Early Renewals Leave More Time for Business Growth

The holiday season used to begin when Santa Claus rode down 34th Street, waving in front of Macy’s during the Thanksgiving Day parade. But now anyone who celebrates Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa or even New Year’s Eve knows the “holiday” season starts with pumpkin spice and apple pie, not sleigh bells.

Things get busy – and for parents or people caring for older family members, it can be even more stressful. In the insurance industry, we have our own pressures as soon as October 1 hits. State-mandated benefits including DBL in NY and TDB in New Jersey are eligible for renewals, leading to a swarm of administrative work beginning October 1 through October 10 and running through the end of the year.

For brokers, your renewals are the bread-and-butter of your business. Those nickels, dimes, and quarters add up to dollars. And the product is a benefit that every business owner in New York, New Jersey (and now a growing list of additional states, including Connecticut and Massachusetts) must carry for themselves and their employees. So it’s just a matter of providing the best rates and stellar service to keep that business on your books year after year.

So here’s the question: Why must all Statutory and Ancillary Employee Benefits have a Jan 1st effective date?   

The answer….They Don’t! 

You probably have many customers who are stuck in the renewal phase of October 1 or January 1 for temporary disability insurance.  But as you onboard new customers, encourage them to set their renewals for a different quarter. And remember, ancillary benefits, life insurance, and voluntary worksite benefits – such as critical illness insurance – can be written the first of any month.

By writing early renewals, or even shifting renewal dates to the spring, you can provide your clients with several advantages and save yourself time and stress. Let’s explore the benefits of locking in renewals early.

Help Your Customers with Cash Flow

Worker’s compensation, major medical benefits, and several other expenses all come due on the first of the year. If you’ve ever budgeted for your business – or even your household – you know that it’s best to spread expenses out across a month. Most people don’t want to have to pay their mortgage, car loan, utilities and credit card bills all on the same day of the month. That’s why credit card companies offer you the option to “choose your own monthly payment date.”

It’s the same thing for a small business. Your customers can spread out insurance expenses over the year by renewing the following ancillary benefits earlier in the year:

  • Group Life/AD&D
  • LTD
  • STD
  • Dental
  • Vision

This can help them manage cash flow and also spread out their quarterly tax deductions to reduce their tax bill.

Give Yourself and Your Team Time to Relax

In any sales industry, leaders push hard at the end of the month to drive revenue. In the insurance industry, we push from October through January. But what would your life – and bottom line – look like if you pushed hard at the beginning of the year, instead?

You’d have more time to relax and breathe at the end of the month, knowing you’ve already achieved your sales goals and have money in your pocket.

If you spread renewals across all four quarters, especially when it comes to upsells like ancillary benefits, you’re not only reaching clients at a time when they aren’t facing other renewals for workers’ compensation and major medical, you’re giving yourself a head start on revenue for the year.

Early Renewals Let You Focus on Growing Your Business in the Fourth Quarter

Here at The DBL Center, 75% of our renewals for ancillary benefits come in the fourth quarter. We push hard to get our clients the best rates and maintain the highest levels of service. But if you take the time to line up recurring revenue from renewals in the spring, you’d have the second half of the year to focus on growing your business.

Maybe that means making operational changes for greater productivity. Or maybe it means initiating a large inbound marketing push to help drive leads to your website and grow your book of business. Maybe you can take that time to focus on business growth, instead of just keeping up with existing policies. And if you want to take a break to enjoy the holidays with your family? You’d have that opportunity, as well.

We’re already entering the busy season in the statutory disability and voluntary worksite benefits space. It’s time to start thinking about planning ahead for next year and how you can spread renewals across the four quarters for better cash flow, peace-of-mind, and business growth.


Your Wholesale Insurance Broker Helps You Track Renewals, Avoid Cancellations

Increase revenue with our exclusive Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker

As many companies went out of business in 2020 and others saw substantial revenue reductions, insurance brokers have struggled to collect payments for New York and New Jersey statutory disability insurance policies. The DBL Center is the first and only wholesale insurance broker to deliver a list of your pending cancellations and renewals directly to your inbox via our industry-first Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker app.

Every year, a handful or more of companies will push the limits of their disability insurance renewals. They know we can always backdate the policy if they pay even after cancellation. But brokers’ commissions get delayed and it can wreak havoc on cash flow.

This year could have been even worse when it comes to lost commissions and a shrinking book of business due to the pandemic. But the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker app helps DBL Center brokers stay on top of pending cancellations for non-pay, so they can get paid faster and keep the money coming in. After all, we all know that nickels, dimes, and quarters make dollars. Every disability insurance policy your customers pay on time, before multiple cancellation notices, represents money in your pocket.

“I think the annual billing cycle that just closed has been as successful as it could have been given all the other [economic] circumstances,” said Valmaria Strobel, Vice President – DBL Underwriting for Standard Security Life Ins. Co. of NY.

She added that The DBL Center’s reminders to Standard Security brokers were instrumental in avoiding a host of non-pay cancellations. “We billed these policies at the end of 2020, and although some were slow to pay, more have paid than would have without those reminders he was sending.”

Cutting Edge Technology, White Glove Service

Standard Security started in the business 30 years ago with The DBL Center, led by founder David Cohen, as one of the carrier’s top wholesale insurance brokers. “If you ask me what [DBL Center President and CEO] Mike Cohen has brought to the table, it’s the technology, for sure,” Strobel said.

Every month, The DBL Center delivers a list of all policyholders, including in-force policies, renewals, pending cancellations, and cancellations to brokers’ inboxes, making it easy for brokers to track down pending cancellations to keep revenue streams flowing. “It’s hand-packaged and tied in a bow, essentially,” Strobel said.

Strobel explained that the Broker Dashboard reminders go out to brokers on the heels of Standard Security reminders. “It’s been effective in getting policy holders to pay and avoiding some unnecessary cancellations,” she says.

Insurance Agents Rely on The DBL Center as their Wholesale Insurance Broker and “Bill Collector”

It’s not just carriers who love the way the Broker Dashboard keeps cash flow moving and helps prevent cancellations for non-pay.

Over the past years since The DBL Center introduced this technology, brokers have expressed gratitude for the monthly reports and easy, remote access to their entire book of business.

Calling the list of renewals and pending cancellations “very helpful,” Anthony Villani, managing director for Avanti Associates, a Pelham, NY, disability insurance broker, said. “We do a lot hand-holding with insureds on these renewal audits and are presently working on these accounts, I am pretty sure we will be saving most of them and this list facilitates our process.”

Similarly, Tom Murray, commercial lines account executive for JSM Brokerage Inc. in East Hills, NY said, “I appreciate you reaching out and letting me know about all these.” Having a list of pending cancellations and non-renewals allows brokers to focus on bill collection in a timely manner, while the Broker Dashboard tracks it all for them.

The DBL Center is the only wholesale insurance broker that provides the technology and service to help you stay on top of cancellations and improve cash flow.

Not using the Broker Dashboard yet? Watch our video and then schedule your free demo here! 


Find All The DBL Center’s News and Videos In One Spot

We’re all busy and it’s not always easy to stay up on the latest statutory and ancillary employee benefit insurance industry news – or to get the helpful tips you need to grow your book of business. The DBL Center understands, which is why we’ve launched our In The News section.

See Your Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker in Action

Watch an overview of how to use your Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker to easily track renewals, cancellations and commissions from any internet-enabled device. You can also schedule a demo of this cloud-based app using the easy-to-access chat feature directly on the page.
If you’re not already using the Broker Dashboard, you’re missing out on a key benefit of working with The DBL Center as your wholesale general agency. The Broker Dashboard provides up-to-the-minute information on all the accounts you write with us, so you can gain better control of your business and track your direct billed policies.

Read More: Six Steps Insurance Brokers Should Take Today to Start 2021 Right

Meet The DBL Center Team

Get to know the people behind our wholesale general agency better in our one-on-one video series. DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen puts his years of stage experience and his passion for film to work as he interviews The DBL Center team, revealing their motivations, goals, and a few fun facts.

Stay Up to Date on Industry Insights with Rep Roundtable

Our Rep Roundtable series achieved industry-wide recognition. These short-form video podcasts launched in 2019, bringing together reps from our top insurance carriers to discuss industry trends and offer tips for brokers.

If you want to learn more about Paid Family Leave’s expansion into New England and beyond, examine the implications of technology on the statutory insurance industry, or find out how top carriers got their start in the field, this is the place to look.

Read More: New York Paid Family Leave Resource Center

Take a look, too, as The DBL Center marketing team “turns the tables” on Michael Cohen to interview him in a virtual series produced during the pandemic. Cohen discusses how the industry changed dramatically in 2020 and what brokers can do to network successfully and grow their business through enriched DBL and ancillary benefits, including Group Life / AD&D, which has seen increased demand in the past year.

Find Out What’s New with The DBL Center and Statutory Benefits

Of course, scroll down to our Press Release section to see the latest breaking news, from the Broker Dashboard app release on the iPhone App Store to PFL expansion across New England and, soon, into the western states of Colorado and Oregon. We’ll release more information about these new Paid Family Leave programs as it becomes available, and you can find it here in our press release section first.

Since our website’s revamp four years ago, we have aimed to give you the information and resources you need to run your insurance business. Our In The News section brings together some of our most valuable media in one place, so you can browse easily during short spurts of down time. We hope you’ll discover information, inspiration, and maybe even a laugh or two.


Celebrate the End of Business Requirements with The DBL Center

Do you remember Blockbuster’s end-of-late-fees?

With the transition to DVD rentals, we no longer had to “be kind, rewind.” Late fees were the last inconvenience of the video store rental service. And then Blockbuster enticed us all to “Celebrate the end of late fees.”

Insurance brokers faced a lot in 2020. Here at The DBL Center, we want to make life just a little bit easier for our brokers. So we’re asking you to join us in celebrating the end of minimum business requirements.

What We Mean by the End of Minimum Business Requirements

For all of 2021, brokers who write their statutory insurance benefits with us, along with ancillary benefits like vision, dental, and group life / AD&D have no minimum business requirements to worry about. Unlike some other companies you may do business with, we do not require any monthly, quarterly, and annual business requirements to ensure the lowest rates and access to our premium, white-glove service.

We understand that many businesses shuttered in 2021. Reports show nearly 1/3 of all New York and New Jersey small businesses closed permanently in 2020. As of November 2020, the New York Post reported, 27.8% of New York-based small businesses failed to reopen following temporary closures due to the pandemic. It’s even worse in New Jersey, where 31.2% of small businesses closed.

These small businesses are our brokers’ bread and butter. Cancellations were beyond your control. And with few new companies launching, it became harder to write new business.

Because we take care of our brokers, and we want them to be successful without added pressure, we’ve never had minimum business requirements, and we plan to keep it that way. By shifting your book of business to The DBL Center, you, too, can celebrate the end of business requirements and sales quotas! Make life just a little less stressful in 2021, and enjoy all the benefits of having The DBL Center as your white-glove, white-label, back office team.

Just Call Us “The Netflix of Insurance”

When Netflix first came along, everyone thought movies-on-demand, no late fees… was crazy.

Just call us the Netflix of the insurance industry, because we’re doing something no one has done before by eliminating minimum business requirements and sales quotas to meet. Also like Netflix, we are on top of the latest technology in our industry.

As a DBL Center broker, you can:

  • Bind quotes in real time online
  • Upload the information to your personal Broker Dashboard
  • Track cancellations, renewals, and commissions

You can learn more about our Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker here. And, for all of 2021, don’t worry about meeting business requirements  Just keep doing what you’re doing and enjoying all the benefits of having The DBL Center as your white-glove, back-office team.


NJ Disability Insurance Deadline Approaches April 1

Here’s How to Help Your Customers Switch to a Private New Jersey TDB Plan

I’ve discussed on several of my videos recently how fast time moves, and how crucial it is for us all to adapt to selling insurance in the time of Covid-19. Insurance brokers face more challenges than ever before when it comes to writing new plans, including NJ disability insurance.

We’re all suffering from a lack of face-to-face contact with our customers, which makes it more challenging to establish trust and build relationships. In addition, many New Jersey businesses have faced bankruptcy, permanently closed, or reduced their staff as a result of shutdowns and lockdowns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve all lost business as a result of it.

But I’m not one to look on the negative side. Instead, The DBL Center has always taken a proactive approach to facing any challenges head-on.  As in year’s past, the deadline for business owners to switch their statutory NJ disability insurance to a private plan is approaching on April 1.

Get an early start on showing New Jersey business owners in your area the tremendous benefits of writing NJ disability insurance through a private plan. April 1 will be here before you know it.

Fortunately, in 2019, New Jersey waived the signature requirement to privatize NJ TDB coverage. That means business owners no longer need opt-in from employees when it comes to choosing a private plan. They can now switch to private disability insurance in New Jersey in about five minutes. And I’ll show you exactly how to help them do it.

Benefits of Privatizing NJ Disability Insurance

Many business owners want to keep things as easy as possible. If they’re writing a new insurance policy through a broker, they want you, the insurance broker, to do all the work.

But it’s important to help them understand that they could save up to 20% on their NJ disability insurance coverage, get faster claims payouts with no waiting period – and access to a trusted broker willing to provide top-notch service at any time. Plus, their employees making claims can choose their method of payment, either a check, debit card, or ACH direct deposit straight into their bank account.

They will need to spend about five minutes obtaining the all-important AC174.1 form so you can get them a quote and write the policy.

But 20% cost savings for five minutes of their time is a pretty good trade-off, especially with the state of New Jersey increasing premiums on TDB this year. For larger businesses, saving 20% on disability insurance could equal tens of thousands of dollars, annually.

Plus, once they switch to a private plan, they can “set-it-and-forget-it,” continuing to save money for years. Meanwhile, you can do the same, earning commissions on the account while our Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker lets you know when policies are up for renewal or scheduled for cancellation.

How to Obtain the AC174.1 Form to Switch NJ Disability Insurance to a Private Plan

Five minutes to save thousands of dollars…that’s what your customers need to keep in mind. Here’s how they can obtain the AC174.1 form that allows you to provide them with a quote for New Jersey TDB coverage. Remember, as your back office support staff, The DBL Center is here to help if they need assistance.

  1. Visit the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development Division of Employer Accounts and create an Employer Access account (formerly called TWES).
  2. Create a myNewJersey account, if they don’t already have one.
  3. Link both accounts so they can switch between a variety of services the NJDOL offers.
  4. Within the Employer Access system, download the AC174.1 form for 2020.
  5. With this information, along with the number of lives (male and female) and their salaries within the organization, insurance brokers can obtain multiple quotes from The DBL Center to help their customers privatize TDB, save money, and gain access to our renowned white-glove service.

Get Started Now

The opportunity to privatize TDB only comes along on the quarter with 90% of companies privatizing NJ disability insurance in the first quarter of the year. You don’t want your customers to miss out. Reach out to The DBL Center today to help your customers save money and get 2021 off to a strong start.


What Can Employees Do When Temporary Disability Runs Out?

Post updated on November 15, 2020

Covid-19 has brought many challenges to business owners, HR directors, and employees across the Northeast. It has also created many questions regarding temporary disability benefits and eligibility.

As a trusted insurance broker, it helps to have answers to frequently asked questions regarding temporary disability and long term disability payments. One of the most frequently asked questions, recently, addresses employees with lingering illnesses or injuries not incurred in the workplace: “What can I do when temporary disability runs out?”

Fortunately, there are multiple solutions. As a P&C insurance broker with The DBL Center’s vast network of top-rated carriers behind you, you’re equipped to assist with at least two of these:

  • Private disability insurance (DI), sometimes called Disability Income coverage
  • Group Long-term disability (Group LTD)

If a customer asks what their employee can do when statutory short term disability (TDB in New Jersey, DBL in New York, and PFML in Massachusetts and Connecticut) or private group short-term disability (STD) runs out, here are some options you can suggest.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Some people with an illness or injury may try to apply for Social Security benefits. However, to qualify for Social Security / Disability benefits, you must be unable to work for at least one year, or have an illness that will lead to death. The time between 26 weeks and a year is a long span to live without any income if you are unable to work.

Group Long Term Disability Coverage (Group LTD)

Group long-term disability insurance increases the length of time of coverage up to 60 months. Employers can choose from “same occupation” or “any occupation” coverage. Class I coverage, for the executives in a company, offers up to 60% of income replacement up to $15,000 per month.

The cost to the company is actually very small, especially if the employer purchases coverage bundled with statutory benefits or other ancillary benefits, like dental, vision, and Group Life / AD&D.

Group LTD benefits higher level employees in the same way enriched DBL does in New York, providing income replacement at a minimal cost. Employers can avoid tapping into their 401K or selling other investments. Let’s face it – especially in today’s market, selling stocks may not be the best answer for high-earners to free up capital for living expenses!

In addition to providing company owners and high-level executives with a safety net and peace-of-mind should they become injured or disabled, a generous group LTD package can also benefit the company as a whole.

It may help entice star talent, but, more importantly, it can help a business retain high-quality employees after they bounce back from an illness or injury. If a company takes care of someone in their time of need, they will return to work with a degree of loyalty. In fact, due to the strain financial difficulties place on a person’s health, having disability coverage to provide for themselves and their family could, in fact, help make a return to work after injury or illness possible.

Private Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance

For business owners who don’t want to make the investment in Group LTD, or for self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and solopreneurs, private long-term disability insurance provides an income replacement solution.

Since the premiums on this insurance are paid out-of-pocket, after taxes, the disability income is not taxable. Claimants receive their full benefits when they need the money most.

Why Healthy Individuals Need Disability Insurance More than Ever Today

Disability insurance may seem like a tough sell when it is not mandated by the state. But the coronavirus pandemic has made many people come to terms with their own health and even their mortality. More than ever, people are thinking about their financial future should they be unable to work for any length of time. This includes COVID-19 long-haulers, those who experience symptoms even after the worst of the illness has passed.

The Social Security Administration estimates that a 20-year-old employee faces a three in ten chance of becoming disabled before age 65. Other reports say one in four workers becomes disabled during their working life. These odds increase for heavy smokers, people who are overweight, or those who have a chronic condition such as heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure. And these numbers have undoubtedly risen since the pandemic.

Yet, only 45 percent of millennial workers have long-term disability insurance, according to The Hartford Financial Service Group. More than 20 percent of millennials said they would need help from family or friends or move back in with their parents if they were unable to work due to illness or injury, while another 20 percent would have to rely on credit cards or borrowing against their 401K retirement account.

While employees don’t want to consider being one of the 25 to 30 percent of people who become disabled, it’s a reality. And most disabilities are caused by illness, not injury. Knowing they are protected, whether through private income replacement insurance or employer-funded long-term disability benefits offers peace-of-mind and greater financial security.

Guide Your Customers to the Best Financial Decisions and Grow Your Book-of-Business

As a broker, remind your customers  that temporary disability coverage doesn’t have to be “all-or-nothing.” Voluntary group long-term disability coverage can be fully employee-funded, with no out-of-pockets costs for the employer (other than the employer’s insurance premiums to cover themselves). Since this is a pre-tax benefit, some employees may enjoy the tax benefits, too, although it means they will have to pay taxes on their disability income if they ever make a claim.

Employers also have the option to split the costs of group LTD with their employees, or to fund the benefit completely as an incentive to recruit and retain top talent. You can help your customers weigh cost factors with the benefits of employee recruiting and retention based on their industry and region.

It costs more to gain a new customer than to upsell an existing account. In these challenging financial times, consider Group LTD, along with other ancillary benefits, as a means to grow your book-of-business and increase your commissions.

And don’t forget to use your Broker Dashboard to track it all! Schedule your free demo of this state-of-the-art statutory insurance net revenue tracker today.

 


Private Disability Insurance in New York: Great Reasons to Enrich DBL Now for Your Clients

The New York State Disability Benefits Law (DBL) mandates every “covered” employer (employers with one or more employees) to provide private disability insurance in New York to employees who are ill, injured off-job, or pregnant. To stay in compliance with the law, the employer can purchase private disability benefits insurance in New York either from an authorized insurance carrier or through the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF).

Many employers don’t know of the tremendous advantages of bundling an enriched DBL policy with other, highly desirable ancillary benefits in New York State. As successful insurance brokers who emphasize customer service, it’s important for you to remind them of the top reasons they should privatize DBL in NYS.

Privatize DBL for Added Income Protection

You know from shopping policies with The DBL Center for years that your customers can save money, get better coverage, and enjoy the white glove service you provide as a broker with The DBL Center as your back-office staff. Enriched DBL especially benefits the high earners in a company, since they are getting more bang for the buck with the benefit. The extra cash may help keep them from tapping into investments like stocks (no one wants to sell when the stock market is low!) or borrowing against their 401K. Keep that money in savings where it’s earning passive income for the future and use the benefits you’ve been paying for anyway.

Enriched DBL enables employers and employees, alike, to receive a weekly maximum benefit of up to $850, with optional in-hospital coverage available through select carriers.

But the income protection isn’t the only reason New York State employers should consider enriching DBL today.

Privatize New York Disability Benefits Law Coverage to Improve Employee Recruiting and Retention by Bundling Ancillary Benefits

Many employers today realize that highly capable workers want intangible benefits like flexible hours, telecommuting options and – above all else – a clear direction of their job expectations with guidance from their supervisors.

But when it comes to benefits, employers might be surprised to realize that traditional – and practical – benefits win out over other employee perks. In a study done by staffing agency Robert Half, employees listed paid time off, dental insurance, and vision insurance as three of the top five benefits they’d prefer. The state of New York recently forced employers’ hands with mandated New York State Sick Leave.

To stand out in a competitive market, you need to be able to offer ancillary benefits like vision and dental at a reasonable cost. According to the survey, 71% of employers offered dental insurance while 63% provided vision coverage.

When employers write NY Disability Benefits insurance through a private insurance carrier, they can bundle ancillary benefits at a low cost. Plus, these insurance options can be voluntary and employee-funded, costing the employer absolutely nothing out-of-pocket. Consider hosting a webinar to get in front of employees or the HR team and explain how much they can save with enriched DBL and ancillary benefits from your insurance agency and you’ll make friends for life.

After all, who wouldn’t want to save money on their insurance and necessities like dental care and eyeglasses?

Why Insurance Brokers Should Choose DBL Center for New York Disability Benefits Coverage

Are you new to DBL Center? DBL Center works for its clients by offering quality assistance on the best NY State Disability Insurance Benefit packages and providing top-notch white-glove service.

With our instant, binding application, we help you prepare quotes from multiple carriers in a matter of minutes. Compare rates, diversify your portfolio, and earn more commission while DBL Center serves as your back-office support staff to manage and maintain your policies.

Plus, you’ll gain access to our state of the art Broker Dashboard to track your cancellations, upcoming renewals and commission.

Bind your application for under 50 lives today!


New York PFL vs. New York State Sick Leave Act: What Insurance Brokers Need to Know

 

New York insurance brokers may be getting questions from customers about the New York State Sick Leave (NYSSL) act, which went into effect September 30, 2020. However, employees cannot take paid sick leave through the state law until January 1, 2021, or at a time after that date if their employer requires them to accrue paid time off.

A direct result of the coronavirus pandemic to help contain the spread of the virus by encouraging employees to stay home, with pay, if they are not feeling well, the Paid Sick Leave Law mandates that employers of any size now provide paid sick leave to employees.

Unlike New York State DBL benefits or Paid Family Leave (PFL), New York State Sick Leave  (NYSSL) is funded entirely by employers through payroll. It is not an insurance benefit.

However, employers may have questions about when employees can use their paid sick leave and when they need to file a claim for DBL or PFL. It helps brokers to be aware of the new legislation to reduce unnecessary or unqualified DBL and PFL claims in New York.

New York PFL v. DBL v. NYSSL

The duration of NYSSL is much shorter than New York State’s short-term disability coverage or PFL coverage.

Here are a few other differences between the three types of leave:

DBL / Enriched DBL

DBL or enriched DBL insurance provides partial pay to employees who are seriously ill or injured and cannot perform their normal job functions for up to 26 weeks. The DBL Center can help you bind DBL & Enriched coverage under 50 lives easily online here.

New York State Paid Family Leave (NYS PFL)

Written as a mandatory rider  to statutory DBL coverage, PFL in New York provides partial pay to employees taking time off to care for an ill family member, a newborn (or newly adopted or newly fostered) child within the first year, or to manage family matters while a military spouse is deployed. The maximum duration for Paid Family Leave is 12 weeks. Learn more about New York State PFL coverage, first introduced in 2017, here.

NYSSL

Introduced in September 2020 and going into effect on January 1, 2021, Paid Sick Leave provides full pay for up to 56 hours (in some cases) for employees who are:

  • Sick or injured
  • Caring for family members who are sick or injured
  • Under quarantine due to possible exposure to COVID-19
  • Caring for minor family members under quarantine

The New York State Sick Leave law (NYSSL) also covers a host of other circumstances for which employees may need time off, including:

  • Preventative care
  • Mental health
  • Medical or mental health treatments
  • Domestic violence incidents

Other Differences You Need to Know About DBL/PFL and NYSSL

The reason for Paid Family Leave or DBL must be documented on the appropriate claims form. On the other hand, the reasons for taking NYSSL can remain confidential. Employers may not require employees to disclose any confidential information regarding their need for sick time.

In addition, the definition of a family member as it relates to paid sick leave extends beyond the PFL definition to include siblings, grandchildren, grandparents, and the children or parents of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner.

How Employers Can Issue New York State Sick Leave

Business owners in New York have a choice to “frontload” employees’ sick time at the beginning of the calendar year, offering paid sick leave from day one that the benefit goes into effect (January 1, 2021). Or, employers may permit employees to accrue sick time at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 or 56 hours in total – depending on the company size.

Employers with at least 100 employees must provide 56 hours paid sick leave. Employers with fewer than 100 employees or fewer than five employees but a net income of $1 million for the prior tax year must provide 40 hours paid sick leave.

Businesses with fewer than five employees but less than $1 million in net income must allow 40 hours of unpaid sick leave with no disciplinary action permitted for employees who take that time off without pay.

Should Your Customers’ Employees File a DBL or PFL Claim?

The decision for an employee to take paid sick time or to file a DBL or PFL claim largely comes down to the duration of the time off required and, of course, the reason. See below:

  • DBL insurance claims provide partial pay for severe illnesses or injuries that require more than a few days or a week out of work.
  • PFL, on the other hand, covers employees when they need to care for someone else for an extended time period of up to 12 weeks.
  • NYSSL offers full pay up to the amount of accrued sick time. It permits parents to stay home for a short duration with a sick or feverish child without losing a day’s pay. It also makes it financially easier for employees who are feeling under the weather to call out sick and avoid spreading germs.

Help Your Customers Understand the New Laws

Until now, Paid Time Off remained the choice of New York State business owners. Many companies provided generous PTO while others didn’t. Some small business didn’t even have a written policy but trusted their workers not to take unnecessary time off.

By standardizing PTO under the NYSSL, and outlining specific permissible reasons for sick time, New York State has eliminated confusion, miscommunication, or gray areas surrounding PTO.

By understanding the new law, you can help your customers reduce unnecessary DBL or PFL claims and continue to act as a resource for them when it comes to managing employee benefits.


Short Term Disability, Explained

Because different benefits have different definitions and the devil is in the details…

As more states add legislation for paid family leave and the federal government introduces programs to help manage Covid-related disability claims, short-term disability has become more confusing than ever.

To help brokers understand the profit potential in these benefits and to help business owners sort through the “alphabet soup” of STD (short-term disability), The DBL Center offers your complete guide to short term disability offerings.

What is Short Term Disability (STD)?

Short-term disability is the all-encompassing phrase to describe disability benefits for employees who are unable to work due to illness or injury that did not occur at work. (Workers’ compensation covers work-related illnesses and injuries.)

What is New York State Disability Benefits Law (NYS DBL)?

Disability Benefits Law is New York’s statutory temporary disability insurance coverage. Business owners can write their policies through the state or privately. DBL pays employees 50% of their salary to a maximum of $170 per week of benefit up to 26 weeks.

What is Enriched DBL?

Increasing benefits that extend beyond the statutory DBL (Disability Benefits Law) coverage in the form of a higher maximum benefit. It can also include shorter waiting periods or a longer maximum duration. All eligible employees must be included.

What is NJ TDB?

Temporary Disability Benefits cover New Jersey employees out of work for illness or injury up to 26 weeks. Effective July 1, 2020, the NJ TDB benefit increased to 85% of a worker’s average weekly salary to a maximum of $881 per week. To pay for these benefit increases, for the first time, employees are contributing premiums for the NJTDB coverage on a different taxable wage base than employers. As of 1/1/2020 employees are contributing .26% on the first $134,900 of earnings (maximum annual contribution of $350.74). Employers are contributing based on employees’ earnings capped at $35,500.  As in New York, NJ business owners can write their policies privately or through the state.

What is NYS PFL?

New York State Paid Family Leave covers individuals up to 67% average weekly wage replacement for up to 12 weeks for the birth, adoption or foster care of a child; to care for a seriously ill family member; or to manage the household while a spouse is deployed. It’s written as a rider to DBL.

What is Massachusetts PFML?

Covered individuals are eligible for no more than 26 total weeks in the aggregate of paid family and medical leave in a single benefit year under the new Massachusetts PFML (Paid Family and Medical Leave) legislation. This was introduced to cover individuals out of work to care for a newborn, adopted or foster child in the first year; to care for a family member; or to manage the household while a spouse is deployed. PFML adds medical leave, to care for a family member unable to work due to illness or injury as of July 1, 2021.

What is DI?

Disability Income is private disability coverage offered to individuals or sold as a group plan in states that do not mandate statutory STD.  It encompasses paid sick leave, short-term disability benefits (STD), and long-term disability benefits (LTD).

What is FMLA?

Unlike the benefits above, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that guarantees an employee’s job if they are out for family or medical leave. It does not pay benefits.

What is FFCRA?

The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) provides income replacement at 2/3 the regular rate of pay for up to 80 weeks for employees in quarantine as a result of Covid-19 or seeking treatment for coronavirus, and an additional 10 weeks for employees whose school or childcare provider has closed due to the pandemic. This is paid by employers, with federal tax credits to offset the costs.

The DBL Center has also created a handy slide of this information for easy reference. You can view the it below and on our LinkedIn feed.

 

 

 


NJ State Temporary Disability Insurance Rate and Benefits Increase: Creating Opportunities from Change

Last year, the State of New Jersey announced a rate hike and benefits increase for NJ State temporary disability insurance to go into effect in 2020.

The first increase took place on January 1, 2020, when the NJ state disability insurance benefit increased to 66.67% of a worker’s average weekly salary to a maximum of $667 per week through June 30, 2020.

As of July 1, 2020 the NJ state temporary disability insurance benefit will increase to 85% of a worker’s average weekly salary up to $881 per week.

Along with the benefit increases, of course, comes a rate hike.

For the first time in history, employees will contribute premium for NJ state temporary disability insurance (NJ TDB) on a different taxable wage base than employers.

As of January 1, 2021, employees contribute .47% on the first $138,200 of earnings, with a maximum annual contribution of $$649.54. Employers, on the other hand, contribute based on employees’ earnings, with a cap of $35,500 for the company.

In 2019, New Jersey employees contributed .17% on the first $34,400 in earnings, with a maximum annual contribution of $58.48. The unprecedented increase in 2020 equals up to six times the premium for workers.

Privatize TDB in NJ for Better Service and Happier Customers

Does it seem as if 2020 won’t give insurance brokers, business owners, (or anyone else) a break? Hang tight.

Here at The DBL Center, we believe in turning challenges into opportunities. And we are here to help you make that happen, too.

While the benefit increase puts New Jersey ahead of neighboring states for temporary disability insurance, it can sting the pockets of employees and business owners at a time when people can least afford it.

There has never been a better time for statutory insurance brokers to privatize temporary disability benefits in New Jersey. By privatizing TDB, your customers will receive:

  • Benefits equal to or better than the state maximum
  • Faster payouts, choice of payment options
  • White-glove customer service with The DBL Center as your back-office staff

Additionally, as a DBL Center broker, you’ll gain access to our exclusive Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, allowing you to stay on top of pending cancellations, renewals, and commissions.

Easy, Three-Step Process to Privatize NJ Temporary Disability Insurance

Since the state waived the signature requirement for privatizing temporary disability benefits in NJ, it’s never been easier to privatize TDB coverage for your customers. You can write private TDB policies now for 2021 and put your customers in a position to receive stellar service and more options than the state of NJ provides for short-term temporary disability benefits.

Plus, you can help your clients save even more by bundling ancillary benefits like dental, vision, and Group Life / AD&D with their statutory disability coverage.

Need help privatizing TDB for your customers? The DBL Center is here. Follow this three-step process and reach out here or use our exclusive on-site live chat if you need help.