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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
by Michael Cohen
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With the introduction of Paid Family and Medical Leave in Connecticut, insurance brokers that serve the state are grappling with many new questions and challenges, along with exciting opportunities and even cost savings over the plan administrated by Connecticut’s paid leave authority. But is it worth it to add other lines of coverage such as ancillary benefits or long-term disability?
“We’re in the position now, of asking our clients to pay more money just to satisfy their desire to privatize PFML,” says Cathy Brown, Vice President of Employee Benefits at Brown & Brown of Connecticut, Inc., a publicly-held insurance carrier in Rocky Hill, CT.
She points out that, fortunately, The DBL Center works with top-rated carriers who will privatize PFML as a standalone benefit and can connect customers with those plans, instead. She notes that her company takes a holistic approach to the decision, and The DBL Center provides options that will benefit the client whether they opt for ancillary benefits or not.
As a broker, Brown says, “You want to do what’s right for the client, but you want to take advantage of the added revenue stream with additional lines of coverage, too. As a broker, we want to look at it holistically from the point-of-view of our client. It could be in the best interests of the employer because they’re saving money with a private plan.”
However, adding lines of coverage is not just a matter of the cost of premiums. If a person’s PFML coverage runs out and now they have to file for long-term disability, now the employer has to backfill that leave. They may have to hire a temp or a contractor to fill the position. “You’ve upped the spend on your budget with the long-term disability policy because you wanted to privatize PFML. Can you afford the line of coverage and additional costs down the line?” Brown says.
These are the questions Connecticut brokers need to be asking their customers. It’s important to explore these facets with clients because, overall, you’ll build trust and create long-term, happier clients.
But there are compelling reasons for Connecticut business owners to bundle long-term disability and ancillary benefits with state-mandated PFML – and it’s about more than just saving money and getting better service with a plan through a private carrier.
It’s a fact that employers should have contingency plans set up for employees who require to take short-term medical leave or long-term disability. But it’s not something most of us, as business owners, think about until it’s staring us in the face and we’re looking to fill a role left by someone out on leave.
If someone is sick, disabled, or unable to work, they may not have a choice but to take a leave of absence. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees their job for a certain amount of time. Long-term disability can help ensure they return to your place of business once they recover, since you’ve not only held their job, but provided a means of income while they couldn’t work. It’s important to share these facts with your clients – and also look at ways you can enhance benefits within your insurance brokerage to show your clients you are “walking the walk.”
On-site gym memberships, ping-pong tables and craft beer Fridays are no longer enough to attract top talent to organizations. Employees want flex-time, continued remote work options, and better emergency leave. The state of Connecticut is making sure employers provide that emergency leave for employees to care for themselves or a loved one. Now it’s up to employers to fill in gaps with ancillary benefits.
Human Resource Executive notes that, during the pandemic, people have put off dental, vision, and routine medical care. Since a person’s eyes and teeth are a reflection of their overall health, it’s important to stay up to date on dental and vision check-ups. Ancillary benefits that cover these costs, in part or in whole, makes it more likely for people to take care of these appointments. That can create an overall healthier workforce that performs better.
You may bundle your auto and home insurance under one policy for cost-savings and convenience. The same holds true for bundling employee benefits. By putting as many employee benefits with one carrier as they can, your customers can get not just the best rates, but the advantage of a single point of contact for questions and claims.
“I would advise employers and brokers to package PFML benefits in Connecticut with long-term disability and ancillary benefits. That way, benefit coordination will be nice and neat,” says Brian Dewey, Group Sales Representative, New England Territory, for The DBL Center. “And, of course, with The DBL Center’s experience in paid leave in New York and my experience with ancillary benefits across New England, we can be a resource to the Connecticut brokers who are trying to manage with is really a new benefit in their state.”
Do your clients prefer to purchase stand-alone PFML? Whether they want to bundle benefits or not, The DBL Center can help, with Paid Family and Medical Leave in Connecticut through top-rated carriers.
Find industry-leading videos, product demos, and insights
The DBL Center, a wholesale insurance general agency specializing in statutory benefits, has launched a new section of its website to keep insurance brokers up to date on the latest statutory and ancillary employee benefit insurance industry news.
Found in the drop-down menu of the About section on the website navigation bar, or in the drop down on the mobile site, “In the News” features:
The videos showcased on the page represent the culmination of DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen’s years of stage experience and his passion for performance. The insurance expert graduated from Boston University with a film degree and now finds a new outlet for his passion through his company’s many marketing and outreach initiatives. “I would have been a stand-up comedian if I didn’t go into insurance,” he says.
In the Meet the Team series of videos, Cohen interviews his staff, revealing their motivations, goals, and a few fun facts. Likewise, the Rep Roundtable series brings together top insurance carriers to discuss industry trends and tips for brokers. This short-form video podcast series launched in 2019 and achieved industry-wide recognition.
Brokers will also find overview videos of the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker to learn, step-by-step, how to track renewals, cancellations, and commissions from any internet-enabled device. Interested brokers can schedule a live demo of this cloud-based app using the easy-to-access chat feature directly on the page.
“Our In The News section brings together some of our most valuable media in one place, so you can browse easily during short spurts of down time,” Cohen says. “I hope visitors to our site will discover information, inspiration, and maybe even a laugh or two.”
About The DBL Center Ltd.
With 40+ years in the insurance industry, The DBL Center services 100,000 insured corporations through 4,000 brokers across 15 states as a wholesale insurance general agency. For more information, visit InsuranceWholesaler.net, call 800.325.2777 or connect with us on LinkedIn.
InsuranceWholesaler | Michael Cohen
6312935100 ex 800
As many companies went out of business in 2020 and others saw substantial revenue reductions, insurance brokers have struggled to collect payments for New York and New Jersey statutory disability insurance policies. The DBL Center is the first and only wholesale insurance broker to deliver a list of your pending cancellations and renewals directly to your inbox via our industry-first Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker app.
Every year, a handful or more of companies will push the limits of their disability insurance renewals. They know we can always backdate the policy if they pay even after cancellation. But brokers’ commissions get delayed and it can wreak havoc on cash flow.
This year could have been even worse when it comes to lost commissions and a shrinking book of business due to the pandemic. But the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker app helps DBL Center brokers stay on top of pending cancellations for non-pay, so they can get paid faster and keep the money coming in. After all, we all know that nickels, dimes, and quarters make dollars. Every disability insurance policy your customers pay on time, before multiple cancellation notices, represents money in your pocket.
“I think the annual billing cycle that just closed has been as successful as it could have been given all the other [economic] circumstances,” said Valmaria Strobel, Vice President – DBL Underwriting for Standard Security Life Ins. Co. of NY.
She added that The DBL Center’s reminders to Standard Security brokers were instrumental in avoiding a host of non-pay cancellations. “We billed these policies at the end of 2020, and although some were slow to pay, more have paid than would have without those reminders he was sending.”
Standard Security started in the business 30 years ago with The DBL Center, led by founder David Cohen, as one of the carrier’s top wholesale insurance brokers. “If you ask me what [DBL Center President and CEO] Mike Cohen has brought to the table, it’s the technology, for sure,” Strobel said.
Every month, The DBL Center delivers a list of all policyholders, including in-force policies, renewals, pending cancellations, and cancellations to brokers’ inboxes, making it easy for brokers to track down pending cancellations to keep revenue streams flowing. “It’s hand-packaged and tied in a bow, essentially,” Strobel said.
Strobel explained that the Broker Dashboard reminders go out to brokers on the heels of Standard Security reminders. “It’s been effective in getting policy holders to pay and avoiding some unnecessary cancellations,” she says.
It’s not just carriers who love the way the Broker Dashboard keeps cash flow moving and helps prevent cancellations for non-pay.
Over the past years since The DBL Center introduced this technology, brokers have expressed gratitude for the monthly reports and easy, remote access to their entire book of business.
Calling the list of renewals and pending cancellations “very helpful,” Anthony Villani, managing director for Avanti Associates, a Pelham, NY, disability insurance broker, said. “We do a lot hand-holding with insureds on these renewal audits and are presently working on these accounts, I am pretty sure we will be saving most of them and this list facilitates our process.”
Similarly, Tom Murray, commercial lines account executive for JSM Brokerage Inc. in East Hills, NY said, “I appreciate you reaching out and letting me know about all these.” Having a list of pending cancellations and non-renewals allows brokers to focus on bill collection in a timely manner, while the Broker Dashboard tracks it all for them.
The DBL Center is the only wholesale insurance broker that provides the technology and service to help you stay on top of cancellations and improve cash flow.
Not using the Broker Dashboard yet? Watch our video and then schedule your free demo here!
Do you remember Blockbuster’s end-of-late-fees?
With the transition to DVD rentals, we no longer had to “be kind, rewind.” Late fees were the last inconvenience of the video store rental service. And then Blockbuster enticed us all to “Celebrate the end of late fees.”
Insurance brokers faced a lot in 2020. Here at The DBL Center, we want to make life just a little bit easier for our brokers. So we’re asking you to join us in celebrating the end of minimum business requirements.
For all of 2021, brokers who write their statutory insurance benefits with us, along with ancillary benefits like vision, dental, and group life / AD&D have no minimum business requirements to worry about. Unlike some other companies you may do business with, we do not require any monthly, quarterly, and annual business requirements to ensure the lowest rates and access to our premium, white-glove service.
We understand that many businesses shuttered in 2021. Reports show nearly 1/3 of all New York and New Jersey small businesses closed permanently in 2020. As of November 2020, the New York Post reported, 27.8% of New York-based small businesses failed to reopen following temporary closures due to the pandemic. It’s even worse in New Jersey, where 31.2% of small businesses closed.
These small businesses are our brokers’ bread and butter. Cancellations were beyond your control. And with few new companies launching, it became harder to write new business.
Because we take care of our brokers, and we want them to be successful without added pressure, we’ve never had minimum business requirements, and we plan to keep it that way. By shifting your book of business to The DBL Center, you, too, can celebrate the end of business requirements and sales quotas! Make life just a little less stressful in 2021, and enjoy all the benefits of having The DBL Center as your white-glove, white-label, back office team.
When Netflix first came along, everyone thought movies-on-demand, no late fees… was crazy.
Just call us the Netflix of the insurance industry, because we’re doing something no one has done before by eliminating minimum business requirements and sales quotas to meet. Also like Netflix, we are on top of the latest technology in our industry.
As a DBL Center broker, you can:
You can learn more about our Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker here. And, for all of 2021, don’t worry about meeting business requirements Just keep doing what you’re doing and enjoying all the benefits of having The DBL Center as your white-glove, back-office team.
Privatizing coverage through the Massachusetts State Family Medical Leave Act puts money in the pockets of Massachusetts business owners
Business owners who want to privatize paid family medical leave in Massachusetts have until October 1, 2020, to make their decision. The DBL Center has more than 40 years experience in the statutory benefits markets in New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii.
As statutory benefits expand across New England, The DBL Center is available to help Massachusetts business owners save money. The DBL Center can write privatized policies with top insurance carriers, delivering cost savings and benefits equal to or greater than those underwritten through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Business owners must pay PFML premiums on policies written by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by October 1, 2020. But Massachusetts business owners who privatize paid family medical leave can defer MA PFML premiums for 2020 until January 1, 2021.
Deferring premiums on statutory PFML in Massachusetts helps free up cash for other expenses and leaves more money in employee’s paychecks.
Paid family leave benefits allow employees to care for:
Beginning July 1, 2021, PFML in MA will also cover time off to care for any family member with a serious health condition.
Privatized paid family and medical leave plans in Massachusetts must provide benefits equal to or better than the state plan.
“Massachusetts business owners who write their PFML policies with The DBL Center will save money and also benefit from the white-glove service we’ve delivered to our customers for decades,” says Michael Cohen, DBL Center president and CEO.
With 40+ years in the insurance industry, The DBL Center services 100,000 insured corporations through 4,000 brokers across 15 states as a wholesale insurance general agency. The DBL Center specializes in DBL, PFL, TDB, TDI, and PFML in Massachusetts and Connecticut. For more information, visit InsuranceWholesaler.net, call 800.325.2777 or connect with us on LinkedIn.
InsuranceWholesaler | Michael
6312935100 ex 800
Prior to the MA Paid Family Medical Leave Act, short-term disability benefits provided partial income replacement for non-work-related illnesses or injuries in Massachusetts.
With MA PFMLA benefits going into effect on January 1, 2021, (and additional benefits beginning July 1, 2021), Massachusetts business owners may wonder if they still need to offer group STD to employees.
The DBL Center, a wholesale insurance general agency specializing in statutory benefits, recently shared details on why Massachusetts business owners should supplement MA Paid Family Medical Leave Act benefits with Group STD.
Employers in Massachusetts must provide statutory PFML coverage. Businesses over 25 employees can write their benefits plan through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or choose a private plan that:
In 2021, the MA Paid Family Medical Leave Act will compensate workers for up to 20 weeks of personal medical leave. However, if the worker already filed a personal or family leave claim within the past calendar year, they may not be able to collect for the full 20 weeks.
On the other hand, employees can collect STD income replacement for up to 26 weeks, regardless of other claims.
Long-term disability insurance typically goes into effect 26 weeks after an employee becomes disabled. STD provides income replacement for those six weeks (or more) once PFML runs out, before LTD begins.
Better benefits help reduce employee stress and improve retention rates within a company. Combining PFML with Group STD and the best long-term disability insurance , plus ancillary benefits like dental, vision, and Group Life AD&D can set a Massachusetts business apart.
InsuranceWholesaler | Michael Cohen
6312935100 ex 800
The DBL Center, a wholesale insurance general agency specializing in statutory benefits, recently posted a summary of statutory disability and paid family and medical leave plans across the United States. Visit InsuranceWholesaler.net to find out what states are on the list.
“Most people don’t realize this, but 37 states threw their hats in the ring this past election to pass Paid Family Leave acts on a state level,” said The DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen. “This is a growing legislation that may ultimately become federal, like the Family Medical Leave Act, which offers unpaid job protection for those who are out of work due to illness or to care for family members.”
Moving into 2021, nine states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico offer statutory disability plans to employees. Of those states, only Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York provide options to privatize statutory disability through an independent insurance carrier.
California, New Jersey, New York, Washington, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island offer Paid Family Leave as subsets of statutory disability plans. For instance, PFL in New York is written as a rider to DBL coverage.
In New Jersey, Family Leave Insurance is included automatically with TDB premiums. In Massachusetts and Connecticut, the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act covers both family leave and medical leave. It can be written through the state or through a private insurance carrier. Private plans typically offer faster, more flexible payout options and personalized service.
As more states add paid family and medical leave benefits to their statutory disability programs, business owners enter uncharted territory. Reputable insurance brokers can provide the education and guidance business owners need to select the right plans.
“It’s important for business owners to understand the tremendous advantages of writing their coverage with a top-rated carrier rather than going settling for what their state offers,” Cohen says. “Private plans can provide better service, faster claims, flexible payout options, and costs savings over state plans.”
Get a free demo of the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker today
The DBL Center, a wholesale general agency, has been breaking new ground when it comes to providing superior customer service and a tech-forward approach to statutory disability sales for insurance brokers.
The Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker software-as-a-service enables brokers to:
The dashboard provides brokers with everything they need from an account management basis to compare premiums and bind policies easily from anywhere they happen to be.
Accessible from mobile phone, PC, or desktop computer, the Broker Dashboard was met with accolades from brokers as a great way to stay on top of renewals and cancellations and to manage their business from anywhere.
Broker Dashboard Increases Functionality and Adds New Features with iOS App
In September 2020, nearly 3 years from the date of its launch, the Broker Dashboard got its own app in the Apple App store. Available for iOS users (iPhone and iPad mobile devices) the app brings all the functionality of the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker SaaS to any iOS mobile device.
User-friendly and intuitive, the app is the future of statutory disability insurance in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts – and beyond.
The DBL Center is offering brokers a free live demo of the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker and its new features. Brokers who take advantage of the demo will receive free access to the Broker Dashboard for all their accounts.
The statutory insurance business is built on return customers and repetitive commissions. “As my father and DBL Center founder David Cohen used to say, ‘It’s not what you earn, it’s what you keep.’ In these challenging times, The DBL Center helps brokers retain more of their business for greater profitability,” says DBL Center CEO Michael Cohen.
Schedule a Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker live demo today.
InsuranceWholesaler | Michael Cohen
6312935100 ex 800