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 write 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?”
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.”
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.”
by Dawn Allcot
History (nearly) repeats itself with the introduction of Paid Family Leave
October 29, 2012: It was a sad day for many New Yorkers as properties were swept away in Superstorm Sandy, businesses went under, and more than 8.1 million homes across the U.S. were left without electricity for a week or more.
Superstorm Sandy caused losses totaling $19 billion dollars, resulting in delayed payouts and financial hardship to the insurance agencies that paid out more than they’d earned in premiums. Many P&C brokers struggled to survive.
Meanwhile, Zurich Insurance Company, a leading global business insurance carrier, had just left the New York State DBL market a week prior due to a number of factors. Turmoil and uncertainty plagued the industry, as New York tri-state area business owners struggled to pick up the pieces and adopt a “new normal” after Sandy.
Here we are almost exactly five years later, and the entire U.S. is banding together to assist those suffering from the aftereffects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida.
In New York, as we write this, the wind whips outside the windows of our Long Island headquarters, and the nearby Costco parking lot is packed as Long Islanders brace for a tropical storm —which could be the first of many this ominous hurricane season.
In the disability insurance sector, changes are once again brewing that have nothing to do with Mother Nature’s wrath. Paid Family Leave, a necessary insurance coverage that will provide employees with a living wage as they take time off to bond with a newborn or newly adopted child, care for an elderly parent, or hold down the fort while their spouse serves in the military, may burden some disability insurance carriers past their breaking point.
We don’t want to be alarmist. We only want to report the news with our analysis as we see it.
The Problems with PFL that No One Else Is Talking About
There are only a few select carriers that have committed to write PFL, which is offered as a mandatory rider to DBL coverage in New York State beginning January 1, 2018. Fortunately, those carriers are doing an excellent job of educating small business owners and HR directors about the implications of the coverage, as well as giving brokers what they need to know about the policies. DBL Center brokers have the added advantage of our industry experience and knowledge, along with access to educational webinars and live informational sessions. We’ve worked hard to make the transition to mandatory PFL coverage easy for brokers and small business owners alike.
But some challenges remain. Because PFL coverage is mandatory and written with DBL coverage, brokers will be left with fewer choices for DBL. Some carriers have already left the market, just as Zurich did five years ago. We expect many more to exit in the beginning of 2019, after the numbers come in for the first year of PFL coverage.
PFL, as it stands, is not profitable for insurance carriers. Payouts could easily total more than premiums, leaving carriers in the same position P&C brokers faced immediately following Superstorm Sandy. Some carriers will write PFL riders—because the only other choice is to leave the game altogether. But they may not offer commissions on the riders. Some carriers are recommending that brokers write enriched DBL on their existing policies to earn the commissions they expected from PFL.
Enriched DBL: The Answer to Bigger Commissions
There are a number of reasons to enrich DBL coverage right now. Not only is enriched DBL one of the more profitable products for brokers to write, it also provides customers with the best coverage for their money.
As an example, small business owners can enrich DBL coverage in $50 increments for just 44 cents every $50, up to $850 total. For an investment of just $5 a year, employees can get $50 more per week for up to 26 weeks. It doesn’t make sense not to enrich DBL. Paid Family Leave was carefully designed to provide employees with a living wage while they are out on leave. Mandatory DBL coverage only pays a maximum of $170 per week. Who can live on that in New York?
Most states that offer Paid Family Leave offer comparable benefits for disability claims. This helps reduce fraudulent claims and helps maintain employee morale by leveling the playing field and offering all employees comparable benefits if they need them.
DBL Center Brokers: Weathering the Storm
With Harvey and Irma on our minds, New Yorkers last week prepared for a storm that never came. Just like Mother Nature, the insurance industry is fickle. And, in both cases, it’s important to be prepared.
Carriers can exit at any time, for any reason, just as Zurich did in 2012. Who will be next? Brokers who align with DBL Center preferred carriers who are writing PFL riders are protecting themselves against changes in the marketplace.
Educate your customers about PFL riders before someone else does. Be their authoritative source and guide them to the right decisions, including enriching DBL so it is in line with PFL benefits.
Fortunately for brokers working with The DBL Center as their insurance wholesaler, we make it easy to write enriched DBL policies and earn greater commissions. Stay tuned, because next week we talk with our Director of DBL and TDB Benefits, Selena Kutschera, to show you just how simple it is to increase commissions with enriched DBL in three easy steps.
Meanwhile, stay safe and dry. The best protection against any storm is the right preparation. Our thoughts are with those across the country affected by this season’s hurricanes and storms.
Autumn is approaching and, here at The DBL Center, it’s one of our favorite times of the year. Autumn on Long Island is absolutely beautiful, with so much to do. Baseball season comes to a climactic ending with the pennant race heating up and the promise of post-season play. (We don’t want to talk about the Mets, but will the Yankees make it?) Football season begins. Weekends at the wineries on the East End are a perfect way to relax with family and friends. Fall festivals bring fun for all ages.
Autumn is also the time of harvest – when hard work comes to fruition to create a bounty. This is definitely what’s happening at The DBL Center this year. Our efforts of the first three quarters combined with legislation changes have resulted in tremendous growth for our business and expanded commission opportunities for our brokers across the country —especially here in New York and New Jersey.
PFL Is Here
If you’ve been reading our blog and newsletter, you’ve no doubt heard about the changes to Paid Family Leave. NOW, this autumn, is the time, if you haven’t already started, to educate your customers about this mandatory insurance. PFL coverage is written as a rider to existing DBL policies in New York, and employers are permitted to begin withholding to pay the premiums. If you haven’t begun discussing coverage options—and suggesting enriched DBL as an additional policy upgrade—now is the time.
As part of our expanded marketing and outreach efforts, the DBL Center launched a webinar series this autumn to explain this new coverage to our brokers. We have a resource center in the works, and also recently launched a video Q&A with DBL Center President Michael Cohen discussing some surprising facts about PFL that even the most savvy brokers may not know.
The webinar, video and resource center for PFL are just the beginning. We also have plans to launch a PR and marketing campaign designed to educate New York business owners about PFL, which will help our brokers sell the coverage by creating a more knowledgeable audience.
New Hires Help DBL Center Continue to Provide Personalized Service
Our growth initiatives also extend over the bridge into New Jersey. The DBL Center recently hired two new employees to help accommodate our rapid expansion and better serve our brokers. Lori Rose joins The DBL Center to serve our New Jersey brokers as Assistant Vice President of Ancillary Lines. Lori has been in the insurance industry specializing in employee benefits for over 25 years, with expertise in Group Life, Disability, Dental and Vision. We are excited that she is bringing her expertise and passion for insurance sales and service to DBL Center brokers.
In addition, Melissa Bilka has joined The DBL Center team as Benefits Coordinator. A newcomer to the insurance industry, with a degree in Mathematics Education from Long Island University, Melissa will assist our expanding Group Ancillary Department in providing the level of white-glove service our brokers and their clients have come to expect.
DBL Center App Goes Online
The DBL Center has always been on the cutting edge of technology, and as we enter the fourth quarter of 2017, this remains true. In addition to an upgraded database that will streamline operations in-house, we’ve launched our new app that helps our brokers manage their accounts from anywhere they might be working—in the office, at home, or on the road.
Look for Even More from Your Insurance Wholesaler
As we move into what promises to be our most exciting fourth quarter in our 40-year history, we have even more in store to help our brokers with a consultative approach to insurance sales. Stay tuned to our blog and sign up for our newsletter to stay on the forefront of industry developments and learn how to expand your book of business with minimal effort.
And about those Yankees? Through our partnership with Steiner Sports, we can help you set up celebrity appearances or even reward your best customers with once-in-a-lifetime sports experiences this autumn. From PFL to home plate, we’ve got you covered.
Bold statement from DBL Center President Michael Cohen leads into how brokers can grow their book of business with PFL
P&C and health brokers know that enriched DBL in New York can be a tough sell.
As a mandatory benefit, DBL is a no-brainer, but let’s face it: The commissions aren’t making anyone rich. That’s why we promote enriched DBL, as well as ancillary benefits, including vision, dental, and even life insurance as a way for brokers to expand their book of business and make more money.
But with the introduction of the Paid Family Leave Act, DBL is finally relevant again. That is to say, it’s not only making headlines everywhere in New York, it’s also become profitable. “Health brokers, life brokers, P&C brokers, even estate planners and CPAs are using PFL as a tool to broaden their book of business. And, of course, here at The DBL Center, we love it,” says Michael Cohen, DBL Center President.
Questions about PFL?
If you’re reading this, you probably know that PFL coverage, which goes into effect in New York on January 1, 2018, will be written as a rider to existing DBL policies. And that employers were allowed to begin deducting premiums as of July 1, 2017. “A lot of brokers and employers face some confusion or hesitation about the payroll deductions,” says Michael Cohen. “I’m telling people not to get hung up on the deduction, but instead think about how you are marketing PFL to grow your book. As brokers, at the end of the day, it’s all about taking advantage of these opportunities to increase profits.”
The DBL Center is taking a multi-faceted, multi-tiered strategic plan to marketing PFL which, in turn, helps their brokers. “We’re relying on our relationships with top carriers, and differentiating ourselves with educational content, including webinars and thought leadership articles. We are building an even stronger social media presence on LinkedIn, and we are leveraging the relationships I have in the entertainment industry to organize seminars and talks with celebrity tie-ins,” says Michael Cohen. “In essence, we are working hard to make the industry fun again while sharing information and promoting a very profitable – and important – product.”
Still have more questions about PFL and how to use it to grow your book of business?
DBL Center President Michael Cohen recently recorded a video with ShelterPoint that tackles many of the toughest questions about PFL coverage in New York.
Make sure to watch to the end, because you won’t believe what Michael Cohen says about how PFL will change the DBL industry —for the better. Watch the video here, and use the information to drive PFL marketing campaigns within your own brokerage.
Earlier this year, The DBL Center announced the upcoming launch of a mobile app and dedicated website that provides our brokers access to a DBL Center app dashboard to manage all your accounts easily online, from anywhere with Internet access.
By the beginning of Fall 2017, DBL Center brokers can look forward to seeing the app rolled out and fully functional. “We’re on the time frame we expected for the successful launch of this app by the end of the third quarter, beginning of the fourth,” says DBL Center President Michael Cohen. “I couldn’t be prouder of our team for meeting our very ambitious interim deadlines. As we round the turn to completion, I’m excited to see the app change the way our brokers conduct their daily business in faster, more convenient ways.”
Cohen wants to clarify the functionality of the DBL Center app and desktop site, based on feedback he’s heard from those who have viewed the beta version. “This is not a portal,” he says. “This 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.”
Of course, The DBL Center employees are still available to answer questions and provide the same level of white-glove service we always have. But the app gives brokers a more convenient way to conduct business, whether they are at home, in their office, or on the road.
When you log in to the DBL Center app or desktop site, you will see your personalized insurance dashboard. Depending on the choices you select, you’ll be taken to the carrier’s site to get a quote or bind a policy.
For brokers who work with multiple carriers, the app makes it easy to access all their accounts from one central location. “It’s similar to the way someone would use their Universal Remote to control their TV, Blu-ray, and Netflix, all from one device,” says Cohen, relying on an equally high-tech analogy to pinpoint the convenience and ease-of-use the app will provide to brokers.
Additionally, brokers can view other choices from the dashboard—options they may not have previously considered for their clients. “Property and casualty brokers who normally write disability will now have the opportunity to view ancillary benefits or Paid Family Leave policies directly from the app’s central dashboard. It’s all integrated, which makes it easier to manage existing policies and look at ways to expand your book of business.”
In addition, brokers can consider different carriers and see the vast range of choices in A+ rated carriers The DBL Center offers its customers.
When DBL Center brokers sign online to bind a policy with fewer than 50 lives, they will be prompted to establish a login and password for the DBL Center Dashboard and mobile app. “We want to make sure every one of our brokers has the opportunity to hear about our new dashboard and mobile app and to sign up as soon as they are ready,” says Cohen.
The DBL Center will also host live webinars and provide instructional material to guide brokers’ through the use of the app, which is already incredibly intuitive and designed to address the brokers’ needs with an easy-to-navigate interface.
Finally, The DBL Center app will allow brokers to sign up for direct deposit, to have commission deposited electronically into their bank accounts, eliminating the hassle and stress of waiting for paper checks. While direct deposit has been common in many industries for years, few brokers have had the chance to appreciate the convenience and peace-of-mind they will enjoy receiving commissions through direct pay methods.
“We are taking what my father, David Cohen, created 40 years ago and we are using the latest technology to bring The DBL Center into the future, ahead of our competitors, and on the cutting edge for insurance sales,” says Cohen. “We can’t wait to hear the feedback from our brokers when they log in for the first time and discover how their back office processes are streamlined thanks to the app.”
The DBL Center… More than Just Disability Coverage…
Discover the benefits of our white-glove service …
Even in this age of internet marketing, insurance is still a high-touch business, where brokers look for opportunities to connect with their clients face to face. Although we highly recommend a strong Web presence and inbound marketing (an initiative The DBL Center has been pushing for more than a year now, since the revamp of our website), we also know the importance of personal networking. It’s one reason we recently joined The Business Council of New York and continue to look for unique and exciting ways to provide education and outreach to our clients, as well as new ways our clients can reach out to their customers.
Planning a Summer Networking Event?
For years, many insurance brokers have hosted events—from black tie affairs to golf outings—to welcome new clients and thank loyal customers. The summer is a great time to plan get-togethers. And now that the rainy spring is behind us here in the Tri-State area, everyone is eager to get outside.
In the summer, the entire insurance industry and most of corporate clients are a little more laidback. Offices may encourage more casual attire. It’s acceptable, even expected, to spend a day on the golf course or a night at a baseball game with business colleagues.
More than Year-Round, White Glove Service
The DBL Center is not only here year-round to provide your customers with the white glove, white-label concierge service they deserve. In the past, we’ve provided luxury suites at Yankee Stadium, lined up comedic entertainment for a corporate dinner after a golf outing, and organized celebrity meet-and-greets. We can help you take your corporate events to the next level through our partnerships with Steiner Sports and the Friar’s Club of New York.
We are excited to be able to leverage these relationships and line up events as incentives and rewards for our top performing brokers and their clients. We can also help our brokers organize events to draw in new customers, recognize their best clients, or network with leads they’ve met throughout the year.
Reconnect with Your Customers this Summer
There’s no better time to organize an event than right now. With the introduction of Paid Family Leave in New York, the announcement of the rates, and the opportunity for businesses to start withholding for PFL coverage on July 1, many insurance customers have questions. Why not meet with your existing customers and top prospects in a fun and laidback setting, bond over laughs provided by a top name comedian, and share their options for PFL coverage?
If you’ve opted not to sell PFL, it’s crucial, right now, to connect with your customers and show them all you offer as their DBL and ancillary benefits broker, remind them of the high-level of service you have always provided, and reinforce that business relationship.
Whether it’s sports celebrity signings, entertainment after your golf outing, or baseball tickets to the Mets or Yankees, The DBL Center can provide experiences you won’t find from anyone else in the insurance industry. We look forward to helping you bring a little fun into your summer, even as you work to increase sales and expand your book of business.
Let us know how we can provide you with the service you deserve.
by Michael Cohen
Take advantage of numerous member benefits, from networking opps to discounts on important services through New York Business Council
If you’ve been in the insurance brokerage business for any length of time, you understand how important networking is. Whether you use inbound marketing and SEO to sell insurance products online or rely on real-world networking events and connections to expand your book-of-business, if you want to grow, you must sign new clients.
The DBL Center Ltd. has partnered with the Business Council of New York State to help our brokers connect with hundreds of small and large business owners across New York State. The New York Business Council offers a host of benefits to its members, including:
• A free landing page on the “Made in New York” website to let members know about their services
• Personal introductions, upon request, to any other NYBC member
• Unlimited access to New York Business Council Human Resources/Labor Government Affairs Director, Frank Kerbein
• Free webinars for members, focusing on topics such as HR issues, Paid Family Leave, and Cyber Security
• Live networking events focusing on business taxes, the environment, and other issues relevant to New York business owners
Why Join the New York Business Council
When The DBL Center Ltd. first joined The Business Council, we investigated its benefits closely to determine if the membership fees were worthwhile for our industry, our location, and the size of our business. We discovered many opportunities for an insurance wholesaler and, of course, insurance broker firms, within our state.
It’s no secret, in the past year, we’ve expanded our Web presence and Internet marketing to better educate and serve insurance brokers across the country. But, at the same time, we continue seeking ways to better serve our brokers in New York and across the Tri-state area. The New York Business Council provides the means to do so, with increased networking connections, access to businesses who need our clients’ services for NYS DBL and Paid Family Leave benefits, and discounts on a number of required purchases for New York businesses. “Our members join us for a variety of reasons, but the primary ones are: advocacy, networking, brand visibility and recognition, new business development, and discounts,” says Peter A. Bucci, Director, Membership, for The Business Council of New York State.
He continues, “A number of our members partner with us to help promote their product or service. We have nearly twenty Affinity Partners that provide our members with discounts on everything from car rentals, hotels, payroll services, office supplies, energy, sports memorabilia, shipping, and much more.”
The New York Business Council and The DBL Center Work Together to Increase Opportunities Downstate
Until recently, The Business Council of New York State has operated primarily upstate, with its annual meeting at the Sagamore Resort in Lake George and numerous networking events across the regions of central and western New York.
The DBL Center Ltd. seeks to expand NYBC membership on Long Island and in the New York City boroughs. We recently hosted two informational seminars on Paid Family Leave, followed by networking happy hours, on Long Island and in midtown Manhattan in partnership with The Business Council and our largest insurance carriers.
The more brokers join The Business Council, the more events we can host in the Tri-State area, enabling even more businesses to take advantage of the low rates, wide range of ancillary benefits, and exemplary service provided by brokers who use The DBL Center Ltd. as their back-office for DBL and other benefits.
Join a 100+ Year Legacy as a Member of The Business Council of New York State
The Business Council is a 103-year-old membership association whose nearly 2,500 members include Fortune 500 companies, colleges and universities, manufacturers, professional firms, small businesses, and not-for-profit organizations. Isn’t it time you joined to take advantage of the benefits and networking opportunities?
As a Business Council member, The DBL Center Ltd. is happy to answer any questions you may have about membership or assist with your application. Membership fees are based on the size of your business and are tax deductible, so even smaller New York businesses may find membership worthwhile.
Contact us today to find out more about partnering with the New York Business Council, taking advantage of fun networking opportunities across the state, and expanding your book of business with New York-based companies who require mandatory DBL, enriched DBL, and new Paid Family Leave insurance.
One of The DBL Center’s preferred carrier partners, AmTrust, offers the information you need to help your clients get ready for PFL and ensure compliance.
“At the early stage of any new insurance regulation, education is key.” This is how Joy Maas, Director of Marketing, Sales, and Accountant Management for AmTrust Financial Services, a top provider of New York and NJ state disability benefits, began our recent conversation about the Paid Family Leave regulations going into effect January 1, 2018.
For employers, education means learning how to ensure compliance with the new regulations, understanding what the PFL benefit covers, and knowing where to turn with questions they might have.
For our insurance brokers, it means partnering with carriers, through The DBL Center, who are prepared to offer PFL as a rider to existing DBL policies. More importantly, it means taking advantage of the tools and resources available so that you can continue to educate your clients on what they need to know.
“One of the best ways brokers can get more attention and write more business, right now, is to be the expert on the topic of PFL,” Maas continues. “Be the educator.”
Resources for Brokers
Since the day the news broke about PFL, The DBL Center has kept our brokers updated with information via our blog, newsletters, and a seminar series hosted and sponsored by The DBL Center and featuring our top carriers.
Brokers who show their customers they are well-versed in PFL will be in a position to earn additional business by writing PFL riders to existing DBL policies, and brokers who write their business with The DBL Center have a choice of top carriers and a host of resources at their fingertips.
PFL Compliance is Key
Of all the details available about PFL, compliance is, perhaps, the most critical. Brokers can use consultative selling techniques to build trust and explain how employers can purchase PFL coverage to avoid hefty fines and liabilities.
Employers should know, PFL compliance requires that they:
Penalties for Non-Compliance
Additionally, employers should know that the Workers’ Comp Board is allowed to assess non-compliance penalties up to ½ of 1 percent of the employers’ weekly payroll for the period of non-compliance, as well as mandating that the employer pay any PFL claims. An additional penalty of up to $500 may also be assessed.
Non-compliance is pricey, while PFL compliance is simple. And although we don’t know the premium rates at this time, we should know soon. When the rate is announced, you’ll be sure to read about it here on The DBL Center blog and in our newsletter.
Let the Education Continue
Maas asserts that the brokers who are willing to educate their clients on PFL are the ones who will win the business—and possibly even sell enriched DBL policies at the same time. “Let your clients know what PFL means, how it looks, and what they can do to prepare,” she tells brokers.
Maas and her colleague, David Clark, will co-present a seminar sponsored by The DBL Center Ltd. and hosted by DBL Center Partner Michael Cohen on June 7, 2017, from 2 to 4 PM at The DBL Center headquarters in Melville, NY. For details please send an email to email@example.com. Space is limited.
At this fun and informative event, both AmTrust and DBL Center representatives will answer our brokers’ questions about PFL and share all the details you need to sell this new mandatory benefit knowledgeably.
Being a P&C or Life & Health insurance broker in the Tri-State area isn’t easy. Constant regulatory changes in healthcare, taxation related to estate planning, and, most recently, new Paid Family Leave (PFL) laws, make it harder than ever for even the best brokers to keep up. A consultative selling approach is crucial to grow your book of business and, for that to occur, brokers must stay educated about regulatory changes. This leaves less time for sales, putting brokers in a tough spot.
If you’re a veteran to this industry, you know things aren’t what they used to be. In the 1980s and 1990s, insurance companies offered exciting bonuses beyond the usual financial rewards, which made all the hard work and hustle worth it. From luxury trips to sporting events, black-tie dinners, and more, these bonuses made the industry fun, and helped create a tight-knit community of carriers and brokers with a true passion for the insurance industry and everything it offered.
It’s virtually impossible, today, for an individual broker working on their own to achieve the kind of sales figures that warrant these rewards. Due to diminishing margins, carriers have made bonus qualifications more difficult, while brokers find it harder to write new business. Most of the incentives that carriers offer today go to their own employees, not their broker clients.
But here at The DBL Center, we remember how it was, and we want to bring the spark of excitement that once helped the insurance industry thrive. Most importantly, we want to reward the brokerage community that works so hard to sell important insurance products.
The DBL Center, as an insurance wholesaler, can leverage group buying power, as well as our relationships in the entertainment industry and specifically with Steiner Sports and the Friar’s Club, to bring back the bonuses and perks industry veterans remember and younger brokers will love.
With high commission rates, white-glove service, and unique incentive packages from Steiner Sports that you won’t find with any other insurance wholesaler, The DBL Center goes above and beyond to help our brokers succeed —and reward them when they do.
We offer industry-high commission rates based on sales. Our brokers don’t have to struggle to meet new business production goals and we have no high-level persistency requirements.
We also provide a host of tools, including a 24/7 mobile broker application scheduled to be released in September and a frequently updated blog and newsletter, to help brokers stay on top of the latest news and developments. We also provide free educational seminars for our brokers, held at top New York Tri-State area venues like the Friar’s Club in midtown Manhattan and conveniently located Long Island hotels and wineries.
We also provide one-of-a-kind incentives that top-performing brokers won’t find anywhere else, thanks to our partnerships with The Friar’s Club and Steiner Sports Collectibles.
We offer our incentives based on premiums alone. We don’t require new business quotas to be filled each year which means, we don’t expect a minimum number of lines to be written, nor minimum production percentages to be met.
Simply meet the DBL Center’s tiers for premiums, and gain access to a choice of star-studded galas, up-close sports experiences and more.
Dinner with Harvey Keitel or Regis Philbin? We can do that. A uniquely New York comedy night with writers from the Jimmy Fallon and Howard Stern Shows? You’ve got it. A black-tie affair honoring Martin Scorsese? These are all events DBL Center brokers have enjoyed—on us—as a reward for meeting minimum premium tiers. If you prefer to gift one of your best customers with one of these experiences of a lifetime, we can arrange that, too.
In the past, we’ve provided all-inclusive luxury suites at Yankee Stadium, Steiner Sports celebrity meet-and-greets, seats in the Coaches Club at MetLife Stadium for a Giants game, or field-level seats and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to take batting practice with the New York Yankees.
We don’t make our incentive packages complicated with a minimum line count or complicated retention factors. Meet one of our three premium tiers and become a DBL Center VIP, earning an experience of your choice commensurate with your success.
We have a number of other plans in the works to reward our top DBL performers, too. We can offer an intimate DBL Center luxury sporting event for our brokers and their clients through Steiner Sports or tickets to a Friar’s Club roast, which only takes place twice a year.
For years, The DBL Center has been providing white-glove, concierge-like service to our brokers and their customers, serving as a back-office staff for our brokers, freeing them to write more business instead of spending time servicing existing accounts.
Our incentive packages take our philosophy of concierge service one step further. Our life-long relationships with some of the most famous names in sports and entertainment allow us to help top brokers enjoy the experience of a lifetime or even fulfill a celebrity or sports related dream.
To us, concierge service means taking those extra steps to ensure our brokers and their customers always feel like VIPs.
Call The DBL Center today to find out how we can help you reach one of our VIP tiers even faster.
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.
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.