The holiday season used to begin when Santa Claus rode down 34th Street, waving in front of Macy’s during the Thanksgiving Day parade. But now anyone who celebrates Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa or even New Year’s Eve knows the “holiday” season starts with pumpkin spice and apple pie, not sleigh bells.
Things get busy – and for parents or people caring for older family members, it can be even more stressful. In the insurance industry, we have our own pressures as soon as October 1 hits. State-mandated benefits including DBL in NY and TDB in New Jersey are eligible for renewals, leading to a swarm of administrative work beginning October 1 through October 10 and running through the end of the year.
For brokers, your renewals are the bread-and-butter of your business. Those nickels, dimes, and quarters add up to dollars. And the product is a benefit that every business owner in New York, New Jersey (and now a growing list of additional states, including Connecticut and Massachusetts) must carry for themselves and their employees. So it’s just a matter of providing the best rates and stellar service to keep that business on your books year after year.
So here’s the question: Why must all Statutory and Ancillary Employee Benefits have a Jan 1st effective date?
The answer….They Don’t!
You probably have many customers who are stuck in the renewal phase of October 1 or January 1 for temporary disability insurance. But as you onboard new customers, encourage them to set their renewals for a different quarter. And remember, ancillary benefits, life insurance, and voluntary worksite benefits – such as critical illness insurance – can be written the first of any month.
By writing early renewals, or even shifting renewal dates to the spring, you can provide your clients with several advantages and save yourself time and stress. Let’s explore the benefits of locking in renewals early.
Worker’s compensation, major medical benefits, and several other expenses all come due on the first of the year. If you’ve ever budgeted for your business – or even your household – you know that it’s best to spread expenses out across a month. Most people don’t want to have to pay their mortgage, car loan, utilities and credit card bills all on the same day of the month. That’s why credit card companies offer you the option to “choose your own monthly payment date.”
It’s the same thing for a small business. Your customers can spread out insurance expenses over the year by renewing the following ancillary benefits earlier in the year:
This can help them manage cash flow and also spread out their quarterly tax deductions to reduce their tax bill.
In any sales industry, leaders push hard at the end of the month to drive revenue. In the insurance industry, we push from October through January. But what would your life – and bottom line – look like if you pushed hard at the beginning of the year, instead?
You’d have more time to relax and breathe at the end of the month, knowing you’ve already achieved your sales goals and have money in your pocket.
If you spread renewals across all four quarters, especially when it comes to upsells like ancillary benefits, you’re not only reaching clients at a time when they aren’t facing other renewals for workers’ compensation and major medical, you’re giving yourself a head start on revenue for the year.
Here at The DBL Center, 75% of our renewals for ancillary benefits come in the fourth quarter. We push hard to get our clients the best rates and maintain the highest levels of service. But if you take the time to line up recurring revenue from renewals in the spring, you’d have the second half of the year to focus on growing your business.
Maybe that means making operational changes for greater productivity. Or maybe it means initiating a large inbound marketing push to help drive leads to your website and grow your book of business. Maybe you can take that time to focus on business growth, instead of just keeping up with existing policies. And if you want to take a break to enjoy the holidays with your family? You’d have that opportunity, as well.
We’re already entering the busy season in the statutory disability and voluntary worksite benefits space. It’s time to start thinking about planning ahead for next year and how you can spread renewals across the four quarters for better cash flow, peace-of-mind, and business growth.
by Michael Cohen
As insurance brokers, it’s your job to deliver the benefits your customers and their employees need, including packages that will help employers recruit and retain top workers. With remote work on the rise, employers have an endless talent pool to draw from as geographic location now matters less than it used to. And employee benefits have become more important than ever when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent.
A survey from Prudential Insurance revealed that 52% of employees would leave their job for one with what they deemed the “right” benefits. And 77% said benefits represent a “key part” of a compensation package.
But what benefits do employees want most during a pandemic?
Health insurance remains important, of course, with 86% of employees calling it a “must have.” But dental, vision, and disability coverage now rank in top spots, as well. Respectively, 69%, 41%, and 41% of survey respondents said they require these ancillary benefits.
But there’s another benefit that’s also topping many lists: Group Life / AD&D coverage. “Here in The DBL Center office,” says The DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen, “we’re getting more calls than we ever have to bundle Group Life / AD&D with other lines of coverage. The pandemic has put everybody in touch with their own mortality and they want to make sure their loved ones are taken care of if something happens.”
Insurance companies across the country noticed a spike in life insurance policy sales in the beginning of the second quarter of 2020, that hasn’t waned as we entered 2021. Haven Life Insurance Agency, a company owned by carrier MassMutual, reported a 34% increase in term life policies sold in the second and third quarters of 2020 versus the same time frame in 2019. Northwestern Mutual reported a 15% increase in policies sold between April and September 2020 versus the same time period in 2019. LIMRA, a financial industry organization, saw a 2% increase in policies sold industrywide, according to CNBC.
Industry experts told CNBC that the last time they saw a spike like this was in the days and weeks following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Insurance industry reps told CNBC they saw the largest spike in term life insurance policies, especially for younger workers. But for many employees, group policies can provide affordable coverage without a medical exam.
Insurers cannot deny claims due to COVID, although premiums may rise in the future as an effect of low interest rates and high claims – much like they did in the P&C insurance industry after claims rose due to Hurricane Sandy.
Your smartest customers will want to offer their employees a voluntary or shared-cost Group Life / AD&D policy now, rather than waiting until rates rise. Only 60% of businesses currently offer Group Life / AD&D, so there is a tremendous market to tap.
Adding Group Life / AD&D to existing customers’ policies can help offset the losses insurance brokers experienced with so many small business owners closing permanently due to the pandemic. Employers can opt to share premiums costs with employees or choose a 100% employee-funded voluntary group plan.
Like enriched DBL coverage in New York, Group Life /AD&D coverage favors high-level executives and business owners when you choose a tiered plan. Executives in the top tier enjoy reasonable premiums, while coverage is based on basic annual earnings, so your top earners have a higher coverage cap.
You can read more about Group Life / AD&D and see a sample tiered plan here.
“It’s been a challenging year for brokers, and I don’t want to look at this as a silver lining,” Cohen says. “But it took a pandemic for people to realize how important life insurance coverage is for preserving their legacy and making life a little easier for their loved ones in case the unthinkable happens.”
It’s now the insurance broker’s role to point employers and their workers in the right direction to coverage that will meet their needs, scale as their family or standard-of-living grows and give them the peace-of-mind to focus on what really matters today.
by Dawn Allcot
The DBL insurance industry recently experienced a shake-up when New York State passed a law requiring mandatory Paid Family Leave coverage, to be written as a rider to NYS DBL policies. Several carriers exited the DBL insurance market because they didn’t want to write PFL riders, which left many brokers looking to replace their DBL policies.
Brokers had two choices: Lose the DBL business or leave their existing carriers to write DBL insurance policies elsewhere. DBL Center brokers who relied on DBL Center as their back-office staff were able to move those DBL policies with ease, impress their customers, and strengthen their position in the marketplace.
These brokers found that DBL insurance policies open doors to more business. This has always been true, but it’s even more relevant now, in 2018, when fewer carriers are writing DBL insurance coverage.
If you are the broker who can write these policies for New York State business owners, provide exemplary service, and build trust with your customers, they will come to you for all their insurance needs.
For P&C brokers, DBL insurance can act as your foot in the door, giving you the chance to write high-commission policies like home, auto or even umbrella policies for business owners and their employees.
Let’s look at some of the opportunities available to P&C brokers to expand their book of business with new and existing DBL insurance customers.
1. Smart business owners will consider expanding employee benefits packages with ancillary lines of coverage.
We’ve talked in-depth about enriching DBL coverage in light of the new PFL law. But business owners can also improve employee retention with ancillary benefits such as vision, dental, and life insurance.
The DBL Center can provide a discounted benefits package when you bundle these ancillary lines with an enriched DBL package, allowing you to provide your customers with even more value.
2. Business owners will rely on someone they can trust to write their personal insurance policies.
In addition to business insurance and employee benefits, business owners also need insurance for their personal assets. As an insurance broker, you know that many business owners possess one or more of the following: high-value homes, vacation homes, automobiles, recreational vehicles, or boats.
Once you’ve established trust as their broker of choice for mandatory DBL insurance or enriched DBL coverage, it’s easy to ask your business customers if they’d like a quote on an umbrella policy to cover their home/auto and other possessions requiring insurance. They might also consider purchasing life insurance through your brokerage.
Most consumers understand that when they do business through one company, they can get the best deals and preferred service as a loyal customer. It’s your job, as their broker, to remind them about your other insurance lines and the savings you can offer them. A new sale and a large commission check could be just that easy.
3. Business owners may refer their employees to you for their personal insurance coverage.
Not only do business owners have cars, homes, and boats to insure, so do many of their employees. What if you could earn referrals from your biggest accounts, just by providing excellent service and low rates to the owner of the company? You can increase your commission checks by writing homeowners’ insurance, auto insurance, umbrella policies, renters’ insurance, or whole- or term-life insurance policies.
In New York, DBL Center specializes in DBL, PFL and ancillary benefits. We couldn’t tell you how to sell your P&C lines or where to go for the best rates.
But we can remind you that almost every business owner needs DBL coverage. And with our back-office staff providing white-glove service, as well as our new Net Revenue Tracker app giving you fast, convenient access to all your accounts, we make it easy for you to sell DBL and maintain your DBL accounts.
By doing so, the DBL Center opens doors for you to expand your book of business with the lines that you know best such as health, life, home and auto insurance and umbrella policies.
Need more information about DBL and PFL? Need tips on marketing DBL insurance coverage? We are here to help. Give us a call at (631) 293.5100 or get a quick quote now.
Even with Trump’s proposed tax code changes, term life and Group Life / AD&D still a safe bet.
Are you a property & casualty, disability, or health insurance broker looking for new revenue streams? Life insurance might just represent another avenue to increase your book of business.
According to the Insurance Barometer Study, conducted jointly by not-for-profit research industry trade association LIMRA and the non-profit educational organization Life Happens, today’s consumers not only are receptive to life insurance purchases, but are also vocal advocates for it.
According to the study:
Surprisingly, the younger generation seems to show a maturity beyond its years, with 77 percent of millennials saying they recommend owning life insurance.
Life Insurance Purchases in the Trump Era
Although the study concluded in mid-2016, the new political climate and proposed tax changes should not affect the decision to buy life insurance. As life insurance broker Chris Acker states on LinkedIn:
“Regardless of tax reform possibilities, if you need life insurance, then BUY life insurance. Don’t put off protecting the very family that means the world to you just because a tax change ‘might’ happen.”
It’s hard to argue with that logic, and, as a broker, if you spot this gap in your customers’ coverage, it’s your responsibility to point it out and provide them with options.
But how could new tax code affect life insurance purchases? For the vast majority of term-life and Group Life / AD&D policy holders, the answer is: It won’t.
We’re not tax advisors, and you should speak to your accountant or a tax attorney if you’re considering investing in permanent (i.e. “whole” or “cash value”) life insurance. If Trump’s tax code passes, it could eliminate the tax-free build-up that is a major incentive to invest in whole life.
If you own a cash value policy, you can borrow money up to the amount you’ve paid into the policy without any tax penalties. In 2017 and beyond, if Trump’s proposed policy passes, that money would be taxed.
But if you’re purchasing a term life policy, universal policy, or investing in Group Life / AD&D with your employer, you don’t see those tax benefits anyway. Nothing changes.
And, keep in mind, if you’re already a whole life insurance holder prior to 2017, the new tax law wouldn’t apply.
Brokers: Make Life Insurance Part of Your Consultative Selling Approach
It’s not difficult to understand when it’s laid out in a few concise paragraphs, as above. Life insurance remains a good investment and a necessity to protect your family and provide income for them if you pass away.
But there is a lot of fear surrounding the current administration, and some of that fear could lead to hesitation to purchase life insurance. Customer education will be the key. Term life insurance and Group Life / AD&D policies won’t change.
Business owners and consumers, alike, can trust the brokers who provide their other benefits, including disability coverage, dental, and vision insurance, to shop for the best deals on Group Life and individual life insurance coverage.
For customers who are considering whole life insurance, term life can be a good “placeholder” policy until tax law changes get sorted out.
Corporate and individual customers need brokers they can trust in these confusing times. If you step up with the information they need, policies from top-rated carriers, and the white-glove service The DBL Center can help you provide in a white label capacity, you’ll always be top of mind.
You’re the one your customers turn to when they need guidance and when they’re ready to make a purchase. We can help.
The DBL Center… more than just disability insurance.
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?
The sales tactics for life insurance are familiar, and designed to tug at the prospective client’s heartstrings:
What would happen to your family if you were to pass on suddenly? Would they lose their home? Would your children be able to attend college as you had always planned? Would your significant other be stuck with a mortgage he or she can’t afford to pay?
While these reasons for investing in Group Life / AD&D are compelling—and effective to sell voluntary or employer-funded life insurance policies—it’s also worth understanding some the specific reasons people should invest in life insurance.
LifeHealthPro Daily recently released a report of six problems solved by life insurance. Let’s consider some of these problems and solutions as they relate to Group Life /AD&D coverage for the average employee.
1. Not enough liquid cash to cover death expenses.
From the cost of a coffin, burial, attorney fees, and even any memorial services planned, survivors rarely have liquid cash available to coverage expenses associated with the death of a loved one. Having even a modest life insurance policy can give survivors peace-of-mind that their loved one will have the funeral they desired, which can also help loved ones mourn in an effective way.
Life insurance policies pay quickly following death of the policyholder, providing liquid cash when it’s most needed. If the deceased was the primary breadwinner, a life insurance policy can help the family pay upcoming bills on time and maintain their lifestyle, further contributing to their peace-of-mind during a difficult time.
This is, undoubtedly, the most common reason for most workers to invest in life insurance coverage.
2. The need for asset stabilization, especially in regard to real estate.
If property passes hands from one generation to another, associated taxes can often cause undue financial burden on surviving loved ones. Life insurance can help cover these costs.
When a family home changes hands, the survivor may not be able to afford the taxes or insurance on the property, which may result in a forced sale or even foreclosure of the property. A life insurance policy designed to cover these expenses may help a home remain within a family even after the death of the original owner.
3. Transfer of wealth costs.
When cash or real estate transfers hands following the death of the original owner, the transfer of wealth often comes with estate taxes, inheritance taxes, legal, and administrative fees.
Because life insurance is tax-free for the beneficiary, a life insurance policy can help reduce the financial burden of an inheritance.
If you’re already the trusted source for mandatory disability benefits, worker’s compensation coverage, and other benefits as the P&C broker for an organization, it makes sense to expand your book of business by offering Group Life / AD&D coverage.
The DBL Center Ltd. has specialists on hand to help you get started right away. Contact us about adding life insurance to your offerings today.