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

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

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

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

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

Take Inventory and Understand Your Market

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

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

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

Choose One or Two Marketing Strategies and Focus on Them

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

Possibilities for digital marketing include:

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

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

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

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

Get Back to Basics with Follow-ups

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

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

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

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

Leverage Technology to Track Renewals and Cancellations

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

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

Schedule your free demo of the Broker Dashboard today.


Voluntary Benefits at Work: The Antidote to “The Great Resignation”

In part one of our interview with Larry Estridge, The DBL Center’s new Regional VP of Group Voluntary Worksite Benefits, we talked about Estridge’s plans to work with DBL Center brokers to help them fill gaps in coverage and build loyalty with their clients through expanded voluntary employee benefits.

In part 2, we dig deep into why voluntary benefits at work are so crucial today as we face “The Great Resignation.” Record numbers of employees are quitting their jobs, according to recent reports, and there are more positions available than qualified employees willing to fill them. Additionally, nearly 2/3 of U.S. workers are currently looking for a new job.

Surprisingly, one study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Motivosity suggested that “job satisfaction” is not the key reason people quit their jobs. Findings from other surveys found that the keys to retaining employees come down to a number of factors, including the employee’s culture fit within the company, their relationships with co-workers, and the sacrifices they’d have to make if they quit – such as losing voluntary benefits at work.

Estridge pointed out, “A person is less likely to go down the street to a company’s competitor for another couple of bucks if they know they have a strong benefit package where they are.”

For insurance brokers, The Great Resignation represents an opportunity to cross-sell voluntary employee benefits with statutory lines of coverage and help their customers recruit and retain top talent in tumultuous times.

In our last chat, we touched upon the broad variety of voluntary worksite benefits. Can you explain each product line in a bit more detail?

Larry Estridge: Let’s start with disability insurance – it replaces a portion of income, usually up to 60%, for on- and off-the-job accident and sickness.

Accident insurance pays a scheduled benefit for on-and-off the job accidents, such as burns, broken bones, ambulance rides, and emergency room coverage. It can also help with out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and co-pays.

Critical illness insurances helps employees pay out-of-pocket costs at the time of diagnosis, for things like cancer, liver disease, heart disease, stroke. It’s paid in a lump sum benefit directly to the employee. It can be used for medical expenses, rent, mortgage, groceries, anything they deem important at the time. So, it gives an employee ease and flexibility.

Life insurance is another one of the more common voluntary benefits at work. It’s often used for funeral costs, final expenses, leaving behind money as part of their legacy.

Dental and vision coverage. Those two are self-explanatory and those are the two that are usually associated with voluntary benefits at work.

Why are these voluntary employee benefits so important from a recruiting and retention standpoint, especially during the labor shortage?

A person usually takes a job or a position with a company for the right career path, or they’re looking for a competitive or good salary. But what really keeps a person at a company, aside from the paycheck, is a strong benefits package. Voluntary benefits at work are a main part of the reason companies are able to recruit and retain employees. People are really looking ahead – especially in today’s times.

Do most companies typically go for employee-funded, employer-funded or shared costs?

Larry Estridge: I would say that varies. Most companies offer some group life / AD&D along with dental and vision paid for by the employer. They may provide some LTD or STD, but employees can then choose from different offerings such as critical illness, accident insurance and the like, or they can “buy up” on other offerings. These products can be extended to family members. Usually the cost is absorbed by the employee when they do that.

Many states are introducing Paid Leave, Paid Family Leave, and expanded disability benefits packages. With this coverage available through the state, why is it more important than ever for employers to provide a range of voluntary benefits at work?

Larry Estridge: Going back to these crazy times we live in, employees are becoming more aware of what their benefits are, and what they can and can’t do. Voluntary employee benefits basically allow them to have a choice, to have some control over what their benefit package will look like. Employees can choose what’s most important to them and their families.

Again, the most robust offerings are, the better the pool of employees the owner can recruit into the business. Trying to bring someone on board – or keep them from moving elsewhere – with a strong benefit package is exactly what businesses need to be doing to combat today’s high quit rates.

 

 

 


DBL Center: Blazing a Trail with Voluntary Benefits

Human capital manager ponders voluntary benefits as a retention tool

Larry Estridge, DBL Center’s Regional VP of Group Worksite Benefits shares why disability insurance is just the beginning for our brokers…

Several years ago, The DBL Center redesigned its website and strategized a content marketing campaign to boost visibility and search engine rankings. Along with the new look and fresh content, our team came up with tagline “Disability insurance is just the beginning…”

The tagline spoke to the depth and breadth of The DBL Center’s product lines, including dental, vision, Group Life / AD&D and other ancillary benefits. In February 2017, New York State rolled out the most robust Paid Family Leave package our country had ever seen, and our tagline gained even more relevance.

This summer, The DBL Center brought on Larry Estridge, Regional Vice President of Group Worksite Benefits, to usher in a new era of expanded coverage for our brokers and their clients. His consultative sales approach fits in perfectly with the rest of The DBL Center team. He sat down with us to share his thoughts on voluntary worksite benefits, how these products can help new and current DBL Center brokers, and his future plans with The DBL Center.

Brokers have multiple options in voluntary benefits. What are some of the coverage lines available for DBL Center brokers?

Larry Estridge: Voluntary benefits can range anywhere from accident insurance, short term disability, long term disability, life insurance, critical illness, dental and vision.

Are certain voluntary benefits better suited for specific types of companies or specific demographics?

That’s an interesting question. In my experience, the size of the company really isn’t a trigger for the benefits. It starts with a conversation with the broker, and then a conversation between the broker and their client.

From our side, we help the broker start to determine what the employer’s needs are. Are there any gaps in their coverage? That’s where our expertise will come in.

We ask for a census to better understand the make up of the group. We also look and make sure added coverage makes sense. We don’t want to duplicate coverage. We just want to make sure the broker is doing the consulting they should be doing. We can help them look stronger – and increase their revenue and book of business – in an area where they might not have that expertise. That’s what we bring to the table.

Are there areas of coverage employers should look at to protect themselves, apart from providing coverage to their employees?

Larry Estridge: There are opportunities to look at executive carve-outs, which are things like income protection, disability insurance for executives, funding a buy-sell agreement for the partners, business overhead protection for business owners, key-personnel coverage is also important. These are benefits that are often overlooked because people don’t know to look for these things. We, at The DBL Center, offer this expertise to our brokers and their clients.

What would you tell brokers about the advantage of working with DBL Center for voluntary benefits packages?

Larry Estridge: For those already doing business with us, they already know who we are, what sets us apart, and how great our service is.

For those already doing business with us, they already know who we are, what sets us apart, and how great our service is. For those reading this who are not yet working with us, I want them to see and experience our strong serviceWe have a top-notch veteran team and access to some of the best carriers in the industry.  In both cases, it’s a chance for cross-sell opportunities. The more products they can offer their clients, the more stickiness the broker will have. That means the client is less likely to move onto another broker.

Clients are more apt to stay when you have more lines. Customers are more dedicated to you. As long as the broker is doing their job, the clients aren’t looking to move, because you offer what they need. You don’t have to hear, “We moved someplace else because we didn’t know you offered that product.” 

We can also offer more commissions to our brokers in some cases, because of our relationships with carriers. Our technology helps brokers work more efficiently. And, most importantly, they know we’re doing what we do best, and that allows them to concentrate on their area of expertise.

“Stickiness” is a word I haven’t heard in a while; we used it in the early days of social media. And it’s an appropriate term because it extends beyond customer loyalty. It means you’re the first option the customer considers and they “stick with you” longer – perhaps forever. Wouldn’t you agree?

Larry Estridge: Yes. It means customers are more dedicated to you. As long as the broker is doing their job, the clients aren’t looking to move.

In my more than 20 years of working with brokers, there have been times they’ve confessed that they lost someone because they came back and said their client didn’t know they had access to a specific product. And that’s sad. This is less likely to happen if you can have a conversation with a broker, and look over their business, and notice gaps… It’s a consultative approach and the client is less likely to move onto another broker.

Clients are more apt to stay when you have more lines. You don’t have to hear, “We moved someplace else because we didn’t know you offered that product.”

You mentioned earlier about not looking to duplicate coverage. Can you talk a little bit about that philosophy?

Larry Estridge: I always back off, rather than add duplication or unnecessary coverage. Forcing an unneeded benefit and losing a relationship because of that benefits no one! I know Mike and the team has that reputation of doing the right things and offering the right coverage at the right time. I’ve seen it in my short time here already.

It already sounds like you already fit right in with the team! What are some of your short- and long-term goals with The DBL Center?

Larry Estridge: Short term goals, I’d love to round out this fantastic team we have by growing the business for The DBL Center – bringing in new relationships I’ve nurtured for 20+ years and help them identify the selling opportunities with our carriers. I really want to establish us as a key player in the voluntary worksite and executive markets, so people see us growing and offering more.

From a long-term basis, I’d like to make us an industry standard in the voluntary benefits world, the way we already are with DBL, TDI, and Paid Family Leave. I want to make sure people know we are so much more than a DBL Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


DBL Center Partners with Absence Management Firm to Assist Brokers

Absence management has become a crucial part of human resource management. For insurance brokers, absence management and leave administration represents our customers’ biggest pain points. HR directors and human capital management companies face more challenges than ever when it comes to tracking absenteeism, paid leave, and paid time off. Brokers who can help HR departments address these challenges can win their trust, loyalty and business forever.

Seeing the writing on the wall with Paid Sick Leave in New York and Paid Family and Medical Leave programs expanding across the country, the DBL Center sought to partner with an absence management firm to give our insurance brokers the tools they need to help their clients track employee time away from work.

The DBL Center is proud to announce its partnership with a top absence management company. “This new arrangement allows The DBL Center to complete the circle of service when it comes to comprehensive consulting surrounding leave administration in all required states,” says DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen.

What Is Absence Management?

Absence management refers to the added duty of HR directors to track employee leaves, reduce inaccurate or irrelevant claims, and stay in compliance with state and federal regulations regarding leaves. In some cases, companies may provide programs to help people return to work sooner or stay at work by modifying job duties or reducing the causes of disability.

Through our newest partnership, DBL Center brokers can provide their clients the value-added services of absence management and leave administration. These services will be specifically centered around the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, state-paid Paid Family Leave (PFL) in New York and PFML in Connecticut and Massachusetts, statutory benefits, short and long-term disability, voluntary and employer-sponsored benefits, and paid time off / sick leave.

How Can Outsourcing Leave Administration Help Your Clients?

In this era of remote work, tracking employee leave, paid time off, flex-time and absences that extend past the normal few days, such as for short-term disability, has become more complicated than ever. Through The DBL Center’s new partners, our brokers now have a single, centralized source to help HR directors track and administer all forms of leave. Our new partners can assist DBL Center brokers’ clients with the coordination, management, and adjudication of benefits. They can assist and review with claims, and also assist with payment preparation. By outsourcing these responsibilities to a firm with expertise in the area, HR departments can save time and money, reduce the time spent filing claims, reduce or eliminate inaccurate claims, and even ensure that employees receive their money faster to improve retention rates.

“This partnership fills the holes in our offerings, giving HR directors exactly what they need in these challenging times, when statutory benefits are changing quickly across the U.S. and people have more ways – and reasons – than ever to file for time off from work,” says Cohen.

The Broker Dashboard Helps Track Leave Administration

In addition to receiving the services of an expert absence management company, DBL Center brokers can track leave the administration of all policies through our proprietary Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker.

Brokers will receive bi-monthly reminders for cases that are in delinquent status for non-payment of premium or are pending renewal. Brokers can also use the dashboard to pinpoint opportunities for upsells of voluntary worksite benefits for customers that are only purchasing statutory plans.

Workplaces are changing and will continue to change as new benefits are introduced. Meanwhile, HR director’s responsibilities continue to grow. The DBL Center remains your one-stop, back-office staff for statutory and voluntary benefits, paid family and medical leave and now, absence management and leave administration, with tech-forward tools like Broker Dashboard to help you grow your book of business.

Learn more about how we can help you here: Net Revenue Tracker Broker Dashboard Preview


New Jersey TDB: State Proposes Wage Base Increase

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

Here’s what we know so far:

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

Will New Jersey TDB Benefit Increases Follow?

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

Show Your Clients How They Can Join the Elite 2%

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

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

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

How to Privatize New Jersey TDB

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

Find instructions to obtain an AC-174.1 form here.

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

Sweeten the Deal with Voluntary Worksite Benefits Options

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

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

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

What’s to Come In 2022?

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

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

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

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

 


DBL Center Expands into Critical Illness Insurance with Larry Estridge

PFL can help you increase DBL revenue

The DBL Center, known for more than 40 years as a provider of statutory benefits in New York, New Jersey, Hawaii and now Connecticut and Massachusetts, is expanding to provide critical illness insurance, hospital indemnity insurance, and accident insurance plans. Insurance industry veteran Larry Estridge joins the insurance wholesaler as the Regional Vice President for Group Voluntary Worksite benefits.

See more: Meet our Team

Estridge comes to The DBL Center directly from OneShare Health, where he helped agents and brokers in the Northeast Region find affordable healthcare solutions for their clients. With more than a decade of experience in the insurance industry, Larry Estridge has previously worked at Union Central, where he provided training for agents and recruited, developed and managed independent distribution of Brokerage General Agencies. He has also worked as Regional VP, Director of Agencies for Ameritas Life Insurance and as District Development Manager at Colonial Life.

Larry Estridge, Regional Vice President of Group Worksite Benefits

In his new role at The DBL Center, Estridge will spearhead the wholesale general agency’s Voluntary Worksite Development department, providing brokers with options for critical illness insurance, hospital indemnity insurance, and accident insurance. He will also work to help grow the ancillary benefits division of DBL Center, which provides:

  • Group Life / AD&D
  • Long-term disability insurance (LTD)
  • Dental
  • Vision

Cultivating Relationships Across States and Industries

Estridge’s relationships in the insurance industry, his passion for employee benefits, and his consultative selling approach to voluntary worksite benefits will set him up for success as part of the growing DBL Center team. His focus on cultivating relationships with individual producers and agencies, as well as financial advisors, will help him construct the best solutions to help their clients protect their savings and lifestyle even in the event of an unthinkable accident or illness.

“I consistently utilize a balanced approach of product knowledge, discipline, creativity and sales support, which allows me to provide insurance solutions quickly, competitively, and accurately,” Estridge says. “Combining my knowledge and relationships with The DBL Center’s existing network and state-of-the-art technology will help us grow quickly and strategically in the voluntary worksite benefits and critical illness insurance space.”

About Critical Illness Insurance, Hospital Indemnity Insurance, and Accident Insurance Plans

Several major carriers and DBL Center partners provide critical illness insurance, hospital indemnity insurance and accident insurance plans. plans. As the newest addition to our company spearheading this growing division, Estridge will seek to provide insurance brokers across the U.S., including NY, NJ, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Florida, with these in-demand benefits for their clients.

Hospital indemnity insurance is a voluntary benefit, paid for by employees who opt in. It helps alleviate some of the financial burden of hospital stays for workers who have suffered an accident or serious illness off the job.

Similarly, critical illness insurance and accident insurance plans help protect employee’s savings with partial income replacement in the event of an on-the-job or off-the-job accident or illness, depending on the specific insurance plan. Coverage can be:

  • 100% employer-paid
  • 100% employee-paid as a voluntary benefits
  • Written as a shared-cost plan

Specific coverage levels, premiums, and the number of lives required to write this group benefit vary depending on the type of insurance. Estridge and The DBL Center team will help brokers find the right plan for their clients and help them save money by bundling critical illness insurance and other voluntary and ancillary benefits with statutory disability and paid family leave coverage in states where it applies.

“A lot has changed since the pandemic,” says DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen. “From workers to company owners, people began to face their own mortality and think hard about what might happen if they should become critically ill or injured and unable to work. There’s more demand than ever before for benefits like hospital indemnity insurance, critical illness insurance, and accident insurance plans. Larry’s experience and relationships will help The DBL Center stand out as a leader in helping our brokers give their clients more of the benefits they need and want. More than ever, I’m excited about our future as a company and the white-glove service we continue to offer to our brokers. There’s never been a better time to join our team.”

 

 


DBL Center Equips Brokers to Brace for the Storm

Summer is in full swing, the country is re-opening, and many New York, New Jersey, and New England residents are flocking to the beaches.

But brace yourself, because the employee benefits space is about to face a major financial storm front. This includes long- and short-term disability insurance, dental and vision, group life/AD&D, plus state-mandated short-term disability and paid family leave. If you sell insurance in any of these niches, read on for important information regarding what we can expect through 2022.

Winter may be challenging for P&C insurance brokers, and the time to prepare is now.

DBL Center President Michael Cohen shares his thoughts on inflation, the P&C insurance industry, and statutory benefits.

Storm Front Coming

Inflation is no joke. The cost of virtually everything is going up right now. But most statutory and group ancillary insurance carriers have kept rates flat. Rates are bound to increase. And it’s likely to happen just as small to mid-size business owners, including restaurants, bars, and other non-essential shops, are just starting to get back on their feet and show a profit after what was one of their worst financial years in recent history.

When DBL Center President Michael Cohen says a storm is brewing, he’s referring to a financial storm that will, in many ways, rival Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Of course, the superstorm was a weather event, but it impacted P&C insurance brokers in an irrevocable way.

Similarly, the coronavirus pandemic has been unprecedented in modern history. But with proper preparation, DBL Center brokers can position themselves for success amidst tumultuous change.

We chatted with DBL Center President Michael Cohen about how to take this summer to prepare for the coming months and what changes might be on the horizon.

Let’s cut right to the chase. We are seeing prices go up everywhere. Have the major statutory disability and group ancillary insurance carriers raised rates yet to keep up with inflation?

That’s a great question. After 15 to 18 months of rate passes from many preferred insurance carriers in the marketplace, we are beginning to see an uptick in activity.  At the DBL Center, we have always requested our Group Ancillary Benefit renewals 120 days in advance to give our sub producers ample leeway time if they plan on marketing the risk.

What is a broker’s best move in this inflationary economy? What selling techniques will be most effective and what products should they emphasize? 

Sell tiny increases. Each industry has a trend. If you can be at or slightly below that trend, you can generate additional revenue coming off the heels of a year when new business was slow and premiums dropped due to decreased payroll and headcounts.

If you own a brokerage firm and had a tough sales year, you can always rely on your residual income generated from renewals.  I’m not saying to sell astronomical rates but as long as it’s around or less than trend it should be able to be sold – especially when everything around us in our lives is also going up in price. Just look at the costs of meat and lumber as two examples!

Can you explain how DBL Center gets brokers the best rates for their clients’ statutory disability and ancillary benefits plans?

By leveraging block size. We have 46 years of compounded organic growth and several acquisitions, which have enabled us to maintain strength with the preferred carriers that we continue to represent and partner with.

Plus, our method for tracking revenue through our Broker Dashboard, which is a free added resource for any retail agent, makes it easier for brokers to stay on top of renewals and minimize cancellations while tracking what they net on a monthly basis.

We’re obviously in an inflationary period. Why is it smart for managers, owners, and company executives, to increase their spend in enriched DBL? 

Mainly to keep up with the new Paid Family Leave benefit law which is growing throughout the country.

I personally find it unusual that an individual claimant can receive more money to help a significant other than if they become personally sick or injured. Therefore, I feel it is in best practice to advertise the importance of enriching New York State’s mandated DBL Benefit. It has not increased since 1989 when our governor’s father was in office, Mario Cuomo.

Since you brought up PFL, let’s talk about that! Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York all introduced some form of Paid Family and Medical Leave in recent years. What do you see for the future?

It’s definitely the shiny object in the room and the point of discussion. Multiple states threw their hat in the ring last election to offer paid family leave on a fully insured basis. Currently Colorado and Oregon are next on the docket. New Hampshire and Delaware are in talks, too.  Excited to see who’s next!

As long as more states implement this into their legislation, we will continue to use this benefit to scale The DBL Center into the future.

How can brokers best prepare themselves for this future growth? 

Call The DBL Center their Insurance Wholesaler and let us help open the door for other product lines that they may specialize in and help monitor your book’s retention for free!


3 Reasons to Bundle Long Term Disability Ancillary Benefits with PFML in Connecticut

 

Connecticut (USA) flag waving on the wind

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.”

Should Connecticut Business Owners Bundle PFML with Long-Term Disability?

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.

Long-Term Disability Plans Aid in Retaining Good Workers

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.”

Today’s Employees Want More Than Just Office Perks

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.

Benefit Coordination Will Be Easier for Employers and HR Teams

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 All The DBL Center’s News and Videos In One Spot

We’re all busy and it’s not always easy to stay up on the latest statutory and ancillary employee benefit insurance industry news – or to get the helpful tips you need to grow your book of business. The DBL Center understands, which is why we’ve launched our In The News section.

See Your Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker in Action

Watch an overview of how to use your Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker to easily track renewals, cancellations and commissions from any internet-enabled device. You can also schedule a demo of this cloud-based app using the easy-to-access chat feature directly on the page.
If you’re not already using the Broker Dashboard, you’re missing out on a key benefit of working with The DBL Center as your wholesale general agency. The Broker Dashboard provides up-to-the-minute information on all the accounts you write with us, so you can gain better control of your business and track your direct billed policies.

Read More: Six Steps Insurance Brokers Should Take Today to Start 2021 Right

Meet The DBL Center Team

Get to know the people behind our wholesale general agency better in our one-on-one video series. DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen puts his years of stage experience and his passion for film to work as he interviews The DBL Center team, revealing their motivations, goals, and a few fun facts.

Stay Up to Date on Industry Insights with Rep Roundtable

Our Rep Roundtable series achieved industry-wide recognition. These short-form video podcasts launched in 2019, bringing together reps from our top insurance carriers to discuss industry trends and offer tips for brokers.

If you want to learn more about Paid Family Leave’s expansion into New England and beyond, examine the implications of technology on the statutory insurance industry, or find out how top carriers got their start in the field, this is the place to look.

Read More: New York Paid Family Leave Resource Center

Take a look, too, as The DBL Center marketing team “turns the tables” on Michael Cohen to interview him in a virtual series produced during the pandemic. Cohen discusses how the industry changed dramatically in 2020 and what brokers can do to network successfully and grow their business through enriched DBL and ancillary benefits, including Group Life / AD&D, which has seen increased demand in the past year.

Find Out What’s New with The DBL Center and Statutory Benefits

Of course, scroll down to our Press Release section to see the latest breaking news, from the Broker Dashboard app release on the iPhone App Store to PFL expansion across New England and, soon, into the western states of Colorado and Oregon. We’ll release more information about these new Paid Family Leave programs as it becomes available, and you can find it here in our press release section first.

Since our website’s revamp four years ago, we have aimed to give you the information and resources you need to run your insurance business. 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. We hope you’ll discover information, inspiration, and maybe even a laugh or two.


Are You Making Money Off THIS In-Demand Employee Benefit?

As insurance brokers, it’s your job to deliver the benefits your customers and their employees need, including packages that will help employers recruit and retain top workers. With remote work on the rise, employers have an endless talent pool to draw from as geographic location now matters less than it used to. And employee benefits have become more important than ever when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent.

A survey from Prudential Insurance revealed that 52% of employees would leave their job for one with what they deemed the “right” benefits. And 77% said benefits represent a “key part” of a compensation package.

But what benefits do employees want most during a pandemic?

The Ancillary Benefits Employees Want Most

Health insurance remains important, of course, with 86% of employees calling it a “must have.” But dental, vision, and disability coverage now rank in top spots, as well. Respectively, 69%, 41%, and 41% of survey respondents said they require these ancillary benefits.

But there’s another benefit that’s also topping many lists: Group Life / AD&D coverage. “Here in The DBL Center office,” says The DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen, “we’re getting more calls than we ever have to bundle Group Life / AD&D with other lines of coverage. The pandemic has put everybody in touch with their own mortality and they want to make sure their loved ones are taken care of if something happens.”

Insurance companies across the country noticed a spike in life insurance policy sales in the beginning of the second quarter of 2020, that hasn’t waned as we entered 2021. Haven Life Insurance Agency, a company owned by carrier MassMutual, reported a 34% increase in term life policies sold in the second and third quarters of 2020 versus the same time frame in 2019. Northwestern Mutual reported a 15% increase in policies sold between April and September 2020 versus the same time period in 2019. LIMRA, a financial industry organization, saw a 2% increase in policies sold industrywide, according to CNBC.

Industry experts told CNBC that the last time they saw a spike like this was in the days and weeks following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Why Group Life / AD&D Policies Represent Tremendous Value for Your Customers

Insurance industry reps told CNBC they saw the largest spike in term life insurance policies, especially for younger workers. But for many employees, group policies can provide affordable coverage without a medical exam.

Insurers cannot deny claims due to COVID, although premiums may rise in the future as an effect of low interest rates and high claims – much like they did in the P&C insurance industry after claims rose due to Hurricane Sandy.

Your smartest customers will want to offer their employees a voluntary or shared-cost Group Life / AD&D policy now, rather than waiting until rates rise. Only 60% of businesses currently offer Group Life / AD&D, so there is a tremendous market to tap.

Adding Group Life / AD&D to existing customers’ policies can help offset the losses insurance brokers experienced with so many small business owners closing permanently due to the pandemic. Employers can opt to share premiums costs with employees or choose a 100% employee-funded voluntary group plan.

Tiered Plans that Provide the Best Coverage for Top Level Employees

Like enriched DBL coverage in New York, Group Life /AD&D coverage favors high-level executives and business owners when you choose a tiered plan. Executives in the top tier enjoy reasonable premiums, while coverage is based on basic annual earnings, so your top earners have a higher coverage cap.

You can read more about Group Life / AD&D and see a sample tiered plan here.

“It’s been a challenging year for brokers, and I don’t want to look at this as a silver lining,” Cohen says. “But it took a pandemic for people to realize how important life insurance coverage is for preserving their legacy and making life a little easier for their loved ones in case the unthinkable happens.”

It’s now the insurance broker’s role to point employers and their workers in the right direction to coverage that will meet their needs, scale as their family or standard-of-living grows and give them the peace-of-mind to focus on what really matters today.