Massachusetts PFML Provides Opportunities for Brokers

Learn more about Massachusetts PFML from your Paid Family Leave experts

At the beginning of the summer, DBL Center reported on Massachusetts and Connecticut introducing Paid Family Leave benefits programs for employees, similar to—but more robust than—New York State PFL.

New York State brokers already familiar with writing PFL as a DBL rider may find expansion opportunities in Massachusetts, as the New England state announced the details of its plan this month.

Unlike NY PFL, Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave (MA PFML) is written independently. Businesses can opt to write their insurance through the state or apply for a private plan exemption to secure coverage through top-rated private carriers.

Employers wishing to write coverage through a private plan must provide employees with private plan details along with posting information about the state-run plan. Employers can download state employer posters and written employee notices from the MA PFML website.

Although the plan doesn’t begin until January 1, 2021, the state of Massachusetts requires that all employers post notices as of September 30, 2019.

Accurate Census Simplifies Billing

Unlike NYS PFL, employers must provide a census to the state or to their private carrier by September 1, 2020, in order to secure the correct amount of coverage. The use of a census will help streamline billing and enable brokers to provide a higher level of service to Massachusetts businesses purchasing PFML, while also improving profitability.

Employers should have fewer questions about premium costs, since they are paying for the coverage needed based on the actual number of employees, not estimates.

Best of all, business owners have the option to defer paying into the pool for one year, while remaining eligible for PFML coverage. Massachusetts businesses can enjoy PFML benefits without making any payments until January 2021.

How to Apply for Private Plan Exception

As a New York tri-state area or New England-based insurance broker, you are probably already seeing the opportunities available to shift customers from the state plan to a private plan in Massachusetts. PFML represents an entirely new line of coverage and an opportunity to expand your business.  

DBL Center has conveyed the profit potential in New Jersey, which recently waived the signature requirement to shift from a state-funded plan. Massachusetts makes it even easier for business owners to opt for private coverage.

Massachusetts’ state government provides a tutorial on how to request a private plan exemption. Brokers should share this tutorial with prospective customers and walk them through the steps, if necessary.

Employers will need to provide the estimated size of their workforce, including W-2 employees and 1099 contractors, the type of paid leave plan (Family and Medical, in most cases), and the plan provider’s company name.

From there, employers will also need to answer questions regarding specific aspects of the plan. Brokers can assist with this step while selling the benefits of the private plan to prospective customers. If the employer provided the correct information and the private plan meets the state requirements, the application should be approved.

DBL Center Service Makes the Difference

As with PFL and NJ TDB, DBL Center brokers have the advantage when it comes to selling this statutory benefit. Our team has been writing PFL in NY since its inception. We understand the challenges, pitfalls, and profit potential of this powerful statutory product. As your insurance wholesaler, we are uniquely qualified to steer you through the process, permitting you to provide stellar white-glove service to your customers.

We already have a footprint in Massachusetts, providing benefits packages for Fortune 500 companies. We will be following MA PFML developments closely to assist our brokers as this important benefit becomes reality in yet another state.


New York Family Leave Program: Eligible Employees to Receive 60% of Their Average Weekly Wage in 2020

PFL enters its third year with another benefit increase

The Department of Financial Service (DFS), New York, has announced that the benefits under New York’s Paid Family Leave program will be increased to 60% of the average weekly wage for up to 10 weeks of leave beginning January 1, 2020. The new average annual wage will be $72,860, with a maximum weekly benefit of $840.70 per week.

The decision to increase the benefits will stay unless the Superintendent of the DFS announces a delay citing non-compliance with Workers Compensation Law 204(2).

In the first two years of the family leave program, the benefits were 50% and 55% of the average weekly wage of the eligible employees.

About Paid Family Leave in New York

New York’s Paid Family Leave program is the most comprehensive program in its category in the entire country. The program, which began in 2018, allows eligible employees to take time off to address important personal matters and still receive a portion of their salary, which can help alleviate financial concerns.

Employees can use family leave benefits to cover time off during three key events:

  • Attending to the needs of a family member with a serious health condition;
  • Handling personal matters when a family member is called to active duty in the US Armed Forces
  • Bonding with a new child.

PFL Premiums at a Glance

The premium rate for the family leave benefits is decided by the Superintendent of DFS as stated under Insurance Law 4235(n)(1), which also mentions that these benefits need to be community rated.

The family leave program must offer similar benefits to every eligible employee, irrespective of their geographical location, age, gender, or other demographic factors.

The premium rate is the percentage of an employee’s wage. The Superintendent has established that the premium rate for the coverage starting January 1, 2020, will be 0.270% of an employee’s wages each pay period and shall not exceed a maximum annual employee contribution of $196.72. The Superintendent establishes the maximum amount that an employer is authorized to collect from employees for PFL.

PFL Represents Growing Opportunities for Brokers

When PFL was first introduced in 2018, only 27 insurers offered the program. Today, 29 insurers write PFL as a rider to DBL policies. DFS believes there will be more insurers joining next year.

All statutory disability insurers are law-bound to offer Family Leave benefits, says DFS. The DFS has also asked all relevant insurers to submit Family Leave Benefits policy forms and rates by October 1, 2019. Insurers can visit the DFS website for more information and to view a PFL checklist, submission instructions, and model rider.

DBL Center Is Here to Help Brokers Earn More with PFL

As a mandatory rider to DBL coverage, PFL represents an additional revenue stream for brokers writing statutory disability in New York.

When brokers talk to their customers about PFL, however, it also opens doors to have a conversation about enriching DBL coverage to provide a generous benefits package and peace-of-mind for all employees, including top level executives, and not just those who fit into the requirements to qualify for PFL.

Let DBL Center help you enrich DBL in New York today.


New York and New Jersey Announce New Premium Rates and Coverage

Father and son on beach

As we return to our offices following Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer, the New York and New Jersey state insurance departments have made some important announcements for business owners and insurance brokers in the two states.

Read on to find out the new premium rates and coverage levels for Statutory Disability and Paid Family Leave plans across the U.S., New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits (TDB), and New Jersey Family Leave Insurance (FLI).

New York Announces New PFL Employee Contribution

As announced in early 2017, New Yorkers can receive up to 60% of their average weekly wage for up to 10 weeks to care for and bond with a newborn (less than one year old) or newly adopted or newly fostered child, to care for an ill or aging family member, or to take care of the household while a military spouse is deployed. The increased benefit (up from 55% in 2019) comes with an increased premium of 0.270% of an employee’s wages each pay period, not exceeding an annual maximum employee contribution of $196.72.
These rates make NYS PFL benefits some of the most generous in the country. Take a look at this chart to compare benefits and premiums across the U.S.

Policy forms and rate submissions are due October 1, 2019. If you need assistance with PFL coverage for any of your customers, the DBL Center is here to help. As your white-glove, white-label back office staff, we want to make it as simple as possible for your customers to phase in PFL coverage as a rider to their DBL policy and provide you with opportunities to enrich DBL coverage to offer benefits that make good financial sense for all your customers.

New Jersey Announces New Employee Rate for 2020

The New Jersey state insurance fund has also introduced a rate hike increase for 2020, from 17 cents to 26 cents for every $100 in taxable wages. Earlier this year, New Jersey introduced expanded Family Leave Insurance (FLI) benefits as part of its TDB package.

Under the new FLI regulations, the benefits period has expanded from six weeks to 12 weeks, beginning July 1, 2020. In addition, the definition of “family” has increased to include any blood relative of the employee or any individual shown to have a close association that is the equivalent of a family relationship with the employee.

In addition to the rate hike increase, the limit on wages on which taxes are levied for TDB and FLI has increased from 28 times the statewide average weekly wage ($33,700) to 107 times the statewide AWW (approximately $131,100), beginning January 1.

Concurrent with the rate hike, the maximum TDB or FLI benefit has also increased, from $638 to $860 per week. Partial TDB benefits will also be available.

Good News for New Jersey Insurance Brokers

The New York premium and benefits increase is predictable and in line with prior increases since the introduction of PFL. A broker’s best move continues to be selling enriched DBL to provide a benefit that makes sense to top company executives and decision makers within an organization.

The New Jersey hike represents an opportunity for New Jersey insurance brokers to beat the state rate, while providing benefits equal to or better than the state insurance fund, with a higher level of customer service. When New Jersey waived the signature requirement earlier this year, it became easier than ever to get businesses to switch to privatized TDB.

This is the moment New Jersey insurance brokers have waited for; when you break it down, you realize it’s here because of New York’s generous PFL policy.

With family leave enhancements sweeping across the Northeast, employers will want to find ways to stay competitive and recruit working families, millennials, and the future generations of employees. Robust yet low-cost benefits packages, especially in the face of an impending recession, remain one of the best ways to recruit and retain top talent.

Give us a call to take advantage of the white-glove service and support DBL Center offers our tri-state area brokers and expand your book of business as we head into autumn.


Family Leave Insurance Programs Extend Across Northeast

Massachusetts and Connecticut follow New York in adopting paid family leave benefits

Tri-state area insurance brokers, take note. Big changes are afoot again when it comes to employee benefits, paid leave, and family leave insurance.

New York’s Paid Family Leave has been in full swing since January 2018 and is set to reach the maximum benefit of 67% of the employee’s salary for 12 weeks by January 2021. With New York as a model, Massachusetts and Connecticut have become the next states to roll out comprehensive medical and family leave insurance programs.

Family Leave Insurance Programs: More Inclusive and Expansive than NYS PFL

The programs in Massachusetts and Connecticut are even more inclusive than New York’s policy, allowing time off for more expansive reasons than New York permits.

Both Massachusetts and Connecticut expand on New York’s PFL policies, which allow employees to take time off following the birth, adoption, or foster care of a child within the first year; to care for injured, ill, or disabled family members; or to care for children and take care of household duties while a military spouse is deployed.

Connecticut’s plan also fills the role of DBL in New York, allowing for paid time off when an employee has a serious health condition. In addition, the new law allows paid time off for an employee:

  • serving as an organ or bone marrow donor,
  • who is the victim of family violence
  • who is caring for “any blood relation or “the equivalent of a family member.”

The Massachusetts law, slated to go into effect on October 1, 2019, is an employer-funded program that permits leave of up to 12 weeks to care for a loved one (and 26 weeks if that loved one suffered a health condition as a result of active duty military service) and up to 20 weeks for an employee’s own illness or injury.

Understanding Massachusetts’ Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA)

Massachusetts rushed the legislation through on June 28, 2018, and it went into effect on January 1, 2019. The start date to begin collecting taxes for the benefits was originally stated as July 1, 2019, but Massachusetts has delayed the start time to collect funds to October 1, 2019. Benefits will go into effect January 2021, with some caregiving benefits becoming available that July.

Massachusetts PFMLA covers paid medical leave for employees as well as for caregivers, similar to NYS DBL with the PFL rider. PFMLA pays 80% of an employee’s average weekly wages up to one-half of the state’s average weekly wage (AWW), which is currently $1,338.05.

Here’s where it gets confusing. For employees earning an average of more than half the AWW, they receive an additional ½ of their average weekly wages that are in excess of the cap, up to a total of $850 per week, or 64% of the state’s AWW.

Essentially, the maximum allowable benefit for PFMLA in Massachusetts is $850 weekly, more than New York’s maximum weekly benefit for 2019, which is $746.41.

More About Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program

Connecticut is the most recent state to launch a paid family leave insurance program and, like Massachusetts, it combines leave to care for family members with paid leave for employees who are injured or ill.

The law goes into effect as of June 25, 2019, but contributions won’t start until January 1, 2021, with benefits becoming available January 1, 2022.

Employees may collect up to 95% of the employee’s base weekly earnings, up to 40 times the state minimum fair wage. Employees who earn more than 40 times the state minimum fair wage receive an additional 60% of their base weekly earnings above that minimum, not exceeding the weekly maximum benefit, which is 60 times the minimum fair wage.

When minimum wage reaches $15/hour in 2023, the maximum allowable PFML benefit in Connecticut will be $900 per week.

Employers may opt out of the state plan if the private plan they intend to adopt meets or exceeds the state plan, with contributions not higher than the state’s rate. Additionally, 50% + 1 of the employees must approve the plan.

What All This Means to Tri-State Area Employers and Insurance Brokers

There’s little doubt that Connecticut adopted the plan to compete with neighboring New York in terms of employee benefits. As a suburb of New York City, Connecticut draws from the same talent pool as downstate New York. Providing a robust medical leave and family leave package to rival DBL with the PFL rider can help Connecticut industries grow with high-value employees.

For tri-state area insurance brokers, Connecticut FMLA, and even Massachusetts PFMLA, could represent new opportunities to expand your book of business. New York-based businesses with offices in Massachusetts and Connecticut will need to revisit employee benefits packages in these states. Bundling FMLA and PFMLA with ancillary benefits such as vision, dental, and group life can help these companies save money while recruiting and retaining top talent.

Connecticut offers options for self-insured and fully insured plans. The Massachusetts plan, which won’t go into effect for a few years, has yet to announce these finer details.

In both cases, tri-state area insurance brokers are wondering: Will the new paid family and medical leave benefits be commissionable?

The DBL Center was here to walk you through New York’s PFL roll-out. We will continue to be your source for details on employee benefits, and paid family medical leave across the tri-state area.

Reach out with any questions you may have about the new family leave insurance: FMLA in Connecticut or PFMLA in Massachusetts. We will keep you up-to-date as new details are announced.


The Rule of 72 and Why Your Customers Need Enriched DBL

In our last post, we spoke about using ancillary benefits to help reduce the financial stress that’s placed on employees.

This is especially crucial for employees in the New York tri-state area, which includes regions with the highest cost of living in the country. An accident or illness can leave an employee’s finances depleted. The New York State minimum for DBL coverage hasn’t kept up with inflation and isn’t enough to live on. In fact, the statutory disability benefit in New York has not increased since 1989.

The Rule of 72, for example, states that a specific dollar amount invested at an annual fixed interest rate of 10% would take 7.2 years to double. Yet, in 30 years the DBL benefit has remained the same.

Why not enrich DBL for a very low cost, ramping up the ROI on the investment?

Enriching DBL helps this important benefit keep pace with inflation to cover more of an employer or employee’s living expenses if they are ill or injured.

Consider the Needs of Your Customers

While it’s important to consider hourly workers who may be living paycheck to paycheck, it’s also important for brokers to consider the needs of company owners and top-level employees, including CEOs, CFOs, and HR managers, who make the buying decisions when it comes to employee benefits.

Of course, c-level executives want the best benefits for their employees to improve morale, maximize productivity, and aid recruiting and retention. But if you can also sell decisionmakers on the benefits that also serve their best financial interests, you’ll earn their lifelong trust.

Twenty years ago, Governor Mario Cuomo voted to increase the statutory disability benefit. His son, Andrew Cuomo, decided not to increase DBL. Instead, he introduced Paid Family Leave as a statutory benefit in New York.

But PFL – while it’s undoubtedly an important benefit – doesn’t apply to a vast majority of workers. Many middle-aged and older employees are past child-raising years and have already faced the loss of their parents. People in these demographics, especially middle managers and top executives, need benefits that will appeal to their needs.

Enriched DBL is a “set it and forget it” benefit. Once a business owner enhances their short-term disability benefits in New York, they will renew automatically each year. They aren’t likely to go back to the state minimum benefits.

Why Is Enriched DBL Such a Good Investment for Company Executives?

Many business owners and executives have savings and investments to cover a worst-case scenario such as an accident or illness that could leave them unable to work.

But, in fact, enriching DBL can be the smartest investment company leaders can make.

If it takes 7.2 years to double your income from investments at a rate of 10%, you don’t want to pull that money out to cover your living expenses.

Enriched DBL allows employers and employees – from c-level executives to hourly wage workers – to keep their savings where it is and receive a rate-of-return on their insurance premium that is far beyond any investment.

If a company enriches DBL by 5X, they will only pay $9.75/mo/male in premium and $11.50/mo/female, and if they need to make a claim, receive $850 per week for up to 26 weeks.

When you show your customers the math – and the benefit of leaving their investments growing – they will ask you to enrich DBL for their own financial peace-of-mind.

Build Relationships with the Right Advice

Smart insurance brokers are serving two customers – the employees who use the benefits, and the company owners and HR executives who are making the decisions on what benefits to offer.

When you can open doors to give them a low-cost, high-return benefit that appeals to employers and employees alike, you can gain trust and earn their business for life.

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How Ancillary Benefits Can Reduce Stress to Improve Employee Productivity

Financial stress affects every aspect of an employees’ life, including their work performance. When employees feel as if they aren’t prepared if illness or injury strikes, their health, and workplace productivity suffers. Employees spend an average of 13 hours per month worrying about money while they’re at work, according to a study by Mercer.

In a recent survey, finance website Bankrate discovered that 60% of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover a $1,000 surprise expense. But even middle managers and top talent in the New York Tri-state are not immune to the fear of bankruptcy or a personal financial crisis should an illness or injury occur.

Insurance brokers are uniquely equipped to solve this pain point for business owners, HR departments, and employees. At the same time, successfully conveying the advantages of a robust benefits package to your customers can help you expand your book of business and increase commissions with existing customers.

A robust ancillary benefits package can help eliminate financial stress for employees, which, in turn, can improve their productivity, reduce sick days, and enhance their creativity and problem-solving abilities.

Ultimately, the right benefits can help create better employees.

The Link Between Employee Health and a Good Benefits Package

Finances, health, and work performance are intrinsically linked. Enriched DBL, along with ancillary benefits, can give New York workers peace-of-mind, knowing they have a safety net in place if they become ill, injured, or even need expensive emergency dental care.

New York State did the right thing for families with a PFL policy that is, currently, the best in the nation. Now it’s in the best interests of business owners to enhance their other benefits packages to make sure all employees have access to the resources they need to help them stay productive as well.

The Right Benefits Package Retains Top Performers

A robust ancillary benefits package, including vision, and dental benefits, can help recruit and retain employees while reducing overall living costs for employees to reduce their financial stress. It can also reduce an employer’s bottom line as an investment in ancillary benefits as part of a package that includes enriched DBL often costs less than employees’ raises.

In fact, many ancillary benefits are voluntary and employee-funded and employers can choose to have employees cover part or all of the premium. Employees have the option to dramatically reduce their out-of-pocket costs on necessary expenses using pre-tax dollars, and employers pay nothing.

For brokers, this makes ancillary benefits an easy sell. And, with DBL Center as your back office staff, benefits administration is easy, too.

What benefits should your customers include in their ancillary benefits packages?

Dental and vision are a good start, offering tremendous bang for the buck for most employees.

The Case for Dental and Vision Coverage

As you create an ancillary benefits package for your customers, consider these statistics about eye care in the U.S.:

    Approximately 75% of all adults in the U.S. wear glasses or contact lenses to correct vision problems, according to the Vision Council of America
    Eye exams cost an average of $114
    Prescription eyeglasses cost an average of $196
    Contact lenses cost wearers an average of $220 to $260 annually

If more than one person in the family needs vision correction and the costs add up. Yet only 35% of employers offer vision coverage. It’s easy to see how your customers can stand out by offering voluntary vision benefits.

Similarly, the average family of four could spend $2,162 on dental care per year without insurance. Nearly 60% of Americans don’t visit the dentist often enough due to the cost, according to some sources.

However, 77% of Americans do have dental coverage, with 90% of those plans offered by employers. It’s important to offer dental coverage to keep pace with your competitors and retain talent.

Insurance Brokers Can Help Create Happy, Healthy, Engaged Employees

Especially as healthcare costs continue to rise, ancillary benefits can play an important role in reducing out-of-pocket costs for employees and employers, alike. And reducing employees’ financial stress can help businesses perform better, with more active and engaged workers.

Brokers should speak to HR directors about developing a robust benefits package that can help keep employees happy, healthy, and engaged.

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Hawaii TDI: Did You Know Hawaii Offers Disability Insurance, Too?

Don’t miss the profit opportunities in selling Hawaii TDI

Most DBL Center brokers focus their business efforts in the New York Tri-state area, specifically New York and New Jersey. DBL coverage (Disability Benefits Law) insurance in New York and Temporary Disability Benefits (TDB) in New Jersey are lucrative insurance products, especially in New York where brokers can upsell New York business owners to an enriched DBL policy.
But many
brokers aren’t aware that Hawaii is one of only a handful of states that offer temporary disability insurance. And The DBL Center can connect you with Hawaii’s largest TDI carrier to provide Hawaii TDI to businesses.

Understand the Specifics of Hawaii TDI

To tap into the profit potential of TDI coverage in Hawaii, you’ll first want to understand the specifics of these coverage packages.

TDI benefits can last for up to 26 weeks total during the benefit year and begin after seven days of disability. Like NJ TDB and NYS DBL, benefits are payable for individuals who are ill or injured and unable to work, as long as the injury did not occur on the job. Employees must file a TDI claim within 90 days of the injury, unless they can provide a valid reason for the delay.

Like DBL and TDB, workers who file a TDI claim must have been employed immediately before the claim, including vacation time or PTO. In Hawaii, employees must have at least 14 weeks of employment totaling 20 hours per week or more and must have earned at least $400 in the 52 weeks before disability.

TDI benefits pay workers in Hawaii up to 58 percent of their average weekly wage up to the State of Hawaii maximum benefit amount, which was $620 in 2018. This is just slightly less than TDB in the State of New Jersey, and much more generous than New York’s DBL benefits before enrichment.

In fact, because TDB and Hawaii TDI are so similar, brokers may wish to pursue this market to expand their book of business. If you already sell healthcare in Hawaii, TDI is a logical cross-selling opportunity. If you have a large, national brokerage, selling Hawaii TDI can be a foot in the door to also sell healthcare coverage, group life, and ancillary benefits.

Let DBL Center Help You with Your Customers in Hawaii

Most of our brokers and industry colleagues know we moved our New York offices a few miles away to bigger building and larger office space in Melville.

But many people don’t know that DBL Center also has an office in Hawaii, where we provide more than 3,500 Hawaiian businesses with statutory TDI coverage and ancillary benefits.

If you run a national insurance agency with business customers who span the country, there is a wide-open market in Hawaii for TDI coverage. As with NJ DBL, there are a number of benefits for Hawaii business owners to move their policy from state-funded coverage to privatized TDI.

Helping Hawaii Insurance Agents Grow

If you are a Hawaii-based broker seeking to grow your book of business locally, we can help. We will be your back-office team to provide faster service and timely payouts. You’ll gain access to our state-of-the-art broker dashboard, permitting you to track cancellations, renewals, and commissions with just a few clicks. Our ancillary lines, including group life, vision, and dental, can help you increase commissions with highly coveted benefits.

Isn’t time to make the leap and start selling Hawaii TDI coverage? DBL Center will be your white-glove, white-label service provider and your back-office team to ensure your customers receive the service they expect and deserve.

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NJ State Disability Maximum Benefit 2019: Do Your Customers Know Their Rights?

Make sure your customers understand the NJ state disability maximum benefit 2019 and more

The NJ state disability maximum benefit 2019 is in full effect as of January 1, 2019, for workers who have become injured, disabled, or given birth any time within the 2019 calendar year.

The NJ state disability maximum benefit 2019 is $650 per week. The maximum benefit for 2019 is up from $637 in 2018. The new rate is applicable only for employees who make a claim in 2019 and is not available retroactively or for injuries or illnesses from 2018.

How Are NJ TDB Benefits Calculated?

The employee’s maximum weekly benefit amount is calculated based on two-thirds of their average weekly wage, based on earnings in the eight calendar weeks before disability began. The weekly wage may include overtime, tips, and cash value of other renumeration, such as employee bonuses.

If the average weekly wage is less than the average weekly wage for the past 26 weeks, the employment may request a recalculation in writing to the Division of Temporary Disability Insurance. This assures payment is fair and remains close to a living wage for the temporary disability benefits applicant.

Disability payments will not begin until seven days after the disability claim is filed and disability begins, and payments cannot exceed 26 weeks within one disability period. Covered government workers must first use all available sick leave.

If combined with renumeration from the employer, the weekly NJ maximum disability benefit cannot exceed the regular weekly wages immediately prior to the disability. For instance, if an employee is paid weekly, and goes out on disability mid-week between the pay cycle, his first disability check plus his next paycheck cannot exceed the prior weekly paycheck.

In addition to the new, higher NJ state maximum disability benefit for 2019, there are a few things your customers should know about NJ TDB, to ensure they are in compliance with New Jersey state laws and treating their employees fairly.

NJ TDB Regulations Your Customers Should Know

As an insurance broker in the state of NJ, whether you are selling health insurance, life insurance, or ancillary benefits, you can take this opportunity to help your customers understand NJ TDB compliance laws. This can help set up a conversation about the benefits of privatizing their TDB policies for enhanced benefits, faster payouts, and better service.

Employers and HR directors should know that a notice outlining employee’s rights under NJ TDB, including the NJ state disability maximum benefit 2019, should be posted in a place where all employees can view and read it, typically an employee break room or other gathering place.

Employees should also be informed about NJ temporary disability benefits when they are first hired, if an employee notifies the employer that they are taking time off for a situation that could be eligible for NJ TDB benefits, or any time an employee asks for information about their temporary disability benefits.

Does It Pay to Privatize TDB for Your Customers?

Many New Jersey business owners aren’t aware they can privatize TDB for better service and the equal (or better) benefits at the same rates.

The state of NJ is backed up on processing temporary disability claims, resulting in benefit delays. If an employee needs help filing the forms or isn’t sure which form to file, it can be difficult to reach someone in the State of New Jersey Department of Labor Division of Temporary Disability Insurance.

In addition, a private TDB policy gives your customers many other benefits, including disability payments in the form of direct deposit rather than a debit card. By privatizing their TDB package with a major carrier, they may be eligible for rate discounts on ancillary benefits, too.

As a broker, when you privatize your customers’ TDB and write the policies through DBL Center, you’ll gain access to our Broker Dashboard to track revenue, commissions, and renewals. Using our Broker Dashboard puts all your clients’ information in one place, under one password, in an easy-to-use app that you can access from your office or on-the-go from any mobile device.

Right now, only 2 percent of all businesses in New Jersey write their TDB policies through a private carrier.

The market is wide open.

The opportunity is there.

Start the conversation by letting your customers know about the new NJ state disability maximum benefit 2019. Then show them what they have to gain with private TDB coverage, because the advantages go far beyond the amount of money claimants receive.

Want more tools to help you sell NJ TDB? Check out our new NJ TDB Resource Center here.


Artificial Intelligence and the Future of P&C Insurance

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become prevalent in every industry and in many homes, as well. If you’ve asked Siri to help you book a reservation at your favorite restaurant through OpenTable or used Alexa to create a playlist for a cocktail party you’re hosting, you’ve used AI.

In business settings, AI is beginning to help people schedule meetings, sift through resumes to find likely job candidates, and even provide customer service through chatbots online.
What Is Artificial Intelligence?

You’ve probably heard the phrase Artificial Intelligence many times and may even have a hint about what it means. You may have also heard another closely related term: Machine Learning.
An AI computer can act and react in ways similar to a human being. In other words, it can appear to think, and it can learn based on past experiences.

Machine learning is the means by which computers gain artificial intelligence.

In 2016, technologist, futurist, and investor Andrew Ng wrote, “If a typical person can do a mental task with less than one second of thought, we can probably automate it using AI either now or in the near future.”

This may be a vast simplification – or perhaps an over-statement – of AI’s capabilities. AI excels at pattern recognition, data sorting, voice recognition, and even responding to simple inquiries.
With this in mind, it’s easy to pinpoint some areas where AI could streamline insurance renewals, recordkeeping, audits, and bookkeeping for insurance professionals in the next five to 10 years – and perhaps even sooner.

How Artificial Intelligence Can Help Insurance Brokers Increase Sales and Commissions

Many brokers today use limited business intelligence analytics to track their business, but most of the activities are tracked manually, which means increased overhead and extra time spent staring at spreadsheets.

DBL Center’s Broker Dashboard can streamline many of your business intelligence processes, including tracking renewals, notifying staff of late payments, and tracking commissions. The new NRT software does all this and tracks data across all your P&C accounts, not just policies purchased through The DBL Center.

But this is only the beginning. Future versions of these powerful business intelligent (BI) engines are nearly destined to employ AI and machine learning. The next iterations of NRT may be able to analyze data faster, recognize relevant patterns, save brokers time, and potentially increase sales.

What Will the Broker Dashboard of the Future Look Like?

The potential for AI in the insurance industry in the future is incredible. Just as AI capabilities advance in the fields of healthcare and human resources, the insurance industry needs only embrace AI’s potential to streamline their business and earn more.

The Broker Dashboard of the future may be able to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to:

Predict which clients are likely to pay late so brokers can take pre-emptive action. Unlike running a credit check or looking at past behavior of that client, the AI algorithm can look at past behavior of clients with similar characteristics to predict future behavior of new clients. Brokers can take proactive steps to ensure bills are paid on time with reminder notifications or perhaps phone calls.

Identify good candidates for upsells like enriched DBL and ancillary benefits. AI could help increase the success rate of sales calls. Rather than taking a shotgun approach to try to sell existing clients bundled benefits packages, AI can help brokers identify highly-qualified leads most likely to say yes. Brokers will be more productive and earn more by delivering the benefits their clients really want.

Track the reasons behind cancellations. What if you could increase your retention rates by understanding why certain clients cancelled and take steps to retain similar clients? It’s always cheaper to keep a customer than to make a new one. By pinpointing cancellation patterns, AI can help you increase retention rates and keep your brokerage growing.

Track successful existing clients and identify likely prospects. If you are like many brokers, you’ve been working on building your database of prospects through social media, inbound marketing, direct mail, and in-person networking. AI is well-suited to compare that list to a list of your most successful clients. AI can help you cull down your massive database to find top prospects who are not only likely to say “yes.” It may also be able to pinpoint clients who will pay on time, stay with your company for years, and purchase multiple lines, including DBL, business insurance, home insurance, group life, and ancillary benefits.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

AI can take a lot of the guesswork out of insurance sales with business intelligence analytics. AI can recognize patterns of behavior and help brokers capitalize on all the data they have at their fingertips today.

Brokers who adopt these advanced technologies as they become available will save time, earn more, and stay ahead of the curve.

With our new broker dashboard and other business intelligence tools within reach, DBL Center can help.


NYS Brokers: Are You Prepared for PFL in 2019?

What brokers, HR directors, and company executives need to know about PFL in 2019


The new year is almost upon us, and that means more changes for HR directors, business owners, and insurance brokers in New York, once again, as they get up to speed on PFL in 2019. Look for PFL contributions to increase along with the payout and total weeks of leave permitted with benefits.

What’s New for PFL in 2019

PFL benefits will be phased in until they reach the maximum payout of 67 percent of an employee’s Average Weekly Wage for 12 weeks in 2021.

For 2019, the maximum allowable deduction will be 0.153 of the employee’s average weekly wage. Benefits will equal 55% of an employee’s AWW for 10 weeks, up from eight weeks in 2018. The benefit will max out at $746.61 weekly.

It’s important to note that wages are no longer taken with a weekly max. If someone is making $3000 a week, they will pay $3000 x $.00153 – $4.59 weekly deduction until their salary reaches the $70,569.72 max. Then they stop paying for the year.

You can use our handy PFL calculator to determine PFL premiums for your company – or for your customers – based on the number of employees eligible for PFL and the total annual payroll base.

What Brokers and HR Professionals Need to Know About PFL in 2019

Policyholders will have to reconcile PFL premiums for 2018 as part of the necessary premium calculation steps, similar to how it is done for DBL. Brokers who use the DBL Center’s free broker dashboard can easily help their customers reconcile premiums with figures from the database.

If you need help with this important step, contact the DBL Center for guidance on setting up and using the Broker Dashboard to calculate premiums, track renewals and cancellations, and much more.
In addition to the above changes, the state of New York has provided new DBL and PFL posting notices to hang in a prominent spot where employees can view them.

HR directors and company owners should ask their brokers for a new 120 Posting Notice and a DB120.1 Certificate of Insurance.

DBL Center brokers can contact our office for links to these forms to provide to your clients.

Keep Learning About PFL

2018 was a transition year for DBL brokers in New York, and PFL proved to have a steep learning curve.

The DBL Center has provided the resources our brokers need to stay on top of PFL, including webinars, handouts, and our online PFL resource center.

Be prepared to answer all your customers’ questions about PFL in 2019 by browsing our Paid Family Leave Resource Center, which has been updated for the new year.

You may also like these articles that can help your customers better understand PFL in the workplace:

Learn how PFL and DBL are related, but different: DBL vs PFL

Learn how PFL is different from FMLA: PFL vs. FMLA

Help your customers ensure they are in compliance with DBL: PFL Compliance

Calculate PFL premiums for 2019: PFL Calculator

Remember, the DBL Center is here to help answer all your questions about PFL in the new year.