On the Mic with Mike: Selena Kutschera Talks About PFL, DBL and the Benefits of the Broker Dashboard

Working with the top insurance wholesaler in NY gives Selena a chance to make a difference for brokers

Selena Kutschera, DBL Center’s Director of DBL and TDB never actually applied to work at DBL Center. She joined the family when DBL Center acquired competitor Combined DBL, a competitive insurance wholesaler in NY, in 2014.

How she got the job at Combined DBL, straight out of college with no insurance industry experience, is quite a story.

“I found the job listing in the newspaper,” she tells DBL Center owner and president Michael Cohen. “I begged for an interview, but they had already closed out their interviews because they knew who they were going to hire.”

Kutschera didn’t stop pushing for the interview, however, and, ultimately, got the job. Through her hard work and perseverance, she’s become a leader in wholesale TDB and DBL sales.

It was this tenacity that impressed DBL Center founder David Cohen at the time of the acquisition. “That was the kind of personality my father was looking for,” Michael Cohen recalls. “I remember him saying, ‘I don’t know if we’ll get the deal, but Selena will join us.’ We did make the deal and here we are, five years later.”

Read on to learn how Selena Kutschera is helping DBL Center brokers manage the challenges of PFL and prepare for new opportunities in New Jersey.

Then watch the video to find out Selena’s (second) favorite word, what musician she’s not-so-secretly obsessed with, and what she’d be doing if she wasn’t serving the DBL and TDB insurance needs at one of the top insurance wholesalers in NY.

Michael Cohen: What’s the most exciting thing that we’ve done as a team, in your opinion, since the acquisition?
Selena: The program – the Broker Dashboard. Just coming together and building something, changing the game.

Michael: How has that been an upside for you?
Selena: We can track now. We can track the business. We can track what we’ve lost, what we’ve gained, the brokers, who’s writing, who’s not writing. It just makes it easier.

Michael: Can you describe the process we use when we get together and track retention and new business?
Selena: When we look at our book through the Broker Dashboard, we look at what we can keep out of what’s lost. Our cancellations. We know DBL’s a moving target. Your DBL’s come on, they come off, there are non-pays all the time. That’s the first thing we address, the non-pays. Can we get them reinstated? If we can, that puts business back into the books.

Any time coverage is replaced, we want to find out why it was replaced. Was it something we lost? Did the broker lose it? Did they replace it on us, and why did they replace it? We have to analyze what happened—and why—to get that business back.

Michael: What has the feedback been from the brokers since we implemented the dashboard?
Selena: They’re surprised about their non-pays and what’s cancelled and what’s not.

Michael: Everyone thought Paid Family Leave was going to be a home run, but in the beginning, it wasn’t. Why? And what have you been doing to help overcome those challenges?
Selena: It just added another layer of tracking. Who doesn’t want to pay their PFL [rider]? Who didn’t think they needed Paid Family Leave? They pay the DBL; they don’t pay the PFL. That’s really been the issue. Now, we’re getting the complaints that the insured made the payment, but they only paid a portion of it, or they shortchanged it. So now it’s a matter of them understanding how to pay the bills.

Mike: What do you feel is the biggest dilemma in the overall statutory environment? You’re in the trenches and you’re also involved in commissions. What’s an issue for us that’s outside of our control as a wholesale insurance broker in NY?
Selena: I guess what’s outside of our control is just the insureds making payments. That’s out of our control as an insurance wholesaler in NY. Is the $170 [weekly] benefit in New York State for disability low? Absolutely.

What I do find is some employers want to buy up and some employers don’t want to hear it. I agree with the buying up because the reality is the Paid Family Leave is for somebody else—to take care of a baby, child, or family member—and the disability is for yourself. And if you need to go out on disability, why do you need to go out at a $170, when the PFL benefit is $750 and change? It’s $752 [for 2019].

Mike: Are you excited about what’s happening in Jersey? Explain that.
Selena: Absolutely! Jersey just lifted its signature requirement—there’s no more signature requirement to move to a private carrier. So, it makes it easier for us to write this product, as 98% of it sits with the state right now. And the benefit is going up tremendously.

If you’re shopping for a new insurance wholesaler in NY or NJ or need help writing TDB or DBL, let Selena Kutschera and DBL Center help you. Reach out today.


King Associates and DBL Center: Merging Entertainment and Business

For more than 35 years, storytelling and enthusiasm help sell insurance

Incorporated as The DBL Center Ltd. since 1983, The DBL Center has many long-time, second generation clients. But few brokers have stories steeped in such rich New York history as Richard King, owner of King Associates.

Richard King was mentored by the late David Cohen, landing prestigious accounts that included The Garden City Hotel and Fairhaven Apartments when DBL Center was a brand-new wholesale insurance agency.

Later, King sponsored DBL Center President Michael Cohen’s admission into The Friars Club, the preeminent members-only club for entertainment professionals located in a five-story English Renaissance Tudor in Midtown Manhattan.

King says the key factor that has prevailed across two generations of DBL Center management is the enthusiasm of the team, which King shares as he reminisces about his mentors, offers tips for brokers, and talks about his involvement with the Friars and how it can help an insurance broker.

How did you first meet David Cohen and start doing business with The DBL Center?

I think David may have cold-called me, because he was very aggressive – just like my dad. I have to give you a bit of the history. It was because of my dad, Murray King, that Dave and I did business together.

My dad was raised in the Bronx with four brothers. When he grew up and got married, he became a math professor at City College. Then he started selling insurance with Hancock, in the 1940s, because he didn’t have a job one summer.

Selling door-to-door in Harlem, he made it big, with a lot of persistence through the years, as a one-man show.

I introduced Dave to my Dad, who was a powerhouse life insurance broker at the time. Dave loved Murray because they were both characters.

Murray was handling life insurance at the time for top real estate developers on Long Island, like Myron Nelkin, who built Fairhaven Apartments and the Garden City Hotel.

So we wrote life insurance and DBL for Fairhaven Apartments – 2,500 units – and the Garden City Hotel through DBL Center. I also handled a printing firm of about 400 other companies, and other Long Island businesses.

Dave was my guy.

What was it like doing business with DBL Center back then, 35 years ago?

I was writing life insurance and DBL. I would use DBL as the foot in the door, because nobody knew about it. Nobody knew it was an employer-funded, state-mandated benefit.

Back then, as far as back office support, it was all Eugene [Puleo]. Eugene was invaluable. Even after all these years, Eugene offers superb back office support, giving me prodigious confidence, accuracy, and the ability to make sales.

How was it different selling DBL back then from now?

It was all about in-person contact. There was no email. There were no excuses or delays because of the electronic convenience aspect. You did not have to wait for someone to reply. You did everything in person.

You made an appointment, you went in, and whether you were successful or not was up to you.

Dave abided by one-on-one communications. He had superior communication skills, just like my Dad. I was fortunate to have them both as mentors.

What set David and DBL Center apart from others in the industry back then?

The key word there is enthusiasm.

David Cohen had it. Murray had it. I had it. Certainly, Michael [Cohen, DBL Center President] has it. Beyond the education and everything else we need to sell insurance, enthusiasm is the key difference.

When someone sees our enthusiasm, we make the sale. Today, if I go in with Michael, we’re getting the client.

Tell us where the Friars Club connection comes in.

I met Michael when he was right out of college, and I remember thinking he had a great voice. Like his dad, communication was his strength.

I started talking to Michael about the Friars Club, and he said he wanted to join. I had been on the admissions committee for many years, and I’d been a member for 25 years, very involved with the club. So, I said, “Let’s go.”

He was the perfect candidate, so I sponsored his induction.

Michael has done a great job promoting DBL in conjunction with the Friars Club, booking comedians through the club, bringing clients there, and using it for networking.

For those who may not be familiar, what are the benefits of networking within the Friars Club?

The Friars Club is the largest entertainment club in the country, and it’s great networking. Two-thirds of the members are professional entertainers and the other one-third are non-professionals. But the celebrities and the non-celebrities are all on the same level.

When you bring clients there, you are including them in something special here in New York. You’re entertaining them like no other agent can.
Merging business with entertainment – that’s something Murray and David were brilliant at, and now Michael is doing it.

If you bring a prospect to the Friars Club, they are not leaving without becoming a client.

To learn more about booking comedians through the Friars Club for a holiday party or special event, call The DBL Center now.


Broker Spotlight: Corporate Synergies

DBL Center’s strengths complement Corporate Synergies’ insurance lines

Corporate Synergies is a full-service insurance brokerage, providing health, ancillary benefits, P&C coverage, and DBL / PFL for companies with as many as 10,000 employees.

“We have about 600 customers total and we have office in Melville, Long Island; New York City, New Jersey, Maryland and Florida,” says Peter Tonna, vice president and benefits consultant for Corporate Synergies. “We primarily operate in the middle market, serving businesses with 50 to 1,000 employees, but we also have customers with 5,000 to 10,000 employees, especially in the fields of not for profits, education, and financial services.”

Digging Deep into Practical Matters Concerning PFL

Experts in the field of health and ancillary benefits, as well as DBL, Corporate Synergies has relied on DBL Center’s knowledge and expertise when it came to navigating the often-muddy waters of New York State’s new PFL coverage. “The DBL Center has come to us many times with educational materials to help us understand the new law and how it’s implemented. If I have questions, I can pick up the phone and Mike [DBL Center President Michael Cohen] will explain it,” says Tonna.

“It’s one thing to talk about PFL in broad strokes, but when you get into the weeds, talking about a specific situation or a real-life experience, Mike has helped explain the differences and overlap between PFL and FMLA in ways we can convey to our customers,” he continues. “Most importantly, DBL Center gives us ways to make sure that knowledge and insight is communicated to the employees and HR directors.”

Analyzing Ancillary Benefits

Corporate Synergies also leverages DBL Center’s relationships with carriers to get the best rates by bundling DBL and ancillary benefits. “We promote dental and group life as the power players for ancillary benefits,” Tonna says. “Voluntary group life is typically low cost, and employees many not have to go through medical underwriting, which saves time and hassles.”

Corporate Synergies and DBL Center: A Mutual Focus on Service

With a new website focused on educating customers about the ever-changing landscape of employee benefits, Corporate Synergies shares DBL Center’s philosophy of providing exemplary service and consultative selling to drive repeat business and referrals.

With offices just minutes away from each other in Melville, The DBL Center and Corporate Synergies have maintained a relationship any business owner dreams of. The DBL Center is more than just a wholesaler for Corporate Synergies, but a trusted partner, sharing advice and referrals.

“The whole DBL team is local, knowledgeable and experienced,” Tonna says. “And that translates into increased value for my customers. My customers are the most important thing in my world, and I want to make sure they are educated and informed. DBL Center has been a great resource to help us cut through the fog and confusion surrounding DBL and PFL in New York.”

Brokers: Is Your Insurance Firm Ready to Be Next?

Are you enjoying our Broker Spotlight series? Reach out and let us know!

If you have a unique and interesting story to tell about your relationship with DBL Center or how we have helped you grow your business, contact us now to be featured as our next “Broker Spotlight.”


Broker Spotlight: ComTon, Inc.

 DBL Center Helps ComTon Convert Self-Insured DBL Clients to Major Carriers at Low Rates

ComTon Inc. in Fairport, NY, specializes in Employee Benefits insurance for organizations with over 200 lives. Serving upstate and western New York, from Rhinebeck to Lake Placid and across the state to Buffalo and Rochester, ComTon has been in business since 1998. “Most of our business is through word-of-mouth and referrals,” says ComTon Principal Gregory D. Singleton.

“One of our biggest compliments is when we have an HR director or a finance person who leaves an organization we’ve worked with and moves to another organization and immediately brings us in,” adds Principal Rob Commisso.

ComTon has carved out a successful niche working with large organizations to provide employee benefits, including DBL / PFL, group life, health insurance, dental insurance, workers’ compensation, short-term and long-term disability, and other voluntary benefits. Unlike many brokers, ComTon offers packages for self-insured businesses and is certified by the state of New York as a third-party administrator of workers’ compensation and DBL / PFL benefits.

As an administrator for self-insured DBL policies, ComTon faced an unusual challenge when PFL was first introduced in the beginning of 2018. “Some of our self-insured clients weren’t necessarily comfortable with the unknown costs of PFL, so they wanted to pursue fully insured options,” recalls Commisso.

That’s when ComTon realized the true benefits of working with The DBL Center as their white-glove, white-label insurance wholesaler. “DBL Center provided us with a lot of help so we could offer our clients options for a fully insured program,” says Singleton. “Because DBL Center has such a big book of business and great relationships with the existing carriers, they were able to get us very good rates for our clients who wanted to move to a different carrier or to go from self-insured to fully insured.”

Singleton reveals that ComTon provided quotes for all their existing clients to transition to fully insured benefits, so that their customers could choose the best path for their situation. The DBL Center expedited the process, shopping around for the best rates.

ComTon clients who decided to switch to a fully insured program reaped the rewards of low rates as well as fast claim payments and the stellar service that ComTon has been known to provide to its self-insured clients for two decades. The DBL Center made it easy for ComTon to quote rates from a variety of carriers, write the policies, and deliver excellent service through top-name carriers capable of writing DBL policies with the PFL rider.

“DBL Center streamlined our quoting process for our DBL prospects and existing clients considering fully insured options,” says Singleton.

“But what it really came down to is the cost,” adds Commisso. “DBL Center was able to help us get better rates than we may have been able to do on our own, with a variety of carriers.”

He continues, “The whole team has been wonderful to work with, very responsive to our questions and our needs, and helpful in offering solutions or ideas we may not have thought of. The DBL Center team is very good about explaining the capabilities of one insurance carrier over another, and of helping us market the benefits of various carriers to our clientele.”

Singleton adds, “I thought we had a great knowledge of DBL coverage here at ComTon, and the DBL Center’s knowledge is as good—if not better—than ours.”


Broker Spotlight: Meeker Sharkey & Hurley Writes More TDB with DBL Center

New Jersey insurance company delivers better service for statutory and ancillary customers

Although Meeker Sharkey & Hurley has been in the insurance business since 1864, the full-service broker is one of the newest in The DBL Center family. The company is already realizing the advantages of buying state-mandated TDB through DBL Center’s vast network of private carriers.

“The DBL Center knows the statutory market. That’s their specific field,” says Richard Ambrose, Meeker Sharkey & Hurley Senior Vice President-Practice Leader, Employee Benefits. “While we could go to the carriers ourselves, The DBL Center is more tuned in to the TDB market. They can be more aggressive in the pricing because they have such a large block of business with the statutory companies, and that helps us.”

Private TDB Coverage: Sales Based on Service

Since New Jersey’s TDB coverage pays a living wage to employees on short-term disability or maternity leave, there is less reason to enrich policies the way New York brokers do for businesses in their state. New Jersey pays a maximum of $637 per week for employees, with affordable premiums. “In New Jersey, more than 85 percent of the employers write TDB through the New Jersey State Insurance Fund (NJSIF),” says Ambrose.

Yet, he views this as an opportunity rather than a challenge. “Most employers don’t know they can switch, and the state, by design, makes it difficult to switch,” he explains.

Employers must get signatures from 50 percent of their NJ employees explaining the change before they can switch, and they can only make the jump from the state on the first day of any quarter. But once employers do make the jump, they enjoy better service, faster payouts, and more flexibility.

The DBL Center simplifies the process and helps Meeker Sharkey customers switch to a private carrier by shopping around for the best rates, sometimes getting those rates locked in for two to three years, and then helping with the paperwork to switch from NJSIF.

“With a private carrier, our customers get a dedicated account manager, as well as people from my firm who can help them, people from the DBL Center who can help them, and service by phone even after 4 o’clock in the afternoon—which you won’t find with the state,” says Ambrose.

In addition, claimants can receive their first check in less than one week, with flexible pay periods so they can maintain the budget and lifestyle they had prior to filing for disability coverage. “I’ve heard of people not getting their first check from the state until after they’ve gone back to work,” says Ambrose. “We tell our clients that if we can get them the same rate as the state, they should make the jump because they will appreciate the better service. And The DBL Center helps make it easier to find an equal or lower rate.”

Adding Ancillary Benefits to Save Even More

In addition to writing Temporary Disability Benefits for New Jersey customers through The DBL Center’s large network of carriers, Meeker Sharkey also focuses heavily on ancillary benefits, including vision, dental, life, and long-term disability. Often, The DBL Center can find the best rates by bundling these important ancillary benefits with a statutory TDB policy.

Communicating the Advantages of Ancillary Benefits

Ambrose reveals a great deal of Meeker Sharkey & Hurley’s revenue comes from employee health and ancillary benefits for businesses with over 50 lives. “We have a hospital client with 2,000 lives, but the majority of our revenue are clients with 50 covered employees up to about 400. We have quite a few financial institutions, manufacturing firms, and not-for-profits.”

Ambrose notes employers in these fields are always looking to entice employees and benefits packages are an important part of those recruiting tactics. “DBL Center is very aggressive with customer education, and that’s important when we’re selling ancillary lines. Michael Cohen and his team are very tapped into what’s happening in the industry, whether we are talking about Paid Family Leave in New York, TDB, or ancillary benefits,” says Ambrose.

“They are also very proactive with follow ups, and responsive to our needs,” he says. “I’d been talking to Mike for at least a year before we signed on with The DBL Center and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.”


Broker Spotlight: Total Management Corporation Focuses on Exemplary Service

New York insurance agency, Total Management, doesn’t sell a business policy without disability coverage

Total Management Corporation, an independent insurance agency with offices on Long Island and Manhattan, has built a successful business for more than 40 years by focusing on two things: stellar service and customer education. TMC wants to be the first to tell their customers about new benefits and opportunities.

Likewise, TMC recognizes the advantages of selling DBL insurance to every business customer. Many small business owners are unaware of this mandatory benefit. TMC serves their customers’ best interests by educating them about DBL coverage. For the broker, DBL provides residual commissions every year, and represents opportunities to grow their book of business through consultative selling.

“DBL business never goes away,” says Total Management Corporation’s Phil Bilello. “The client gets a bill once a year, pays it, and doesn’t think twice. We insist all our business clients carry disability insurance. We won’t write an account without it.”

Rather than ignoring the mandatory coverage, TMC puts disability insurance side-by-side with other group benefits packages, providing a page on their website where small business owners can request a disability insurance quote online.

It sounds simple, but in a world where DBL coverage is often a forgotten benefit, this page helps keep disability insurance on the minds of busy business owners and HR directors who visit the TMC site.

The Secret to Reaching High-end Clients with Enhanced DBL Plans

To increase DBL revenue, the Total Management team has become adept at recognizing customers, usually higher end service professionals like real estate agencies, doctor’s offices, and law firms, who may be amenable to enhanced DBL coverage.

“We find that service professionals are the most likely to agree to enhanced DBL benefits, so we come back to them every year and discuss the possibility of providing a better benefits package to their employees,” says Bilello. “We will also discuss it over the course of the year. You want to have multiple touchpoints when you’re trying to enhance a policy.”

These customers who recognize the value of robust business insurance policies, Bilello says, are his ideal customers. “We want to sell to the true business professional who values insurance, values the coverage and values the services an independent insurance agency can provide,” he says.

Service: The Key Differentiator for Total Management Corporation

For more than 40 years, Total Management Corporation has focused on delivering exemplary service to business professionals, as well as individuals and not-for-profit organizations.

“It’s hard to say what differentiates one insurance agency from another,” Bilello admits. “But we have a hard-working, conscientious staff that takes ownership of their accounts and cares about the agency. We work hard for our clients, earning their business every year, and maintaining their trust and loyalty. Those are the keys to our success and our future success. If you don’t work hard every day to keep your business growing, you won’t be in business much longer. You can never get complacent.”

Shared Values, Emphasis on Education

Total Management Corporation recognizes that DBL Center shares these values of hard work and exemplary service, resulting in a 20+ year partnership between the independent insurance agency and the wholesaler. “We started out working with [founder] David Cohen and [VP of Sales] Richard Slavin, and now we have the whole team behind us,” says Bilello.

“DBL Center has been wonderful because they get out in front of their brokers, and let us know they’re supporting us,” says Bilello. “They’re always very helpful, very professional, and very educated about their products.”

The DBL Center provided support when New York State first implemented Paid Family Leave laws, permitting Total Management Corporation to better educate their customers, show their knowledge, and build trust. The DBL Center offered seminars and lunch and learn programs, sent out informational emails, and launched its Paid Family Leave Resource Center to educate brokers about the upcoming mandatory benefit.

“If it weren’t for DBL Center, we wouldn’t have known anything about Paid Family Leave,” says Bilello. “Michael [Cohen] and his staff took the ball and ran with it. PFL is confusing enough, but they made the transition so much easier for all of us.”

Net Revenue Tracker: The Next Phase of Growth

In Q2 2018, Total Management Center will be looking to The DBL Center for additional resources in the form of an app that enables brokers to track all of their accounts from one intuitive, easy-to-access dashboard. “We’re looking forward to Net Revenue Tracker,” says Bilello. “Real-time information is always important and having data and analytics at your fingertips is invaluable for an insurance agency.”

He concludes, “DBL Center has become a trusted partner and we look forward to a continued relationship.”

Want to become our next Broker Spotlight? Contact us today.


DBL Broker Spotlight: Hometown Insurance Agency

A focus on customer education and diverse offerings set Hometown Insurance Agency of Long Island apart

 

Hometown Insurance Agency, based in Bohemia, New York, has been serving Long Island, upstate New York, and parts of the New York tri-state area since 1979. Hometown provides a full line of insurance products, with a 50/50 split of personal and commercial customers. Hometown’s business insurance lines include individual and group health, ancillary benefits, and, of course, New York State mandatory DBL insurance.

Within that commercial demographic, Hometown serves a wide range of businesses, from Main Street small businesses to municipalities, fire departments, towns and villages, local libraries, as well as not-for-profit organizations, and larger companies including manufacturers and contractors.

But one thing is consistent in the way Hometown approaches every one of its clients. “One of the areas we pride ourselves on is educating our customers,” says Hometown President and CEO Rebecca Weber, noting that DBL coverage and especially Paid Family Leave still require a lot of attention when it comes to customer education.

“I still am convinced that not everybody is talking about it like they should be,” says Weber. “And that education we provide is what sets us apart. Most agents go in and are focused on the meatier parts of the policy, so it is very easy to overlook DBL coverage.”

She adds, “At Hometown, we’ve made it part of our routine. Our agents need to go in and talk about enriched DBL—and the new PFL rider is a great place to start.”

As a female executive in a male-dominated industry, Weber sees the appeal in the personal stories behind the groundbreaking and culturally significant benefit. “We have two family members who work in our company, in two different departments. When the mother returned after eight weeks taking care of her newborn, her husband was able to take time off. We see, as a company, how important this benefit is to our employees. To be able to share that story with our business owners really brings it home to them.”

Hometown Insurance Agency has worked with DBL Center for two generations; Rebecca’s father, Dan Weber, began doing business with DBL Center President Michael Cohen’s father, David, decades ago. “Our relationship has grown along with our management and ownership,” says the younger Weber, who took over leadership of Hometown in 2007.

Even as both companies have grown, they remain focused on personalized service. “In working with DBL Center, there is a sense of dealing with people that you trust, and people that you know. You’re not treated like a number,” says Weber. “Invariably, the service is absolutely wonderful and exceeds our expectations.”

Weber notes that DBL Center caters to small to mid-size agencies, providing not just exceptional service but bleeding-edge technology to help the agency operate more efficiently.

Hometown Insurance Agency is one of a handful of DBL Center brokers who have already previewed the proprietary Net Revenue Tracker (NRT) software.

“We are very excited to begin using the software,” says Weber. “We believe it is going to help streamline our process and be more efficient. Our reports will be more reliable.”

By automating renewal notifications and tracking functions, the software will free up employees who are currently focused on manual data entry so they can complete more complex, high-touch tasks.

“It’s a win-win for our agency,” Weber says. “And we are very fortunate to have access to the software and to have The DBL Center in our corner.”

Would you like to be featured in our next DBL Broker Spotlight? Reach out today.


DBL Broker Spotlight: Coastal Insurance of Rocky Point, NY

DBL Center helps Coastal Insurance navigate the rocky waters of New York Paid Family Leave

The story begins 14 years ago, as many Long Island stories do, in a diner. Through a referral from another local business owner, David Clausen of Coastal Insurance, an independent insurance agency in NY, met with Michael Cohen of DBL Center. Founded in 2001, Coastal was just three years old at the time, and Clausen was looking for a better way to wrCoastal Insurance logoite DBL coverage for his New York business customers.

Fourteen years later, Clausen still visits that same diner on Long Island’s North Shore, and still writes his DBL and enriched DBL policies through The DBL Center. “Whenever we need something, Michael is there,” says Clausen. “It’s a product that works at a great price. The process is efficient for our staff and the service is great. What more could you ask for?”

Paid Family Leave Opens Doors for Coastal Insurance

New York State’s Paid Family Leave Act, introduced in 2017, gave The DBL Center an opportunity to over-deliver and exceed Clausen’s high expectations for exemplary service. When one major carrier exited the DBL market to avoid writing PFL riders, Clausen filled that void, strengthening his business relationship with the carrier and opening doors for Coastal Insurance.

“When PFL became mandatory, some carriers had a lot of other business lines they didn’t want to lose, but they no longer wanted to write DBL,” explains Clausen. “They felt that if they canceled DBL they’d lose the other lines of business.”

Clausen took on one carrier’s DBL lines, writing the policies through The DBL Center to provide a friendlier and more robust alternative to the New York State Insurance Fund. He promised the carrier he would not market other lines of business to the carrier’s existing customers.

Through this mutually profitable relationship, the other carrier began sending referrals to Clausen’s office for high-risk homeowners insurance and other business and personal lines. Coastal Insurance also gained the opportunity to write the DBL policies for the insurance carrier’s 30+ offices across the New York Tri-State area. “It was great to reconnect with the agents, and it opened doors to additional streams of revenue for my agency,” says Clausen. “It was a win-win all the way around.”

The DBL Center Makes Business Insurance Easy for Coastal Insurance

Coastal Insurance serves individuals and businesses across the New York Tri-state area, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, and even as far south as Florida. With a focus on high net worth individuals on Long Island’s North Shore, 70 percent of Coastal’s business is made up of personal insurance, including home/auto umbrella policies. The other 30 percent of Coastal’s customers are small businesses, from $1 billion retailers to pizzerias, doctor and dentist offices and other small businesses. Clausen describes the bulk of this clientele as “the Main Street USA business owner.” And this is where Clausen’s relationship with DBL Center plays an important role.

With its online “quick quote” interface to bind DBL policies under 50 lives in minutes, The DBL Center excels in serving small businesses under 50 lives. “It couldn’t be easier to go online and quote and bind a policy,” says Clausen. “Some other insurance products are a bit more labor intensive.”

He adds, “DBL Center makes it easy to get the product at the right price, quickly and efficiently. I’ve been with The DBL Center for nearly 15 years. Michael and his team make great partners for the independent agent on Long Island and we value that partnership.”