to provide proof that they are under the care of a Health Care Provider that can certify the disability and unable to perform their job duties either in the work place or at home via remote access.

PFL and the Coronavirus

Similarly, covered employees cannot make PFL claims to care for children over a year old who are home from school because the school closed as a precautionary measure. Since the virus doesn’t seem to be affecting children severely, it would be unusual for a parent or guardian to require a PFL claim to care for a child who is ill from the virus, unless the child is immune compromised. Again, that would be decided on a individual basis depending on the length and severity of the illness, as with any cold or the flu.

Working from Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic

DBL Center understands that, at this time, many of our brokers may be working from home to limit the spread of the virus. Here at DBL Center, we will remain open and are doing everything to maintain the clean and sanitary conditions or our workplace and protect our employees.

Fortunately, DBL Center is also set up to work remotely. We have employees in New York and New Jersey offices who frequently connect virtually, and our cloud-based systems transition well to a work-at-home environment.

Our brokers can even Bind DBL Over 50 lives right from any internet-enabled computer, whether at home or in the office. Our exclusive broker Dashboard gives our brokers access to all their policies and preferred carriers from any internet-enabled device, as well.

Throughout the pandemic and after, the DBL Center will continue to be your back-office staff, answer any questions related to disability coverage and the coronavirus pandemic, and help you bind DBL policies from home.

 


Technology Helps your Insurance Wholesaler in NY Offer Superior Service

Insurance wholesaler in NY tracks commisions Broker Dashboard

Since my father, David Cohen, first founded The DBL Center back in 1976, we have always focused on concierge-level service for our brokers. My father liked to frequent boutique hotels on vacation, and he wanted to model that personalized service as an insurance wholesaler in NY.

That level of service wasn’t seen in the insurance industry at that time. Now, more than four decades later, The DBL Center continues breaking new ground as a wholesale insurance broker.

In the past few years, we’ve begun leveraging technology to provide the best service to our brokers, staying on the cutting edge of industry news, and delivering resources brokers need to retain business, remain competitive, and deliver the highest level of service to their clients.

You may have noticed some new features and functionality added to our website recently. Let us walk you through the ways we are using technology to help our insurance brokers grow their book of business.

24/7 Chat Feature Ensures We’re Here to Help

Chat-bots are all the rage on customer service-oriented websites today. They make it easy for customers to get answers to their questions round-the-clock.

The problem? You never know if you’re speaking to a real, knowledgeable company representative or a sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) program with only basic, high-level answers.

The 24/7 chat feature on The DBL Center website always connects you directly to a wholesale insurance expert with answers to every question you might have. We don’t outsource the service. You are always chatting with one of The DBL Center team. We can answer questions or take it to the next level and jump on the phone to help you write your NJ TDB, New York DBL or enriched DBL coverage, or Massachusetts PFML policies immediately, along with Group Ancillary Benefits.

If you reach out after business hours, we may have to wait until the next business day to provide you with an accurate quote from our top-rated carriers. But we can get the process started at any time. It’s just one more way we are able to provide personalized service as an insurance wholesaler in NY and beyond.

Broker Dashboard Provides the Insights You Need to Retain Business

Our proprietary Broker Dashboard continues to grow in popularity, giving insurance brokers a way to track renewals, cancellations, and commissions easily. This became extremely valuable during the Q4 2019, when we helped Shelterpoint transition 5,000+ Statutory policies from Wesco to their company.

Brokers receive bi-monthly reminders about cases that are pending non-pay, helping carriers like Shelterpoint and Standard Security receive payment in a timely manner. This also helps our brokers avoid losing business due to non-paying customers who might decide to write the policy somewhere else. Not only are we a full-service insurance wholesaler in NY, but your back-office team. Just think of Broker Dashboard as your “friendly neighborhood bill collector.”

We’re also using the data from Broker Dashboard to gain insights that will help us serve our brokers better. Your information – and your customers’ information – remains completely secure and confidential in the Broker Dashboard app. But we can track trends that will help us provide the best products, be more proactive about pending cancellations, and learn why clients switch carriers. This knowledge will help us provide more of the products and service your clients need and want.

Faster Website Gives You News, Insights, and Quotes Faster from Any Device

Maintaining our position as a top insurance wholesaler in NY means being as responsive as possible to our clients’ needs – and that includes our website. No one has time to sit around waiting for pages to load anymore. Whether you want to read our latest blog post, need information on Massachusetts PFML or need a quote for enriched DBL under 50 lives, you need our site to load in a snap – wherever you might be.

We recently updated our website with the latest technology, enabling it to load more quickly on mobile devices so we can serve our brokers better – even faster!

Disruptive Technology, Traditionally Personalized Service

The DBL Center prides ourselves on combining disruptive technology with the personalized service that was so important to David Cohen when he started the company. From our new chat function to our video series, we are on top of the trends that make it easier to stay connected to our brokers, delivering the service you’d expect from a top insurance wholesaler in NY and beyond.