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.
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.
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.
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?
by Michael Cohen
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:
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.