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.
by Michael Cohen
As we prepare to enter the fourth quarter, insurance brokers have had to contend with many changes and challenges. If you run an insurance agency, it’s more important than ever to be able to manage a remote workforce and give your producers the tools they need to do their jobs – in their office or at home.
A project two years in the making could not have come at a better time. It started two years ago with the introduction of the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker.
Today, The DBL Center is pleased to announce the introduction of the Broker Dashboard app, available in the Apple Store.
Offering all the functionality of the Broker Dashboard desktop application, the Broker Dashboard app for iPhone and iPad puts the capability to track renewals, cancellations, and commissions at your fingertips.
Follow up with client renewals while you wait in the pick-up line at your child’s elementary school. Check on incoming commissions as you oversee distance learning at your dining room table. And when you come into the office, your Broker Dashboard comes with you.
You’re always informed, giving you the means to spot profit opportunities and increase commissions by giving your customers the products and information they need – when they need it.
It’s not going to be an easy autumn for many working parents or for insurance brokers still splitting time between their homes and the office. The Broker Dashboard technology can help bring you closer to your customers, wherever you might be.
Back in April at the height of the pandemic, a Gartner survey revealed that 75% of CEOs planned to move at least 5% of their employees to full-time remote even after the pandemic. The remote workforce is here to stay and embracing technology can help us to better cope with it.
With childcare challenges facing many parents as schools are now opening with distance learning or hybrid schedules – where children may attend school a few days a week and have remote learning the rest of the time – employers may have to provide more flexibility for working parents.
After all, you know the rules. Employees can’t claim NYS PFL for Covid-related illness, (if they have the ability to work from home, or a lack of childcare for students undertaking distance learning). But by creating flexible employee policies and ensuring your employees can be productive wherever they are, you may be able to reduce erroneous PFL claims and also minimize Covid-related claims under the federal Families First Act. (You can read more about PFL and the FFA here.)
Just like many other businesses, the DBL Center team faces the challenges of a remote workforce and children’s school schedules that don’t coincide with typical, established workplace schedules. Through technology, resilience, and understanding, we continue to thrive and offer high levels of service to our brokers and their clients.
We’re excited to give our brokers the same opportunities to embrace change with the Broker Dashboard app and other tools.
The DBL Center provides workplace flexibility for our employees as we adapt to these times. But that doesn’t change our availability for our brokers when they need us. We are always available as your back-office staff to assist.
And now, with the Broker Dashboard app for iPhone and iPad, the tools you need are just a touch away. Watch the video to learn more about using your exclusive Broker Dashboard app here, and reach out if you have any questions.
by Dawn Allcot
In our latest video series, The DBL Center marketing team turned the tables on Michael Cohen to interview the DBL Center President about recent initiatives and how The DBL Center has coped with the pandemic.
Now more than ever, The DBL Center remains focused on providing our brokers with free tools they can use to stay competitive and remain profitable in these challenging times.
Read on for excerpts from our three-part interview with Michael Cohen and be sure to check out the videos and subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our video content as it goes live.
Dawn Allcot: What’s been the reaction to The DBL Center’s recent marketing content – the videos, blog posts, and direct email campaigns?
Michael Cohen: Our read ratio is triple what it used to be. You always say it’s a matter of putting out good content, but it’s also a matter of not putting out redundant content. In the beginning of the [pandemic], we were getting things out quickly, but we didn’t want it to be laborious. There’s only so much people can understand about the loans and about unemployment. There has to be a shift. People got accustomed to reading the same things everywhere.
Dawn: The content we did was targeted to our audience, so it wasn’t the same things they are reading everywhere else. People can follow links to find out how to apply for the PPP loans. The Covid qualifying software you came up with really set DBL Center apart.
Michael: It’s an antiquated business and people know it. I’ll be the first to say it. These tools help set us apart. I’m happy with where we’re going, and I do think it’s going to be a unique, creative year. Everything I’ve done, and am doing, and have been building over the past 36 months has come to the point where it will be a differentiator in a very positive light. I feel very strongly about next year and I’m excited.
Dawn: On the topic of tools and resources, how does the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker help your brokers?
Michael: No one really had a great grasp on where their business was. Because most people were elephant hunting and chasing things that my father would always tell me would be top heavy.
One of the things I’ve been able to do is use the software to help show brokers the profitability in the smaller accounts. Those are the companies that are predominantly relying on the PPP loan, and have people who have been furloughed due to unemployment. What happens when the money runs out?
The tool has been able to help brokers understand the retention aspect. Now on the cusp of unemployment maybe being a month from being over, the real question is how much of the relief and aid will stick and help the businesses survive?
Dawn: And you’re offering the Broker Dashboard completely free of charge to your brokers.
Michael: I don’t want to charge anybody so they can track their business. It’s been terrific during the pandemic in helping people know where their business is down to the dollar, because we don’t know what’s going to stick.
Dawn: Besides the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, what else are you doing to help your brokers thrive and grow?
Michael: I’ve been giving away free advice from friends of mine in the business who are influencers, including your interview with Kelvin Joseph from Kool Kel Marketing. The point we were trying to get across there is the power of relationships.
My business has expanded greatly in other states, predominantly because of my LinkedIn strategies and how many people I know. Between myself and my buddy Kelvin, we reach 100,000 individual touch points on LinkedIn. Every day, I get a lead in some form, that I can help give back [to our brokers].
The advice I’ve been given from my father, I’ve been able to funnel through our content marketing strategy and give back to the brokers’ community in my own words. The Broker Dashboard, LinkedIn, and our website resources are the three primary ways we’ve been able to give back for free to our brokers.
Watch the full three-part series of videos here:
Within the first few days of the coronavirus pandemic and the New York On Pause order, DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen felt the same as many of those in the insurance business did.
“When I first got news of this being a reality in New York, which is now a hot spot, I felt like I was back up against a wall,” he recalls. “I was nervous.”
He sprung to action immediately, though. He took what he learned from his decades in the statutory insurance industry and his knowledge of what technology can accomplish to create a solution to slow the onslaught of PFL claims. “I felt I had to do something to mitigate the claims,” Cohen says.
Within days of schools and businesses closing across New York State, and shortly after, through Massachusetts and New Jersey, Cohen and The DBL Center launched the COVID-19 Pre-Screening Software for PFL Claims.
A tool for insurance carriers to manage PFL claims that may not qualify, the COVID-19 pre-screening software requires employers to answer a series of questions to determine if their PFL claim is valid before requesting a claim form from the carrier. Many statutory PFL claims actually qualify for federal help under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which was enacted April 2, 2020.
The DBL Center also created a document to help show when an employee may qualify for PFL and when an employee would qualify for FFCRA aid, instead.
“Even though the changes related to PFL and FMLA [in Massachusetts] have been clearly stated, you’re still going to have some confusion at the employer level in terms of what is a valid COVID claim and what is not a valid COVID claim,” says Charles Callery, Regional VP for Lincoln Financial, one of DBL Center’s many preferred carriers. “I thought the software was perfect for that scenario.”
He added that he also sees it having long-term applications once the pandemic ends. “In general, it can help cut down on some of the administrative costs that we incur, and that others occur, taking in paper claims. I bet the industry still sees the majority of our claims in paper form, versus electronic, and this is a good first step to enter the electronic environment. It’s something the industry could use, because it pre-qualifies a lot of claims upfront.”
The Broker Dashboard Net Revenue Tracker was the first technological innovation from The DBL Center, an electronic version of the paper and pen ledger that Founder David Cohen brought to every meeting.
Designed specifically for DBL Center brokers, the Broker Dashboard helps agencies track cancellations and pending cancellations, new policies, and commissions, at a glance. A cloud-based app that gives brokers actionable insights to improve retention rates, the Broker Dashboard brings David Cohen’s paper ledger into the digital age and delivers it to the hands of every broker.
Michael Pellegrino, Lincoln Financial sales representative, reminisced about the way DBL Center tracked revenue when he first entered the industry. “I remember I’d come into your father’s office,” he tells Michael Cohen in the latest Rep Roundtable video. “He’d put down his pen and paper. He was keeping everything in order, but how time-consuming it must have been. “The fact that you took that pen and paper ledger and made that electronic is awesome!”
In addition to discussing the technology that sets The DBL Center apart, Cohen, Callery, and Pellegrino reminisce about summer get-togethers and talk about how the economy and the industry have changed in the past 20 years. Michael Cohen also reveals his secret to surviving the pandemic … all in the latest Rep Roundtable, brought to you by The DBL Center.