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.
by Dawn Allcot
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
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.
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 B2B 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.
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 Search
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.