Artificial intelligence (AI) has become prevalent in every industry and in many homes, as well. If you’ve asked Siri to help you book a reservation at your favorite restaurant through OpenTable or used Alexa to create a playlist for a cocktail party you’re hosting, you’ve used AI.
In business settings, AI is beginning to help people schedule meetings, sift through resumes to find likely job candidates, and even provide customer service through chatbots online.
What Is Artificial Intelligence?
You’ve probably heard the phrase Artificial Intelligence many times and may even have a hint about what it means. You may have also heard another closely related term: Machine Learning.
An AI computer can act and react in ways similar to a human being. In other words, it can appear to think, and it can learn based on past experiences.
Machine learning is the means by which computers gain artificial intelligence.
In 2016, technologist, futurist, and investor Andrew Ng wrote, “If a typical person can do a mental task with less than one second of thought, we can probably automate it using AI either now or in the near future.”
This may be a vast simplification – or perhaps an over-statement – of AI’s capabilities. AI excels at pattern recognition, data sorting, voice recognition, and even responding to simple inquiries.
With this in mind, it’s easy to pinpoint some areas where AI could streamline insurance renewals, recordkeeping, audits, and bookkeeping for insurance professionals in the next five to 10 years – and perhaps even sooner.
Many brokers today use limited business intelligence analytics to track their business, but most of the activities are tracked manually, which means increased overhead and extra time spent staring at spreadsheets.
DBL Center’s Broker Dashboard can streamline many of your business intelligence processes, including tracking renewals, notifying staff of late payments, and tracking commissions. In the future, it will be able to track data across all your P&C accounts, not just policies purchased through The DBL Center.
But this is only the beginning. Future versions of these powerful business intelligent (BI) engines are nearly destined to employ AI and machine learning. The next iterations of Broker Dashboard may be able to analyze data faster, recognize relevant patterns, save brokers time, and potentially increase sales.
The potential for AI in the insurance industry in the future is incredible. Just as AI capabilities advance in the fields of healthcare and human resources, the insurance industry needs only embrace AI’s potential to streamline their business and earn more.
The Broker Dashboard of the future may be able to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to:
Predict which clients are likely to pay late so brokers can take pre-emptive action. Unlike running a credit check or looking at past behavior of that client, the AI algorithm can look at past behavior of clients with similar characteristics to predict future behavior of new clients. Brokers can take proactive steps to ensure bills are paid on time with reminder notifications or perhaps phone calls.
Identify good candidates for upsells like enriched DBL and ancillary benefits. AI could help increase the success rate of sales calls. Rather than taking a shotgun approach to try to sell existing clients bundled benefits packages, AI can help brokers identify highly-qualified leads most likely to say yes. Brokers will be more productive and earn more by delivering the benefits their clients really want.
Track the reasons behind cancellations. What if you could increase your retention rates by understanding why certain clients cancelled and take steps to retain similar clients? It’s always cheaper to keep a customer than to make a new one. By pinpointing cancellation patterns, AI can help you increase retention rates and keep your brokerage growing.
Track successful existing clients and identify likely prospects. If you are like many brokers, you’ve been working on building your database of prospects through social media, inbound marketing, direct mail, and in-person networking. AI is well-suited to compare that list to a list of your most successful clients. AI can help you cull down your massive database to find top prospects who are not only likely to say “yes.” It may also be able to pinpoint clients who will pay on time, stay with your company for years, and purchase multiple lines, including DBL, business insurance, home insurance, group life, and ancillary benefits.
AI can take a lot of the guesswork out of insurance sales with business intelligence analytics. AI can recognize patterns of behavior and help brokers capitalize on all the data they have at their fingertips today.
Brokers who adopt these advanced technologies as they become available will save time, earn more, and stay ahead of the curve.
With our new broker dashboard and other business intelligence tools within reach, DBL Center can help.
by Michael Cohen
Paid Family Leave became a fact of life in New York very quickly. The statutory benefit, written as a rider to DBL coverage, is ethically responsible and financially needed for New York families. But business owners and brokers weren’t prepared for the mayhem that PFL billing would bring.
I sat down with our President and CEO Michael Cohen so he could explain the challenges of PFL and how DBL Center has found solutions to these challenges for its brokers.
Once we got past the initial customer education aspects of PFL – letting our brokers and their customers know about this new benefit – we faced the additional hurdle of PFL billing. The New York State government implemented this policy to be phased in over four years, without proper recourse when it comes to giving carriers or brokers the information they need to calculate costs or to bill DBL with a PFL rider correctly.
This has resulted in a higher than normal level of non-pay notifications. New York businesses, large and small, are having their DBL policies cancelled due to billing errors and inconsistencies stemming from this misinformation and miscommunication.
Here at The DBL Center, we are tracking our brokers’ policyholders who are currently in non-pay status, and sharing that information with the broker, so they can fix the issues and increase their book’s retention.
Writing new policies is one thing, but growing a business is not just about how much money you make – it’s about how much money you keep.
Behind the scenes, the DBL Center has been working, just as our brokers’ accounting departments have, to find ways to accurately bill PFL.
I began an audit one year ago while coming up with a snapshot of my agency’s statutory book of disability in New York to have a benchmark of what to expect. This put me in a better position to finalize the Broker Dashboard and Net Revenue Tracker, which emanated from the manual methods my father, founder David J. Cohen was using to balance his general ledger.
I realized I could not only turn something antiquated around, but also convert the database we used for our audit into a free Dashboard given to my producers, allowing them to track revenue and policy status for DBL, PFL, and ancillary benefits.
The launch of the dashboard on September 26, 2018 represents an important piece in solving the PFL puzzle.
The Net Revenue Tracker, its more robust companion app, allows brokers to track all policies within their brokerage – not just those purchased through and managed by The DBL Center.
Quite honestly, if carriers can’t accurately bill PFL, our brokers will be looking at even more unhappy customers when the rate rises.
Our Broker Dashboard provides a solution. In addition to tracking revenue for DBL policies and ancillary benefits, the Broker Dashboard lets brokers know when a policy has been cancelled or is pending cancellation.
Sometimes, the customer has gone out of business, moved out of New York, or decided to move their business to another agency due to no fault of the broker. That’s important information for a broker to be aware of.
For those policies listed as “cancelled for non-payment” or “pending cancellation,” PFL billing errors may be to blame.
That’s where DBL Center can help. Thanks to our extensive knowledge of PFL and our relationships with carriers, we can get to the heart of your customers’ PFL problems. We can prevent those policies from cancelling or even have policies reinstated, while helping to preserve important customer relationships.
Your customers trust you. Our brokers can trust DBL Center to navigate PFL until the program starts to run itself, resulting in streams of reliable passive income.
Our Broker Dashboard helps you find out where you’re losing money, and DBL Center’s legendary white-glove service can help you make it right.
We know that implementing PFL hasn’t been the easiest thing our brokers have ever faced. We know this because the DBL Center has been tackling the same challenges. When our brokers make money, we make money. We’re all in this together.
You can continue to look at DBL as either a challenge – or an opportunity.
By continuing to sell DBL and letting DBL Center service the policies through our experienced back-office staff, you have the opportunity to show your customers the true value and worth of relying on your brokerage. Business owners need DBL and PFL coverage. If they don’t get it from you, they will find another broker willing to provide it.
You can use our Broker Dashboard to stay proactive and solve your customers’ PFL problems – potentially even before your policyholder is aware of an issue.
Let DBL Center help you provide your customers with answers to all their PFL billing questions, and you will maintain their trust. They will continue to rely on you for workers’ compensation insurance, major medical, and ancillary lines of coverage.
You’ll watch your bottom line continue to rise as your book of business grows.
It all begins with having the tools on hand to retain your current customers and our Broker Dashboard, combined with our white-glove customer service, can help our brokers stand out from the competition.
by Dawn Allcot
Incorporated as The DBL Center Ltd. since 1983, The DBL Center has many long-time, second generation clients. But few brokers have stories steeped in such rich New York history as Richard King, owner of King Associates.
Richard King was mentored by the late David Cohen, landing prestigious accounts that included The Garden City Hotel and Fairhaven Apartments when DBL Center was a brand-new wholesale insurance agency.
Later, King sponsored DBL Center President Michael Cohen’s admission into The Friars Club, the preeminent members-only club for entertainment professionals located in a five-story English Renaissance Tudor in Midtown Manhattan.
King says the key factor that has prevailed across two generations of DBL Center management is the enthusiasm of the team, which King shares as he reminisces about his mentors, offers tips for brokers, and talks about his involvement with the Friars and how it can help an insurance broker.
How did you first meet David Cohen and start doing business with The DBL Center?
I think David may have cold-called me, because he was very aggressive – just like my dad. I have to give you a bit of the history. It was because of my dad, Murray King, that Dave and I did business together.
My dad was raised in the Bronx with four brothers. When he grew up and got married, he became a math professor at City College. Then he started selling insurance with Hancock, in the 1940s, because he didn’t have a job one summer.
Selling door-to-door in Harlem, he made it big, with a lot of persistence through the years, as a one-man show.
I introduced Dave to my Dad, who was a powerhouse life insurance broker at the time. Dave loved Murray because they were both characters.
Murray was handling life insurance at the time for top real estate developers on Long Island, like Myron Nelkin, who built Fairhaven Apartments and the Garden City Hotel.
So we wrote life insurance and DBL for Fairhaven Apartments – 2,500 units – and the Garden City Hotel through DBL Center. I also handled a printing firm of about 400 other companies, and other Long Island businesses.
Dave was my guy.
What was it like doing business with DBL Center back then, 35 years ago?
I was writing life insurance and DBL. I would use DBL as the foot in the door, because nobody knew about it. Nobody knew it was an employer-funded, state-mandated benefit.
Back then, as far as back office support, it was all Eugene [Puleo]. Eugene was invaluable. Even after all these years, Eugene offers superb back office support, giving me prodigious confidence, accuracy, and the ability to make sales.
How was it different selling DBL back then from now?
It was all about in-person contact. There was no email. There were no excuses or delays because of the electronic convenience aspect. You did not have to wait for someone to reply. You did everything in person.
You made an appointment, you went in, and whether you were successful or not was up to you.
Dave abided by one-on-one communications. He had superior communication skills, just like my Dad. I was fortunate to have them both as mentors.
What set David and DBL Center apart from others in the industry back then?
The key word there is enthusiasm.
David Cohen had it. Murray had it. I had it. Certainly, Michael [Cohen, DBL Center President] has it. Beyond the education and everything else we need to sell insurance, enthusiasm is the key difference.
When someone sees our enthusiasm, we make the sale. Today, if I go in with Michael, we’re getting the client.
Tell us where the Friars Club connection comes in.
I met Michael when he was right out of college, and I remember thinking he had a great voice. Like his dad, communication was his strength.
I started talking to Michael about the Friars Club, and he said he wanted to join. I had been on the admissions committee for many years, and I’d been a member for 25 years, very involved with the club. So, I said, “Let’s go.”
He was the perfect candidate, so I sponsored his induction.
Michael has done a great job promoting DBL in conjunction with the Friars Club, booking comedians through the club, bringing clients there, and using it for networking.
For those who may not be familiar, what are the benefits of networking within the Friars Club?
The Friars Club is the largest entertainment club in the country, and it’s great networking. Two-thirds of the members are professional entertainers and the other one-third are non-professionals. But the celebrities and the non-celebrities are all on the same level.
When you bring clients there, you are including them in something special here in New York. You’re entertaining them like no other agent can.
Merging business with entertainment – that’s something Murray and David were brilliant at, and now Michael is doing it.
If you bring a prospect to the Friars Club, they are not leaving without becoming a client.
To learn more about booking comedians through the Friars Club for a holiday party or special event, call The DBL Center now.
Did you know that 98 percent of NJ TDB temporary disability benefits policies are written by the state?
Even though privatized TDB provides better service and faster payouts than state-funded temporary disability insurance in New Jersey, most business owners don’t know privatized TDB is an option for themselves and their employees.
For New Jersey brokers, this represents a tremendous opportunity for increased revenue. Even though commissions may not be as high as carriers offer for some other types of insurance, including ancillary benefits, the total commissions can add up over time.
NJ TDB is a mandatory benefit, and once a broker has a company signed up for privatized TDB, they are likely to continue renewing year after year, providing largely passive income for brokers.
And the State of New Jersey now has legislation in the works which could make it even easier for brokers to help their customers privatize their TDB.
Based on NJ temporary disability benefits law, any private TDB coverage must be equal to state-funded benefit amounts and duration of payments and have the same (or more liberal) eligibility requirements as the State Plan all at the same rates or better.
In addition to equal payments, which private NJ TDB must offer by law, many privatized plans also have faster service, payment choices in the form of direct deposit or a debit card, and an easier claims process.
The state of New Jersey is struggling to keep up with claims.
It often takes as long as four weeks from the date the claim is filed to begin paying claimants. In some cases, employees are back to work before they even begin to receive their disability benefits.
Often, this results in an already-overworked HR department spending time to help employees chase down their benefits. It can also affect employee morale and retention rates within a company.
Currently, to switch to a private TDB insurance plan in New Jersey, employers must get signatures from 50 % + 1 of the employees in a company before making the switch.
But the New Jersey State legislature has introduced a new bill that would waive the signature requirement for employers to switch to privatized TDB.
This eliminates one stumbling block brokers now face in getting their customers to switch their NJ TDB policies to a private carrier.
Private TDB insurance offers equal (or better) benefits, faster payout times, and less red tape for employers, all at the same rates as the State Plan.
If someone were to offer you an equal or better product at the same price, wouldn’t you accept it?
If the State of NJ waives signature requirements to switch TDB to a private carrier, it removes the last stumbling block for acceptance.
But the responsibility will rest with brokers to let their customers know that privatized TDB is an option, that it is easier to obtain than ever before, and that it can vastly improve the level of service businesses receive when it comes to TDB claims.
As January 1 approaches and employers begin renewing their TDB policies and getting ready to sign on for another year with the state, brokers in New Jersey should write to their legislators and request that the state waive the signature requirement for switching to a private TDB carrier.
Then, begin a campaign to let your customers know private TDB is an option.
Use email marketing, blog posts, social media, webinars, and printed handouts to spread the word. Network at local business events. Write an article for your local paper.
The market is wide open, with 98 percent of New Jersey businesses still writing their TDB coverage with the state. It’s your turn to carve a slice of that pie.
Reach out to existing customers who write their other insurance lines with your company and let them know you can offer them a better product at the same price the state of New Jersey offers. Use your reputation for white-glove customer service to sell TDB.
And let DBL Center help manage your TDB accounts, putting commissions in your pockets with a minimum of work on your part.
Need help getting your customers to switch?
DBL Center provides white-label, white-glove, concierge-level service to help brokers earn more.
Reach out to us today.
The DBL Center held some in house celebrations last week as we settled into our new Melville, Long Island office. But it’s not just our employees who benefit from our continued growth.
Thanks to the industry relationships we have fostered over the past 40 years as a wholesale general agency, we are in a position to offer brokers industry-high base commissions as well as bonuses for consolidating their book of business with DBL Center.
When you consolidate your book of business with DBL Center through select carriers, you’ll receive a 22.5% base commission, and a one-time bonus based on the dollar value of the new business.
When you move between $20,000 and $99,999, you’ll earn a 5% bonus on all new business. Earn a 10% one-time bonus if your book, including DBL policies under and over 50 lives, is between $100,000 and $149,000.
DBL Center is making it easy for you to move your book of business. Simply reach out to us for a spreadsheet detailing the information we need from you to help your customers make the switch. There is no need to fill out a new application for each case. Once the new policies are issued, you can cancel the existing in-force policies, save your customers money, and cash in on bonuses and generous commissions.
Earn More with PFL
These broker incentives are a direct result of the introduction of PFL, a mandatory benefit written as a rider to DBL coverage in NY.
Not every carrier is writing PFL riders, so you may be in the process of helping your customers switch carriers. By letting DBL Center shop around for DBL policies for both under and over 50 lives, you may earn better commissions on PFL. DBL Center rewards you for a business move you may have to make, anyway.
PFL has had a huge learning curve for everyone, and our brokers deserve to be rewarded for their hard work and knowledge they provide to their customers. Together with our carrier partners, we are helping PFL pay off for our brokers.
Why It Pays to Consolidate Your Book of Business
If you aren’t using DBL Center for DBL over and under 50 lives, you could be missing out on high commissions, bonuses, white-glove service, and the convenience of using one wholesale general agency for your whole book of statutory business. Having one point of contact, a professional you can trust if you have questions or need personalized service, is always easier. As DBL Center continues to grow, we can offer even more to our loyal brokers.
This fall, we will introduce our new broker dashboard, making it even easier for you to track all your DBL business and revenue from one intuitive app.
The DBL Center team keeps working hard to offer our brokers more and to make it easy to do business with us.
With our new broker incentives package, there was never a better time to trust us to write your disability policies, ancillary benefits packages, and more.
Let us know how DBL Center can serve you today.
Did you know 85% of business owners buy TDB in NJ (temporary disability benefits) through the state?
If private TDB coverage is so much better, why aren’t more business owners and HR directors switching?
Most New Jersey business owners simply don’t know there’s a better way.
That’s where DBL Center brokers come in.
You can gain your customers’ trust, increase business referrals, and earn commission on a mandatory insurance product by showing your customers the benefits of private TDB coverage.
1. Employees enjoy faster payouts with private TDB.
When your customers make a TDB claim through a private carrier, they can start receiving a check in as little as 7 days. Employees who make claims through the state insurance fund might wait months for their first check.
In addition, employees can choose to receive a debit card or check and even determine the schedule of their disability income, so they can stick to the budget they’ve established when they were working.
2. Get your questions answered faster with extended service hours.
Have a question about a NJ TDB claim after normal office hours? The Department of Labor Temporary Disability Insurance call center is only open from 8 am to 5:30 pm, Monday and Tuesday, and from 8:30 to 4:30 Wednesday through Friday.
Most insurance carriers have extended hours, and many even offer the ability to check claim status online 24/7. Plus, DBL Center brokers will be able to reach out to the DBL Center directly, 24/7, through the broker dashboard once it is launched this fall. There is no reason for anyone to stay awake wondering about the status of their disability claim.
3. Work with carriers who care.
We’ve all done business with state and federal agencies. The DMV. The state IRS. The post office. There is a reason Amazon uses its own delivery company. Government services typically involve a lower quality of service, slower response time, and lots of red tape.
When you work with top carriers to buy private TDB coverage, you can deliver a higher level of service than your customers would receive anywhere else.
You’ll gain access to the DBL Center’s back office staff to answer your customers’ questions, help process claims, and ensure your customers are getting the best rates.
4. Lock in low rates.
Will the state of New Jersey increase TDB rates? Every November, the insurance industry plays a guessing game before the NJSIF announces its rates for the coming year. If rates go up, you’ll be scrambling to write your customers’ policies with private carriers for more competitive pricing.
Why not beat the rush and help them switch to a private carrier now? You may even be able to lock in low rates for two to three years.
You can only switch to privatize TDB coverage on the first day of every quarter. Now is the time to start thinking about helping your customers make the switch on October 1.
5. Save money by bundling TDB with ancillary benefits.
From small businesses to large corporations, most companies want to save money. Even if the NJSIF premiums remain the same next year, your customers could still save money with private TDB coverage.
Most TDB carriers also provide voluntary ancillary benefits packages, including vision, dental, and group life coverage.
That’s something your customers won’t find with the state insurance fund. And if you bundle ancillary benefits with a TDB package, your clients can save money all around, while providing employees with an enticing benefits package that may help retention rates in their company.
Let The DBL Center Help Your Customers Switch
Making the switch to private TDB coverage isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.
When you work with DBL Center, we will shop around for you to find the best terms and service for your customers. Once you’ve made the sale, The DBL Center will provide your customers with the paperwork they need, walk you both through the process, and make sure the switch to private TDB coverage happens seamlessly. Your customers will feel good about the money they saved and the service they are receiving.
Learn more about how New Jersey insurance brokers are using private TDB coverage to increase their bottom line. Then reach out to your friends at The DBL Center to get started.
It’s tax season once again and for insurance brokers, it’s also a good time to reflect on ways to improve business efficiency in your insurance agency.
For small to mid-size businesses in New York and New Jersey, including many DBL Center brokers, March means working with your tax accountant, sorting through receipts and expenses, running QuickBooks reports, and reviewing your annual revenue.
But there is a lot of data hidden inside those numbers besides just how much you owe the I.R.S. Are you tracking and leveraging your business analytics to their full capacity? The DBL Center is introducing a tool that will allow property & casualty and other licensed agents the ability to do just that.
QuickBooks and other accounting software provides reports to help you track income and expenses, but it is not tailored to an insurance agency. You can’t view the profitability of different types of insurance or different types of customers. You can’t track cancellation trends so you can improve customer retention. And you can’t reliably predict cash flow or opportunities for growth without a way to track renewals.
CRM software can help your insurance agency sales team track leads to generate new business. But someone in your office has to input the data and your sales team has to be invested enough in the process to use it.
Our new Net Revenue Tracker is tailored to P&C insurance brokers to help you manage all your accounts and spot opportunities for growth. It connects directly to your DBL Center back office so all the analytics you need are at your fingertips at any time, wherever you may be. The cloud-based software functions seamlessly and securely on any internet-enabled device, including a desktop PC or Mac, laptop, or Android- or iOs-based smartphone or tablet.
The Net Revenue Tracker provides the information most important to help you grow your book of business, enabling you to track the profitability of specific accounts, track policy renewal dates so you can be proactive about renewals and up-sells, and view important business metrics at a glance.
You can view accounts by carrier to see where you might want to diversify to protect your business interests, and where it might benefit your customers to consolidate for better coverage and lower premiums.
And because it is based on software we’ve used here at The DBL Center for years, we know it is user-friendly to help you increase efficiency and streamline your business processes.
As you’re assessing your business processes to increase efficiencies and track your revenue more effectively, it’s also important to begin thinking about tax strategies for 2018.
This year’s tax season should be straightforward for most insurance brokers, or at least business as usual. The big changes went into effect beginning this year and will be reflected on corporate taxes filed in March 2019. Talk to your tax accountant about the new tax laws and how they may affect your business — and your customers’ businesses, for that matter.
With reduced or eliminated deductions for fringe benefits like transportation, meals and entertainment, employers and HR directors may be looking to enrich disability coverage and ancillary benefits to recruit and retain top talent. Our Net Revenue Tracker can help you spot these opportunities for increased sales with existing customers at your New York insurance agency.
Be one of the first brokers to catch a sneak preview of the software in a live webinar demonstration.
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One of The DBL Center’s preferred carrier partners, AmTrust, offers the information you need to help your clients get ready for PFL and ensure compliance.
“At the early stage of any new insurance regulation, education is key.” This is how Joy Maas, Director of Marketing, Sales, and Accountant Management for AmTrust Financial Services, a top provider of New York and NJ state disability benefits, began our recent conversation about the Paid Family Leave regulations going into effect January 1, 2018.
For employers, education means learning how to ensure compliance with the new regulations, understanding what the PFL benefit covers, and knowing where to turn with questions they might have.
For our insurance brokers, it means partnering with carriers, through The DBL Center, who are prepared to offer PFL as a rider to existing DBL policies. More importantly, it means taking advantage of the tools and resources available so that you can continue to educate your clients on what they need to know.
“One of the best ways brokers can get more attention and write more business, right now, is to be the expert on the topic of PFL,” Maas continues. “Be the educator.”
Resources for Brokers
Since the day the news broke about PFL, The DBL Center has kept our brokers updated with information via our blog, newsletters, and a seminar series hosted and sponsored by The DBL Center and featuring our top carriers.
Brokers who show their customers they are well-versed in PFL will be in a position to earn additional business by writing PFL riders to existing DBL policies, and brokers who write their business with The DBL Center have a choice of top carriers and a host of resources at their fingertips.
PFL Compliance is Key
Of all the details available about PFL, compliance is, perhaps, the most critical. Brokers can use consultative selling techniques to build trust and explain how employers can purchase PFL coverage to avoid hefty fines and liabilities.
Employers should know, PFL compliance requires that they:
Penalties for Non-Compliance
Additionally, employers should know that the Workers’ Comp Board is allowed to assess non-compliance penalties up to ½ of 1 percent of the employers’ weekly payroll for the period of non-compliance, as well as mandating that the employer pay any PFL claims. An additional penalty of up to $500 may also be assessed.
Non-compliance is pricey, while PFL compliance is simple. And although we don’t know the premium rates at this time, we should know soon. When the rate is announced, you’ll be sure to read about it here on The DBL Center blog and in our newsletter.
Let the Education Continue
Maas asserts that the brokers who are willing to educate their clients on PFL are the ones who will win the business—and possibly even sell enriched DBL policies at the same time. “Let your clients know what PFL means, how it looks, and what they can do to prepare,” she tells brokers.
Maas and her colleague, David Clark, will co-present a seminar sponsored by The DBL Center Ltd. and hosted by DBL Center Partner Michael Cohen on June 7, 2017, from 2 to 4 PM at The DBL Center headquarters in Melville, NY. For details please send an email to email@example.com. Space is limited.
At this fun and informative event, both AmTrust and DBL Center representatives will answer our brokers’ questions about PFL and share all the details you need to sell this new mandatory benefit knowledgeably.
Being a P&C or Life & Health insurance broker in the Tri-State area isn’t easy. Constant regulatory changes in healthcare, taxation related to estate planning, and, most recently, new Paid Family Leave (PFL) laws, make it harder than ever for even the best brokers to keep up. A consultative selling approach is crucial to grow your book of business and, for that to occur, brokers must stay educated about regulatory changes. This leaves less time for sales, putting brokers in a tough spot.
If you’re a veteran to this industry, you know things aren’t what they used to be. In the 1980s and 1990s, insurance companies offered exciting bonuses beyond the usual financial rewards, which made all the hard work and hustle worth it. From luxury trips to sporting events, black-tie dinners, and more, these bonuses made the industry fun, and helped create a tight-knit community of carriers and brokers with a true passion for the insurance industry and everything it offered.
It’s virtually impossible, today, for an individual broker working on their own to achieve the kind of sales figures that warrant these rewards. Due to diminishing margins, carriers have made bonus qualifications more difficult, while brokers find it harder to write new business. Most of the incentives that carriers offer today go to their own employees, not their broker clients.
But here at The DBL Center, we remember how it was, and we want to bring the spark of excitement that once helped the insurance industry thrive. Most importantly, we want to reward the brokerage community that works so hard to sell important insurance products.
The DBL Center, as an insurance wholesaler, can leverage group buying power, as well as our relationships in the entertainment industry and specifically with Steiner Sports and the Friar’s Club, to bring back the bonuses and perks industry veterans remember and younger brokers will love.
With high commission rates, white-glove service, and unique incentive packages from Steiner Sports that you won’t find with any other insurance wholesaler, The DBL Center goes above and beyond to help our brokers succeed —and reward them when they do.
We offer industry-high commission rates based on sales. Our brokers don’t have to struggle to meet new business production goals and we have no high-level persistency requirements.
We also provide a host of tools, including a 24/7 mobile broker application scheduled to be released in September and a frequently updated blog and newsletter, to help brokers stay on top of the latest news and developments. We also provide free educational seminars for our brokers, held at top New York Tri-State area venues like the Friar’s Club in midtown Manhattan and conveniently located Long Island hotels and wineries.
We also provide one-of-a-kind incentives that top-performing brokers won’t find anywhere else, thanks to our partnerships with The Friar’s Club and Steiner Sports Collectibles.
We offer our incentives based on premiums alone. We don’t require new business quotas to be filled each year which means, we don’t expect a minimum number of lines to be written, nor minimum production percentages to be met.
Simply meet the DBL Center’s tiers for premiums, and gain access to a choice of star-studded galas, up-close sports experiences and more.
Dinner with Harvey Keitel or Regis Philbin? We can do that. A uniquely New York comedy night with writers from the Jimmy Fallon and Howard Stern Shows? You’ve got it. A black-tie affair honoring Martin Scorsese? These are all events DBL Center brokers have enjoyed—on us—as a reward for meeting minimum premium tiers. If you prefer to gift one of your best customers with one of these experiences of a lifetime, we can arrange that, too.
In the past, we’ve provided all-inclusive luxury suites at Yankee Stadium, Steiner Sports celebrity meet-and-greets, seats in the Coaches Club at MetLife Stadium for a Giants game, or field-level seats and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to take batting practice with the New York Yankees.
We don’t make our incentive packages complicated with a minimum line count or complicated retention factors. Meet one of our three premium tiers and become a DBL Center VIP, earning an experience of your choice commensurate with your success.
We have a number of other plans in the works to reward our top DBL performers, too. We can offer an intimate DBL Center luxury sporting event for our brokers and their clients through Steiner Sports or tickets to a Friar’s Club roast, which only takes place twice a year.
For years, The DBL Center has been providing white-glove, concierge-like service to our brokers and their customers, serving as a back-office staff for our brokers, freeing them to write more business instead of spending time servicing existing accounts.
Our incentive packages take our philosophy of concierge service one step further. Our life-long relationships with some of the most famous names in sports and entertainment allow us to help top brokers enjoy the experience of a lifetime or even fulfill a celebrity or sports related dream.
To us, concierge service means taking those extra steps to ensure our brokers and their customers always feel like VIPs.
Call The DBL Center today to find out how we can help you reach one of our VIP tiers even faster.
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.
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:
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.
In the past year, we’ve been staying on top of the news and we’ve discovered some interesting facts:
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.
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.