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.
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.
by Dawn Allcot
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 burden 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.
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.
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.
by Michael Cohen
If you’re a health insurance, disability insurance, or P&C broker you understand the pain of dwindling profit margins, increased premiums, and reduced choices for your customers. Good brokers look for ways to save their loyal customers money and deliver greater value.More brokers, today, are discovering they can save their customers money on disability insurance and ancillary benefits if they bundle insurance benefits together and purchasing from one wholesaler.
The Time-Tested Concept of Bundling Services
The idea of “bundling” services to save money isn’t new. About a decade ago, before streaming video services broadened our television horizons beyond cable, consumers bundled their home phone, cable, and Internet service together for substantial savings. People still do it today—although there are even more technology options available.
In the insurance industry, P&C brokers are very familiar with a number of ways to bundle insurance coverage. Individual and business customers alike may bundle property and auto insurance under one carrier for significant savings.
Why not take that one step further and bundle insurance products like your corporate customers’ ancillary benefits under one carrier, too?
Whether you’re a broker currently selling P&C products, health insurance, or disability coverage, you can bundle insurance together through The DBL Center Ltd. and pass the savings on to your customers. They might be encouraged to purchase additional ancillary benefits or products like enriched DBL with the savings. You’ll build loyalty and develop even better relationships with your corporate customers as you take a consultative selling approach to your business.
What Can You Bundle?
Traditionally, many companies bundled health-related insurance products like vision and dental coverage through their health insurance provider. But the Affordable Care Act has led to increased premiums and decreased coverage.
Smart brokers—including P&C and best-in-class health insurance brokers—can fill those gaps when they bundle insurance like dental and vision coverage, previously purchased through health insurance companies. It makes just as much sense, today, to bundle ancillary benefits with mandatory disability coverage—a product your customers in New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii need to buy anyway.
The DBL Center also provides long-term disability, Group Life / AD&D, enhanced disability, and other benefits in bundled packages for cost savings and easier management of policies. We can even help you provide customers with 401K employee retirement benefits. For smaller businesses and individuals, we offer disability income replacement (DI) coverage and individual life insurance, giving our brokers endless options to cater to any size customer.
Let The DBL Center Do the Work
By working through The DBL Center Ltd., you always have one point-of-contact for all your insurance sales, commission checks, and customer service, saving you time. And you’ll save your customers even more money by letting us help you bundle insurance benefits under one carrier.
We will shop around to find your customers the best rates, including the lowest premiums and highest quality coverage, in a bundled benefits package. We do it all, acting as your white-glove back office service staff to write the policies and service your customers in a white-label capacity, freeing you up to sell more insurance, recruit new customers, expand your book of business, and cash commission checks made out directly to you.
Bundling benefits makes sense for brokers and their customers. So does working with an insurance wholesaler to capitalize on a number of different ways to bundle insurance. Why not call The DBL Center and get started today?
Do you spend the time to shop each carrier for every client, in order to secure the lowest premiums and best coverage plans for your customers? Or maybe you work with a select group of high-rated carriers and rely on those insurance providers for the bulk of your business in order to streamline your operations and processes. Have you considered the benefits of working with an insurance wholesaler to gain better access to carriers and provide a higher level of service to your customers? In short, an insurance wholesaler can save you time and help you earn more money.
If you’re a P&C broker, working with an insurance wholesaler can help you expand your book of business and increase your commissions while spending less time on every sale. Let’s look at some of the benefits of partnering with an insurance wholesaler to write new business and service and expand existing accounts.
1. An insurance wholesaler provides greater access to a broader choice of carriers.
Now in its 40th year in business, the DBL Center Ltd. works with the top-rated, well-known, highly respected carriers of mandatory disability coverage, group life / AD&D coverage, and ancillary benefits. Each of our carriers has a minimum A- rating (some with A++ ratings) from Standard & Poors, and provides us with the most competitive rates based on our contracts and block of premium that we manage through them, which we in turn offer the brokerage community.
2. Insurance wholesalers have a better, broad knowledge base of the market.
Our account representatives are experts in consultative selling, with a deep understanding of the Statutory and Employee Benefits space, in order to provide your customers and their employees with the best benefits packages and most affordable premiums. We spend time and money on employee training and education, so our account representatives are always up-to-date on the latest trends and industry technology, making it easier for brokers to provide a higher level of service to their customers.
3. An insurance wholesaler does all the legwork—the hard work—so you, as a broker, can focus on attracting new customers and expanding your book of business quickly and easily.
Imagine having a partner you can trust to provide your customers with the best policies and lowest premiums available on everything from state-mandated disability coverage to ancillary benefits such as Life, Long & Short Term Disability, vision and dental coverage. That’s what the DBL Center Ltd. provides. We write every policy through our white-glove, white-label service, so it’s your name and agency number that appears on every form.
We provide the highest level of round-the-clock service to the insured, so you don’t have to spend time on servicing accounts. Send us the necessary information to provide you with a fair quote for your customer, we will bind and write the policy, and you cash the commission check. It really is that easy.
4. We recognize additional opportunities for increased revenue for our brokers.
As the Affordable Care Act reduced health benefits for a number of companies and employees nationwide, Life and Health brokers are in a unique opportunity to bridge that gap with voluntary ancillary benefit policies for workers. P&C brokers are sitting on additional revenue streams, simply by offering these niche products to their commercial clients with the help of an insurance wholesaler to guide them through the process.
The DBL Center Ltd. has been in the business of ancillary benefits, as an offshoot of our disability insurance products, for decades. We are happy to help P&C brokers increase their commissions through the sale of voluntary or employer paid ancillary benefits.
5. We offer training and value-added services to our brokers.
The DBL Center is here to help our brokers every step of the way, because your success is our success. To that end, we provide training resources, mentoring, and information on industry trends, including the articles we post here on this blog every week.
We also provide value-added services, from lining up entertainment for your holiday party to acting as a concierge service if you want to show a top client a once-in-a-lifetime night on the town. Now, thanks to a partnership with Steiner Sports, the number one source for sports memorabilia, with exclusive contracts with many top professional athletes, the DBL Center Ltd. can book celebrity appearances, comedy acts, and other entertainment for corporate events and outings.
Interested in increasing your commission and enhancing the service you provide to customers? Contact The DBL Center today.
Smart business owners and HR professionals look for ways to reduce health care and other insurance premiums. And the best brokers want to assist in these efforts, too. After all, reduced premiums and better coverage creates happier, repeat customers. If you’re an insurance broker and aren’t providing your customers with the lowest rates possible on mandatory disability coverage and ancillary benefits, including dental, vision, and life insurance—they will shop their policies elsewhere to find a lower rate and/or better coverage.
One way to keep insurance rates low for everyone is to reduce the number of claims. Which brings us to a point you may not have considered: Did you know that happier employees are also healthier employees?
We’re going to take this one step further, so stay with us here. Daily laughter has been shown to boost immunity, help prevent diseases, and even reduce chronic pain.
Let’s look at three ways daily laughter can help create healthier employees (who, as a result, might make fewer disability claims due to chronic pain or disease).
Did you know:
1. Laughter helps the body fight disease—naturally.
Laughter reduces stress, and studies show that people who are stressed can’t fight illness as well. It also boosts immunity and disease-fighting antibodies.
2. Laughter can help relieve pain.
Laughter releases endorphins—the body’s natural pain relievers. We’re not saying you should ignore chronic pain, as it could be indicative of a larger problem, but if you feel a stress headache coming on, a belly laugh could be just what the doctor ordered.
3. Laughter protects the heart.
Laughter increases blood flow almost as well as cardio exercise, helping to keep the heart strong against heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.
These claims may seem far-fetched, but they have been studied for years and are backed by science. (Anyone remember Patch Adams?) Plus, everyone likes to laugh. There really isn’t a downside to bringing more fun into your workplace.
The DBL Center Ltd. has a new program in place that helps to make it possible. Through a partnership with Steiner Sports, we can book top sports stars, performers, and comedians to perform at your next corporate outing, holiday party, or charity event.
DBL Center partner Michael Cohen has a strong history in the comedy world as a former stand-up comedian and a continuing member of the Friar’s Club. Although he’s made insurance his life calling, he continues to seek ways to merge the two worlds.
Our arrangement with Steiner Sports is yet another element in the white-glove, first-class service The DBL Center provides to its customers. Our brokers can lighten up their own workplaces with laughter, or provide top comedy acts for their customers’ events through The DBL Center as a value-added service.
So why not bring a little laughter into your workplace? We’re not saying it will eliminate the need for high-quality long-term disability and ancillary employee benefit plans — these insurance benefits will always be important. But it might boost productivity, reduce sick time, and maybe even cut back on pricey insurance claims that cost everyone money.
Will you join us in our mission to get New York, New Jersey, Hawaii and the rest of the United States laughing a little more?
No matter how diligent an employer is about workplace safety, accidents happen. Workplace accidents—and employees who lose time due to workers’ compensation claims—can damage company morale and cost employers additional time and money.
However, a recent report shows that 47 percent of large companies who offer disability insurance (DI) show a decrease in workers’ comp claims. In addition, 43 percent of small businesses and 33 percent of mid-sized companies reported a drop in claims. The reduction in claims was substantial for all companies: 15 percent of all employers reported declines of 50 percent or more, and 15 percent reported declines of 25 to 49 percent.
Disability insurance, including mandatory or enhanced DBL coverage in New York, TDB in New Jersey and TDI in Hawaii, as well as private Short Term Disability and Long-Term Disability, typically pays faster than workers’ comp cases, and it’s easier for employees to file a claim. It’s no wonder employees would rather be paid through insurance coverage, especially when the broker can walk them through the claims process and provide white-glove service every step of the way!
In addition, employees could wait months for a workers’ compensation claim to begin paying. Most people cannot live without a paycheck—especially as medical bills begin to add up. After a one-week waiting period in New York, employees can begin collecting DBL benefits for up to 26 consecutive weeks.
It’s faster and easier for employees to file disability insurance claims than workers’ compensation claims. And it’s also faster and easier for employers, with less paperwork to fill out. Additionally, many workers’ compensation cases end up in court to prove the extent of the injuries. Disability insurance claims do not require the business to retain legal counsel to defend itself in a workers’ comp case, saving employers both time and money.
While it should be obvious that workers’ comp only applies to on-the-job injuries, the reduction in claims when other options, such as state-mandated disability coverage, short-term disability, or long-term disability insurance—is offered might make HR directors and other business leaders wonder about the incidence of workers’ compensation fraud. Fraudulent claims hurt everyone, costing employers in real dollars, wasted time, and damaged employee morale.
It’s important to reiterate that workers’ comp should only cover on-the-job accidents or injuries. But off-the-job injuries are far more likely to occur, with 729 people injured every 10 minutes, according to the National Safety Council. Businesses collectively lose more than $15 million from these injuries.
While a good disability benefits package won’t eliminate these costs, it can improve employee retention following an accident, and alleviate some of the financial burden on an injured or ill employee—perhaps resulting in a faster recovery and return to work.
If you own a business in the state of New York, New Jersey or Hawaii, you already provide your employees with mandatory disability coverage (DBL, TDB, and TDI, respectively.) An enhanced benefits package may help reduce workers’ comp claims further by enabling better claim service and greater benefits. Businesses in other states should also consider offering STD or LTD coverage to their employees to reduce workers’ comp claims and save money.
The DBL Center Ltd. can help.
New Jersey has some of the best mandatory temporary disability benefits (TDB) in the country for its employees, offering two-thirds of the employee’s weekly wages up to $615 per week for a maximum of 26 weeks. If you’re a New York Tri-state area insurance broker, you may wonder why you’d bother selling privatized TDB insurance to businesses in New Jersey.
Our servicing General Agency works in conjunction with preferred private insurance carriers we represent to find you better rates than the NJ Department of Labor, which fluctuates on an annual basis. But almost more important than the savings, by privatizing your TDB insurance offerings for certain customers and bundling it with other ancillary group benefits, you can lower your customers’ insurance premiums on all their benefits while increasing your commissions.
Sounds compelling, right?
At the same time, you’ll enjoy a higher quality of service through The DBL Center and our highly experienced back office staff who is here to serve yours and your clients’ needs. We’ll answer questions about claims, and always ensure you’re getting the best value in your insurance coverage for your clients.
Let’s explore some of the ways you can earn more commission with ancillary group benefits and privatized TDB coverage in NJ.
It’s no secret that many employees (and employers, for that matter) are upset by the affect the Affordable Care Act had on their healthcare coverage. Increased premiums, higher deductibles, and fewer choices in carriers may cause talented, in-demand employees in competitive fields to hunt for jobs with better benefits.
The only up-side is that ancillary benefits are now an easier sell. Employees might be paying more for healthcare coverage, but they can get a better value on vision or dental coverage – which may have, previously, been part of their healthcare plan.
Insurance brokers can save the day for business owners, CEOs, HR directors, and employees, with benefits that employees want at premium rates they can afford. At the same time, you’ll earn more commission because you’re selling larger benefits packages, without adding new customers. You’ll save time and increase your earnings all in one step, with The DBL Center beside you for support every stepof the way.
When you write NJ TDB policies with a private carrier through InsuranceWholesaler.net, you’ll enjoy the white label, white glove service The DBL Center is famous for. We become your full-service, back-office support staff, while your customers associate the stellar service with you and your firm. Your customers will get more flexibility in how and when benefits are paid, and you can even increase the amount of coverage with just a small increase in premium rates.
When you write your TDB insurance policies, plus ancillary benefits such as Group Life / AD&D, long-term disability, short-term disability, Dental and Vision through The DBL Center, you’ll earn additional discounts for your customers, with no extra work by you, the broker. Just like bundling your home phone, cable and internet under the same provider offers you discounts, or writing your home and auto insurance under one policy gives you lower rates, bundling employee benefits nets big discounts, happier customers – and overall higher commissions because you’re expanding your book of business with very little extra work.
If you’d like more information on how privatized TDB insurance in New Jersey can benefit you and your customers, contact The DBL Center.
If you or your spouse has read or seen the new novel “Meternity,” you might find the premise unrealistic – if not completely ridiculous. The book’s author, Meghann Foye believes women who choose not to have children should still receive paid time off during their child-bearing years. She wrote a novel exploring what might happen if a 30-something worker faked a pregnancy to claim her “meternity” leave. “[A]s I watched my friends take their real maternity leaves, I saw that spending three months detached from their desks made them much more sure of themselves,” Foye writes in the NY Post.
But rather than revealing how unfair maternity leave is to childless workers, the book, in fact, succeeds to showcase the shortcomings in minimum employee benefits across the board. And the insurance industry is in a good space to help HR directors and CEO solve these problems.
In New York, employees currently file for maternity leave under disability benefits law, which entitles new mothers to receive up to $170 per week for 26 weeks, maximum. Depending on their salary, this amount may be much lower, as DBL is calculated as 50 percent of the claimant’s average weekly pay. Many parents can’t afford this level of pay cut, so choose to stay home only 12 weeks; most day care facilities accept children as young as three months, but not younger than that.
With the introduction of federal mandatory Paid Family Leave benefits next year, maternity packages will be more enticing. But for now, creating fair maternity leave policies – as well as equitable benefits packages for the rest of their employees – is in the hands of business owners.
Employers have the choice to offer more than the minimum DBL coverage. An enriched DBL package in New York can bring the percentage of benefits closer to the employee’s salary. Enriched DBL could mean new parents — today, two years before PFL goes into effect — may not have to cut corners as much at a time when their living expenses increased because they had to add the cost of diapers, baby products, and additional medical coverage and care to the family budget.
Enriched DBL also makes it possible for new mothers to take their full 26 weeks, going back to work when the baby is six months old instead of just three. Of course, it’s not like babies are self-sufficient at this age, but they are more interactive and many are sleeping through the night – which makes getting up in the morning to go to work that much easier from a physical perspective.
But let’s get back to that book that casts a resentful eye on working mothers everywhere. Certainly, some employees do feel resentment toward working parents, but anyone who has friends who are working moms – or who has ever had a conversation with a mom about work/life balance – knows it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Parents don’t look forward to missing days of work due to children’s illnesses or leaving early for school meetings. In fact, they begin to fear their job security and it can make it harder for them to get ahead in a competitive workplace.
However, as we all know in the business world, appearance and perception matters. If your other employees harbor resentment toward members of your workforce, it’s time to make a change.
Short of providing a paid sabbatical to childless workers, ask them what kind of benefits they’d prefer. Maybe it’s a better retirement plan. Or group life insurance coverage for themselves and a spouse. Maybe your employees are unhappy with their health care coverage and would like ancillary benefits like dental and vision.
Bundled with enriched DBL coverage in New York, these benefits become very affordable. Talk to your insurance broker or contact The DBL Center, today, and we will connect you with a trusted partner who can help.
Effective January 1, 2018, New York joins the progressive states of California, New Jersey and Rhode Island to require mandatory Paid Family Leave for all qualifying employees. This affects all business owners in New York State, not just those with 50+ employees.
If you’re an insurance broker already providing Disability Benefits Law (DBL) coverage or enhanced DBL, your clients may have questions about this new benefit. First, it’s important to understand that PFL is not the same as the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA only secures an employee’s job and does not provide additional funds should an employee have to take a leave of absence due to childbirth, caring for a disabled child or caring for an older family member. A federal program, FMLA only applies to employers with 50+ employees.
Unlike FMLA, 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.
To qualify for PFL benefits, a full-time employee must have worked 26 or more consecutive weeks. Part-time employees must have worked 175 days. PFL benefits will be phased in over time to reach the maximum paid leave, never exceeding a percentage of the state’s average weekly wage (AWW), beginning January 1, 2018. Benefit amounts are as follows:
Beginning January 2018: 50 percent of the employee’s AWW for 8 weeks
Beginning January 2019: 55 percent of the employee’s AWW for 10 weeks
Beginning January 2020: 60 percent of the employee’s AWW for up to 10 weeks
Beginning January 2021 and on: 67 percent of the employee’s AWW up to 12 weeks
Employees are permitted – but not required – to use their accrued vacation time or PTO in addition to PFL benefits, but cannot claim DBL and PFL at the same time. PFL benefits begin on the first full day the employee requires paid family leave. When possible, the employee should give 30 days’ notice, but if this isn’t possible, such as in the event of a family emergency, or a premature birth, they should let the employer know as soon as possible. In either case, benefits can start on the first day off. The PFL benefit is funded by a nominal employee contribution; employers are not required to fund any portion of the PFL benefit. However, employers must invest in a policy that covers both DBL and PFL benefits under the same policy, but, as of right now, New York State Disability Benefits Law will not change under this new legislation. This could be the first step in legislation that would increase the statutory benefit in phases. That’s why it’s a great opportunity to evaluate your customers’ DBL coverage now to prepare for what may come.
As you re-write your customers’ DBL policies to cover PFL in preparation for January 2018 and beyond, this represents an opportunity to employ consultative selling techniques to increase your customers’ DBL policies with Enhanced DBL coverage.
Keep in mind: Employers are not required to fund PFL coverage, so no money comes out of their pockets as their employees’ benefit coverage improves. This is a great time to re-evaluate your customers’ DBL coverage. Are they doing enough for their loyal employees? What if you could increase the employees’ nominal contributions just a bit more, beyond PFL coverage, and provide an enhanced DBL policy that offers expanded benefits and more flexibility in how employees collect those benefits? Employers might even be willing to match employee contributions for a more robust enhanced DBL policy.
These are pre-tax benefits, and with the 2016 presidential election coming up, the future remains uncertain. Will taxes go up for the working middle class to fund programs the new president may support? Employees and employers alike will be looking for additional ways to reduce their tax liability. Increasing insurance coverage for events that are likely to occur (and may even be planned), such as the birth of a child, a spouse’s military service, or the illness of an aging parent, provides a peace-of-mind that is hard for middle class, working Americans to find in today’s economic climate.
The new PFL requirements fill an important space today. These benefits affect every generation of worker, as “sandwich generation” or Generation X, and Baby Boomer employees face hardships caring for aging loved ones, and younger GenX and Millennial workers may plan to start families through childbirth or adoption.
Today’s insurance brokers are in a unique position to support a program that supports American families, while increasing their own commissions through consultative selling of PFL and enhanced DBL benefits in New York.