Is It Time to Sell Your Insurance Brokerage?

When it’s time to move on, The DBL Center can help.

We live in an uncertain world. No one is sure what the economy will do, how a revamped national health care plan will affect health insurance brokers, or the cascading effects such a plan will have on property & casual brokers. Many of us in the industry (including The DBL Center) plan to stay the course, adapt, and prevail. But that may not be the right course of action for every broker.
Money-Boat
P&C brokers have a number of reasons they may want to sell their agency. There may not be an adult child or close friend willing and able to take over the family business. Maybe the owner is just ready to cash in on the fruits of their labor after all these years and enjoy retirement, or maybe there is a health issue. Or maybe an agency owner wants to take a full advantage of today’s valuation and multiples on today’s agencies across the country.

When selling is the right exit strategy, who do you sell to? This isn’t an easy decision.

Turn to Those Who Know

You know how to run an insurance brokerage. But you probably don’t know how to get the most value for it when you decide to sell.

The DBL Center Ltd. and Helfer & Associates, a consulting and advisory firm focused exclusively on the insurance agency industry, have forged a mutually beneficial agreement to help DBL Center brokers formulate and deploy an exit strategy when the time comes.

Kenny Helfer, Managing Partner of Helfer & Associates,  is a trusted consultant specializing in independent insurance agencies and brokers that provide both property & casualty, as well as life & health benefits. Kenny’s firm provides substantive value for any agency owner looking to take some chips off the table for a variety of reasons. He prepares strategic road maps and financial analytics for agency owners looking for potential exit strategies. This includes formal introductions to all the major buyers in the market, based on the personal relationships Kenny has developed over his years in the industry. His proven track record, expertise, and assistance spans all phases of the preparation and sale. His goal is to maximize the value of an agency of any size and to generate the best possible deal, structure, and outcome for his agency clients. Most importantly, he guides the entire process and removes the stress that could come with the most important business transaction of one’s life.

Weathering the Change

Undoubtedly, the sale of an insurance brokerage can create stress on existing employees involved in the acquisition, which can lead to the loss of top talent within the agency. Employees may be unsure of their job security, the new management structure, and their new employer’s expectations. Helfer & Associates works with the new management team to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible to improve retention of the firm’s greatest asset – their people.

Stay with Those You Trust

One mistake insurance brokerages often make following a sale is switching their wholesale insurance general agency. When a larger firm buys a smaller firm, they might switch wholesalers to keep everything under the umbrella of the parent company—simply because that’s the way the larger firm has always done things. This isn’t always the right choice.

If brokers are accustomed to working with a best-in-class insurance wholesaler with access to top A+++ rated carriers and a host of value-added products and services like The DBL Center, changing insurance wholesalers can create culture shock, frustration, and, again, problems retaining top employees.

If your insurance wholesaler is providing the white-glove service you and your employees have come to expect, finding a way to continue working together following the sale could help ease the transition to new ownership, retain top employees, and maintain the firm’s value. After all, it is the people, the insurance products, and the service that gives a brokerage firm its value—before and after the sale.

The DBL Center Ltd. works hard to earn, and sustain, our brokers’ trust. We provide a host of value-added services, as well as carrying many ancillary lines of coverage to help brokers easily expand their book of business and increase commissions. With advanced technology that allows our brokers to more easily write and manage accounts, The DBL Center stays at the forefront of the insurance industry. We believed informed customers are our best customers, so we stay ahead of important industry news, like New York’s new Paid Family Leave law, passing the information on to our brokers as it is announced. We are ready with top carriers who can provide brokers with the products they need once mandatory PFL goes into place.

Is It Time?

Choosing to sell your insurance brokerage and leave your livelihood is not an easy decision. And it’s obviously not the right choice for everyone. But when the time comes, DBL Center Ltd., working with Helfer & Associates, can help you create an exit strategy you can feel good about while helping to maintain consistency within the organization.

Contact us to find out how you can get the highest valuation for your agency.


5 Ways The DBL Center Delivers Better Service

Insurance brokers can receive better service working through the right insurance wholesaler.

Being an insurance broker isn’t easy, especially in these challenging times. Will Obamacare stay or will it go? How will that affect health insurance brokers, as well as those who provide ancillary benefits? The industry could be facing another major shake-up–but even that’s not guaranteed.

One way to prepare yourself for success in uncertain times is to build a reliable team. That team should include an insurance wholesaler who provides the white-glove, white-label service you and your customers deserve. Here are five ways The DBL Center sets itself apart as a wholesale insurance broker providing disability insurance, ancillary benefits, and more. Contract

1. Enjoy a single point-of-contact for most benefits.

From disability insurance, which is mandated in New Jersey, New York, and Hawaii, to up-sell benefits, which can help brokers increase their earnings, The DBL Center provides what today’s brokers need to service small to mid-size businesses and larger firms.

Your customers come to you for disability coverage. You can help them increase their employee benefits packages with enriched DBL in
New York, and ancillary benefits such as vision, dental, and Group Life/AD&D coverage.

2. Bind quotes quickly and easily online.

You can compare rates and bind DBL coverage for businesses with under 50 lives in just a few clicks online. Our AA+ rated carriers also permit customers to easily begin and track claims online.

At DBL Center, our technology sets us apart and makes it easier for you, as the broker, to do your job and provide your customers with a higher level of service.

3. Book entertainment to thank special clients or give your employees a nice bonus.

Whether it’s the holiday season, start of summer, or any other occasion, it’s nice to take a break. Through our partnerships with The Friar’s Club and Steiner Sports Marketing, we can book comedic and sports guests for any occasion. Thank a special customer by adding entertainment to their corporate outing, or host an event yourself to thank all your top-tier customers. When we say we are more than just disability insurance, we really mean it. We are here to serve our brokers.

4. We can provide investment options for your customers.

From Roth IRA’s to 401Ks, we have an investment advisor on staff that can help you provide the best options to your employees. You can also add a revenue stream to your brokerage by offering retirement benefits to the HR directors you already work with. Best of all, there’s no added work on your part—just added commission. Connect our investment expert to your customers, and we’ll steer them down the right path for retirement savings.

5. Use our app to manage your book of business from anywhere.

The DBL Center already provides the capability of managing your book of business online, with our account representatives at your service when you need a more personal touch or have questions.

Now in development, our new mobile app for Android and iOS will permit you to manage your book of business from anywhere. Don’t wait until you’re back in the office to process that new account; do it immediately so your customers can have their Certificate of Insurance sooner. Take care of business on the road, at home, or from the coffee house. Wherever you happen to be, our mobile app makes it easy to check in and manage your insurance sales.

White Glove Service, High Tech Capabilities

DBL Center blends the best of old-fashioned concierge service with the latest technology to enable our brokers to do more in less time and focus on increasing their commissions.

We may not be sure what direction the industry will take in the next two to four years, but The DBL Center will be by your side, providing the tools you need to thrive as an insurance broker.


Insurance Brokers: How Tech Savvy Is Your General Agency?

Insurance brokers should be able to rely on their wholesale general agency to lead the digital revolution within the insurance industry.

A recent article in The Digital Insurer pointed to chatbots—sophisticated artificial intelligence programs that can answer questions and provide customer service for companies in much the way human representatives can—as replacing insurance underwriters in the foreseeable future. We beg to differ.

The jury’s still out on chatbots and widespread acceptance of this technology, especially when it comes to B2BThe DBL Center's new mobile app for our insurance brokers. insurance sales. Insurance brokers work in a high-touch industry, where consultative selling is a key, and relationships build business. A consumer looking for the lowest price on car insurance may accept a chatbot to provide a quote. But a business is not going to trust a computer program—even a sophisticated one—to write a mandatory disability insurance policy for 100 employees in their company.

The high level of personalized, white glove service The DBL Center provides is one reason we have more than 4,000 insurance brokers across 15 states, who rely on us to supply mandatory disability insurance (TDB in NJ and DBL in NY), as well as ancillary benefits, group life AD&D, and a growing list of additional insurance and investment services, to their business customers.

But as much as we are, and will remain, a service-oriented business, we do consider ourselves pretty high tech, too, here at The DBL Center.

Get Easy Online Quotes

While much of the industry was still relying on cold calls for insurance sales and faxing documents to bind quotes, we began providing the ability to bind a quote for NY DBL coverage for fewer than 50 lives online with a few clicks. The automated system operates through our portal, permitting agencies to quickly and easily compare prices and coverage with top-rated insurance carriers in our industry. Agents can bind the quote with just a few clicks, without ever speaking to a representative.  Of course, we are available if you do have any questions, need guidance through the process, want to upgrade to an enriched DBL plan, or add ancillary benefits. But our entire system is designed to make the process quick and easy for the insurance brokers who do business with us.

Insurance Brokers Can Manage Accounts Easily Online

Our proprietary insurance broker’s portal, available to insurance agents who write their business through The DBL Center, gives our customers access to a host of information. Brokers can:

– Track their book of business
– Track commissions and export the data
– Issue their own Certificates of Insurance (DB-820) in real-time

These capabilities put our brokers in better control of their businesses, and frees up our staff to focus on areas where the human touch is needed to provide the next level of customer service.

Your Wholesale Agency Goes Mobile

The next phase of our development involves a mobile app that provides our brokers with expanded capabilities to manage their book of business from anywhere they might be. Brokers no longer have to wait to return to the office to issue DB-820s, get quotes, or write new business.

With the rise in telecommuting and flexible hours, brokers who write their business through DBL Center can now enjoy the freedom of working from virtually anywhere, achieving new levels of productivity and, in turn, serving their customers better.

High-Tech and Still High-Touch

While the app puts advanced capabilities at our brokers’ fingertips, it will also help The DBL Center team take our service to the next level. By automating several behind-the-scenes processes, we’ll be able to free up our staff to provide better, faster service when our brokers and their customers need the high-touch experience that is expected in this industry.

Best of all, our brokers don’t have to be exceptionally tech-savvy. That’s our job. We’ve worked with top developers to make the app as easy to navigate and as intuitive as possible.

As the world undergoes a digital transformation, the insurance industry can’t afford to be left behind. We provide the tools to help our insurance brokers make the transition in order to increase productivity and earn more.

Learn how you can expand your book of business with The DBL Center by your side.


Digital Networking Helps Insurance Brokers Build Strong B2B Relationships

Insurance brokers should claim their Google listing and build a LinkedIn profile to connect with business owners and win new clients.

by Brian Lindamood, Manta Content Director

Networking with other business owners used to be straightforward: You could join fraternal clubs, trade or social groups, get involved in community causes or local events, and build lasting relationships with others in your community. When a potential client needed to discuss their coverage needs, they already had your number.

While these connections are still important, they are no longer enough. Today, “networking” for insurance brokers just as often means digital networking, and it starts with a robust presence on search engines and social media platforms.

Don’t be intimidated. Many of these tactics are new — and sometimes it seems that they’re constantly changing — but it’s not hard to get started. By following these tips, you can build your digital network and learn how to connect with other business owners online.

Make Sure Clients Can Find You With Local SearchYoung couple dealing with their agent. Smiling man and woman taking documents of argeement. Side view of a woman sitting in front of them taking the papers. As background windows, shelves with boxes and folders, a bike. On desk tools, sticky notes and papers.

Imagine, 10 or 15 years ago, a business owner saying they didn’t have time to list their telephone number in the phone book. Crazy, right? They’d certainly have plenty of time on their hands when their phone stopped ringing. Yet that’s the attitude many now have about online listings.

A recent Manta poll found that 48% of small business owners are not interested in boosting their business’ visibility on Google, with nearly half saying they don’t have the time or money to devote to search engine listings.

If you don’t have a website, you might think you don’t need to worry about search engines. You just want phone calls. But the solution is the same: Many phone calls start with an internet search to find a number, either with a smartphone or desktop computer.

Simply put, search engines like Google are how clients find you—your website, your business address, or your phone number. If you don’t spend the small amount of time it takes to claim and update your online listings, you can expect your phone to stop ringing eventually.

Fortunately, it’s easy to fix. The most important first step is to search for and claim your Google My Business listing. If you don’t have a Google listing for your business, you can create a new one. Once you’ve claimed your listing, you should correct any errors, add important information like your business hours and a description of your business, and, if you have a storefront, add photos of your location.

Best of all, once updated your business listing info will be populated throughout Google’s many platforms: Google search, Google’s local listings, smartphone searches and Google Maps. It’s the best way to ensure that potential clients in your community can find you whenever they’re searching for a nearby insurance broker.

Connect With Business Owners On Social Media

The benefits of social media may be clear for consumer-oriented businesses. You expect to see restaurants and retailers on Facebook and Instagram. The opportunity for business-to-business service providers like insurance brokers may be less obvious, but social media can be an effective way to meet new clients.

Starting with LinkedIn will typically yield the most success. The professional-oriented network is a great place to promote your expertise and connect with other business owners.

When you create a LinkedIn profile, use relevant keywords like “disability insurance,” “ancillary benefits” and “group life insurance” to describe your skills and experience. This will help local decision-makers find you when they’re searching for the services you provide.

You can search for and connect with your current clients, friends and associates, or import contacts from your address book. Once connected, you’ll be able to see their connections—friends of friends and your clients’ associates. Ask them for an introduction! This is one of the easiest ways to get a referral directly from a current client to another business owner.

Finally, promote your expertise on LinkedIn by posting links to articles, commenting on industry trends, or writing your own posts with your advice and observations on insurance-related issues. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate your expertise, share advice with current connections and get the attention of new clients.

Digital marketing tactics like Google listings and LinkedIn profiles may be new, but the goal of marketing remains the same: Like the networking you’ve always done face-to-face in your community, digital networking allows you to connect with other business owners, demonstrate your expertise and get found by potential new clients.

Bio Brian Lindamood is director of content for Manta, one of the largest online resources dedicated to small business. Manta educates, coaches and empowers small business owners to succeed on their own terms by helping them compete, connect with customers, and grow their businesses. You can reach him on Twitter at @BrianLindamood.


New Jersey Raises TDB Insurance Premiums and Coverage

State of New Jersey announces big news about mandatory TDB insurance for business owners.

If you’re an insurance broker or a business owner in New Jersey or across the New York Tri-State area, this month brought some breaking news you should be aware of. And no, it’s not about the election…. In fact, it relates to mandatory TDB insurance, a product with potential to earn insurance brokers more money.Graphic of the State of New Jersey - TDB insurance

What You Should Know About NJ TDB Insurance

The State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has increased the cap for mandatory Temporary Disability Benefits (New Jersey TDB) and Paid Family Leave up to $633 per week, a modest increase of $29 per week. The Taxable Wage Cap increases to $33,500. And the employee contribution portion of the premium increases by 20 percent. These changes are slated to go into effect January 1, 2017.

The increase also affects New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut businesses with employees who reside in New Jersey—as well as businesses across the country that may hire telecommuters. These companies are required to pay NJ TDB insurance premiums for their employees based in New Jersey.

What This Means to Employers and their Employees

The TDB Insurance increase sounds like a good thing: It means a few extra dollars for workers who are out due to an illness or injury that is not work-related or for someone who has just given birth. But the benefit increase also brings a premium increase of 20 percent, to be covered by employees.

TDB is a shared-cost benefit, where the employee pays a portion of the premium and the employee covers the balance with pre-tax dollars. Benefit premiums often become a part of salary negotiations for highly valued employees. Lower premiums may also aid in recruiting top talent in highly competitive fields. With many businesses and their employees still reeling from health insurance premium increases as a result of the Affordable Care Act, employees may not be happy to hear about a NJ TDB premium increase—especially for a mandatory benefit they might never use.

What This Means for Insurance Brokers

Insurance brokers in New Jersey (and beyond) do have choices when it comes to who writes your customers’ TDB insurance policies. By helping your corporate customers buy TDB insurance in the private market, you can save them thousands of dollars per year—hundreds of dollars in savings per employee—depending on the size of the business.

How You Can Earn 10 Percent Commission Selling TDB

If you are already writing your customers’ P&C insurance policies, health insurance, ancillary benefits, or life insurance, you can shift their State Fund TDB coverage to a private carrier, earn a flat 10 percent commission, and provide your corporate customers substantial savings when they bundle insurance.

You’ve already established the relationship, so you don’t have to invest time and money prospecting for new customers. With a few simple phone calls, you can save your customers money and provide them enhanced value—and earn 10 percent commission.

Selling NJ TDB insurance requires a level of specialized knowledge—and that’s where The DBL Center comes in. Give us a call and supply one of our agents with the group’s Fed ID # and main address location, so we can determine where the account is currently placed.  Whether it’s with the State Fund or a private insurer, one of our agents will tell you exactly what to say to sell privatized TDB insurance and save your customers money on their premiums, while receiving the exact same benefits if they need it.

Business Owners Have Choices

The State Fund automatically writes TDB insurance coverage for all business owners. But most business owners, CEOs, CFOs, and HR directors don’t realize they have a choice and can purchase their TDB insurance privately to enjoy lower premiums and a higher level of customer service with a broker they already know and trust.

It’s up to you, the broker—with the constant support of The DBL Center’s expert staff—to share this information and show your customers the savings.

Sell NJ TDB Insurance, Earn Commission: It’s that Easy

Adding private TDB insurance coverage to your offerings is easy with The DBL Center by your side. We even have a website set up to assist. Visit www.eztdb.com for more information on how you can expand your book of business with TDB insurance. Simply print and fill out this form to start providing your customers with lower premiums on TDB insurance and the level of white glove service they deserve.


Booking Entertainment for your Holiday Parties

Are you planning a holiday party for your hard-working employees? Whether you’re the head of HR or the owner of the business, there’s a lot of pressure this time of year to create a holiday celebration your employees will love. A holiday party is a great way, after all, to thank your employees for all their work throughout the year, as well as to showcase the strength of your organization. After all, if you can afford a high-end venue and top-level entertainment, the implication is the company is doing well and your top talent can feel secure in their positions.The right venue and right entertainment make your holiday party one to remember.

Even if you aren’t in a position to break the bank with your holiday festivities, you can still make it look as if you invested in the best. Trust us – here at The DBL Center, our employees and their spouses talk about our parties for months after the event. We aren’t extravagant and we certainly don’t waste money. But we maintain the same white-glove ambiance we’re known for providing our customers, and we throw a party to remember.

But wait – we know what you’re saying. It’s only October! To give your team the opportunity to book the best—from the venue to the entertainment—it’s not too early to start the party planning process now.

Choose the Right Venue

Select a venue that reflects your company culture, whether that’s a microbrewery or an elegant banquet hall. Where will your employees be most comfortable? Make sure to book a room that’s large enough to hold your whole party… Consider last year’s attendance to see what percentage of employees will show up.

Select an Appealing Menu

Just like the venue, the food should reflect your employees’ tastes. Is a Vegan, raw-food craze going around your office? Does lunch lean toward ethnic cuisine? Unless you run a small office where you may be able to find a consensus for some unusual choices, it might be best to pick a varied menu with something for everyone, from vegetarian options to prime rib.

Book Entertainment That Will Wow the Crowd

All that’s left is the entertainment. A DJ or band is always the old stand-by when it comes to holiday office parties. But a successful night then rests on having a group of people who want to dance.

Why not consider a comedy act, instead? Your guests will be riveted—and will brag to their friends about how their office party had the best comedy show. Laughter can even help individuals bond, so you may find your employees growing closer through the night. Those bonds of friendship will last into Monday morning and into next year.

A Way to Thank Loyal Customers with a Memorable Gift

Through our partnership with Steiner Sports, The DBL Center now offers celebrities bookings—including sports stars and top comedians. We can set it up for you with just a phone call. It’s one way to make sure your holiday party stands out.

If you are an insurance broker with a client you want to thank in a big way, you can offer to book a comedy guest for their office party. It’s a gift that will build loyalty and friendship. Your customer—and their employees—will remember it all year long.

Here at The DBL Center, disability insurance is just the beginning. Our goal is providing white-glove service to our brokers and their customers in every way we can.


NFL Star Punter Steve Weatherford Addresses Insurance Brokers

The DBL Center’s partnership with Steiner Sports opens new possibilities for insurance brokers.

In the months since our new website launch, we’ve used these blog pages largely to share tips and trends with insurance brokers, HR directors, and company owners. But we have some developments going on here at The DBL Center Ltd. that are just too exciting not to share.

Newly retired New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford took time out of his busy schedule to share with you the many benefits of doing business with The DBL Center for your mandatory disability coverage and other employee benefits packages.

We’re understandably excited about this video. Here in the New York Tri-state area, Weatherford is a well-known sports hero, having punted for both the Jets and the Giants. A self-proclaimed husband, father, brother, philanthropist, and NFL punter (in that order), Weatherford is known for his kind heart, as well as his devotion to both weight lifting and his family (not necessarily in that order).

A New York hero willing to assist local businesses and help friends, we’re honored that he chose to lend his name and face to this DBL Center video and share with you the many benefits of doing business with us.

DBL Center and Steiner Partnership Puts Sports and Comedy in the Spotlight

In this video, Weatherford also helps us put an exclamation point on a very important announcement. The DBL Center has partnered with the number one sports memorabilia and collectible company in America, Steiner Sports, to bring DBL Center customers exclusive sports and comedy star appearances, signings, and more. Steiner Sports specializes in helping companies use the power of sports to grow their business —and The DBL Center now brings that power to our insurance brokers and their customers.

Insurance brokers in the New York Tri-State area and beyond can attract new business through entertainment-centric networking events, thank large or loyal accounts, and plan company parties or fundraisers to remember, all through this value-added service offered by The DBL Center. Just contact Michael Cohen to coordinate a celebrity appearance through Steiner Sports.

Plan for the Future with DBL Center

Professional athletes have a unique responsibility to ensure they are planning, financially, for the future after their career or in the event of an injury. In Weatherford’s case, this includes not only maintaining a certain quality of life for himself and his family, but continuing with his philanthropic endeavors after retirement.

But whether you are making seven figures in one season or a more modest salary, enhanced DBL coverage and other ancillary benefits—including Group Life / AD&D, continuing care insurance and a 401K retirement program—can help give you (and your customers or employees) peace of mind for the future.

From your next corporate event to your retirement, (and anything in between) find out how you can plan for a more successful future with The DBL Center today. Disability insurance is just the beginning….