Brokers: Are Your NYS DBL Customers in Compliance with PFL?

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:

  • Post the NYS Workers’ Comp Board’s prescribed notice(not released yet) explaining PFL benefits in a conspicuous place
  • Share the NYS Workers’ Comp  Board’s handouts on PFL
  • Update Employee Handbooks to discuss PFL
  • Remind employees out on FMLA that they may be eligible for PFL benefits
  • Continue providing health insurance to eligible employees out on PFL
  • Notify employees that they must give 30 days notice to take PFL if possible—for instance, in the event of a birth, adoption, foster care, or military deployment

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 info@dblcntr.com.  Space is limited.

At this fun and informative event, both AmTrust and DBL Center representatives will answer our brokers’ questions about PFL  and share all the details you need to sell this new mandatory benefit knowledgeably.


Steiner Sports Partnership: DBL Center Rewards “Power Hitter” Brokers

Partnerships with Steiner Sports and The Friar’s Club make it possible for The DBL Center to provide exclusive access to luxury sports and celebrity events

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. Steiner Sports, Friar's Club and DBL Center provide a gateway to luxury experiences

Bringing Back the Fun of the Insurance Industry with Steiner Sports and the Friar’s Club

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.

High Commissions, Big League Rewards

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.

DBL Center Incentive Package Is Easy to Understand

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.

Concierge Service Provides Access to All-Star, A-List Events through Steiner Sports and the Friar’s Club

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.

Three Tiers, Three Opportunities to Win Big

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.

  • Tier 1: Platinum VIP Experience Package, $700K + in total premiums for the year
  • Tier 2: Gold VIP Experience Package, $300K to $500K in total premiums for the year
  • Tier 3: Silver VIP Experience Package, $125K to $275K in total premiums for the year(Premiums include statutory and group ancillary coverage.)

Big Plans for High Earners

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.

White-glove, Concierge Service

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.


NY Paid Family Leave: What DBL Brokers Need to Know

 With days left to review the proposed NY Paid Family Leave regulations, what should you know?

NY Paid Family Leave, the most comprehensive Paid Family Leave program in the country, is set to go into effect January 1, 2018. But for employers and brokers preparing for the moment, the date isn’t as far off as it sounds. And employers can begin making payroll deductions as early as July 1, 2017. NY Paid Family leave gives this family time together.

A Quick Recap of NY Paid Family Leave

First, a quick recap of the proposed regulations:

NY Paid Family Leave provides employees with the income they need to enable them to stay home and care for:

  • a newborn, adopted or foster care child within the first 12 months
  • an ill or aging family member
  • children while a spouse is serving in the military

Paid Family Leave will be phased in over the next four years, until 2021, when PFL will pay out the maximum coverage of 67 percent of an employee’s average weekly wage for 12 weeks. Coverage will be community rated to promote a fair and efficient market, and coverage will be written as a rider to existing DBL policies.

You can learn more about the specific details of the law in this blog post, when The DBL Center blog broke the news to our network last April.

What We Know

In the past year, we’ve been staying on top of the news and we’ve discovered some interesting facts:

  • Many employers don’t even know these new regulations were introduced.
  • Some P&C brokers are considering leaving the DBL insurance industry because they are worried about the new regulations
  • Brokers are turning to those in the know, such as reputable carriers and The D.B.L. Center, to answer questions they have and find the best ways to educate their customers

Embracing the Opportunities NY Paid Family Leave Offers to Brokers

Because PFL coverage will exist as a rider to current New York State mandatory DBL coverage, these changes affect P&C brokers who write DBL coverage. Brokers SHOULD look at the coverage as an opportunity.

The DBL Center and our carriers are here to help you leverage this opportunity for increased commissions (whatever the actual amount may be!) on mandatory, employee-funded PFL coverage. The process is one of education and consultative selling, rather than hard sales. And The DBL Center is here to assist every step of the way, with the information our brokers and their customers need to make the best decisions and guide you in this new claim process.

Our soon to be released mobile app, combined with the technical infrastructure provided by preferred vendors to process policy riders, gives our brokers the tools they need to be successful in this new venture.

It’s also a good time for our brokers to review and enrich existing DBL policies beyond the state minimum, in preparation for the Governor’s office to potentially increase the DBL benefit.   After all, Governor Cuomo’s father Mario was the last one to increase the weekly indemnity back in 1989.  We never know. Changes are ahead, and they promise to be good ones for brokers who work with The DBL Center as their insurance wholesaler and have the tools to take a consultative approach to selling DBL in New York.

Deadlines Approaching

But what are the rates for NY Paid Family Leave? And how much do brokers stand to make from the new PFL coverage? These are the top questions on the minds of many of our brokers. Certainly, the state acknowledges that brokers’ workloads will increase as a result of the new coverage, and industry experts believe rates will be fair to enable reasonable broker commissions. But right now, all we can do is expect the best.

The good news is that all the uncertainty ends on June 1, when the state announces the coverage rates. Soon after that, carriers will announce broker commissions. And employers are permitted to begin deducting payments for  NY Paid Family Leave premiums beginning July 1.

In addition, brokers have until April 8 to read the draft regulations and make comments. The full text of the regulations can be found here.

Meanwhile, We Wait…

As we wait for the proposed regulations to pass and the State of New York to set the rate, it’s important to continue educating employers on the law. That way, when the time comes for them to purchase this mandatory coverage and, even before then, to begin making payroll deductions on July 1, they will know where to turn.

Stay tuned for further information regarding our Q&A seminar at The Friar’s Club next month in conjunction with The New York Business Council and one of our preferred vendors. With The DBL Center behind you, our brokers are poised to make the most of NY Paid Family Leave.


5 Ways The DBL Center Delivers Better Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Bind quotes quickly and easily online.

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

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

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

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

4. We can provide investment options for your customers.

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

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

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

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

White Glove Service, High Tech Capabilities

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

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


New York Leads the Way in Paid Family Leave

Brokers can profit by providing your customers with the information they need about Paid Family Leave.

Last year, New York State announced new Paid Family Leave regulations to be phased in over four years starting in January 2018.

Photos courtesy Nicole Best, Best Photography
Photos courtesy Nicole Best, Best Photography

The regulations would give New York families the best coverage in any state, surpassing even California, which currently has the most generous PFL laws in the country.

To recap what Paid Family Leave provides to employees (from our April blog post, which you can read here):

PFL mandates up to 12 weeks of job-protected, paid leave for all New York employees, regardless of the size of the company, for any of the following reasons:

  • bonding with and caring for a newborn, adopted, or foster care child during the first 12 months
  • caring for a seriously ill family member
  • addressing important needs related to a family member’s military service.

Draft of PFL Regulations Released

Yesterday, the State of New York governor’s office published an important press release outlining developments in the PFL law, as well as a draft of parts of the new PFL regulations. The regulations are now in an important, 45-day pubic commenting period, so changes can still be made. One of our top carriers, Shelterpoint, compiled the regulations in an easy to read format.

Local Change Sets an Example for the Nation

Described as the “nation’s strongest and most comprehensive Paid Family Leave policy,” the policy seeks to support our state’s working families. While past presidential administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have touted support for women and families, the fact is, the U.S. has failed when it comes to putting the legislation in place to support parents and other caregivers.

New York’s PFL policy, like those of California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey, creates a benchmark for other states to follow in providing families with the financial support they need when caring for children and the elderly, and to assist military families in their times of need.

What PFL Means to New York Insurance Brokers

PFL is mandated insurance coverage, just like NYS DBL. Employers will be turning to their DBL insurance providers for the information they need. Obviously, writing PFL policies represents another stream of revenue for brokers—and because it’s mandatory, it’s an easy sell. Your customers know and trust you. They will come to you with questions. It’s important to be prepared with the right answers.

That’s where The DBL Center comes in. We are your back-office for insurance sales and service, including DBL, ancillary benefits, and now, PFL coverage.

What We Know Right Now About PFL in New York

We know that the new insurance will be employee-funded and community rated, but we don’t yet know the rates. It will be up to carriers to set commissions, which will be dependent on the state-mandated rates in order to keep this employee-funded coverage affordable.

As always, the best way to make money on these policies is to bundle them with other coverage to maximize commissions. Rely on The DBL Center as your back office staff to do the legwork, so you can optimize your time and maximize your profits.

Get Involved

We urge our brokers to read through the regulations, think about them carefully, and propose suggested changes in writing, which will serve to benefit insurance brokers and their customers.

Most importantly, keep an eye on this site to read the latest news and developments about PFL in New York. The times they are a’changing, as they say.


Life Insurance Purchases: Studies Show Consumers Are Receptive

Even with Trump’s proposed tax code changes, term life and Group Life / AD&D still a safe bet.

Are you a property & casualty, disability, or health insurance broker looking for new revenue streams? Life insurance might just represent another avenue to increase your book of business.Father-Son-Life-Ins

According to the Insurance Barometer Study, conducted jointly by not-for-profit research industry trade association LIMRA and the non-profit educational organization Life Happens, today’s consumers not only are receptive to life insurance purchases, but are also vocal advocates for it.

According to the study:

        66 percent of consumers are “somewhat likely” to recommend life insurance to others

 

      86 percent of consumers believe most people need life
      insurance
      60 percent of American own either individual life or group life / AD&D coverage
      34 percent said they were likely to buy life insurance in 2016

Surprisingly, the younger generation seems to show a maturity beyond its years, with 77 percent of millennials saying they recommend owning life insurance.

Life Insurance Purchases in the Trump Era

Although the study concluded in mid-2016, the new political climate and proposed tax changes should not affect the decision to buy life insurance. As life insurance broker Chris Acker states on LinkedIn:

“Regardless of tax reform possibilities, if you need life insurance, then BUY life insurance. Don’t put off protecting the very family that means the world to you just because a tax change ‘might’ happen.”

It’s hard to argue with that logic, and, as a broker, if you spot this gap in your customers’ coverage, it’s your responsibility to point it out and provide them with options.

But how could new tax code affect life insurance purchases? For the vast majority of term-life and Group Life / AD&D policy holders, the answer is: It won’t.

We’re not tax advisors, and you should speak to your accountant or a tax attorney if you’re considering investing in permanent (i.e. “whole” or “cash value”) life insurance. If Trump’s tax code passes, it could eliminate the tax-free build-up that is a major incentive to invest in whole life.

If you own a cash value policy, you can borrow money up to the amount you’ve paid into the policy without any tax penalties. In 2017 and beyond, if Trump’s proposed policy passes, that money would be taxed.

But if you’re purchasing a term life policy, universal policy, or investing in Group Life / AD&D with your employer, you don’t see those tax benefits anyway. Nothing changes.

And, keep in mind, if you’re already a whole life insurance holder prior to 2017, the new tax law wouldn’t apply.

Brokers: Make Life Insurance Part of Your Consultative Selling Approach

It’s not difficult to understand when it’s laid out in a few concise paragraphs, as above. Life insurance remains a good investment and a necessity to protect your family and provide income for them if you pass away.

But there is a lot of fear surrounding the current administration, and some of that fear could lead to hesitation to purchase life insurance. Customer education will be the key. Term life insurance and Group Life / AD&D policies won’t change.

Business owners and consumers, alike, can trust the brokers who provide their other benefits, including disability coverage, dental, and vision insurance, to shop for the best deals on Group Life and individual life insurance coverage.

For customers who are considering whole life insurance, term life can be a good “placeholder” policy until tax law changes get sorted out.

Corporate and individual customers need brokers they can trust in these confusing times. If you step up with the information they need, policies from top-rated carriers, and the white-glove service The DBL Center can help you provide in a white label capacity, you’ll always be top of mind.

You’re the one your customers turn to when they need guidance and when they’re ready to make a purchase. We can help.

The DBL Center… more than just disability insurance.


Insurance Brokers: How Tech Savvy Is Your General Agency?

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

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

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

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

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

Get Easy Online Quotes

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

Insurance Brokers Can Manage Accounts Easily Online

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

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

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

Your Wholesale Agency Goes Mobile

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

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

High-Tech and Still High-Touch

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

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

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

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


Disability Claims Rise After the Holidays

Are you ready with enriched disability coverage for your employees or customers?

If you’re running a business or have a full-time career, are raising a family, and managing to juggle the other responsibilities of adulthood, you already know the holidays are stressful. But did you know the months following the holidays are more dangerous than other times of the year?

A study done by The Hartford, one of The DBL Center Ltd.’s top insurance carriers, showed that short-term disability claims went up in January and February. Are you ready?

Why Do Disability Claims Go Up in the Winter?

January and February are challenging months for many people. The rise in prevalence of colds and the flu can lead to increased respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia, which sometimes requires hospitalization and a short-term leave from work. The Hartford study shows that 66 percent of all winter disability claims were illness-related, which also can include depression. Additionally, 22 percent of claims were for pregnancy/childbirth, and 11 percent were due to accidents.Empty table in a conference room

Slips and falls on ice, car accidents, accidents and injuries related to snow shoveling, as well as winter sports injuries all contribute to increased disability claims in the winter. Depression and stress-related illnesses also tend to rise in the northeast during the long, cold winter days. Although the study was completed in 2009, these facts haven’t changed. But there are ways you can make a difference in your workplace.

Focus on Employee Health and Wellness

Encourage employees to take a sick day—and visit a doctor—when they are sick, to help prevent the common cold from turning into pneumonia and to keep them from spreading germs around the office. Frequent hand-washing is shown to be the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Make sure the restrooms and kitchen are stocked with hand soap.

Consider implementing stress-reduction programs such as office massage or lunch-break yoga classes. If you don’t have an employee gym facility on-site, consider adding gym membership reimbursement to your perks and benefits package. Studies show regular exercise may help the body fight off colds.

Be Prepared with a Plan

When employees go out on short-term disability, their team members must pick up the slack. Cross-training employees on mission critical tasks, so that someone can fill in when there’s an unexpected illness, or even a planned maternity leave, can help keep office stress levels down and maintain employee morale.

Make sure employees understand the expectations and reward them in tangible ways and with praise when they step up to help out their co-workers.

Offer Enhanced DBL to Help Avoid Long-Term Claims

If an employee’s short-term disability coverage can’t help them get through the rough patch, they might be tempted to consider other alternatives, such as applying for long-term disability (Social Security Disability Insurance). They might use their short-term leave to find another job with a better benefits package.

The Benefits of Enriched DBL and TDB Disability Coverage

New York-based businesses can provide an enriched DBL package, which increases benefits beyond the New York State minimum of $170/week. Businesses in New Jersey can offer long-term disability coverage to dovetail state-mandated temporary disability benefits (TDB), and may also save money by bundling TDB coverage with other ancillary benefits such as dental, life insurance or add a group short-term disability policy over and above the state-mandated benefit.

Beat the Winter Blues with Better Disability Coverage

Business owners and HR directors should consider beating the winter blues with enriched DBL or privatized TDB. You can switch your disability insurance providers on the first day of each quarter: January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.

If you’re an insurance broker, this is the perfect time to write new business by letting companies in New York and New Jersey know about the advantages of privatized disability coverage with personalized service and benefits beyond the New York State minimum, so they can be prepared for the possibility of increased disability claims in the first months of the new year.

Let The DBL Center Ltd. help you get through the winter with the disability coverage you need.


Why New York State Employers Should Offer Enriched DBL Coverage

Five ways it benefits employers to provide a living wage for workers on NYS DBL.

In the months leading up to the election, there’s been a lot of talk about Americans having the opportunity to earn a living wage. While some states have minimum wage laws in line with their costs of living, the Federal minimum wage as of 2016 is only $7.25 as of July 2016. Most of us reading this might remember earning that much during high school or college—it’s certainly not enough to raise a family or buy a home. New York State workers—and their employers—face another wage challenge: Mandatory NYS DBL payments cap out at 50 percent of an employee’s paycheck, up to $170 per week. This is not a living wage. And the financial burdenNYS-DBL-Businesspeople is even greater if the employee is facing medical bills and co-pays or the birth of a newborn and the added expenses that come with a child.

But there is a solution.

It’s important for New York State business owners, CFOs, and HR directors to understand why they should offer enriched DBL coverage in New York to provide employees on temporary disability with a living wage. If you’re a broker, please share this information with your customers to start earning commission on these enriched mandatory benefits today.

1. Enriched DBL coverage can encourage employee retention.

An injured or ill employee on temporary disability shouldn’t have to worry about how they will pay their bills. If your organization isn’t taking care of them, they might use their time off to polish up their resume and look elsewhere.

2. A robust benefits package helps attract top talent—even across state borders.

Today’s employees, particularly millennials, want to have it all in a job: Salary, flexible hours or work locations, and a robust, customizable benefits package. Providing enriched DBL—even if the majority of your employees don’t use it—lets you beef up your benefits package.

Additionally, New York-based businesses in Manhattan or on the New York / New Jersey border should consider that they are competing with New Jersey-based businesses—which already have a generous mandatory disability benefits package—for top talent. A NYS DBL package that rivals New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Benefits might help you attract the best employees from over the bridges.

3. As far as benefits go, enriched DBL provides employers and HR directors with a lot of “bang for their buck.”

With minimal employer contributions, which can be shared with employees at a rate of one-half of one percent of the employee’s wages up to 60 cents per week on pre-tax dollars, employers can offer generous NYS DBL coverage of up to $850 per week. Few benefits cost so little yet provide so much value.

4. With New York introducing Paid Family Leave in 2018, enhancing DBL benefits to keep pace will improve employee morale and loyalty.

In states that offer Paid Family Leave, this benefit for new parents and anyone caring for an ill or injured loved one has been shown to improve employee morale and loyalty. More importantly, co-workers don’t mind helping out to cover for employees taking Paid Family Leave.
Offering enriched NYS DBL benefits for employees who are ill or injured can help ensure co-workers won’t resent those who are out on PFL, because they know they have the same protection should they ever be unable to work.

Additionally, New Jersey employers found that the state’s generous paid leave package helps reduce stress amongst employees who took leave, as well as their co-workers, which can impact the company’s bottom line, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.

5. Top executives benefit, too.

When you enrich your DBL benefits package in New York, your disability benefits package will increase, too, up to the maximum of $850/week or $1020/week with in-hospital coverage. You can also add an Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) rider to the policy, with a tiered plan that will provide your C-suite with the most coverage available.

Find out more about Enriched DBL in New York State in this post, or bind your NYS DBL quote for a company with fewer than 50 lives here.


New Jersey Raises TDB Insurance Premiums and Coverage

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

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

What You Should Know About NJ TDB Insurance

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

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

What This Means to Employers and their Employees

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

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

What This Means for Insurance Brokers

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

How You Can Earn 10 Percent Commission Selling TDB

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

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

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

Business Owners Have Choices

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

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

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

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