Deadline to Write Disability Benefits Across New England and New York Tri-State Area Approaches on April 1

Increase your productivity and close more sales before the disability benefits deadline.

Are you looking at your business 120 days out? What you do now will reap rewards in the next quarter. As the April 1 deadline approaches to write NYS disability benefits, as well as New Jersey TDB, Paid Family Leave in Connecticut, and PFMLA in Massachusetts, the work you do today – and what you’ve done throughout 2022 so far – will directly affect your second quarter results.

Sure, there’s only 30 or so days left until April 1 – not 120 – but there’s still time to make a big impact for your customers and boost your bottom line.

April 1, 2022, is the second quarterly opportunity in 2022 for New York business owners to switch or renew their short-term NYS disability benefits packages. They can also enhance benefits packages with enriched DBL, ancillary benefits like dental, vision, group life / AD&D, and accident benefits.  The same goes for businesses affected by statutory and paid family leave benefit laws in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

Most business change these coverages or write new coverage lines on the first day of every quarter: Jan. 1, April 1, July 1, and Oct. 1.

So, you want to start taking these important steps to write new business, manage renewals, and write enriched DBL packages, along with ancillary benefits, in New York today. In New Jersey and New England, your focus should be on saving your clients money on their TDB and PFL as a door-opener to obtaining their ancillary benefits.

Many brokers in Connecticut cannot write PFL as a standalone benefit. The DBL Center can, but we can offer business owners in any state substantial savings by bundling statutory benefits with ancillary benefits.

We Can Handle It All

When it comes to employee benefits, there isn’t a lot we can’t do. We can write ancillary benefits and accident insurance:

  • Fully funded by the employer, with the organization paying 100% of the premium
  • By cost-sharing with employees on a 50/50 basis
  • On a 100% voluntary basis through employee payroll deductions

Best of all, we can provide a simple executive carve-out for the owners and management. The only reason your clients would say no is if they simply don’t want the coverage. And in today’s tight labor market, employee benefits are table stakes – not enhancements. Employees expect a certain level of benefits, including ancillary coverage, before they will even consider a job.

If you’re the owner of an insurance agency dealing with employee benefits of any kind, you may want to assign these tasks to the appropriate members of your team. And if you’re an insurance broker reading this, you can take action right now to improve your bottom line for the spring.

If you’re a client of The DBL Center, you’re in luck. We act as your back-office staff to help you manage new business, renewals, and cancellations. You also have access to our online Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker to put all the information you need at your fingertips.

Let The DBL Center manage your book’s retention so you don’t have to worry about hitting new business requirements or persistency requirements with carriers. Meanwhile, writing your policies through The DBL center, you’ll earn the same commissions or more.

Make a plan and start working that plan throughout March to give as many business owners as you can the opportunity to get the best premium rates and better, more flexible benefits with enriched DBL and ancillary benefits.  Rely on The DBL Center to help you make more money now so you can enjoy your summer and relax more during the 4th quarter. That will put you looking at new business in August, which is 120 days out from January 1 renewals. You focus on new business and let your insurance wholesaler manager the rest.

  1. Review your Broker Dashboard and begin by approaching current cancellations and pending renewals.

Renewals are the low-hanging fruit when we’re talking about statutory disability benefits across the Northeast. Your goal should be not just to keep these clients with an easy renewal, but showing them the tremendous advantage of offering enriched DBL, ancillary benefits, and accident insurance to their workers.

Especially in today’s highly competitive labor market, every additional perk or benefit companies can provide their workers can help improve employee satisfaction, boost productivity, and reduce attrition rates.

  1. Make sure to ask for a complete census and copy of the group’s latest bill in order to write benefits for Q2, 2022, which begins April 1. 

States require an employee census detailing the number of lives, male and female, in an organization in order to write PFL, TDB, or DBL coverage. Obtaining that census form is a great way to start a conversation with your clients.

  1. Approach new business with an eye on a total benefits package to help them recruit and retain talent.

If you’ve been continuously prospecting through inbound marketing, local advertising, or in-person networking, you probably have many leads in your sales funnel. Working from your hottest prospects – those closest to the bottom of the funnel – set up meetings now to show them how much they can save by writing their ancillary employee benefits with you.

Because The DBL Center leverages our relationships with top carriers, we can provide insurance brokers with the lowest rates and best benefits on enriched DBL and ancillary benefits including dental, vision, Group Life / AD&D, and accident insurance.

So, you want to start taking these important steps to write new business, manage renewals, and write enriched DBL packages, along with ancillary benefits, in New York today. In New Jersey and New England, your focus should be on saving your clients money on their TDB and PFL as a door opener to obtaining their ancillary benefits.


How to Fill your New York Disability Insurance Pipeline for the New Year

Smart New York disability insurance brokers have been thinking ahead to 2022 since the third quarter wrapped up. However, that’s not always easy to do as so much has changed in the past year. If you’ve been focused on the day-to-day, treading water and focused on maintaining your book of business without growing, that’s completely understandable.

But it could be time, as the new year approaches, to take a step back and take inventory of how you can grow in 2022.

As a successful New York disability insurance broker, you understand that keeping your pipeline full of leads and using consultative selling to earn the trust of clients and prospects, are keys to success. But how can you generate leads to fill your pipeline in this ever-changing, fast-paced world?

First, let The DBL Center be your back-office staff for managing the details. Follow our expert marketing tips for New York disability insurance, ancillary benefits like dental, vision, and group life/AD&D, and voluntary worksite benefits like accident insurance.

Take Inventory and Understand Your Market

As we prepare to enter the new year, take an internal inventory of your sales and marketing strategies. What has worked in the past?

  • What stopped working for your brokerage in 2020 and 2021?
  • What new strategies and tactics that you’ve noticed could be deployed by your team?
  • How can you use technology to continue building relationships with your target market?

Most importantly, are you clear on the make-up of your target market? Only when you understand your audience can you adopt the appropriate strategies to fill your pipeline with leads.

Choose One or Two Marketing Strategies and Focus on Them

The digital era brings marketing strategies and tactics that New York disability insurance brokers haven’t previously embraced. If you’ve relied on sales calls, face-to-face meetings, and in-person networking to grow your book of business, it’s time to start looking at one-to-many (rather than one-to-one) tactics that can save you time and yield faster results.

Possibilities for digital marketing include:

  • Inbound marketing through blog posts and social media content
  • Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Advertising through Google AdWords or paid social
  • Email marketing campaigns for lead generation
  • Webinars for one-to-many marketing

This can all seem overwhelming, especially if you haven’t done much digital marketing.

Choose one or two tactics that fit your company’s skillset, personality, brand and budget. Consider outsourcing some of these services if you don’t have the in-house staff to maintain momentum with content creation or don’t have the knowledge to spearhead a digital ad campaign on your own.

An outsourced digital marketing agency can deliver warm leads straight to your sales team, leaving your in-house brokers to seal the deal through consultative selling, white-glove service, and a deep understanding of the products.

Get Back to Basics with Follow-ups

It can take three to six months for a digital campaign to gain momentum, but you’ll want to be prepared when it does. Have a system to identify and follow-up on qualified leads.

When you do, consider your entire product line – not just New York disability insurance. The DBL Center works with preferred carriers to provide our clients with affordable options to upsell businesses on:

  • Long-term disability coverage
  • Group Life / AD&D
  • Vision
  • Dental
  • Accident Insurance
  • Critical Illness Coverage

You can save your clients money by bundling benefits, which can help them recruit and retain talent in today’s tight labor market. By making recommendations in a consultative capacity, you’ll become a valuable resource, working hand-in-hand with business owners and HR departments to help solve one of their biggest problems today: Keeping well-qualified employees happy.

Leverage Technology to Track Renewals and Cancellations

Of course, it costs less money to retain customers (and upsell additional employee benefits!) than it does to generate new leads and bring in new business. Both are equally important for business growth.

The DBL Center’s proprietary Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker gives you the tools you need to track renewals and cancellations, so you can stay in touch with your clients when they need you most.

Schedule your free demo of the Broker Dashboard today.


Critical Illness Plans and Disability Insurance Could Provide Workers with Financial Peace of Mind

 

Employee benefits like critical illness plans cost more than workers expect; brokers can help with bundled coverage and client education

More than half of workers in a recent survey said they have “no understanding” or they “only somewhat” understand the insurance benefits their employer offers, how they can enroll, and what is covered. As new variants of the COVID-19 virus enter the news, employees are more concerned than ever about not just their health, but their financial well-being. Additionally, workers said they spend more money than they expect on benefits – even without being certain of their value.

The past two years have been a struggle for businesses on every front, but smart insurance brokers can – and should – view employee fears and lack of knowledge as an opportunity for outreach and education. What products do you write that can help provide a sense of financial security at a better value, while making it easier for business owners to recruit and retain workers?

It Starts with Outreach

With so many employees confused about their benefits plan, it’s time to start thinking about where they are getting their information: either their employers or their human resource departments. That’s where your education initiatives should begin as a broker.

Outreach to these decision makers can help make it easier for them to convey crucial and relevant details about statutory benefits and voluntary worksite benefits such as critical illness plans to their employees. Even as we start meeting face-to-face again at business lunches and networking events, consider leveraging technology to educate employers through:

  • Webinars
  • Infographics
  • Explainer videos
  • Blog posts

Not only does this marketing collateral make it easy for your customers to understand the benefits you offer but it can also help boost your brokerage’s visibility and brand online, which can help you find new customers. Our brokers can rely on the tremendous resources and information The DBL Center provides to educate their clients and stay on top of industry news and changes to be better informed. Our marketing team consistently creates top-ranking infographics, blog posts and videos designed to simplify complicated topics such as paid family leave, statutory disability, and voluntary worksite benefits.

Critical Illness Plans and Other Voluntary Benefits Offer the Financial Security Employees Want

Forty-two percent of workers surveyed said they were seeking greater peace-of-mind from their employee benefits. For many workers, this could come in the form of critical illness plans, accident insurance, and even life insurance to provide for their families in the event of their death.

Yet, many employers and their workers don’t know about these benefits or how they can provide supplemental coverage alongside DBL or TDB claims in New York, New Jersey, or the growing list of states that now provide statutory PFML coverage.

Critical illness plans can cover hospital costs, loss of income, and medical bills for a list of diseases that include cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, among others. Accident insurance provides cash benefits for accidental injuries either on or off the job. The money is paid directly to the employee and can be used to cover virtually any living expenses, medical bills and co-pays, and even childcare.

Best of all, these benefits can be written as voluntary coverage funded by the employees with pre-tax dollars, funded by the employers as a recruiting and retention tool for top performers, or on a shared cost basis. This flexibility means they can easily fit into any company’s benefits budget and help employers meet or exceed their competitors’ benefits packages to recruit talent in today’s tight labor market.

Reduce Costs by Relying on The DBL Center for Bundled Employee Benefits Packages

In the survey conducted by an online life insurance company, 45% of workers said they think it’s fair to spend less than 10% of their paycheck on benefits. However, 59% spend more than that. Insurance brokers who work with The DBL Center are in a unique position to bridge that gap between employee expectations and the cost of employee benefits.

We leverage our relationships with top-rated carriers to get our insurance brokers the best deals on statutory benefits as well as critical illness plans, accident insurance, and other ancillary benefits like life insurance, dental, and vision coverage. You can save your clients money by bundling statutory benefits with voluntary employee benefits plans and give them top-notch service all through one point-of-contact.

With The DBL Center as your back-office staff and our best-in-class Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker app available to help you track renewals, cancellations and commitments, you can focus on what you do best: Building relationships and selling insurance.

Interested in learning more about how The DBL Center can help you offer your clients better pricing on statutory benefits, critical illness plans and more? Reach out today.

 


Early Renewals Leave More Time for Business Growth

The holiday season used to begin when Santa Claus rode down 34th Street, waving in front of Macy’s during the Thanksgiving Day parade. But now anyone who celebrates Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa or even New Year’s Eve knows the “holiday” season starts with pumpkin spice and apple pie, not sleigh bells.

Things get busy – and for parents or people caring for older family members, it can be even more stressful. In the insurance industry, we have our own pressures as soon as October 1 hits. State-mandated benefits including DBL in NY and TDB in New Jersey are eligible for renewals, leading to a swarm of administrative work beginning October 1 through October 10 and running through the end of the year.

For brokers, your renewals are the bread-and-butter of your business. Those nickels, dimes, and quarters add up to dollars. And the product is a benefit that every business owner in New York, New Jersey (and now a growing list of additional states, including Connecticut and Massachusetts) must carry for themselves and their employees. So it’s just a matter of providing the best rates and stellar service to keep that business on your books year after year.

So here’s the question: Why must all Statutory and Ancillary Employee Benefits have a Jan 1st effective date?   

The answer….They Don’t! 

You probably have many customers who are stuck in the renewal phase of October 1 or January 1 for temporary disability insurance.  But as you onboard new customers, encourage them to set their renewals for a different quarter. And remember, ancillary benefits, life insurance, and voluntary worksite benefits – such as critical illness insurance – can be written the first of any month.

By writing early renewals, or even shifting renewal dates to the spring, you can provide your clients with several advantages and save yourself time and stress. Let’s explore the benefits of locking in renewals early.

Help Your Customers with Cash Flow

Worker’s compensation, major medical benefits, and several other expenses all come due on the first of the year. If you’ve ever budgeted for your business – or even your household – you know that it’s best to spread expenses out across a month. Most people don’t want to have to pay their mortgage, car loan, utilities and credit card bills all on the same day of the month. That’s why credit card companies offer you the option to “choose your own monthly payment date.”

It’s the same thing for a small business. Your customers can spread out insurance expenses over the year by renewing the following ancillary benefits earlier in the year:

  • Group Life/AD&D
  • LTD
  • STD
  • Dental
  • Vision

This can help them manage cash flow and also spread out their quarterly tax deductions to reduce their tax bill.

Give Yourself and Your Team Time to Relax

In any sales industry, leaders push hard at the end of the month to drive revenue. In the insurance industry, we push from October through January. But what would your life – and bottom line – look like if you pushed hard at the beginning of the year, instead?

You’d have more time to relax and breathe at the end of the month, knowing you’ve already achieved your sales goals and have money in your pocket.

If you spread renewals across all four quarters, especially when it comes to upsells like ancillary benefits, you’re not only reaching clients at a time when they aren’t facing other renewals for workers’ compensation and major medical, you’re giving yourself a head start on revenue for the year.

Early Renewals Let You Focus on Growing Your Business in the Fourth Quarter

Here at The DBL Center, 75% of our renewals for ancillary benefits come in the fourth quarter. We push hard to get our clients the best rates and maintain the highest levels of service. But if you take the time to line up recurring revenue from renewals in the spring, you’d have the second half of the year to focus on growing your business.

Maybe that means making operational changes for greater productivity. Or maybe it means initiating a large inbound marketing push to help drive leads to your website and grow your book of business. Maybe you can take that time to focus on business growth, instead of just keeping up with existing policies. And if you want to take a break to enjoy the holidays with your family? You’d have that opportunity, as well.

We’re already entering the busy season in the statutory disability and voluntary worksite benefits space. It’s time to start thinking about planning ahead for next year and how you can spread renewals across the four quarters for better cash flow, peace-of-mind, and business growth.


New Jersey TDB: State Proposes Wage Base Increase

Rates could rise, once again, for the premium cost of New Jersey TDB coverage. That means more opportunities than ever before for insurance brokers to build loyal customers and increase their book of business by showing companies how to privatize temporary disability benefits in New Jersey.

Here’s what we know so far:

The New Jersey Department of Labor has proposed to increase the taxable wage base for employer contributions from $36,200 in 2021 to $39,800 in 2022. The wage base for employee contributions to TDB and New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance (FLI) benefit could jump from $138,200 this year to $151,900 in 2022, BloombergTax.com reported earlier this month.

Will New Jersey TDB Benefit Increases Follow?

New Jersey has not yet stated whether it will increase employee contributions beyond 47 cents on the dollar for either benefit, or if it will increase the benefit amount. Frequently, wage base increases and premium rate hikes are accompanied by benefit increases. As inflation has affected the price of goods and services across the board in 2021, we can be hopeful that a benefit increase announcement will follow. In 2021, New Jersey offered income replacement of up to 85% of a worker’s average weekly salary, capped at $903 per week.

Show Your Clients How They Can Join the Elite 2%

Regardless of the amount of the benefit for 2022, there’s never been a better time to show your clients the cost savings they can realize by privatizing New Jersey TDB. By New Jersey state law, a private benefits plan must offer coverage equal to or better than the state plan at rates equal to or lower than the state’s premiums. Yet, only 2% of New Jersey businesses take advantage of this benefit. We know the 2% is an elite number… your clients would love the opportunity to join their ranks and privatize TDB.

Especially now, as states face a labor shortage and are looking to entice workers through raises and enhanced benefits, privatized TDI and voluntary worksite benefits represent a great way to give workers more without spending more.

Plus, in addition to the cost savings realized by privatizing TDB, New Jersey business owners can eliminate waiting periods for claims payouts, select their choice of payment methods, and enjoy personalized service from the state.

How to Privatize New Jersey TDB

Since New Jersey waived the signature requirement for employees to “opt-in” to a private plan, it’s never been easier to privatize TDB. You’ll just need your client to obtain their AC174.1 from the Department of Labor website and send it to us.

Find instructions to obtain an AC-174.1 form here.

Once The DBL Center team has that information, we do it all from there, including shopping the plan to find the lowest rates and offering white glove service every step of the way.

Sweeten the Deal with Voluntary Worksite Benefits Options

While you don’t need to bundle New Jersey TDB with ancillary benefits to switch to a private plan, it may help your customers save even more money. DBL Center’s experienced staff can help you write the best policies for voluntary worksite benefits and ancillary benefits that include:

  • Accident insurance
  • Critical Illness Insurance
  • Group Life / AD&D
  • Vision and Dental Coverage

Employers can even customize plans to fit their workforce needs and demographics.

What’s to Come In 2022?

There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding 2022 and what steps business owners will take to stay competitive in such a tight labor market. In all scenarios, there’s little doubt they will look to their trusted insurance brokers to provide the benefits their employees and job candidates need and want.

If premium rates rise in lockstep with inflation, business owners will be looking to save money on premiums while offering their employees value-added benefits that can give them financial peace-of-mind.

The DBL Center is here to help you keep pace with changing times and deliver low rates from trusted carriers on New Jersey TDB, voluntary worksite benefits, and more.

It’s time to start letting the 98% of business owners who are still writing their New Jersey TDB policies with the state that there is a better way.

 


Insurance Brokers: Gain the Advantage with a More Productive Routine

As children across the northeast return to classrooms, many for the first time since March 2020, working parents everywhere also settle into new routines. With workplaces now open again and in-person networking events, business lunches, and other opportunities for connection expanding, many insurance brokers’ workdays are shifting to a “new normal.”

It’s the same for us here at The DBL Center, where we are planning in-person meetings and events and looking forward to reconnecting with loyal clients we may not have seen face-to-face in nearly two years.

Whether you’re struggling with a new routine or looking forward to being back in the office, these tips can help.

Consider What Worked During the Pandemic and Maintain Those New Habits

The pandemic brought many struggles and challenges, but there were also a few bright spots for individuals and businesses for those who knew where to look. For instance, the work-from-home revolution sparked by the pandemic may have actually brought about increased productivity for some workers.

In a January 2021 report, more than 66% of employers said they saw increased productivity amongst their remote workers, while 83% of employees agreed they don’t need to be in the office to be productive. If you’ve noticed you can complete deep focus work better outside the office – especially with the kids at school and not home to interrupt – consider taking one day a week to work from home. You may also offer employees flex-time or remote working hours to garner the same results. You might save money on office overhead costs and create happier, more productive employees.

During the pandemic, businesses also embraced new technologies to stay productive and connected. The DBL Center had just begun distributing a webinar about our Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker just prior to the pandemic. We ramped up those efforts during the pandemic and we intend to continue that trend to ensure that insurance brokers can access the information they need about the Broker Dashboard in an easy way.

Reach Out to Rebuild Connections

We missed our annual summer soiree the past two years and, of course, our 2020 holiday party. In general, we’ve missed face-to-face connections with our insurance broker community over the past year-and-a-half.

While not everyone is ready for large-scale networking events or even business lunches, make it a point to reach out by phone and gauge the interest of your best clients and closest colleagues to meet in person at some point this fall.

Leverage Technology Designed to Keep Insurance Brokers More Organized

Of course, it’s the small, daily activities that keep your business running full throttle and ready to grow. Stay on top of renewals and cancellations and make it a point to touch base with clients whose policies are up for renewal.  If you haven’t taken advantage of our free software, click here to book a demo today.

The workplace is changing and employees are demanding more than ever. See if now is the time to upgrade your clients’ ancillary benefits packages, provide Group Life / AD&D, or introduce them to voluntary worksite benefits and critical illness insurance, which can help alleviate financial burdens if someone is hospitalized or facing high medical bills due to illness or injury.

Our Broker Dashboard makes it easy for you to get into the habit of reaching out to clients facing renewals, as well as track your overall revenue as you grow your book of business.

Get Ready to Embrace Change – Again

With a new governor in New York and paid family leave programs gaining traction across the country, the last quarter of 2021 could bring even more changes and opportunities within the statutory insurance industry.

Getting into a routine now can help you act quickly and pivot to embrace opportunities as they open. As always, The DBL Center remains your number one source for information on the statutory insurance industry, DBL in NY, New Jersey TDB, and Paid Family and Medical Leave programs across the U.S.

Read on to learn more about opportunities for statutory insurance brokers now and in the future.


How to Write Connecticut PFML for Small Businesses

When the state of Connecticut introduced its Paid Family and Medical Leave act, it opened the door for business owners of any size to privatize their PFML coverage for cost savings. Connecticut business owners can save even more money by bundling Connecticut PFML benefits with ancillary benefits, including dental, vision, and Group Life / AD&D coverage.

Whether you’re writing Connecticut PFML for larger businesses or smaller companies ranging from 1 to 24 lives, The DBL Center is here to help.

Benefits go into effect January 1, 2022, but employers are considering their options for coverage through the state or a private plan, right now. The state of Connecticut has already started allowing employers to withhold payments for premiums. Businesses who wish to transfer to a private plan, effective July 1, 2021, have until June 30 to hold a vote and write a private policy.

DBL Center brokers can make it easy for their clients to write PFML in Connecticut by walking them through these three simple steps.

Step One: Prepare Employees to Vote on a Private Plan

Unlike New York or New Jersey – who waived the signature requirement to privatize NJ Temporary Disability Insurance benefits – the state of Connecticut requires employees to vote on and approve a private plan.

Employers are responsible for complying with voting requirements and procedures. The DBL Center has been working with our network of carriers to simplify the process of privatizing PFML in Connecticut.

Step Two: Create a Plain Language Guide for Connecticut PFML

At least two weeks prior to the vote, Connecticut employers must provide all employees with a written description of the proposed private plan in “plain language.” The “plain language guide” should be reasonably capable of being understood by the document’s recipients. The plan can include details about additional benefits, examples of acceptable claims or payouts based on employee pay, and a list of the types of health care providers accepted by the plan.

Any language or details about the plan must be:

  • Accurate
  • Complete
  • Non-coercive

The DBL Center offers a free, downloadable “Plain Language Template” that Connecticut employers, HR departments, and benefits managers can modify and share in advance of the vote.

The Plain Language Guide first explains that the Plan is being offered as an alternative to the Connecticut Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance Program and gives all employees the same rights, protections and benefits as the state plan.

The Plain Language Guide describes:

  • Who is covered by the private plan
  • Benefits provided
  • “Qualifying reasons” to receive income replacement benefits under the plan
  • Duration and timing of benefits
  • Employee and employer contributions to the plan
  • Application process
  • Health care providers covered under the plan
  • Conditions covered by the plan
  • Rights regarding denial of benefits
  • Employer contact information for employees who have questions about the plan

Access the Plain Language Guide Template here.

Step Three: Vote and File the Proper Documents with the State

No sooner than two weeks after the employer distributes the Plain Language Guide, employees can vote on the plan. Employers can use an easy online survey tool or a simple, one-question, handwritten ballot that asks if an employee approves of the private plan.

Once the vote takes place, if the proposed private plan is approved by a 50% + 1 majority of all employees (not just those who voted), the employer must file an Insurance Declarations document with the state.

The DBL Center was one of the first in the industry to report on Connecticut PFML laws. We are here to help Connecticut insurance brokers tap into this lucrative recurring revenue stream as Connecticut employees reap the benefits of a generous paid family and medical leave policy.

 

 


DBL Center’s Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker Comes to Android Devices

 

Last September, The DBL Center launched the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker app in the Apple store for iPhone users. Today, we are proud to announce that our time-saving, revenue-driving app is now available for Android users through the Google Play store. Simply search “Broker Dashboard” or “DBL Center” in the Play store on any Samsung, Motorola, or other Android-powered mobile device to find the app that has disrupted the statutory insurance and Paid Family Leave industry. Our Broker Dashboard enables insurance brokers to track renewals, cancellations, and commissions from any internet-enabled device – in the office, at home, or on the road.

The five-star rated app in the App store has been downloaded thousands of times by DBL Center’s vast network of statutory insurance brokers. The app is a complement to our cloud-based software our brokers have been using for years to provide better customer service, deliver automatic renewal notices, and stay on top of cancellations.

Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker App for Android

Offering all the functionality of the Broker Dashboard desktop application, the Broker Dashboard app for Android devices puts the capability to track renewals, cancellations, and commissions at your fingertips.

Research from benefits consulting firm Willis Towers Watson shows that 57% of employees still work from home amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Their research shows that number should drop to about 40% by the end of the year, which is still a substantial number. The work-from-home revolution is here and apps like Broker Dashboard make it easier for brokers to gain even more flexibility when they work remotely.

Stay up-to-date on cancellations and renewals from your home office, from your local coffee house, or even in line while running errands. Having this collection of data at your fingertips makes it easy to spot profit opportunities and increase commissions while delivering even higher levels of service to your clients. You’ll have the information your customers need when they need it, which can help you build trust and earn loyalty for more return business and easy, automatic renewals.

Hear It From Our Brokers

In addition to giving brokers access to critical information on-demand through our app, DBL Center also generates a monthly list of renewals and cancellations for our clients. When we send this list, we often get positive feedback from our brokers about this service and about the Broker Dashboard in general:

Anthony Villani, Managing Director at Avanti Associates, said, “Thanks for providing this list, this is very helpful. We do a lot hand-holding with insureds on these renewal audits and are presently working on these accounts, I am pretty sure will be saving most of them and this list facilitates our process.”

Barbara Abbondondolo of Montana Agency called our Broker Dashboard “very helpful” and “very easy to use.”

Cindy Stella of Standard Security Life Insurance Company of NY commented, “This is so awesome!!!! Very impressive!”

That’s just a sampling of what some of our brokers say about the Broker Dashboard and the reports we generate for them. Of course, you can access the app any time from your computer, Android or iOS mobile device to view cancellations, reinstatements, and renewals.

Are You Using Broker Dashboard Yet?

The DBL Center has been on the cutting edge of technology in the statutory insurance industry for years, delivering our brokers the tools and information they need to earn more money in less time.

From our blog and YouTube channel to our Paid Family & Medical Leave Resource Center, the media we create is focused on keeping our brokers informed about changing news in a fast-paced world. We believe that knowledge is the key to success and you can stay ahead of the competition by staying informed.

Watch the video to see how your exclusive Broker Dashboard app, now available for Android and iOS, can help you keep more of what you earn. Then reach out so we can help you get set up with your own cloud-based Broker Dashboard account.

 


Save Your Customers Money By Privatizing New Jersey TDB

In past years, DBL Center insurance brokers didn’t write private New Jersey TDB (temporary disability benefits) past the first quarter. Business owners had already paid the bulk of the premiums into the New Jersey State Insurance Fund and there wasn’t a lot of cost savings to be realized writing policies mid-year.

But with the New Jersey TDB premium rate hike (and benefit increase), more business owners are looking to privatize coverage into the summer. Business owners can switch plans up until July 1, 2021 and realize substantial cost savings along with superior service and flexible payment options.

Are you ready to let your customers in New Jersey know about this important change?

This year’s premium bill for New Jersey TDB coverage is enough to give any business owner sticker shock – especially when so many businesses are just beginning to recover from the pandemic and seeing an increase in profits as consumer spending starts to rise. We’re seeing this in every sector, but especially in travel, entertainment, hospitality, and clothing retail, where shoppers seem to be opening their wallets as fitting rooms open.

Of course, business looking up is good news, but for employers looking to increase staffing in anticipation of profit growth, the TDB premium increase can hit hard when they aren’t quite ready for it.

As in 2020, the taxable wage base is different for employers than for employees in 2021. Employees contribute 0.47% on the first $138,200 of earnings, which maxes out at $649.54. Employers contribute based on employees’ earnings, with a maximum of $36,200 annually for the company.

Insurance brokers can save the day with a private policy that:

  • Reduces the premium rate for employer contributions
  • Covers the assessment fee up to $10 per employee per year
  • Saves business owners up to 20% or more on premiums

Ten dollars per year may not sound like a lot, but if the business has just 100 employees, that adds up to an extra $1,000 in savings per year – plus up to 20% savings on premiums. With the current labor shortage, reducing employee contributions can also put money in workers’ pockets, which can help attract talent in virtually any business.

As David Cohen used to say, “Nickels, dimes, and quarters make dollars.” Show your customers this wisdom, and how it can boost their bottom line, and you will earn their trust, loyalty, and future business referrals.

Help Business Owners Provide Workers with Greater Peace-of-Mind

Quality insurance coverage is still on workers’ minds. As we’ve seen during COVID-19, an unexpected accident or illness can set families back financially for months or even years. Employers can give their best workers peace-of-mind with high-quality short-term disability coverage.

When your customers work with you to privatize TDB coverage, they receive:

  • Premium white-glove, white-label service through the DBL Center
  • Flexible payments in their choice of debit card, check, or direct deposit
  • Opportunities to bundle ancillary benefits for added cost savings.

Statutory insurance brokers who help their customers switch to a private TDB policy in New Jersey through one of our top-rated carriers also gain access to our exclusive Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker to better manage renewals and cancellations and to track commissions with a click from any internet-enabled device.

How to Help Your Customers Make the Switch to Private TDB

The DBL Center will be there for you and your customers every step of the way as they make the important, money-saving decision to privatize their TDB coverage in New Jersey. However, your clients must take an important first step by downloading their AC174.1 form from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development Division of Employer Accounts. They can login with their password or create a new account here: Employer Access account (formerly called TWES).

They will also need to provide you with a census that includes the number of lives in their organization, genders, dates-of-birth and salaries for every qualified employee. With that information, the DBL Center will work directly with you, the broker, to shop their policy around for the lowest rate. We’ll also see if they can garner even more savings – and boost your commission – with ancillary benefits, too.

Since New Jersey waived the signature requirement for employees to opt-in to private coverage, it’s easier than ever to privatize TDB. We’ve even created a handy infographic that shows customers how to obtain their AC174.1 from the New Jersey Department of Labor website. Once they’ve got that information, you can let The DBL Center team do the rest.


Will Paid Family and Medical Leave Become a Federal Benefit?

Massachusetts Representative Richard Neal has introduced a federal paid family and medical leave program that rivals that of the program in his home state. President Joe Biden has also introduced paid family and medical leave provisions in his American Families Plan Act but is getting pushback from Republicans in both the Senate and the House.

If either Biden’s plan or Neal’s plan, which was presented by the House Ways and Means Committee, pass what will this mean for private insurance brokers and carriers who are currently writing paid family and medical leave policies? And what is a federal plan likely to look like?

Here’s what we know so far.

The American Families Plan: Paid Leave Provisions

In addition to generous child care for low-to-middle income families, extended public preschool for three and four year olds, and extended child tax credits, Biden’s plan includes a proposed 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.

The plan calls for 66% income replacement, with up to 80% for lower wage workers. There would be a monthly cap of $4,000, which means that higher wage workers would undoubtedly have to rely on additional means of income replacement to maintain their standard of living and pay their bills if they take leave because they are ill or injured or to take care of family members.

Building an Economy for Families Act: What Does Paid Leave Look Like?

Neal’s plan, called “the Building an Economy for Families Act” dives deeper into specifics for income replacement. It would be based on wages earned and provide up to 85% income replacement. Those at higher income tiers of $8,334 to $20,833 in monthly income would receive just 5% of their income as a paid benefit, while those earning less than $1,256 per month would receive 85% of their wages.

Again, higher income earners would need to plan ahead and rely on savings, investments or other income to continue bringing in the money they need.

The chart below shows the benefits.

Who Can Take Paid Family and Medical Leave?

The leave could be taken for the same reasons as FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) job protection, which includes medical leave for an accident, illness or injury that occurred off-the-job, or family leave to care for an ill or injured family member or to care for or bond with an infant in their first year of life or a newly adopted or foster child within the first 12 months.

The definition of family member, now, varies by state. Neal’s federal plan would expand family to include siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, spouses of family members, and also “chosen family.” This mimics the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, which also has a brought definition of family that includes anyone the claimant considers as family.

Who Would Pay for Paid Family and Medical Leave?

As of now, details for Biden’s program aren’t clear. However, the House Ways & Means Committee proposal details three options to fund PFML. Employers could write their policy through a public program managed by the U.S. Treasury Department. In states with existing PFL or PFML programs, employers could opt to continue with these legacy programs. There may also be employer-provided coverage options, which represents an opportunity for insurance carriers and brokers. It is unclear whether the benefit would be employer-funded, employee-funded, or shared costs.

Given the lower payouts for high-wage earners, there may also be opportunities to enrich private policies, similar to the way business owners in New York enrich DBL benefits now. Should a top worker become ill or injured, enriched DBL coverage in New York is one of the best ways to supplement income without having to tap into valuable investments – especially considering new capital gains tax laws.

Additionally, in a highly competitive job market where there are not enough skilled workers to fill available positions, business owners may want to consider offering private short-term and long-term disability policies as an added benefit for managers and c-suite executives. This can help recruit and retain top employees in a variety of industries and provide added value to top talent, as federal programs ensure that lower-income workers have the benefits they need if they are unable to work.

As always, The DBL Center remains your source for news as it develops regarding employee benefits and PFML at the state and federal levels. Top finance site GoBankingRates recently interviewed me as an expert resource for an article detailing everything people need to know about state paid family and medical leave programs and potential federal programs. You can read it here.