In the past several years, Paid Family Medical Leave legislation has been sweeping across the Northeast. The DBL Center has been at the forefront of guiding brokers to make the most of this new revenue stream, which can be bundled with ancillary benefits to provide business owners with cost savings while brokers enjoy increased commissions.
As we increase our services in Connecticut and Massachusetts, especially, we’ve been expanding our base into New England with a physical presence in Connecticut. This allows us to service our New England brokers better with a local presence.
Brokers in Connecticut and Massachusetts have turned to The DBL Center in the past year to navigate Paid Family and Medical Leave in Connecticut and Massachusetts. We’ve been helping brokers manage PFL in NY since 2017, so we’re familiar with the transition. Most importantly, we can help brokers use statutory coverage as a springboard to sell highly profitable group ancillary benefits, including dental, vision, and group life / AD&D.
However, as Connecticut and Massachusetts solidify their Paid Family and Medical leave legislation, there are bound to be nuances in the laws that make them different from New York. Already, Connecticut has different paperwork to fill out to privatize PFML in CT. And the definition of a “family member” that someone can take leave to care for hasn’t been fully defined, but it may be less restrictive than New York’s laws.
Learn more about Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave here in our resource center.
Having local insurance experts in New England that can focus exclusively on our New England brokers will allow The DBL Center to provide the same level of expert, personalized service across Massachusetts and Connecticut as we have been doing for 45+ years in New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii.
As we focus on customer service and PFML in Connecticut and Massachusetts, we’ve brought on an industry expert with an office in Trumbull, Connecticut. Brian Dewey, the newest DBL Center Group Sales Representative, comes to us from major carriers Sun Life and Ameritas and has been a staple in Connecticut insurance for nearly a decade.
A Massachusetts native and Stonehill graduate with degrees in Economics and Finance, Dewey specializes in group ancillary benefits and will stay on top of the ever-evolving statutory benefits legislation in Connecticut, where he currently resides, and in his home state of Massachusetts.
With our extensive knowledge of Paid Family and Medical Leave coverage, The DBL Center is here to support New England brokers through the confusion of the first year of this new benefit and beyond. Brokers who take advantage of our white-glove, personalized service also gain access to our state-of-the-art Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, helping you track renewals, cancellations, and commissions easily from any internet-enabled device.
Reach out to The DBL Center and Brian Dewey to learn more about how to help your customers save money by privatizing PFML in Connecticut today.
by Dawn Allcot
Find industry-leading videos, product demos, and insights
The DBL Center, a wholesale insurance general agency specializing in statutory benefits, has launched a new section of its website to keep insurance brokers up to date on the latest statutory and ancillary employee benefit insurance industry news.
Found in the drop-down menu of the About section on the website navigation bar, or in the drop down on the mobile site, “In the News” features:
The videos showcased on the page represent the culmination of DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen’s years of stage experience and his passion for performance. The insurance expert graduated from Boston University with a film degree and now finds a new outlet for his passion through his company’s many marketing and outreach initiatives. “I would have been a stand-up comedian if I didn’t go into insurance,” he says.
In the Meet the Team series of videos, Cohen interviews his staff, revealing their motivations, goals, and a few fun facts. Likewise, the Rep Roundtable series brings together top insurance carriers to discuss industry trends and tips for brokers. This short-form video podcast series launched in 2019 and achieved industry-wide recognition.
Brokers will also find overview videos of the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker to learn, step-by-step, how to track renewals, cancellations, and commissions from any internet-enabled device. Interested brokers can schedule a live demo of this cloud-based app using the easy-to-access chat feature directly on the page.
“Our In The News section brings together some of our most valuable media in one place, so you can browse easily during short spurts of down time,” Cohen says. “I hope visitors to our site will discover information, inspiration, and maybe even a laugh or two.”
About The DBL Center Ltd.
With 40+ years in the insurance industry, The DBL Center services 100,000 insured corporations through 4,000 brokers across 15 states as a wholesale insurance general agency. For more information, visit InsuranceWholesaler.net, call 800.325.2777 or connect with us on LinkedIn.
InsuranceWholesaler | Michael Cohen
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by Michael Cohen
As many companies went out of business in 2020 and others saw substantial revenue reductions, insurance brokers have struggled to collect payments for New York and New Jersey statutory disability insurance policies. The DBL Center is the first and only wholesale insurance broker to deliver a list of your pending cancellations and renewals directly to your inbox via our industry-first Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker app.
Every year, a handful or more of companies will push the limits of their disability insurance renewals. They know we can always backdate the policy if they pay even after cancellation. But brokers’ commissions get delayed and it can wreak havoc on cash flow.
This year could have been even worse when it comes to lost commissions and a shrinking book of business due to the pandemic. But the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker app helps DBL Center brokers stay on top of pending cancellations for non-pay, so they can get paid faster and keep the money coming in. After all, we all know that nickels, dimes, and quarters make dollars. Every disability insurance policy your customers pay on time, before multiple cancellation notices, represents money in your pocket.
“I think the annual billing cycle that just closed has been as successful as it could have been given all the other [economic] circumstances,” said Valmaria Strobel, Vice President – DBL Underwriting for Standard Security Life Ins. Co. of NY.
She added that The DBL Center’s reminders to Standard Security brokers were instrumental in avoiding a host of non-pay cancellations. “We billed these policies at the end of 2020, and although some were slow to pay, more have paid than would have without those reminders he was sending.”
Standard Security started in the business 30 years ago with The DBL Center, led by founder David Cohen, as one of the carrier’s top wholesale insurance brokers. “If you ask me what [DBL Center President and CEO] Mike Cohen has brought to the table, it’s the technology, for sure,” Strobel said.
Every month, The DBL Center delivers a list of all policyholders, including in-force policies, renewals, pending cancellations, and cancellations to brokers’ inboxes, making it easy for brokers to track down pending cancellations to keep revenue streams flowing. “It’s hand-packaged and tied in a bow, essentially,” Strobel said.
Strobel explained that the Broker Dashboard reminders go out to brokers on the heels of Standard Security reminders. “It’s been effective in getting policy holders to pay and avoiding some unnecessary cancellations,” she says.
It’s not just carriers who love the way the Broker Dashboard keeps cash flow moving and helps prevent cancellations for non-pay.
Over the past years since The DBL Center introduced this technology, brokers have expressed gratitude for the monthly reports and easy, remote access to their entire book of business.
Calling the list of renewals and pending cancellations “very helpful,” Anthony Villani, managing director for Avanti Associates, a Pelham, NY, disability insurance broker, said. “We do a lot hand-holding with insureds on these renewal audits and are presently working on these accounts, I am pretty sure we will be saving most of them and this list facilitates our process.”
Similarly, Tom Murray, commercial lines account executive for JSM Brokerage Inc. in East Hills, NY said, “I appreciate you reaching out and letting me know about all these.” Having a list of pending cancellations and non-renewals allows brokers to focus on bill collection in a timely manner, while the Broker Dashboard tracks it all for them.
The DBL Center is the only wholesale insurance broker that provides the technology and service to help you stay on top of cancellations and improve cash flow.
Not using the Broker Dashboard yet? Watch our video and then schedule your free demo here!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
I’ve discussed on several of my videos recently how fast time moves, and how crucial it is for us all to adapt to selling insurance in the time of Covid-19. Insurance brokers face more challenges than ever before when it comes to writing new plans, including NJ disability insurance.
We’re all suffering from a lack of face-to-face contact with our customers, which makes it more challenging to establish trust and build relationships. In addition, many New Jersey businesses have faced bankruptcy, permanently closed, or reduced their staff as a result of shutdowns and lockdowns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve all lost business as a result of it.
But I’m not one to look on the negative side. Instead, The DBL Center has always taken a proactive approach to facing any challenges head-on. As in year’s past, the deadline for business owners to switch their statutory NJ disability insurance to a private plan is approaching on April 1.
Get an early start on showing New Jersey business owners in your area the tremendous benefits of writing NJ disability insurance through a private plan. April 1 will be here before you know it.
Fortunately, in 2019, New Jersey waived the signature requirement to privatize NJ TDB coverage. That means business owners no longer need opt-in from employees when it comes to choosing a private plan. They can now switch to private disability insurance in New Jersey in about five minutes. And I’ll show you exactly how to help them do it.
Many business owners want to keep things as easy as possible. If they’re writing a new insurance policy through a broker, they want you, the insurance broker, to do all the work.
But it’s important to help them understand that they could save up to 20% on their NJ disability insurance coverage, get faster claims payouts with no waiting period – and access to a trusted broker willing to provide top-notch service at any time. Plus, their employees making claims can choose their method of payment, either a check, debit card, or ACH direct deposit straight into their bank account.
They will need to spend about five minutes obtaining the all-important AC174.1 form so you can get them a quote and write the policy.
But 20% cost savings for five minutes of their time is a pretty good trade-off, especially with the state of New Jersey increasing premiums on TDB this year. For larger businesses, saving 20% on disability insurance could equal tens of thousands of dollars, annually.
Plus, once they switch to a private plan, they can “set-it-and-forget-it,” continuing to save money for years. Meanwhile, you can do the same, earning commissions on the account while our Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker lets you know when policies are up for renewal or scheduled for cancellation.
Five minutes to save thousands of dollars…that’s what your customers need to keep in mind. Here’s how they can obtain the AC174.1 form that allows you to provide them with a quote for New Jersey TDB coverage. Remember, as your back office support staff, The DBL Center is here to help if they need assistance.
The opportunity to privatize TDB only comes along on the quarter with 90% of companies privatizing NJ disability insurance in the first quarter of the year. You don’t want your customers to miss out. Reach out to The DBL Center today to help your customers save money and get 2021 off to a strong start.
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.
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.
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.