How Ancillary Benefits Can Reduce Stress to Improve Employee Productivity

Financial stress affects every aspect of an employees’ life, including their work performance. When employees feel as if they aren’t prepared if illness or injury strikes, their health, and workplace productivity suffers. Employees spend an average of 13 hours per month worrying about money while they’re at work, according to a study by Mercer.

In a recent survey, finance website Bankrate discovered that 60% of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover a $1,000 surprise expense. But even middle managers and top talent in the New York Tri-state are not immune to the fear of bankruptcy or a personal financial crisis should an illness or injury occur.

Insurance brokers are uniquely equipped to solve this pain point for business owners, HR departments, and employees. At the same time, successfully conveying the advantages of a robust benefits package to your customers can help you expand your book of business and increase commissions with existing customers.

A robust ancillary benefits package can help eliminate financial stress for employees, which, in turn, can improve their productivity, reduce sick days, and enhance their creativity and problem-solving abilities.

Ultimately, the right benefits can help create better employees.

The Link Between Employee Health and a Good Benefits Package

Finances, health, and work performance are intrinsically linked. Enriched DBL, along with ancillary benefits, can give New York workers peace-of-mind, knowing they have a safety net in place if they become ill, injured, or even need expensive emergency dental care.

New York State did the right thing for families with a PFL policy that is, currently, the best in the nation. Now it’s in the best interests of business owners to enhance their other benefits packages to make sure all employees have access to the resources they need to help them stay productive as well.

The Right Benefits Package Retains Top Performers

A robust ancillary benefits package, including vision, and dental benefits, can help recruit and retain employees while reducing overall living costs for employees to reduce their financial stress. It can also reduce an employer’s bottom line as an investment in ancillary benefits as part of a package that includes enriched DBL often costs less than employees’ raises.

In fact, many ancillary benefits are voluntary and employee-funded and employers can choose to have employees cover part or all of the premium. Employees have the option to dramatically reduce their out-of-pocket costs on necessary expenses using pre-tax dollars, and employers pay nothing.

For brokers, this makes ancillary benefits an easy sell. And, with DBL Center as your back office staff, benefits administration is easy, too.

What benefits should your customers include in their ancillary benefits packages?

Dental and vision are a good start, offering tremendous bang for the buck for most employees.

The Case for Dental and Vision Coverage

As you create an ancillary benefits package for your customers, consider these statistics about eye care in the U.S.:

    Approximately 75% of all adults in the U.S. wear glasses or contact lenses to correct vision problems, according to the Vision Council of America
    Eye exams cost an average of $114
    Prescription eyeglasses cost an average of $196
    Contact lenses cost wearers an average of $220 to $260 annually

If more than one person in the family needs vision correction and the costs add up. Yet only 35% of employers offer vision coverage. It’s easy to see how your customers can stand out by offering voluntary vision benefits.

Similarly, the average family of four could spend $2,162 on dental care per year without insurance. Nearly 60% of Americans don’t visit the dentist often enough due to the cost, according to some sources.

However, 77% of Americans do have dental coverage, with 90% of those plans offered by employers. It’s important to offer dental coverage to keep pace with your competitors and retain talent.

Insurance Brokers Can Help Create Happy, Healthy, Engaged Employees

Especially as healthcare costs continue to rise, ancillary benefits can play an important role in reducing out-of-pocket costs for employees and employers, alike. And reducing employees’ financial stress can help businesses perform better, with more active and engaged workers.

Brokers should speak to HR directors about developing a robust benefits package that can help keep employees happy, healthy, and engaged.

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Are You Selling DBL Coverage and Ancillary Benefits to Your Customers Who Need It?

Coastal Insurance offers tips to expand your book of business with strategic cross-selling of home insurance, DBL coverage, and ancillary products

By David Clausen, Coastal Insurance

If you’re like most P&C brokers, NYS DBL and NJ TDB insurance aren’t your only niches. Most brokers sell a variety of lines, whether it’s healthcare, business insurance, or personal lines of coverage like home insurance.

But you may not be thinking of ways to cross-sell your lines to expand your book of business and increase your commissions without cold calls or prospecting for new clients.

When you get in the habit of consultative selling, which includes getting to know your customers, their businesses, and additional insurance needs they may have, you’ll discover avenues to increased profits.

Mandatory coverage like workers’ compensation and NYS DBL coverage, along with enriched DBL, provide excellent upsell opportunities. Many business owners don’t realize they need this coverage even if they only have a few employees. Even if they know about statutory DBL coverage, they may not recognize the opportunities available with enriched DBL and ancillary benefits.

As their trusted insurance broker, you can help make sure they are protected from nearly any contingency. Chances are, you are already taking some of these steps. But are you closing the deal?

These tips, garnered from years of experience selling home insurance and other personal and business lines to Long Island-based customers, can help you expand your book of business.

1. Look for opportunities to upsell complementary insurance lines by getting to know your customers.

In Coastal’s niche market of home insurance for high-net-worth homeowners, many of our best clients also own their own businesses. This means they need workers’ compensation insurance and statutory disability coverage in New York State.

Ask your customers, “Who is currently writing your statutory DBL coverage?” to uncover opportunities.

With the introduction of Paid Family Leave as a rider to DBL, they might be looking to shop their policy around, since some carriers have stopped providing DBL.

2. Don’t forget about your customers who hire domestic employees.

Most Coastal customers who aren’t business owners are c-level executives, celebrities, and other high-net-worth individuals who may hire domestic employees to help run their households. A lot of people don’t know that workers’ compensation and NYS DBL coverage is mandatory in New York for full-time domestic employees or for domestic employees who live in your home, even if they don’t work a full 40-hour week.

This includes nannies, au pairs, housekeepers, gardeners, chefs, drivers, personal assistants, and anyone else who works for an individual. Even if people may treat their nannies or housekeepers like family, the State of New York classifies them as domestic workers or residence employees – and they need to be insured as such.

There can be hefty fines for failing to provide the proper insurance coverage for domestic workers, not to mention the liability if an employee gets hurts on the job. Brokers are doing a service to their customers by letting them know what employee coverage is required.

As with any job, providing ancillary benefits to domestic workers can also help improve retention rates and reduce sick time.

3. Discuss the potential for ancillary benefits.

Whether your customers are business owners seeking to hire the best employees, or individuals with a team of domestic help, they may not have considered ancillary benefits as a low-cost way to recruit and retain employees.

Benefits like Group Life, vision, and dental coverage are still highly sought after by workers. In a Harvard Business Review study, 88 percent of employees said they would consider accepting a job with a lower salary if the position had better health, dental, and vision benefits than the job with the higher pay.

Explore these possibilities with your customers, and they will look to you as a trusted business resource rather than just someone selling insurance products.

4. Educate your customers about enriched DBL.

NYS DBL coverage provides a bare minimum to help an employee who is ill or injured (while not on the job). DBL pays out just 50 percent of an employee’s salary up to $170 per week for 26 weeks.
Enriched DBL is a powerful retention tool for middle managers who exceed the maximum payout but may not have private disability insurance or a savings account to help get them through a medical emergency.

With the introduction of Paid Family Leave as a rider to DBL coverage in New York, many employers are looking to enrich DBL benefits in order to provide coverage comparable to PFL for employees who don’t have, or plan to have, families or may want a robust benefits package for themselves.

PFL was the big news in the insurance industry in 2018, but many people still aren’t aware of the policy changes. Stay on the forefront, educate your customers, and they will trust you to write their policies for personal and business insurance.

5. Offer the best rates by bundling coverage.

When you take advantage of The DBL Center’s carrier relationships, you can bundle lines to provide your customers with the best rates for DBL, ancillary benefits, and more.

Why would they go to any other broker if you’ve positioned yourself as a one-stop-shop for their business and personal lines of insurance coverage?


FSA v. HSA v. Ancillary Benefits: Which Should Employers Choose?

DBL Center explores FSA v. HSA v. ancillary benefits so you can help your customers make informed choices

If you or your employees have a flexible spending account (FSA) you may be scrambling to spend that money before it expires. That’s one of the main differences in an FSA v. HSA v. ancillary benefits package. Your FSA expires at year-end. (Although, in some cases, that deadline is extended to mid-March.)

Whatever benefits package you have, healthcare is expensive. When you factor in the costs or co-pays of prescription medicines, doctor’s visit co-pays, not to mention vision and dental costs or co-pays, plus the actual cost of healthcare coverage, the average person spent $10,345 in healthcare in 2016. FSA, HSA, or ancillary benefits packages can help defray some of those costs.

When comparing FSA v. HSA v. ancillary benefits, each has advantages for certain people. If you’re an employer interested in offering the most robust benefits package to your employees, combine ancillary benefits that include dental benefits and vision benefits with an FSA to pay other costs, not ordinarily covered by insurance, with pre-tax dollars.

When you’re looking at the differences in FSA v. HSA v. ancillary benefits, one of the biggest drawbacks to an FSA is it expires at year’s end.

Let’s sort through the other differences in FSA v. HSA v. ancillary benefits to better understand employee benefits available. As a broker, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to guide your customers toward the best ancillary benefits package to improve employee loyalty and morale.

What Is An FSA?

An FSA, or flexible spending account, is a pre-tax savings account you can use to pay for a variety of expenses related to health and wellness and, in some cases, dependent care.

The employer withdraws a set amount of money, pre-tax, and provides employees with a debit card to purchase any items or services covered by the FSA. The list includes a number of surprising items, including co-pays, prescription and over-the-counter medicine, childcare, and even items such as bandages and sunscreen.

If you don’t spend the money in the account by the deadline (typically December 31 or March 15), you could lose it, although some plans let you roll up to $500 into the next year.

FSA Advantages:

  • You can use the money for a variety of health-related expenses, including childcare
  • Money is deducted from your paycheck, pre-tax
  • You may also be able to use it to pay for childcare

FSA Disadvantages:

  • Use the money or lose it
  • No employer matching contributions

What Is an HSA?

An HSA, or a health savings account, is often confused with an FSA. But a Health Savings Account is available only to individuals enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). The idea is that the health savings plan can help cover the deductible cost with pre-tax dollars. HSA money can also pay health-related expenses not covered by your insurance, such as vision or dental costs.

Unlike an FSA, you can deduct money from your HSA for other reasons, but you will pay tax on that money, including an additional 20 percent tax penalty.

HSA Advantages:

  • For people with a high-deductible health care plan, an HSA helps ensure they have money available for doctor’s visits and other medical expenses
  • You can withdraw the money at any time for any reason, but you might pay a penalty
  • The HSA does not expire

HSA Disadvantages:

  • Not available to everyone
  • You’ll pay a tax penalty for using the money for non-eligible costs

What Are Ancillary Benefits?

If you’ve read this far, you understand why an FSA or HSA is not always the best option employers can provide to their workers.

Ancillary benefits, including vision and dental benefits, work like any other insurance plan. Employees pay the premium with pre-tax money deducted from their paychecks and the insurance benefits pay for things like check-ups, corrective lenses, or dental work. In some cases, the employee might have to pay a co-pay.

Most ancillary benefits are completely employee-funded, which means the employer has no added costs. Ancillary benefits are enticing to employees because it’s like money in the bank with no risks involved.

Advantages of Ancillary Benefits:

  • No out-of-pocket costs to the employer
  • Voluntary benefits means employees can choose their coverage
  • Low premiums and high payouts, especially for employees with families
  • Healthier employees are happy employees; with good coverage, employees won’t put off important dental work or eye exams

Which Is Better: FSA v. HSA v. Ancillary Benefits – The Answer

Brokers, if your customers ask you, “Which is better: FSA v. HSA v. ancillary benefits?” we encourage you to share this post with them and guide them toward the best conclusion. Flex spending accounts have their place, but as people rush to spend the money in their account this month, it might be a good time to show your customers a better, less frustrating way to pay for common dental and vision expenses.

You can add an ancillary benefits package to any enriched DBL account when the policy renews this winter. Let the DBL Center help as your white-glove, back-office team to help the process go smoothly.


How to Bundle Insurance, Build Loyalty, and Save Your Customers Money

Bundle insurance benefits packages to save your customers money and earning more commission with bigger sales.

If you’re a health insurance, disability insurance, or P&C broker you understand the pain of dwindling profit margins, increased premiums, and reduced choices for your customers. Good brokers look for ways to save their loyal customers money and deliver greater value.More brokers, today, are discovering they can save their customers money on disability insurance and ancillary benefits if they bundle insurance benefits together and purchasing from one wholesaler.

The Time-Tested Concept of Bundling Services

The idea of “bundling” services to save money isn’t new. About a decade ago, before streaming video services broadened our television horizons beyond cable, consumers bundled their home phone, cable, and Internet service together for substantial savings. People still do it today—although there are even more technology options available.

In the insurance industry, P&C brokers are very familiar with a number of ways to bundle insurance coverage. Individual and business customers alike may bundle property and auto insurance under one carrier for significant savings.

Why not take that one step further and bundle insurance products like your corporate customers’ ancillary benefits under one carrier, too?Smart brokers bundle insurance to save their customers money.

Whether you’re a broker currently selling P&C products, health insurance, or disability coverage, you can bundle insurance together through The DBL Center Ltd. and pass the savings on to your customers. They might be encouraged to purchase additional ancillary benefits or products like enriched DBL with the savings. You’ll build loyalty and develop even better relationships with your corporate customers as you take a consultative selling approach to your business.

What Can You Bundle?

Traditionally, many companies bundled health-related insurance products like vision and dental coverage through their health insurance provider. But the Affordable Care Act has led to increased premiums and decreased coverage.

Smart brokers—including P&C and best-in-class health insurance brokers—can fill those gaps when they bundle insurance like dental and vision coverage, previously purchased through health insurance companies. It makes just as much sense, today, to bundle ancillary benefits with mandatory disability coverage—a product your customers in New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii need to buy anyway.

The DBL Center also provides long-term disability, Group Life / AD&D, enhanced disability, and other benefits in bundled packages for cost savings and easier management of policies. We can even help you provide customers with 401K employee retirement benefits. For smaller businesses and individuals, we offer disability income replacement (DI) coverage and individual life insurance, giving our brokers endless options to cater to any size customer.

Let The DBL Center Do the Work

By working through The DBL Center Ltd., you always have one point-of-contact for all your insurance sales, commission checks, and customer service, saving you time. And you’ll save your customers even more money by letting us help you bundle insurance benefits under one carrier.

We will shop around to find your customers the best rates, including the lowest premiums and highest quality coverage, in a bundled benefits package. We do it all, acting as your white-glove back office service staff to write the policies and service your customers in a white-label capacity, freeing you up to sell more insurance, recruit new customers, expand your book of business, and cash commission checks made out directly to you.

Bundling benefits makes sense for brokers and their customers. So does working with an insurance wholesaler to capitalize on a number of different ways to bundle insurance. Why not call The DBL Center and get started today?


Dental Insurance – How to Choose the Best Dental Benefits For Your Customers

As you know, here at DBL Center Ltd., we are proponents of consultative selling – digging deep to understand your client’s needs and then recommending the products that meet those needs. If you are currently selling enhanced disability coverage and want to expand your book of business to other ancillary benefits, dental insurance coverage is a logical next step.

Scientific evidence shows that gum disease (gingivitis), tooth decay and other oral problems may contribute to heart disease. Any dental insurance policy should include preventative care, including full coverage preventative and diagnostic care such as check-ups and X-rays, twice annual cleanings, sealants, and fluoride treatments.

What else should you look for in the best dental insuranceDental Insurance - The best dental coverage for your customers for your customers? On the surface, it may look as if plans are comparable, but when you start reading the fine print, you’ll realize that coverage levels and out of pocket costs can vary widely.

That’s where the DBL Center Ltd. and our InsuranceWholesaler.net site can help. As your insurance concierge, offering white glove one-on-one service for our brokers, we can help you choose the best dental plans for your customers – along with disability coverage, vision, Group Life/AD&D and more.

To get you started, here are some of the features you should look for in dental coverage.

Low Out-of-Pocket Costs

If going to the dentist becomes a financial burden, employees are less likely to go regularly, which can ultimately lead to time off work for dental care and even oral surgery, pain, and – as we mentioned above – a host of other medical issues, too.

Your customers and employees will appreciate a plan that pays for most services without sharing the costs with the patient. Some dental insurance carriers offer balance-billing plans, which are just discounts on services. Ideally, the plan you offer will cover most services and the patient will only be responsible for an affordable co-pay.

Additionally, the covered parties should not have to meet a large deductible or out-of-pocket maximum expense before coverage kicks in. Your customers save money on dental benefits by choosing a plan with a higher deductible, but it’s a risky proposition if they need emergency services like a root canal and can’t cover the deductible.

Choice of Dentists

Many people are adamant – even passionate – about their dental provider of choice. Look for a plan with plenty of choices in providers; you may want to offer your  customers a choice of a PPO and a more expensive Premier plan so they can decide.

A Vast Range of Coverage to Appeal to Employees at all Stages of Life

Just as not all dental insurance plans are the same, neither are all employees and their families. First, look at the demographics of your customer’s business. Is it stocked with Generation X-ers whose kids might need braces in the near future? Millennials who are primarily interested in preventative care? Or Boomers who may face extensive oral surgery and rely on preventative care to keep their teeth and bodies healthy?

If your customer employs a broad range of employees – as many companies today do – you’ll want to offer a comprehensive plan that covers all of these services with low out-of-pocket expenses and plenty of choices in providers, too.

It’s easy to find out – just ask. The owner or HR director may even want to offer their employees a survey to determine what kind of plan and coverage they would prefer and how much they are willing to spend for it, if the employer isn’t covering all premiums.

Multi-Line Discounts

Working with the DBL Center Ltd. will help you offer the lowest rates in dental insurance to your customers. We can write a comprehensive plan for disability insurance, dental, vision, and more, so you can take advantage of multi-line discounts.

Consultative Selling for Dental Benefits

A good insurance agent making the most of his or her consultative selling skills will work with their customers to help them determine their employee’s dental health, possible future needs, and overall budget for dental insurance, including costs paid by the employer and by the employee as a pre-tax ancillary benefit.

By placing the emphasis on preventative care and emphasizing the importance of dental health as part of a person’s overall well-being, you’ll be in a good position to increase your profits by selling dental benefits and know you’re offering your customers an important insurance product that will increase productivity around the office and contribute to the employer and employees’ peace-of-mind.