Selena Kutschera, DBL Center’s Director of DBL and TDB never actually applied to work at DBL Center. She joined the family when DBL Center acquired competitor Combined DBL, a competitive insurance wholesaler in NY, in 2014.
How she got the job at Combined DBL, straight out of college with no insurance industry experience, is quite a story.
“I found the job listing in the newspaper,” she tells DBL Center owner and president Michael Cohen. “I begged for an interview, but they had already closed out their interviews because they knew who they were going to hire.”
Kutschera didn’t stop pushing for the interview, however, and, ultimately, got the job. Through her hard work and perseverance, she’s become a leader in wholesale TDB and DBL sales.
It was this tenacity that impressed DBL Center founder David Cohen at the time of the acquisition. “That was the kind of personality my father was looking for,” Michael Cohen recalls. “I remember him saying, ‘I don’t know if we’ll get the deal, but Selena will join us.’ We did make the deal and here we are, five years later.”
Read on to learn how Selena Kutschera is helping DBL Center brokers manage the challenges of PFL and prepare for new opportunities in New Jersey.
Then watch the video to find out Selena’s (second) favorite word, what musician she’s not-so-secretly obsessed with, and what she’d be doing if she wasn’t serving the DBL and TDB insurance needs at one of the top insurance wholesalers in NY.
Michael Cohen: What’s the most exciting thing that we’ve done as a team, in your opinion, since the acquisition?
Selena: The program – the Broker Dashboard. Just coming together and building something, changing the game.
Michael: How has that been an upside for you?
Selena: We can track now. We can track the business. We can track what we’ve lost, what we’ve gained, the brokers, who’s writing, who’s not writing. It just makes it easier.
Michael: Can you describe the process we use when we get together and track retention and new business?
Selena: When we look at our book through the Broker Dashboard, we look at what we can keep out of what’s lost. Our cancellations. We know DBL’s a moving target. Your DBL’s come on, they come off, there are non-pays all the time. That’s the first thing we address, the non-pays. Can we get them reinstated? If we can, that puts business back into the books.
Any time coverage is replaced, we want to find out why it was replaced. Was it something we lost? Did the broker lose it? Did they replace it on us, and why did they replace it? We have to analyze what happened—and why—to get that business back.
Michael: What has the feedback been from the brokers since we implemented the dashboard?
Selena: They’re surprised about their non-pays and what’s cancelled and what’s not.
Michael: Everyone thought Paid Family Leave was going to be a home run, but in the beginning, it wasn’t. Why? And what have you been doing to help overcome those challenges?
Selena: It just added another layer of tracking. Who doesn’t want to pay their PFL [rider]? Who didn’t think they needed Paid Family Leave? They pay the DBL; they don’t pay the PFL. That’s really been the issue. Now, we’re getting the complaints that the insured made the payment, but they only paid a portion of it, or they shortchanged it. So now it’s a matter of them understanding how to pay the bills.
Mike: What do you feel is the biggest dilemma in the overall statutory environment? You’re in the trenches and you’re also involved in commissions. What’s an issue for us that’s outside of our control as a wholesale insurance broker in NY?
Selena: I guess what’s outside of our control is just the insureds making payments. That’s out of our control as an insurance wholesaler in NY. Is the $170 [weekly] benefit in New York State for disability low? Absolutely.
What I do find is some employers want to buy up and some employers don’t want to hear it. I agree with the buying up because the reality is the Paid Family Leave is for somebody else—to take care of a baby, child, or family member—and the disability is for yourself. And if you need to go out on disability, why do you need to go out at a $170, when the PFL benefit is $750 and change? It’s $752 [for 2019].
Mike: Are you excited about what’s happening in Jersey? Explain that.
Selena: Absolutely! Jersey just lifted its signature requirement—there’s no more signature requirement to move to a private carrier. So, it makes it easier for us to write this product, as 98% of it sits with the state right now. And the benefit is going up tremendously.
If you’re shopping for a new insurance wholesaler in NY or NJ or need help writing TDB or DBL, let Selena Kutschera and DBL Center help you. Reach out today.
by Dawn Allcot
By David Clausen, Coastal Insurance
If you’re like most P&C brokers, NYS DBL and NJ TDB insurance aren’t your only niches. Most brokers sell a variety of lines, whether it’s healthcare, business insurance, or personal lines of coverage like home insurance.
But you may not be thinking of ways to cross-sell your lines to expand your book of business and increase your commissions without cold calls or prospecting for new clients.
When you get in the habit of consultative selling, which includes getting to know your customers, their businesses, and additional insurance needs they may have, you’ll discover avenues to increased profits.
Mandatory coverage like workers’ compensation and NYS DBL coverage, along with enriched DBL, provide excellent upsell opportunities. Many business owners don’t realize they need this coverage even if they only have a few employees. Even if they know about statutory DBL coverage, they may not recognize the opportunities available with enriched DBL and ancillary benefits.
As their trusted insurance broker, you can help make sure they are protected from nearly any contingency. Chances are, you are already taking some of these steps. But are you closing the deal?
These tips, garnered from years of experience selling home insurance and other personal and business lines to Long Island-based customers, can help you expand your book of business.
1. Look for opportunities to upsell complementary insurance lines by getting to know your customers.
In Coastal’s niche market of home insurance for high-net-worth homeowners, many of our best clients also own their own businesses. This means they need workers’ compensation insurance and statutory disability coverage in New York State.
Ask your customers, “Who is currently writing your statutory DBL coverage?” to uncover opportunities.
With the introduction of Paid Family Leave as a rider to DBL, they might be looking to shop their policy around, since some carriers have stopped providing DBL.
2. Don’t forget about your customers who hire domestic employees.
Most Coastal customers who aren’t business owners are c-level executives, celebrities, and other high-net-worth individuals who may hire domestic employees to help run their households. A lot of people don’t know that workers’ compensation and NYS DBL coverage is mandatory in New York for full-time domestic employees or for domestic employees who live in your home, even if they don’t work a full 40-hour week.
This includes nannies, au pairs, housekeepers, gardeners, chefs, drivers, personal assistants, and anyone else who works for an individual. Even if people may treat their nannies or housekeepers like family, the State of New York classifies them as domestic workers or residence employees – and they need to be insured as such.
There can be hefty fines for failing to provide the proper insurance coverage for domestic workers, not to mention the liability if an employee gets hurts on the job. Brokers are doing a service to their customers by letting them know what employee coverage is required.
As with any job, providing ancillary benefits to domestic workers can also help improve retention rates and reduce sick time.
3. Discuss the potential for ancillary benefits.
Whether your customers are business owners seeking to hire the best employees, or individuals with a team of domestic help, they may not have considered ancillary benefits as a low-cost way to recruit and retain employees.
Benefits like Group Life, vision, and dental coverage are still highly sought after by workers. In a Harvard Business Review study, 88 percent of employees said they would consider accepting a job with a lower salary if the position had better health, dental, and vision benefits than the job with the higher pay.
Explore these possibilities with your customers, and they will look to you as a trusted business resource rather than just someone selling insurance products.
4. Educate your customers about enriched DBL.
NYS DBL coverage provides a bare minimum to help an employee who is ill or injured (while not on the job). DBL pays out just 50 percent of an employee’s salary up to $170 per week for 26 weeks.
Enriched DBL is a powerful retention tool for middle managers who exceed the maximum payout but may not have private disability insurance or a savings account to help get them through a medical emergency.
With the introduction of Paid Family Leave as a rider to DBL coverage in New York, many employers are looking to enrich DBL benefits in order to provide coverage comparable to PFL for employees who don’t have, or plan to have, families or may want a robust benefits package for themselves.
PFL was the big news in the insurance industry in 2018, but many people still aren’t aware of the policy changes. Stay on the forefront, educate your customers, and they will trust you to write their policies for personal and business insurance.
5. Offer the best rates by bundling coverage.
When you take advantage of The DBL Center’s carrier relationships, you can bundle lines to provide your customers with the best rates for DBL, ancillary benefits, and more.
Why would they go to any other broker if you’ve positioned yourself as a one-stop-shop for their business and personal lines of insurance coverage?
The new year is almost upon us, and that means more changes for HR directors, business owners, and insurance brokers in New York, once again, as they get up to speed on PFL in 2019. Look for PFL contributions to increase along with the payout and total weeks of leave permitted with benefits.
PFL benefits will be phased in until they reach the maximum payout of 67 percent of an employee’s Average Weekly Wage for 12 weeks in 2021.
For 2019, the maximum allowable deduction will be 0.153 of the employee’s average weekly wage. Benefits will equal 55% of an employee’s AWW for 10 weeks, up from eight weeks in 2018. The benefit will max out at $746.61 weekly.
It’s important to note that wages are no longer taken with a weekly max. If someone is making $3000 a week, they will pay $3000 x $.00153 – $4.59 weekly deduction until their salary reaches the $70,569.72 max. Then they stop paying for the year.
You can use our handy PFL calculator to determine PFL premiums for your company – or for your customers – based on the number of employees eligible for PFL and the total annual payroll base.
Policyholders will have to reconcile PFL premiums for 2018 as part of the necessary premium calculation steps, similar to how it is done for DBL. Brokers who use the DBL Center’s free broker dashboard can easily help their customers reconcile premiums with figures from the database.
If you need help with this important step, contact the DBL Center for guidance on setting up and using the Broker Dashboard to calculate premiums, track renewals and cancellations, and much more.
In addition to the above changes, the state of New York has provided new DBL and PFL posting notices to hang in a prominent spot where employees can view them.
HR directors and company owners should ask their brokers for a new 120 Posting Notice and a DB120.1 Certificate of Insurance.
DBL Center brokers can contact our office for links to these forms to provide to your clients.
2018 was a transition year for DBL brokers in New York, and PFL proved to have a steep learning curve.
The DBL Center has provided the resources our brokers need to stay on top of PFL, including webinars, handouts, and our online PFL resource center.
Be prepared to answer all your customers’ questions about PFL in 2019 by browsing our Paid Family Leave Resource Center, which has been updated for the new year.
You may also like these articles that can help your customers better understand PFL in the workplace:
Learn how PFL and DBL are related, but different: DBL vs PFL
Learn how PFL is different from FMLA: PFL vs. FMLA
Help your customers ensure they are in compliance with DBL: PFL Compliance
Calculate PFL premiums for 2019: PFL Calculator
Remember, the DBL Center is here to help answer all your questions about PFL in the new year.
by Michael Cohen
Paid Family Leave became a fact of life in New York very quickly. The statutory benefit, written as a rider to DBL coverage, is ethically responsible and financially needed for New York families. But business owners and brokers weren’t prepared for the mayhem that PFL billing would bring.
I sat down with our President and CEO Michael Cohen so he could explain the challenges of PFL and how DBL Center has found solutions to these challenges for its brokers.
Once we got past the initial customer education aspects of PFL – letting our brokers and their customers know about this new benefit – we faced the additional hurdle of PFL billing. The New York State government implemented this policy to be phased in over four years, without proper recourse when it comes to giving carriers or brokers the information they need to calculate costs or to bill DBL with a PFL rider correctly.
This has resulted in a higher than normal level of non-pay notifications. New York businesses, large and small, are having their DBL policies cancelled due to billing errors and inconsistencies stemming from this misinformation and miscommunication.
Here at The DBL Center, we are tracking our brokers’ policyholders who are currently in non-pay status, and sharing that information with the broker, so they can fix the issues and increase their book’s retention.
Writing new policies is one thing, but growing a business is not just about how much money you make – it’s about how much money you keep.
Behind the scenes, the DBL Center has been working, just as our brokers’ accounting departments have, to find ways to accurately bill PFL.
I began an audit one year ago while coming up with a snapshot of my agency’s statutory book of disability in New York to have a benchmark of what to expect. This put me in a better position to finalize the Broker Dashboard and Net Revenue Tracker, which emanated from the manual methods my father, founder David J. Cohen was using to balance his general ledger.
I realized I could not only turn something antiquated around, but also convert the database we used for our audit into a free Dashboard given to my producers, allowing them to track revenue and policy status for DBL, PFL, and ancillary benefits.
The launch of the dashboard on September 26, 2018 represents an important piece in solving the PFL puzzle.
The Net Revenue Tracker, its more robust companion app, allows brokers to track all policies within their brokerage – not just those purchased through and managed by The DBL Center.
Quite honestly, if carriers can’t accurately bill PFL, our brokers will be looking at even more unhappy customers when the rate rises.
Our Broker Dashboard provides a solution. In addition to tracking revenue for DBL policies and ancillary benefits, the Broker Dashboard lets brokers know when a policy has been cancelled or is pending cancellation.
Sometimes, the customer has gone out of business, moved out of New York, or decided to move their business to another agency due to no fault of the broker. That’s important information for a broker to be aware of.
For those policies listed as “cancelled for non-payment” or “pending cancellation,” PFL billing errors may be to blame.
That’s where DBL Center can help. Thanks to our extensive knowledge of PFL and our relationships with carriers, we can get to the heart of your customers’ PFL problems. We can prevent those policies from cancelling or even have policies reinstated, while helping to preserve important customer relationships.
Your customers trust you. Our brokers can trust DBL Center to navigate PFL until the program starts to run itself, resulting in streams of reliable passive income.
Our Broker Dashboard helps you find out where you’re losing money, and DBL Center’s legendary white-glove service can help you make it right.
We know that implementing PFL hasn’t been the easiest thing our brokers have ever faced. We know this because the DBL Center has been tackling the same challenges. When our brokers make money, we make money. We’re all in this together.
You can continue to look at DBL as either a challenge – or an opportunity.
By continuing to sell DBL and letting DBL Center service the policies through our experienced back-office staff, you have the opportunity to show your customers the true value and worth of relying on your brokerage. Business owners need DBL and PFL coverage. If they don’t get it from you, they will find another broker willing to provide it.
You can use our Broker Dashboard to stay proactive and solve your customers’ PFL problems – potentially even before your policyholder is aware of an issue.
Let DBL Center help you provide your customers with answers to all their PFL billing questions, and you will maintain their trust. They will continue to rely on you for workers’ compensation insurance, major medical, and ancillary lines of coverage.
You’ll watch your bottom line continue to rise as your book of business grows.
It all begins with having the tools on hand to retain your current customers and our Broker Dashboard, combined with our white-glove customer service, can help our brokers stand out from the competition.
The DBL Center held some in house celebrations last week as we settled into our new Melville, Long Island office. But it’s not just our employees who benefit from our continued growth.
Thanks to the industry relationships we have fostered over the past 40 years as a wholesale general agency, we are in a position to offer brokers industry-high base commissions as well as bonuses for consolidating their book of business with DBL Center.
When you consolidate your book of business with DBL Center through select carriers, you’ll receive a 22.5% base commission, and a one-time bonus based on the dollar value of the new business.
When you move between $20,000 and $99,999, you’ll earn a 5% bonus on all new business. Earn a 10% one-time bonus if your book, including DBL policies under and over 50 lives, is between $100,000 and $149,000.
DBL Center is making it easy for you to move your book of business. Simply reach out to us for a spreadsheet detailing the information we need from you to help your customers make the switch. There is no need to fill out a new application for each case. Once the new policies are issued, you can cancel the existing in-force policies, save your customers money, and cash in on bonuses and generous commissions.
Earn More with PFL
These broker incentives are a direct result of the introduction of PFL, a mandatory benefit written as a rider to DBL coverage in NY.
Not every carrier is writing PFL riders, so you may be in the process of helping your customers switch carriers. By letting DBL Center shop around for DBL policies for both under and over 50 lives, you may earn better commissions on PFL. DBL Center rewards you for a business move you may have to make, anyway.
PFL has had a huge learning curve for everyone, and our brokers deserve to be rewarded for their hard work and knowledge they provide to their customers. Together with our carrier partners, we are helping PFL pay off for our brokers.
Why It Pays to Consolidate Your Book of Business
If you aren’t using DBL Center for DBL over and under 50 lives, you could be missing out on high commissions, bonuses, white-glove service, and the convenience of using one wholesale general agency for your whole book of statutory business. Having one point of contact, a professional you can trust if you have questions or need personalized service, is always easier. As DBL Center continues to grow, we can offer even more to our loyal brokers.
This fall, we will introduce our new broker dashboard, making it even easier for you to track all your DBL business and revenue from one intuitive app.
The DBL Center team keeps working hard to offer our brokers more and to make it easy to do business with us.
With our new broker incentives package, there was never a better time to trust us to write your disability policies, ancillary benefits packages, and more.
Let us know how DBL Center can serve you today.
As an insurance agent, you understand the intricacies of the employee benefits you sell, including maternity leave benefits available through Paid Family Leave (PFL) in New York. You can show customers how to file a DBL or PFL claim, tell them when their disability leave benefits will kick in, and how much money they are eligible to receive.
When you don’t know the answer, The DBL Center Ltd is just a phone call, email, or text away.
We sell employee benefits packages to the decision-makers, but employees don’t always receive the information they need to make important life decisions. For instance, maternity leave benefits may be a deciding factor in how soon a parent returns to the workplace, or even whether a couple can afford to have a child or not.
As an industry, we have an obligation to ensure that information on PFL and other benefits is being passed on to our customers – the company executives, HR departments, and the employees we serve.
An eye-opening article in Glamour magazine shares a “worst-case scenario” of what can happen when an employee doesn’t understand their maternity leave benefits.
Like any employee would do, the writer of the article spoke to her boss regarding her maternity leave benefits. She found out that she was eligible to receive 60 percent of her salary through her company’s short-term disability insurance plan. (The writer lived in Florida, so DBL was not a “given” as it is here in New York.)
She also learned she was entitled to 12 weeks off under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which protects employees’ jobs while they are out on leave after having a baby or to care for a sick, aging, or disabled family member.
However, the writer never thought to ask (and her employer didn’t volunteer the information) if her insurance paid for a 12-week leave. When she realized it didn’t, it was too late. The couple’s savings had run out. She began freelancing when her son was only four weeks old to supplement her husband’s income and make the money her family needed to live.
The story resonated strongly with us here at The DBL Center, as a family-friendly company with many employees who are also parents. It underscored the importance of educating not just brokers, but the employers and employees who use PFL benefits.
As a broker, you can (and should) take steps to educate your customers on maternity leave / PFL and other employee benefits. You’ll become a trusted resource, and the company they turn to when they want advice on other insurance-related topics.
If you aren’t already being proactive about educating your customers about paid family leave, here are some steps you can take.
There is nothing like making yourself available to your customers, in person, to answer their questions and explain their employee benefits packages. Set aside an hour of time to host a live seminar with the HR department and any employees who would like to hear about their options for employee benefits.
You can also reach out to your customers without ever leaving your office. Host a webinar detailing the new PFL benefits, as well as any other ancillary benefits your customers receive.
Invest in low-cost, cloud-based software like Zoom or GoToMeeting to host webinars for up to 100 people. Or your organization may already have videoconferencing and webinar software already in place. Most of these programs are easy to set up and simple to use.
Hosting a webinar makes it easy to accommodate the schedules of multiple employees and eliminates travel time and expenses. You may even be able to provide recordings of the webinar, afterwards, for employees who could not attend.
A personalized touch, either through live meetings or webinars, is often best to connect with your customers and upsell enriched DBL or ancillary benefits.
But you can make the information your customers need available to them when they need it by launching a resource center or blog on your website. Providing written information explaining the differences between PFL and FMLA and the extent of PFL benefits will help establish your insurance agency as a trusted resource.
You can even get creative and produce videos that you post on your website as well as on YouTube and Vimeo.
Not only do these articles and videos deliver the information your customers need when it’s convenient for them. It can also give your search engine rankings a boost, making it easier for people in your area to find you when they do a Google search for an insurance agency.
When it comes to marketing, it’s a win-win.
PFL is so important on so many levels, and it is crucial for employers and employees to understand the benefits. It is the responsibility of brokers to educate their customers, and the Glamour article details what can happen if insurance brokers don’t take a proactive stance. Employees don’t necessarily know the right questions to ask to make the right decisions for their financial future.
Fortunately, what is good for employee retention and for working families is also good for your bottom line. And customer education in the digital age is easier than ever.
If you can be the resource your customers need, your business will continue to grow through the sale of enriched benefits packages and word-of-mouth referrals.
The story begins 14 years ago, as many Long Island stories do, in a diner. Through a referral from another local business owner, David Clausen of Coastal Insurance, an independent insurance agency in NY, met with Michael Cohen of DBL Center. Founded in 2001, Coastal was just three years old at the time, and Clausen was looking for a better way to write DBL coverage for his New York business customers.
Fourteen years later, Clausen still visits that same diner on Long Island’s North Shore, and still writes his DBL and enriched DBL policies through The DBL Center. “Whenever we need something, Michael is there,” says Clausen. “It’s a product that works at a great price. The process is efficient for our staff and the service is great. What more could you ask for?”
New York State’s Paid Family Leave Act, introduced in 2017, gave The DBL Center an opportunity to over-deliver and exceed Clausen’s high expectations for exemplary service. When one major carrier exited the DBL market to avoid writing PFL riders, Clausen filled that void, strengthening his business relationship with the carrier and opening doors for Coastal Insurance.
“When PFL became mandatory, some carriers had a lot of other business lines they didn’t want to lose, but they no longer wanted to write DBL,” explains Clausen. “They felt that if they canceled DBL they’d lose the other lines of business.”
Clausen took on one carrier’s DBL lines, writing the policies through The DBL Center to provide a friendlier and more robust alternative to the New York State Insurance Fund. He promised the carrier he would not market other lines of business to the carrier’s existing customers.
Through this mutually profitable relationship, the other carrier began sending referrals to Clausen’s office for high-risk homeowners insurance and other business and personal lines. Coastal Insurance also gained the opportunity to write the DBL policies for the insurance carrier’s 30+ offices across the New York Tri-State area. “It was great to reconnect with the agents, and it opened doors to additional streams of revenue for my agency,” says Clausen. “It was a win-win all the way around.”
Coastal Insurance serves individuals and businesses across the New York Tri-state area, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, and even as far south as Florida. With a focus on high net worth individuals on Long Island’s North Shore, 70 percent of Coastal’s business is made up of personal insurance, including home/auto umbrella policies. The other 30 percent of Coastal’s customers are small businesses, from $1 billion retailers to pizzerias, doctor and dentist offices and other small businesses. Clausen describes the bulk of this clientele as “the Main Street USA business owner.” And this is where Clausen’s relationship with DBL Center plays an important role.
With its online “quick quote” interface to bind DBL policies under 50 lives in minutes, The DBL Center excels in serving small businesses under 50 lives. “It couldn’t be easier to go online and quote and bind a policy,” says Clausen. “Some other insurance products are a bit more labor intensive.”
He adds, “DBL Center makes it easy to get the product at the right price, quickly and efficiently. I’ve been with The DBL Center for nearly 15 years. Michael and his team make great partners for the independent agent on Long Island and we value that partnership.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From the duration to the benefit payouts, DBL and PFL differ significantly.
Brokers in New York can now sell a new mandatory benefit: Paid Family Leave. We’ve been talking about this new coverage since New York State announced the law in April. As January approaches, the benefit becomes reality in two short months.
As news of the coverage begins to spread, employers and employees have questions. It’s important for brokers to establish themselves as trusted experts and to explain the benefits in a simple, straightforward manner to company executives and HR professionals.
What’s The Difference between PFL and DBL?
The main difference is that employees take DBL if they are injured or ill. Employees take PFL to care for someone else. That’s the most important thing to remember.
However, there may be some overlap. For instance, a new mom may file for DBL if she needs time off for her body to recover from childbirth. When that coverage ends, she can collect PFL to spend time with her new baby.
In most cases, it’s pretty obvious to determine which benefit an employee should collect. And there are some pretty big differences between the two benefits.
Let’s explore seven ways DBL and PFL are different.
1. Eligibility Requirements
Both full-time and part-time employees may qualify for PFL or DBL coverage. Requirements vary.
Full-time employees must work 20+ hours a week and have been employed at least 26 consecutive weeks at their current employer to qualify for PFL.
To qualify for DBL, employees must work the number of hours that the employer considers a full-time work week, and have worked at least four consecutive weeks for any covered employer.
Important to Note: DBL coverage eligibility transfers from one job to another in many cases. PFL does not.
Part-time employees must have completed at least 25 work days at any covered employer to qualify for DBL. To qualify for PFL, 175 days at their current employer is required.
2. Waiting Period
The waiting period for DBL is seven days from the date of filing. Paid Family Leave has no waiting period, so employees can begin collecting benefits immediately.
3. Maximum Leave
DBL has the edge here. Employees can take up to 26 weeks in any consecutive 52-week period.
PFL provides 8 weeks of benefits beginning in 2018, increasing to 12 weeks in 2021 in any consecutive 52-week period.
It’s important to note that employees cannot collect PFL and DBL benefits at the same time. One must stop when the other begins. In that situation, the combined duration for both benefits is capped at 26 weeks during any 52-week time span.
4. Job Protection
As part of the Family Medical Leave Act, which is a national law, employees who take Paid Family Leave receive job protection for the duration of their leave, regardless of the size of the company. Employers must hold their position or provide a comparable position when an employee returns from PFL.
DBL offers no job protection for ill or injured employees.
5. Benefit Offsets
You can collect DBL benefits concurrently with Paid Time Off, such as sick days or vacation time. This can help employees make ends meet by collecting a full paycheck plus DBL benefits for a time.
On the other hand, you cannot use PFL with other PTO.
Employee contributions for DBL are capped at 60 cents per week, regardless of the employee’s average weekly wage.
PFL benefit contributions are capped at 0.126 percent of the employees’ weekly wage, to a maximum of $1.65 per week in 2018.
7. Benefit Payouts
DBL pays 50 percent of an employee’s average weekly wage up to $170/week. PFL has a more generous benefit, phased in to start at 50 percent of an employee’s average weekly wage in 2018, and topping out at 67 percent of the employee’s average weekly wage by 2021.
The major difference is the cap. While DBL caps out at a less-than-living wage of $170/week, PFL is capped at New York’s Average Weekly Wage, currently $1,305.92.
Enrich DBL Now
In New York, although the maximum employee contribution for DBL is much lower than PFL, so is the benefit payout. In other states that mandate PFL, disability insurance and Paid Family Leave provide comparable benefits.
Employers are wise to consider enriching New York State DBL coverage now. Enriched DBL benefits packages that are more in line with PFL benefits can help reduce fraud, improve employee morale, and increase retention rates. (We’ll talk more about this in a future post, so stay tuned.)
It’s up to you, the broker, to educate your customers on the options today. DBL Center is here to help.
Contact our disability insurance experts about PFL riders and enriched DBL coverage now.
Protect yourself from the uncertainty caused by PFL benefits and earn more commissions with enriched DBL coverage.
In our last post, we talked about the challenges inherent in PFL riders. It may not be the cash cow brokers had expected when it was first announced. The amount of commission you’ll earn will depend upon the size of your DBL book. Still, any commission is better than no commission when we are talking about a mandatory benefit that virtually sells itself. And it can make it even easier for brokers to increase their commissions on enriched DBL packages in New York.
PFL is an important benefit with strong societal implications. It gives parents a chance to bond with their children and helps those stuck in the “sandwich generation” to care for aging parents without dashing their own hopes and dreams for the future by destroying their finances. From an insurance broker perspective, this unprecedented benefit can spark discussions and open doors enriched DBL sales.
“DBL commissions will always be higher than PFL, and brokers can use this to their advantage,” says DBL Center President Michael Cohen. “Take the opportunity, when you’re adding the PFL rider, to enrich the client’s DBL package at the same time—or at least begin the discussion so when their DBL is up for renewal, it will be on the client’s mind to enrich the policy.”
Selena Kutschera, Director of DBL and TDB Benefits for The DBL Center, points out an important reason to enrich DBL. “In most states that have mandatory PFL benefits, including New Jersey and California, the DBL and PFL benefits packages are comparable. There’s not this huge gap you see in New York.” New York’s DBL benefits pay a maximum of $170/week for 26 weeks. PFL, on the other hand, will be phased in over four years to ultimately pay 67 percent of an employee’s average weekly wage for 12 weeks.
“Brokers who want to do the right thing by their customers, and offer comparable benefits packages, will show their clients how easy it is to enrich DBL,” says Kutschera.
Just how easy IS it to sell enriched DBL? So easy, Kutschera broke it down into three simple steps for DBL Center brokers.
1. Pinpoint your customers that are the best candidates for enriched DBL.
You can only enrich DBL when a customer’s policy is up for renewal, which means not every customer can enrich DBL at the same time they add PFL to their policy. Some carriers renew all their policies in January, which means the time to contact those customers is NOW. Review your files and determine which customers are up for renewal and create a mailing list.
2. Use The DBL Center’s pre-written letter explaining the benefits of enriched DBL.
The DBL Center does all the work in this regard. We provide our brokers with a letter that lists the insured’s carrier, their current rates, and a chart on the back showing the options to enrich DBL.
Dollar for dollar, DBL is one of the most cost-effective benefits to increase coverage. And the maximum benefit of $850 a week means employees can actually live on DBL insurance if they become ill or get injured. Most employers are already taking an employee contribution for DBL coverage. For just over $5 annually, you can increase DBL coverage by $50 per week. That’s 10 times the return on their investment for employees who make a claim, on a pre-tax paycheck deduction they will barely notice. “If your employees are already paying the whole cost of DBL coverage through employee deductions, you’re giving them something more for it. Who can live on $170 in New York?” says Kutschera.
3. Let The DBL Center do the rest of the work and bind your policy for small businesses under 50 lives in New York.
Once your clients call or write back expressing interest, determine their enriched coverage levels. Let your DBL Center representative know, and, from there, we do it all. As your back-office support staff offering white-glove service at every stage of the sale, we work directly with the carriers to enrich your client’s DBL policies through a paperless process.
Did you know it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer? In addition, the most effective digital method of customer retention is email marketing. If you’re looking for generous commissions with little work on your end and no hard sales, let The DBL Center help you enrich DBL packages for your existing customers and increase your commissions today.