PFL Claim Forms and More - DBL Center Launches Paid Family Leave Resource Center

 

New Paid Family Leave Resource Center presents PFL claim forms and more

 

We are well into 2018 and, as a New York insurance broker, you’ve got the basics of Paid Family Leave down.

It’s the new comprehensive, mandatory insurance that provides the financial support needed for new parents, military spouses, and those caring for aging or ill loved ones. It’s added as rider to your customer’s existing DBL policies in New York. That part should have already been done.

But now the fun for brokers begins, because your customers still have questions.

  • How do I make a PFL claim?
  • Where can I find PFL claim forms?
  • Should I file for DBL or PFL?
  • Where does the Family Medical Leave Act fit in?

This is new territory for CEOs, HR directors, and insurance brokers, too.

But the DBL Center, with our commitment to white glove service, has the answers and PFL claim forms our brokers and their customers need.

We recently launched a new Paid Family Leave resource center. It’s a single-scroll page within our InsuranceWholesaler.net website that provides a host of information about Paid Family Leave in New York, including PFL claim forms, handy PDFs, and more.

The PFL Claim Forms and Documents You Need

We’ve heard from our brokers that many of their customers are looking for PFL claim forms. It’s important to note that The DBL Center does not process insurance claims. We are an insurance wholesaler dedicated to providing the best service to our brokers.

Because our job is to serve our brokers, we’ve stocked our Paid Family Leave Resource Center with handy links and PDFs, including the IRS form that describe the tax ramifications of PFL, and a document showing the current PFL rates.

We’ve also provided links to PFL claim forms. There are multiple PFL Claim forms. Which one you use depends on whether the paid leave is for bonding with an infant or adopted child, caring for a sick or aging relative, or caring for a family while a military spouse is deployed. We’ve provided links to all of them.

Finally, we’ve uploaded PFL claim forms branded for each of the three major carriers and have them housed in Dropbox for easy download. Get Shelterpoint, AmTrust, and Standard Security PFL claim forms here.

How Much Will PFL Cost Your Employees?

The DBL Center is proud to be the first insurance wholesaler to provide an interactive PFL calculator right on our website. HR directors, accountants, and CEOs can know the costs of PFL coverage before they call their broker.

Using our PFL calculator, employers will know how much their premiums will be so there are no surprises. After using our calculator, they will have gathered all the necessary information they need to provide so you can write the policy quickly and easily.

Partnering with Carriers to Give Our Brokers the Information They Need

Change can be scary. We started talking about changes in our industry back in February 2017. Now it’s here.

In addition to publishing our PFL Resource Center, we are also partnering with top carriers like Standard Security, Shelterpoint, AmTrust, Hartford, and Guardian to present webinars explaining the specifics of PFL coverage and to better help their brokers answer specific customer questions.

Our marketing team is hard at work sharing our knowledge on LinkedIn and on our blog, and we are even publishing consumer-facing articles on top insurance carriers’ websites to provide actionable insights on transitioning to a world with Paid Family Leave while keeping workflow consistent and maintaining employee morale.

In short, we are deploying all our resources to make it easier for our brokers to continue providing stellar service to their customers, answers to their questions, and the resources and PFL claim forms they need to make a smooth transition.


DBL Center App Gives Brokers Access to the Future of Insurance

DBL Center app with mobile and desktop dashboards gives brokers more choices and easier account management

The DBL Center app for our insurance brokers

Earlier this year, The DBL Center announced the upcoming launch of a mobile app and dedicated website that provides our brokers access to a DBL Center app dashboard to manage all your accounts easily online, from anywhere with Internet access.

By the beginning of Fall 2017, DBL Center brokers can look forward to seeing the app rolled out and fully functional. “We’re on the time frame we expected for the successful launch of this app by the end of the third quarter, beginning of the fourth,” says DBL Center President Michael Cohen. “I couldn’t be prouder of our team for meeting our very ambitious interim deadlines. As we round the turn to completion, I’m excited to see the app change the way our brokers conduct their daily business in faster, more convenient ways.”

Cohen wants to clarify the functionality of the DBL Center app and desktop site, based on feedback he’s heard from those who have viewed the beta version. “This is not a portal,” he says. “This is a dashboard that provides our brokers with everything they need from an account management basis to compare premiums and bind policies easily from anywhere they happen to be.”

Of course, The DBL Center employees are still available to answer questions and provide the same level of white-glove service we always have. But the app gives brokers a more convenient way to conduct business, whether they are at home, in their office, or on the road.

Access All Your Accounts from One Dashboard

When you log in to the DBL Center app or desktop site, you will see your personalized insurance dashboard. Depending on the choices you select, you’ll be taken to the carrier’s site to get a quote or bind a policy.

For brokers who work with multiple carriers, the app makes it easy to access all their accounts from one central location. “It’s similar to the way someone would use their Universal Remote to control their TV, Blu-ray, and Netflix, all from one device,” says Cohen, relying on an equally high-tech analogy to pinpoint the convenience and ease-of-use the app will provide to brokers.

App Gives Brokers Easy Access to More Choices

Additionally, brokers can view other choices from the dashboard—options they may not have previously considered for their clients. “Property and casualty brokers who normally write disability will now have the opportunity to view ancillary benefits or Paid Family Leave policies directly from the app’s central dashboard. It’s all integrated, which makes it easier to manage existing policies and look at ways to expand your book of business.”

In addition, brokers can consider different carriers and see the vast range of choices in A+ rated carriers The DBL Center offers its customers.

Sign Up Easily

When DBL Center brokers sign online to bind a policy with fewer than 50 lives, they will be prompted to establish a login and password for the DBL Center Dashboard and mobile app. “We want to make sure every one of our brokers has the opportunity to hear about our new dashboard and mobile app and to sign up as soon as they are ready,” says Cohen.

The DBL Center will also host live webinars and provide instructional material to guide brokers’ through the use of the app, which is already incredibly intuitive and designed to address the brokers’ needs with an easy-to-navigate interface.

Direct Deposit on the Horizon

Finally, The DBL Center app will allow brokers to sign up for direct deposit, to have commission deposited electronically into their bank accounts, eliminating the hassle and stress of waiting for paper checks. While direct deposit has been common in many industries for years, few brokers have had the chance to appreciate the convenience and peace-of-mind they will enjoy receiving commissions through direct pay methods.

“We are taking what my father, David Cohen, created 40 years ago and we are using the latest technology to bring The DBL Center into the future, ahead of our competitors, and on the cutting edge for insurance sales,” says Cohen. “We can’t wait to hear the feedback from our brokers when they log in for the first time and discover how their back office processes are streamlined thanks to the app.”

The DBL Center… More than Just Disability Coverage…
Discover the benefits of our white-glove service


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.


ShelterPoint Life Insurance Executive Shares Important Facts about PFL in New York

The opportunities under Paid Family Leave are too powerful to ignore.

Are you an insurance broker worried about managing the added operational and transactional requirements of New York’s new Paid Family Leave laws? Although the rate has yet to be announced (as of this writing), and no one knows the commission potential, one top DBL carrier isn’t worried — and says you shouldn’t be either.

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

New York State PFL  is one of the most comprehensive policies of its kind in the country offering paid time off and job security for employees. We covered some of the specifics of the mandatory Paid Family Leave benefits here. But if you’re a broker, you probably still have questions. Fortunately, The DBL Center, along with ShelterPoint Life, one of our top carriers, is prepared with answers.

How Much Commission Can Brokers Earn?
Commissions will depend on the rate, which is yet-to-be-announced, although we’re expecting to find out by early-to-mid May. “Our commitment is we are going to do everything possible to make fair payments to brokers,” says DeWitt M. Smith, Senior Vice President and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer for ShelterPoint Life, a top-rated insurance carrier poised to offer Paid Family Leve coverage through brokers across New York State.

Because of the additional premiums that will be deducted from employee wages and paid by employers, there could be a “nice increase in potential commission revenue,” continues Smith. “We believe the State appreciates the efforts involved by the brokers, and will make it possible for us to offer incremental increases in broker commissions.”

In short… we’re still waiting to find out how much commission brokers can earn. But The DBL Center and ShelterPoint Life are ready to make it as easy as possible for brokers to streamline PFL sales, enabling brokers to maximize those potential profits. “We’re working to take the worry and stress out of all the transactional and compliance-related issues that go along with PFL,” says Smith.

How Much Work Will It Take?
Writing PFL coverage will represent an added step in a consultative selling approach for DBL brokers in New York. In spite of the news coverage, many employers and HR executives still don’t understand what PFL means or what they need to do to get coverage in place. Employers can begin making payroll deductions for this coverage as early as July 1, so it’s up to you, the trusted broker, to educate your customers on their options.

Fortunately, ShelterPoint Life and The DBL Center are working to make it easy. If you currently write your NYS DBL policies with ShelterPoint Life through The DBL Center, PFL coverage will take the form of a simple rider added to the DBL policy. “For brokers accustomed to working with us in a simple, automated way online, adding PFL coverage to existing policies should be easy,” says Smith.

Brokers who offer PFL should also be ready for an influx of new customers, as only select carriers will write PFL coverage. Brokers who work with The DBL Center have an advantage, because our brokers can continue to write both DBL and PFL coverage policies through us.

My Customers Have Questions. Where Can I Go To Find the Answers?
The PFL education process will take time. Yet, it represents a great opportunity for brokers who work with The DBL Center to employ their consultative selling skills to give customers the answers they can’t find elsewhere. “We’ve had a dedicated task force in place since the day the law was signed,” notes Smith. “We also have a robust external communications strategy, with a dedicated PFL micro-site, blog, and newsletter designed to provide answers to brokers, employers, and employees.”

Browse the ShelterPoint PFL micro-site, formulate a marketing strategy to educate customers, and be certain to turn to The DBL Center should you (or your customers) have additional questions. You might also make plans to attend our informative seminar, sponsored jointly by ShelterPoint Life, The DBL Center, and the New York Business Council, to be held May 10, 2017 from 3 to 5 PM at The Friars Club, 57 E 55th Street, NY, NY. Seating is limited, so RSVP today by emailing michael.cohen@dblcntr.com.


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 Small Steps to Raise Your Insurance Agency Profile

Your insurance agency is sure to get noticed if you use these tactics to reach prospective clients.

The world of insurance is changing rapidly, but word-of-mouth referrals remain the biggest source of leads for property and casualty brokers.

Word-of-mouth, today, means a lot more than attending local networking meetings or playing golf with business owners and HR directors.

To get noticed in a crowded environment, your insurance agency needs to stand out in every way. And this means raising the bar for the way you present your company and showcase your brand—online and off.

These five tips can help you raise the profile of your insurance agency and showcase your brand as trustworthy and professional. And remember, The DBL Center Ltd. is always here to help as your general agency insurance wholesaler, providing white-glove service to you and your customers.

1. Welcome callers with a professional voice mail.

Is your agency small? Is your office manager often overworked? Don’t waste time answering phones when a professional voice mail or answering service can help your customers reach who they want faster—without pulling employees away from their regular duties.

2. Create a strong social media presence.

More than 70 percent of insurance agents say they view social media marketing as their primary means to reach millennial customers. If you’re looking to connect with today’s up-and-coming HR directors and build trust, you need to be online. And while insurance agents know that, studies show they aren’t necessarily acting on it effectively. According to a survey by KnownCircle, Inc., a social media referral service, less than 30 percent are engaging with customers on social media. In fact, most agencies (more than 60 percent) simply build a social proSocial-Graphfile on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and then ignore it.

Set your agency apart by building a social profile that is consistent with your branding, and then keeping it updated with relevant content.

3. Build a better website.

Does your website look like it was designed in 2005? Or even 2010? Like clothes, cars, and home décor, web designs go out of fashion. If your website was designed more than five years ago (or looks like it was!) it’s time for an update.

While you’re re-designing the site, make sure the branding across your organization (from your website to social media platforms to business cards, letterhead, and in-office signage) are all consistent, modern, and enticing.

4. Provide 24/7 service to your customers.

Today’s customers are more demanding than ever, largely driven by millennials. According to one article in Entrepreneur, 71 percent of millennials say the most important thing is that an organization values their time. And 25 percent expect a response within 10 minutes of reaching out to a company via social media.

This goes back to building a strong web presence, paying attention to how customers feel about your brand, and engaging with your customers—which would all make sense if you were dealing direct with consumer.  However, because you are working in a B2B environment, you have the luxury of streamlining that path to engagement and customer service: Give your customers an easy way to get help 24/7 through your insurance wholesaler.

5. Use a wholesale general insurance agency as your full-service, back-office support staff.

Here at The DBL Center Ltd., we make it easy for you to preMobile application (1)sent a professional image and white-glove support to your customers. We are your full-service, back-office support staff answering questions, helping your customers file claims, and providing information on claims filed. Our professionally designed web interface makes it easy.

And, as a broker working with us, our mobile app and website make it easy for you to provide the service your customers need, too. Whether you’re writing a new policy or upgrading mandatory DBL to enriched DBL coverage to give your customers more value, we are here to help you serve your customers with speed and professionalism.


Is It Time to Sell Your Insurance Brokerage?

When it’s time to move on, The DBL Center can help.

We live in an uncertain world. No one is sure what the economy will do, how a revamped national health care plan will affect health insurance brokers, or the cascading effects such a plan will have on property & casual brokers. Many of us in the industry (including The DBL Center) plan to stay the course, adapt, and prevail. But that may not be the right course of action for every broker.
Money-Boat
P&C brokers have a number of reasons they may want to sell their agency. There may not be an adult child or close friend willing and able to take over the family business. Maybe the owner is just ready to cash in on the fruits of their labor after all these years and enjoy retirement, or maybe there is a health issue. Or maybe an agency owner wants to take a full advantage of today’s valuation and multiples on today’s agencies across the country.

When selling is the right exit strategy, who do you sell to? This isn’t an easy decision.

Turn to Those Who Know

You know how to run an insurance brokerage. But you probably don’t know how to get the most value for it when you decide to sell.

The DBL Center Ltd. and Helfer & Associates, a consulting and advisory firm focused exclusively on the insurance agency industry, have forged a mutually beneficial agreement to help DBL Center brokers formulate and deploy an exit strategy when the time comes.

Kenny Helfer, Managing Partner of Helfer & Associates,  is a trusted consultant specializing in independent insurance agencies and brokers that provide both property & casualty, as well as life & health benefits. Kenny’s firm provides substantive value for any agency owner looking to take some chips off the table for a variety of reasons. He prepares strategic road maps and financial analytics for agency owners looking for potential exit strategies. This includes formal introductions to all the major buyers in the market, based on the personal relationships Kenny has developed over his years in the industry. His proven track record, expertise, and assistance spans all phases of the preparation and sale. His goal is to maximize the value of an agency of any size and to generate the best possible deal, structure, and outcome for his agency clients. Most importantly, he guides the entire process and removes the stress that could come with the most important business transaction of one’s life.

Weathering the Change

Undoubtedly, the sale of an insurance brokerage can create stress on existing employees involved in the acquisition, which can lead to the loss of top talent within the agency. Employees may be unsure of their job security, the new management structure, and their new employer’s expectations. Helfer & Associates works with the new management team to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible to improve retention of the firm’s greatest asset – their people.

Stay with Those You Trust

One mistake insurance brokerages often make following a sale is switching their wholesale insurance general agency. When a larger firm buys a smaller firm, they might switch wholesalers to keep everything under the umbrella of the parent company—simply because that’s the way the larger firm has always done things. This isn’t always the right choice.

If brokers are accustomed to working with a best-in-class insurance wholesaler with access to top A+++ rated carriers and a host of value-added products and services like The DBL Center, changing insurance wholesalers can create culture shock, frustration, and, again, problems retaining top employees.

If your insurance wholesaler is providing the white-glove service you and your employees have come to expect, finding a way to continue working together following the sale could help ease the transition to new ownership, retain top employees, and maintain the firm’s value. After all, it is the people, the insurance products, and the service that gives a brokerage firm its value—before and after the sale.

The DBL Center Ltd. works hard to earn, and sustain, our brokers’ trust. We provide a host of value-added services, as well as carrying many ancillary lines of coverage to help brokers easily expand their book of business and increase commissions. With advanced technology that allows our brokers to more easily write and manage accounts, The DBL Center stays at the forefront of the insurance industry. We believed informed customers are our best customers, so we stay ahead of important industry news, like New York’s new Paid Family Leave law, passing the information on to our brokers as it is announced. We are ready with top carriers who can provide brokers with the products they need once mandatory PFL goes into place.

Is It Time?

Choosing to sell your insurance brokerage and leave your livelihood is not an easy decision. And it’s obviously not the right choice for everyone. But when the time comes, DBL Center Ltd., working with Helfer & Associates, can help you create an exit strategy you can feel good about while helping to maintain consistency within the organization.

Contact us to find out how you can get the highest valuation for your agency.


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.