The recent Massachusetts Family and Medical Leave Act legislation has caused some confusion regarding who is eligible for FMLA, since the definition of “Family” according to the Massachusetts Commonwealth extends beyond what many people think of as immediate family.
As Massachusetts insurance brokers grapple with new legislation surrounding the Massachusetts Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), your clients and their employees probably have questions regarding coverage of both the “Family” and “Medical” portions of FMLA in Massachusetts.
The DBL Center is working closely with our top-rated carriers to report breaking news FMLA for family members, along with other details of FMLA claims, as it becomes available.
PFML vs. FMLA: What’s the Difference Between Massachusetts Paid Leave and the U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act?
It’s important not to get confused between Massachusetts’ new PFML laws and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which was signed into law in 1993.
FMLA only provides job protection for employees under certain circumstances. It does not provide paid leave. The reasons for taking leave through FMLA or taking paid leave in Massachusetts overlap to an extent.
When Does FMLA Apply to Employees?
The Family and Medical Leave Act provides 12 weeks of unpaid job protection should an employee stop working:
Who Can Claim PFML in Massachusetts?
Employees can use PFML:
Massachusetts has a much broader definition of family than federal legislation provides. Covered parties include virtually anyone you may have the responsibility of caring for under your roof. This includes:
PFML also helps support military families during deployment or if a military service member should become ill or injured.
FMLA and PFML can – and typically are – taken concurrently, since one offers job protection and the other offers partial pay replacement.
PFML and the federal FMLA job protection have nearly identical standards defining a “serious health” condition for an employee. It includes any period of in-patient (hospital) care, or a period of incapacity of 3 or more days with continuing treatment from a medical professional.
These standards align with FMLA job protection. If a Massachusetts employer already provides provide short-term disability coverage on a voluntary basis for employees, they may find the standards for PFML less restrictive. MA PFML is not a “disability” standard, per se, so it provides benefits more frequently and is more likely to pay for certain health conditions not covered by STD.
For instance, the following conditions, which may require ongoing treatment or a hospital stay, would often be covered under MA PFML but not under short-term disability plans in Massachusetts:
If STD and MA PFML claims happen concurrently, such as in the case of the childbirth recovery period, which provides STD for six to eight weeks for people who have just given birth, MA PFML pays first.
The STD benefit then offsets with the amount received by the claimant under MA PFML. This can get complicated, but The DBL Center is here to walk you and your clients through specific circumstances, leveraging our years of insurance industry experience and carrier relationships with the best disability insurance companies that write this new benefit.
Below are some more key points about the Family and Medical Leave Act that brokers should understand in order to knowledgeably field client questions:
It’s important to understand both the “medical” and “family” portions of FMLA to answer employers’ questions knowledgably. Through consultative selling and building relationships, you can turn this new benefit in Massachusetts into a profit opportunity for ongoing commissions.
Remember, employers have the option to write PFML plans through private firms and receive not only the same benefits provided by the state PFML plans, but concierge-level service and access to state-of-the-art technology and customer portals to make managing benefits plans easier.
Contact The DBL Center to learn more about FMLA Certification for a family member and other aspects of the new MA PFML Act in Massachusetts.
by Michael Cohen
The New York State Disability Benefits Law (DBL) mandates every “covered” employer (employers with one or more employees) to provide private disability insurance in New York to employees who are ill, injured off-job, or pregnant. To stay in compliance with the law, the employer can purchase private disability benefits insurance in New York either from an authorized insurance carrier or through the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF).
Many employers don’t know of the tremendous advantages of bundling an enriched DBL policy with other, highly desirable ancillary benefits in New York State. As successful insurance brokers who emphasize customer service, it’s important for you to remind them of the top reasons they should privatize DBL in NYS.
You know from shopping policies with The DBL Center for years that your customers can save money, get better coverage, and enjoy the white glove service you provide as a broker with The DBL Center as your back-office staff. Enriched DBL especially benefits the high earners in a company, since they are getting more bang for the buck with the benefit. The extra cash may help keep them from tapping into investments like stocks (no one wants to sell when the stock market is low!) or borrowing against their 401K. Keep that money in savings where it’s earning passive income for the future and use the benefits you’ve been paying for anyway.
Enriched DBL enables employers and employees, alike, to receive a weekly maximum benefit of up to $850, with optional in-hospital coverage available through select carriers.
But the income protection isn’t the only reason New York State employers should consider enriching DBL today.
Many employers today realize that highly capable workers want intangible benefits like flexible hours, telecommuting options and – above all else – a clear direction of their job expectations with guidance from their supervisors.
But when it comes to benefits, employers might be surprised to realize that traditional – and practical – benefits win out over other employee perks. In a study done by staffing agency Robert Half, employees listed paid time off, dental insurance, and vision insurance as three of the top five benefits they’d prefer. The state of New York recently forced employers’ hands with mandated New York State Sick Leave.
To stand out in a competitive market, you need to be able to offer ancillary benefits like vision and dental at a reasonable cost. According to the survey, 71% of employers offered dental insurance while 63% provided vision coverage.
When employers write NY Disability Benefits insurance through a private insurance carrier, they can bundle ancillary benefits at a low cost. Plus, these insurance options can be voluntary and employee-funded, costing the employer absolutely nothing out-of-pocket. Consider hosting a webinar to get in front of employees or the HR team and explain how much they can save with enriched DBL and ancillary benefits from your insurance agency and you’ll make friends for life.
After all, who wouldn’t want to save money on their insurance and necessities like dental care and eyeglasses?
Are you new to DBL Center? DBL Center works for its clients by offering quality assistance on the best NY State Disability Insurance Benefit packages and providing top-notch white-glove service.
With our instant, binding application, we help you prepare quotes from multiple carriers in a matter of minutes. Compare rates, diversify your portfolio, and earn more commission while DBL Center serves as your back-office support staff to manage and maintain your policies.
Plus, you’ll gain access to our state of the art Broker Dashboard to track your cancellations, upcoming renewals and commission.
Watching the Yankees on TV with my sons the other night, I had the thought, for the first time in my life, that we’re living in the future. The future we grew up with in fiction – the Jetsons and the rest of the science fiction we watched as kids – is here now. With the changes the pandemic brought to Major League Baseball, the Yankees were playing the Tampa Bay Rays at a stadium in California for the American League East title – as holographic fans cheered in the stands.
We hold multi-person videoconferences seamlessly. We have voice-controlled, artificially intelligent personal assistants. We work from home with powerful Wifi signals keeping us in constant contact with coworkers and clients. We carry around voice-activated mini-computers more powerful than NASA computers from 50 years ago in the palm of our hand. The latest iPhone carries more than 100,000 times the processing power of the computers that took Apollo 11 safely to the moon in 1969.
We have TVs we hang on our walls and phones we put in our pockets! But where are our flying cars? For a variety of reasons, that probably wouldn’t end well. The vehicles of the future are likely to be autonomous but not airborne.
In essence: The world is changing quickly. While the P&C insurance industry has not usually been ahead of the curve when it comes to the adoption of new technologies that is changing, too.
For years, The DBL Center has been breaking new ground when it comes to providing superior customer service and a tech-forward approach to statutory disability sales for our brokers.
We have to look back and laugh at this blog from January 2017, where we doubted the effectiveness of chat-bots and AI in the P&C insurance industry. The chat box we added to our site in 2019 keeps us in constant contact with our brokers to answer questions and improve the stellar white glove service we have always offered.
The chat-bot can answer basic questions 24/7 but can also put you in touch with a real live person from The DBL Center team to answer your questions in a timely manner. We love that technology helps us stay in touch with our brokers – so you can serve your customers better at any time of day in this “always-on” world.
Back in spring of 2017, The DBL Center also teased the introduction of a cloud-based application that would allow brokers to:
On August 8, 2017, the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker desktop app was born. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a dashboard that provides our brokers with everything they need from an account management basis to compare premiums and bind policies easily from anywhere they happen to be. It is available free to DBL Center brokers for accounts you write through us.
Accessible from mobile phone, PC, or desktop computer, the Broker Dashboard was met with accolades from our brokers as a great way to stay on top of renewals and cancellations and to manage their business from anywhere.
And then the pandemic hit.
The Broker Dashboard became more than just a “nice-to-have” resource, but a necessity to allow our brokers to access information about their customers from anywhere – including their home offices. Brokers also receive bi-monthly reminders of cases that are pending non pay as a result of the extended grace periods due to the New York governor’s moratorium.
And then, 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 your mobile device.
When you’re on a mobile device, logging onto the web takes added bandwidth and can be slow to load. An app, on the other hand, is easy to access with just a click on your iPhone or iPad.
Just like the Broker Dashboard desktop app, the mobile app is free to our brokers for the accounts you write through The DBL Center.
User-friendly and intuitive, the app is the future of statutory disability insurance in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts – and beyond.
If you’re interested in a free demo of the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker and its new features, reach out today. You’ll gain free access to the Broker Dashboard for all your accounts.
The statutory insurance business is built on return customers and repetitive commissions. As my father, DBL Center founder David Cohen, used to say, “It’s not what you earn, it’s what you keep.”
Let The DBL Center help you retain more of your business – even in these challenging times. Schedule your Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker live demo with me today.
Even if your business is exempt from the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you might still have to participate in the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML). FMLA provides certain employees with unpaid protected leave for specific family or medical-related reasons. PFML, on the other hand, provides paid protected leave to workers for family and medical-related reasons (similar to those covered by FMLA). To know more about paid FMLA in Connecticut, contact DBL Center Ltd today!
Difference Between PFML & FMLA
Because the benefits look quite similar, people often confuse PFML with FMLA. However, the two laws are very different from each other, especially when it comes to who and what they cover. First of all, FMLA is a federal law as opposed to the state-offered PFML and only applies to employers with over 75 employees. PFML applies to all employers regardless of the size of their workforce. If we talk about Connecticut in particular, PFML requires employers to provide paid leave for reasons covered under the existing Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CTFMLA). The PFMLA covers all private employers including those with just as few as one employee.
PFML Law — Contribution Guidelines in Connecticut
The Connecticut PFML law does not require employers to contribute towards the program. State government employees who belong to unions are also exempt. However, employers are responsible for withholding the payroll deductions for each employee and submitting the funds quarterly to the CT Paid Leave Authority. An employer’s failure to submit the contributions may result in an assessment of penalties in addition to the required withholdings. No matter the size of the workforce, you will always be responsible for withholding the covered individual share.
Coming to family leaves, all employers can withhold the entire family leave contribution from their covered individuals but it’s up to them to set the withholding rates for their workforce. Using an online contribution calculator, you can determine whether you’re required to pay the employer share and estimate how much must be withheld from wages based on your workforce and payroll.
Go for a Private Plan to Get the Most Out of Your Coverage
Though PFML is underwritten and paid by the state of Connecticut, employers can go for a private plan. This provides you with a variety of benefits, such as faster underwriting, better service, lower premiums, and more savings. Offering better benefits to your employees can also help in improving employee retention.
Depending on their preference, employers in Connecticut can use FMLA as a stand-alone benefit or bundle it with ancillary benefits, including dental, vision, and group life insurance — to save more money. The latter option also offers you access to a wide range of insurance carriers, allowing you to choose the best plan for yourself.
Looking for private plans, fast and flexible payouts, and great discounts on PFML benefits? Let DBL Center Ltd write your Paid Family and Medical Leave plan in Connecticut! Give us a call today!
Last year, the State of New Jersey announced a rate hike and benefits increase for NJ State temporary disability insurance to go into effect in 2020.
The first increase took place on January 1, 2020, when the NJ state disability insurance benefit increased to 66.67% of a worker’s average weekly salary to a maximum of $667 per week through June 30, 2020.
As of July 1, 2020 the NJ state temporary disability insurance benefit will increase to 85% of a worker’s average weekly salary up to $881 per week.
Along with the benefit increases, of course, comes a rate hike.
For the first time in history, employees will contribute premium for NJ state temporary disability insurance (NJ TDB) on a different taxable wage base than employers.
As of January 1, 2021, employees contribute .47% on the first $138,200 of earnings, with a maximum annual contribution of $$649.54. Employers, on the other hand, contribute based on employees’ earnings, with a cap of $35,500 for the company.
In 2019, New Jersey employees contributed .17% on the first $34,400 in earnings, with a maximum annual contribution of $58.48. The unprecedented increase in 2020 equals up to six times the premium for workers.
Does it seem as if 2020 won’t give insurance brokers, business owners, (or anyone else) a break? Hang tight.
Here at The DBL Center, we believe in turning challenges into opportunities. And we are here to help you make that happen, too.
While the benefit increase puts New Jersey ahead of neighboring states for temporary disability insurance, it can sting the pockets of employees and business owners at a time when people can least afford it.
There has never been a better time for statutory insurance brokers to privatize temporary disability benefits in New Jersey. By privatizing TDB, your customers will receive:
Additionally, as a DBL Center broker, you’ll gain access to our exclusive Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, allowing you to stay on top of pending cancellations, renewals, and commissions.
Since the state waived the signature requirement for privatizing temporary disability benefits in NJ, it’s never been easier to privatize TDB coverage for your customers. You can write private TDB policies now for 2021 and put your customers in a position to receive stellar service and more options than the state of NJ provides for short-term temporary disability benefits.
Plus, you can help your clients save even more by bundling ancillary benefits like dental, vision, and Group Life / AD&D with their statutory disability coverage.
Need help privatizing TDB for your customers? The DBL Center is here. Follow this three-step process and reach out here or use our exclusive on-site live chat if you need help.
NYS PFL rate and benefit increase goes into effect January 1, 2021As per the original legislation for the NYS Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, New York has announced a rate change and benefit increase for NYS PFL to go into effect January 1, 2021.
Beginning in 2021, employees can collect up to $971.61 through NYS PFL benefits. This increase completes the phased introduction of the Paid Family Medical Leave in New York that took place over the past three years.
In accordance with the rate increase comes a premium increase of 87% – from 27 cents to 51 cents. Out of that total rate, .005% is to fund the PFL quarantine payments.
First introduced in 2017 as a mandatory benefit written as a rider to statutory short-term disability in NY, Paid Family Leave in NY will be fully phased in by January 1, 2021. At that time, the benefit will provide 67% of an employee’s Average Weekly Wage (up to the NYS PFL maximum amount) for up to 12 weeks to:
• Bond with a newborn, adopted or foster care child joining their family in the past 12 months
• Care for a seriously ill family member
• Manage the home while a spouse is deployed
Brokers can use our handy PFL calculator in our Paid Family Leave Resource Center to determine their customers’ premium payments.
It’s important to understand that employees cannot claim NYS PFL for coronavirus. If schools close again in the fall, leaving parents with few childcare options, they cannot claim NYS PFL for coronavirus to stay home with their children.
However, the Families First Act for pandemic may entitle employees to certain benefits if they are unable to work due to school closures because of an outbreak or because of quarantine measures.
According to the Department of Labor, covered employees may receive:
• Two weeks paid sick leave at the employee’s regular pay rate if they are quarantined or experiencing coronavirus symptoms
• Two weeks paid sick leave at 2/3 pay to care for a person who is quarantined or to care for children under 18 whose school or childcare provider is closed due to coronavirus
• Up to 10 weeks paid expanded family and medical leave in New York at 2/3 the employee’s regular pay to care for a child whose school or childcare provider has closed due to the pandemic. For an employee to qualify for extended leave, they must have 30 calendar days of employment on record.
To help mitigate unauthorized PFL claims, The DBL Center has introduced a Covid-19 claims pre-screening software for carriers.
The rate increase for NYS PFL puts an even wider gap between disability insurance in NY payments and PFL rates. As you notice your customers about the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act increase, it’s a great time to remind them to enrich DBL coverage for:
• Faster, more flexible payouts
• Increased benefits
• Additional in-hospital coverage as an option
The NYS DBL rate remains at just a $170 per week for 26 weeks. Enriched DBL can offer up to 60% salary replacement, with weekly maximums between $200 and $850. Plus, you’ll get the service you expect from The DBL Center and access to our Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker to manage your accounts seamlessly from anywhere you might be working.
If you or your customers have any questions regarding the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act – New York premium and rate increase, reach out today. In these uncertain times, The DBL Center is here to help you navigate PFL claims in NY, retain customers, and increase commissions.
The CT Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) provides “covered” employees in Connecticut access to paid leave for life events covered under:
Covered employee means a worker who is currently employed, has been employed within the last 12 weeks, self-employed, a sole proprietor, or a Connecticut resident enrolled in the PFML program. The employees are eligible for benefits under PFML if:
There are many health needs covered under the PFML, allowing employees to take leave without worrying about lost income.
All employers with one or more employees are covered under the PFML law. The law also provides employers with the tools and resources to comply with the applicable laws and promote a happy, healthy, and positive workplace.
Role of Employers
Employers in the State of Connecticut play a crucial role in helping workers access to paid time off to meet their various personal and family health needs under the Paid Family and Medical Leave law. They have to:
Choose a Private Plan to Save Big on Premiums & Get Better Services
Employers can say no to a state PFML plan and instead, go for a private plan to take advantage of various benefits, such as faster underwriting, better service, lower premiums, and more savings. The option also allows you to get access to and choose from a wide range of insurance carriers. Let DBL Center Ltd write your Paid Family and Medical Leave plan in Connecticut today and uncover new possibilities!
Insurance brokers across Massachusetts have an opportunity to increase their commissions and better serve Massachusetts business owners through the Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave Act.
By helping your customers privatize Massachusetts PFML before October 1, you can offer premium discounts plus defer fourth quarter premium payments until January 1, 2020.
Here’s what you need to know about the important October 1, 2020 deadline approaching for business owners who want to write privatized paid family medical leave in Massachusetts.
Business owners must pay PFML premiums on policies written by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by October 1, 2020. As we still battle the pandemic, many business owners continue to struggle with revenue, paying rent, or even making payroll. Some companies remain closed or at half-capacity right now. If there was ever a time to defer a mandatory expense, it’s now.
If your customers privatize Massachusetts PFML now, they don’t have to deduct payroll taxes for MA PFML premiums for 2020 until January 1, 2021.
Combined with the Paycheck Protection Program portion of the CARES Act, which permits business owners to defer the deposit and payment of the employer’s portion of Social Security taxes through December 31, 2020, this deferment can help free up cash for Massachusetts business owners at a time they need it most.
With no signature requirements or red tape, applying for a private plan exemption in Massachusetts is easy. As a broker, you can:
But only if you act now. After January 1, 2021, brokers can still write a private plan with faster, more flexible payments and better service. But premium rates will be the same as the state plan.
As Kelvin Joseph of Kool Kel Marketing stated in a recent interview, “Right now, businesses are looking to increase their revenue and reduce their expenses. [DBL Center] has a way to save people money.”
As a DBL Center broker, you can take advantage of our industry knowledge, connections, and relationships with top-rated carriers to save your customers money while providing superior service with DBL Center as your back-office staff.
As in New York and New Jersey, Paid Family and Medical Leave plans in Massachusetts must provide benefits equal to or better than the state plan. If you could get the same (or better) product at the same (or lower) price, wouldn’t you?
It makes switching to a private plan a no-brainer, especially with The DBL Center here to help your customers get the lowest premiums available.
As of January 1, 2021, Massachusetts will join New York to offer paid family leave benefits for employees to care for:
Beginnning July 1, 2021, PFML in MA will also cover time off to care for any family member with a serious health condition.
For brokers across the New England region, working with The DBL Center offers many advantages to help you provide outstanding service to your customers as they navigate the confusing terrain of the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.
We act as your back office staff to manage policies, collect premiums, and even track down late payments for you.
Our Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker provides all the information you need to manage your business, giving you access to renewals, cancellations, and commissions at a glance.
Massachusetts business owners may not want to think about another mandatory expense during the pandemic. They need brokers like you on their side to help them save money and receive the superior service they deserve. Reach out to The DBL Center today to help your customers privatize state mandated benefits under the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.
Insurance brokers know that DBL stands for “Disability Benefits Law,” which provides statutory New York State short term disability insurance to qualifying workers through employer-funded benefits packages.
But here at DBL Center, we love a good play on words. We want to remind our brokers that this year, more than ever, the “DBL” in DBL Center stands for “Don’t be late.” That is, don’t be late with your NY disability insurance premiums and delay your incoming commissions because clients haven’t remitted premiums on time.
Across New York, businesses have closed as a result of the pandemic. From mom-and-pop boutiques, to law firms, restaurants, gyms, and even larger companies, New York business owners felt the crush of the quarantine, followed by re-opening regulations, and a public that is wary of leaving their homes or spending money.
As we continue to struggle with these challenges, one thing insurance brokers shouldn’t have to worry about is whether or not their clients still in business have paid their premiums.
Yet, it’s a fact of life. Brokers face cancellations due to non-pays, client bookkeeping errors, and other lapses that can delay your commissions.
Even in the best of times, you don’t want to have to waste time chasing down clients. The Covid-19 pandemic complicated it further, because you don’t know who:
• Went out of business
• Doesn’t have the money to pay
• Received a PPP loan but perhaps thought premiums were yet another bill waived due to the pandemic
• Put their statutory DBL last on the list of payments to make, after paying the lease and keeping the lights on
Whatever your client’s situation, if they have an in-force NYS DBL policy or enriched DBL, they owe the premium amount due – and you deserve your commission.
DBL Center is here to remind your customers “don’t be late,” on their DBL payments. Through our powerful Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, we can track renewals, cancellations, and non-pays.
Then we send those emails and make those uncomfortable calls reminding your clients their New York state DBL payment is due. We use the utmost tact, and will get that bill paid so you can collect your commission.
And if a company has gone out of business? We’ll adjust the Broker Dashboard records to reflect that. No more wasted time on out-of-business companies.
Many customers might have NYS DBL premium payments due, but not understand the amount owed due to a change in their overall employee head count. If their bill does not reflect the new number of lives, reflective of layoffs or furloughs that occurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ll recalculate the total amount due.
And, again, get that bill paid so you can collect your commission.
When you help your clients purchase NY disability insurance through The DBL Center, we serve as your back-office staff to manage your accounts. That frees you up to do what you do best, which is sell insurance – even in a struggling economy.
With access to our Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, you’ll always know what you’re earning at a glance. You can track accounts ready for renewal, cancellations, and commissions. The Broker Dashboard helps you stay on top of it all – and The DBL Center team is here to help you manage it.
As I stated in my last video interview, the year is more than half over. Halloween is just around the corner and before you know it, we’ll all be closing the books on 2020 and hoping for better things ahead.
Now is the time to start planning for 2021. What will your book of business look like? Are you putting the time into sales or hunting down premium payments? Let us help so we can all look forward to a better future.
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?