If you’re a New York insurance broker, you could be subject to new regulations for protecting your customers’ digital data under the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) Cybersecurity Regulations.
Fortunately, insurance brokers with fewer than 10 employees, less than $10 million in year-end total assets, or less than $5 million in gross annual revenue are not subject to the regulations, which reached their final transition phase on March 1, 2019.
In addition to the new cybersecurity regulations for larger New York brokers, all insurance brokers who accept digital payments of any kind must follow applicable Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards, established by the PCI Security Standards Council. The organization was founded to develop, enhance, disseminate, and assist with the understanding of security standards for payment account security.
Whatever the size of your brokerage, following basic cybersecurity measures can help you build the trust of your customers, and prevent your company from financial loss and loss of business if there is a data breach.
In short, keeping your customers’ data safe is a significant responsibility that insurance brokers shouldn’t take lightly. If you have questions about cybersecurity in your organization, it’s best to speak with a professional who can help your company undergo a security audit, spot weaknesses in your network and overall IT operations, and help you establish cybersecurity best practices.
These three steps can be a good start.
If you accept digital payments from your customers, you can complete a Self-Assessment Questionnaire to determine if you meet PCI Data Security Standard requirements. Checking for things like encryption software and up-to-date firewalls can give you an idea of whether or not your brokerage is in PCI compliance.
“If you’re accepting credit cards, debit or digital payments, you must be in compliance with up-to-date firewalls and other security standards to protect your customer data,” says Sunny Naqvi, President of CMIT Solutions of Mid-Suffolk, the award-winning technology firm that helps keep The DBL Center’s data safe.
It’s important to note that the PCI self-assessment only applies to your customers’ payment data, not other important customer information stored on your server. It is also not a complete measure of your organization’s security. PCI controls should continue to be implemented as part of your company’s overall security strategy.
A security audit, performed by IT and networking professionals, ensures that your company is following cybersecurity best practices. Your auditors should be able to identify vulnerabilities in your network that could lead to a breach and offer a plan of action to fix those security risks.
Naqvi notes that firewalls and anti-virus software should all be up-to-date, and traffic on your network should be limited to only necessary users. Multiple security layers can ensure employees can access the documents they need while keeping customer data secure.
Ultimately, your cybersecurity tools are only as strong as the people using your network.
“Whenever you have to tighten the security, you have to take into account the weakest link in the security chain, which is the human factor,” says Ahmad Mirza, network engineer at CMIT Solutions.
“Training employees how to avoid phishing emails, how to recognize the latest cybersecurity scams, and how to protect their passwords should all be covered as part of cybersecurity best practices,” Mirza says.
He recommends password manager applications to make it easy to set secure, hard-to-crack passwords and then login to all your applications with a single key.
Just be sure to choose a password manager you can trust, with multi-key encryption and multi-factor authentication. “Your passwords should be strong,” Mirza says, “but however you’re storing your passwords should be even stronger.”
by Dawn Allcot
The DBL Center is always on the lookout for creative tools to help you address your clients’ pain points when it comes to essential insurance coverage. While we specialize in DBL coverage and other temporary disability benefits, we know that many of our brokers also deal with major medical.
Even if you don’t, P&C brokers are in a unique position to help their clients address the painful medical renewals they face every year, as coverage levels decrease and premiums rise. In fact, the solution may be easier than you think, and it’s right in the wheelhouse of P&C brokers.
DBL Center President and CEO Michael S. Cohen sat down with Simon Klarides, Director of Business Development at ShelterPoint Life1 to answer our questions on how ShelterPoint Life’s recently updated Hospital Cash program fits in the picture – and to help you sell this commissionable coverage.
Michael S. Cohen: Simon, why do you think Hospital Cash indemnity insurance is a good option?
Simon Klarides: Let’s face it: Looks like high deductible medical plans are here to stay and they are placing more and more of a financial burden on the employees. Although Supplemental Medical Gap policies are not available as a solution in New York, simple, indemnity-based Hospital Cash insurance may present an option. In fact, we’ve configured our Hospital Cash2 product so that you don’t have to go through the full, traditional underwriting process: an alternative, much more streamlined way to get it is by selling it with DBL.
That sounds intriguing, but before we go into those mechanics, can you explain what exactly Hospital Cash indemnity insurance is?
Sure. Hospital Cash pays a fixed amount per day while confined to the hospital for at least 24 hours. This helps with expenses that result– such as copays and deductibles. I remember a Business Insurance article stating that 43 percent of adults said their deductible is difficult or impossible to afford.3
Anyway, our Hospital Cash benefits are paid for an unlimited continuous number of days per hospital stay, and they are paid independently from any other insurance. The nice thing is that benefits are paid directly to covered individuals and can be used however they choose, whether to help with medical bills or everyday expenses like groceries or the phone bill. And what’s even better – our plans cover not only the employee but the whole family!
So how much does Hospital Cash indemnity insurance pay?
New York State regulates the maximum daily benefit by region. The maximum for NY metro areas is $240 per day and $165 per day everywhere else in New York.4 As I mentioned before, there’s no cap for the number of continuous days per hospital stay. Skilled Nursing Facility stays are covered at the same benefit level but are limited to a maximum of 5 consecutive days.
Let’s circle back to how Hospital Cash indemnity insurance can be sold by brokers and in conjunction with DBL. Can you explain, Simon?
Yes! The easiest way of giving clients this coverage is by getting it at time of DBL application. We’ve created a simplified version as part of our BaseLine suite of products that is issued on a non-roster basis with flat per-capita rates – just by checking a box. This means, no enrollments are required while all active employees and their family members are automatically covered.
While Hospital Cash may certainly benefit groups regardless of how robust their medical coverage is, we typically see the sweet spot for this coverage with micro groups that have minimal medical coverage with high deductibles, if any coverage at all. Many times, these types of groups don’t have a benefit broker at all and look to their business insurance broker for guidance. That’s where you can differentiate your approach as a P&C broker to be more consultative and provide extra value to your clients, all while making more commission.
That’s very insightful. Now, for brokers who are looking to sell Hospital Cash, what if their clients already have DBL, whether through ShelterPoint or not?
The BaseLine version of Hospital Cash can be added at time of DBL renewal for existing ShelterPoint customers, and I know your team, Mike, can help with that. For groups with DBL elsewhere or groups that want customized benefits and riders, we still offer Hospital Cash on a traditionally underwritten basis.
Hospital Cash indemnity insurance will help differentiate yourself from other brokers. Call us here at The DBL Center to add this coverage for your existing clients or chat with us about options how to assure that this gets added to your future cases.
Learn more about ShelterPoint Life’s Hospital Cash here.
1 ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company, a NY-domiciled insurance carrier with principal office in Garden City, NY
2 BaseLine version of Hospital Cash policy available in NY only and underwritten by: ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company, Form# SPL GHC115 P NY. The policy described in this post provides limited hospital cash benefits only. It does not provide basic hospital, basic medical or major medical insurance as defined by the New York State Department of Financial Services. Lack of major medical coverage (or other minimum essential coverage) may result in an additional payment with your taxes. Policy provisions, conditions, and exclusions apply. Download this BaseLine Hospital Cash brochure for more information on the BaseLine (non-roster) version. Download this brochure for details and state availability of the FlexLine (traditionally underwritten) Hospital Cash version; this version is available in and underwritten by ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company in NY (SPL GHC115 P NY) and MI; ShelterPoint Insurance Company (licensed in 48 jurisdictions, not including NY) in all other available states outside NY and MI.
3 Livingston, Shelby. Business Insurance 11/25/15 and Commonwealth Fund & Kaiser Foundation, 2017
4 Metro New York area: Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), Manhattan, Nassau, Queens, Richmond (Staten Island), Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties. All other New York counties are considered non-Metro.
Photo by RawPixel.com from Pexels
The NJ state disability maximum benefit 2019 is in full effect as of January 1, 2019, for workers who have become injured, disabled, or given birth any time within the 2019 calendar year.
The NJ state disability maximum benefit 2019 is $650 per week. The maximum benefit for 2019 is up from $637 in 2018. The new rate is applicable only for employees who make a claim in 2019 and is not available retroactively or for injuries or illnesses from 2018.
How Are NJ TDB Benefits Calculated?
The employee’s maximum weekly benefit amount is calculated based on two-thirds of their average weekly wage, based on earnings in the eight calendar weeks before disability began. The weekly wage may include overtime, tips, and cash value of other renumeration, such as employee bonuses.
If the average weekly wage is less than the average weekly wage for the past 26 weeks, the employment may request a recalculation in writing to the Division of Temporary Disability Insurance. This assures payment is fair and remains close to a living wage for the temporary disability benefits applicant.
Disability payments will not begin until seven days after the disability claim is filed and disability begins, and payments cannot exceed 26 weeks within one disability period. Covered government workers must first use all available sick leave.
If combined with renumeration from the employer, the weekly NJ maximum disability benefit cannot exceed the regular weekly wages immediately prior to the disability. For instance, if an employee is paid weekly, and goes out on disability mid-week between the pay cycle, his first disability check plus his next paycheck cannot exceed the prior weekly paycheck.
In addition to the new, higher NJ state maximum disability benefit for 2019, there are a few things your customers should know about NJ TDB, to ensure they are in compliance with New Jersey state laws and treating their employees fairly.
NJ TDB Regulations Your Customers Should Know
As an insurance broker in the state of NJ, whether you are selling health insurance, life insurance, or ancillary benefits, you can take this opportunity to help your customers understand NJ TDB compliance laws. This can help set up a conversation about the benefits of privatizing their TDB policies for enhanced benefits, faster payouts, and better service.
Employers and HR directors should know that a notice outlining employee’s rights under NJ TDB, including the NJ state disability maximum benefit 2019, should be posted in a place where all employees can view and read it, typically an employee break room or other gathering place.
Employees should also be informed about NJ temporary disability benefits when they are first hired, if an employee notifies the employer that they are taking time off for a situation that could be eligible for NJ TDB benefits, or any time an employee asks for information about their temporary disability benefits.
Does It Pay to Privatize TDB for Your Customers?
Many New Jersey business owners aren’t aware they can privatize TDB for better service and the equal (or better) benefits at the same rates.
The state of NJ is backed up on processing temporary disability claims, resulting in benefit delays. If an employee needs help filing the forms or isn’t sure which form to file, it can be difficult to reach someone in the State of New Jersey Department of Labor Division of Temporary Disability Insurance.
In addition, a private TDB policy gives your customers many other benefits, including disability payments in the form of direct deposit rather than a debit card. By privatizing their TDB package with a major carrier, they may be eligible for rate discounts on ancillary benefits, too.
As a broker, when you privatize your customers’ TDB and write the policies through DBL Center, you’ll gain access to our Broker Dashboard to track revenue, commissions, and renewals. Using our Broker Dashboard puts all your clients’ information in one place, under one password, in an easy-to-use app that you can access from your office or on-the-go from any mobile device.
Right now, only 2 percent of all businesses in New Jersey write their TDB policies through a private carrier.
The market is wide open.
The opportunity is there.
Start the conversation by letting your customers know about the new NJ state disability maximum benefit 2019. Then show them what they have to gain with private TDB coverage, because the advantages go far beyond the amount of money claimants receive.
Want more tools to help you sell NJ TDB? Check out our new NJ TDB Resource Center here.
by Michael Cohen
The DBL Center had an exceptionally successful year and celebrated the holidays in exceptional style. In what has become a DBL Center tradition, DBL Center family, staff, contractors, colleagues and friends gathered in the Founder’s Room, the VIP room of Huntington’s historic Paramount Theater, a 1,500-seat venue that regularly hosts A-list bands and comedic acts.
The Founder’s Room below the theater is themed out in the décor of a 1920s speakeasy, creating an upscale yet laidback environment for guests to enjoy drinks, music and deliciously creative hors d’oeuvres.
DBL Center guests talked about business, their families, and their plans for the holidays to the backdrop of holiday tunes and big band era hits played by saxophonist Danny Bascher. Bascher, along with DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen, is a member of New York City’s exclusive Friar’s Club.
Michael Cohen Takes the Founder’s Room Stage
Cohen took the mic at one point for a short, yet heartfelt speech. Cohen channeled his talents as a stand-up comic to evoke laughs from the audience. The tone of the night was light and casual. His speech exemplified the true family spirit of the DBL Center and its staff. Mike mentioned the company’s continued success in 2018, the new office space in Melville, and a future acquisition to take place by the end of the year.
After the party, he elaborated on The DBL Center’s many successes in 2018 and what makes the insurance wholesaler such a special place to work.
“This is a team of people who really enjoy working together,” Cohen observed. “We work hard, and we also have a lot of fun. My in-office staff is top-notch, best in the business. As we expertly handled the PFL roll-out, we continued to view every challenge as an opportunity and grow the business. The team accomplished great things in 2018 and I know our founder David Cohen would be proud.”
He continued, “I also have a team of independent contractors who are the best in their field, helping to keep DBL Center’s technology systems running and to guide our marketing. We are always trying to stay two steps ahead in these areas, and 2019 will bring continued evolution, innovation, and outreach.”
As We Enter 2019, We Give Our Thanks to DBL Center Carriers and Brokers
DBL Center carriers, too, warrant recognition this time of year. “The carrier relationships we have built allow us many opportunities, from the best pricing and product options for our brokers to cross-marketing to expand our presence,” Cohen says.
Finally, it is the DBL Center’s customers, top brokers across the New York Tri-state area and beyond, who deserve thanks in the holiday season and throughout the year.
“Every DBL Center broker has their own strengths and areas of expertise. We have highlighted some in our new Broker’s Spotlight columns this year,” Cohen says. “As we grow and expand our family of brokers through sales and acquisitions in 2019, we are excited to continue providing exemplary levels of service to all our customers, new and existing and to get to know all our brokers even better. Our success is built on the relationships we nurture and the support we provide. That business philosophy will only continue to grow in the new year.”
See a clip of Danny Bascher as he performs live at The Founder’s Room…
The DBL Center wishes you the happiest of holidays, from our family to yours.
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.
Consolidated HR is a full-service, nationwide human resources outsourcing firm specializing in payroll, employee benefits, and more. “We work with a variety of different firms, ranging from small family ran businesses, to larger multi-state companies,” says CHR Benefits Supervisor Delores M. Torres. “We help our clients focus on growing their businesses while we help with back-end HR, payroll, and benefits.”
DBL Center has been providing the short-term disability policies for CHR clients in New York and New Jersey for many years.
When Torres connected with DBL Center’s Vice President of Ancillary Sales Lori S. Rose, they decided it was time to explore ways to provide CHR clients with even more value by offering Group Life insurance and other ancillary lines of coverage.
DBL Center started by moving CHR’s existing group life insurance lines to another carrier to provide better benefits and lower premiums.
Working with DBL Center gave CHR access to lines and pricing the HR outsourcing company may not have gotten on its own and helped ensure all the paperwork was in compliance. Access to DBL Center’s exclusive Broker Dashboard can help CHR track policy renewals and revenue moving forward.
The next step was reviewing CHR’s open enrollment files to give CHR clients a chance to opt in to these voluntary, employee-funded benefits.
DBL Center’s legendary service and support helped Torres tackle an arduous task.
“The support and follow-up from Lori Rose has been phenomenal,” Torres says. “She has really helped reduce my stress. With it being the end of the year and such a busy time for everyone, she’s been so understanding.”
Group Life insurance may be a hard sell, so it’s important for brokers to convey to employers that these benefits can be offered at no cost to the company.
“Our clients tend to downplay the ancillary lines,” Torres says. “We have to explain that they can make it available to their employees with no out-of-pocket costs to the company.”
It helps to emphasize that voluntary benefits like Group Life can aid in recruiting and retention, especially for companies looking to attract the next generations of talent.
“Employees in their mid-30s and younger are more open to exploring what else is available in the way of employee benefits and they want the extra lines of coverage,” Torres observes.
Torres’ assertion corresponds with a recent Pew Research study that shows millennials to be the most risk-averse generation since The Great Depression. As millennials finally start paying off their college loans, getting married, and buying houses, purchasing life insurance is a smart, low-risk step to ensure their family’s security if something should happen to them. Other ancillary lines of coverage, such as dental and vision, can help them save money on day-to-day or emergency expenses.
Likewise, Generation X employees can benefit from life insurance investments as they age and have more responsibilities, including a mortgage, college costs for their children, and even the expense of caring for aging parents.
“The follow-up we have to do to show our clients the importance of ancillary benefits can be overwhelming,” Torres says. “But DBL Center understands the hurdles we have to overcome and is always there to help with information and back-office support.”
In the end, it’s worth the effort.
Group Life insurance and ancillary benefits can help brokers and HR firms like Consolidated HR expand their book-of-business while helping their clients’ employees secure a better financial future for their families.
Did you know that 98 percent of NJ TDB temporary disability benefits policies are written by the state?
Even though privatized TDB provides better service and faster payouts than state-funded temporary disability insurance in New Jersey, most business owners don’t know privatized TDB is an option for themselves and their employees.
For New Jersey brokers, this represents a tremendous opportunity for increased revenue. Even though commissions may not be as high as carriers offer for some other types of insurance, including ancillary benefits, the total commissions can add up over time.
NJ TDB is a mandatory benefit, and once a broker has a company signed up for privatized TDB, they are likely to continue renewing year after year, providing largely passive income for brokers.
And the State of New Jersey now has legislation in the works which could make it even easier for brokers to help their customers privatize their TDB.
Based on NJ temporary disability benefits law, any private TDB coverage must be equal to state-funded benefit amounts and duration of payments and have the same (or more liberal) eligibility requirements as the State Plan all at the same rates or better.
In addition to equal payments, which private NJ TDB must offer by law, many privatized plans also have faster service, payment choices in the form of direct deposit or a debit card, and an easier claims process.
The state of New Jersey is struggling to keep up with claims.
It often takes as long as four weeks from the date the claim is filed to begin paying claimants. In some cases, employees are back to work before they even begin to receive their disability benefits.
Often, this results in an already-overworked HR department spending time to help employees chase down their benefits. It can also affect employee morale and retention rates within a company.
Currently, to switch to a private TDB insurance plan in New Jersey, employers must get signatures from 50 % + 1 of the employees in a company before making the switch.
But the New Jersey State legislature has introduced a new bill that would waive the signature requirement for employers to switch to privatized TDB.
This eliminates one stumbling block brokers now face in getting their customers to switch their NJ TDB policies to a private carrier.
Private TDB insurance offers equal (or better) benefits, faster payout times, and less red tape for employers, all at the same rates as the State Plan.
If someone were to offer you an equal or better product at the same price, wouldn’t you accept it?
If the State of NJ waives signature requirements to switch TDB to a private carrier, it removes the last stumbling block for acceptance.
But the responsibility will rest with brokers to let their customers know that privatized TDB is an option, that it is easier to obtain than ever before, and that it can vastly improve the level of service businesses receive when it comes to TDB claims.
As January 1 approaches and employers begin renewing their TDB policies and getting ready to sign on for another year with the state, brokers in New Jersey should write to their legislators and request that the state waive the signature requirement for switching to a private TDB carrier.
Then, begin a campaign to let your customers know private TDB is an option.
Use email marketing, blog posts, social media, webinars, and printed handouts to spread the word. Network at local business events. Write an article for your local paper.
The market is wide open, with 98 percent of New Jersey businesses still writing their TDB coverage with the state. It’s your turn to carve a slice of that pie.
Reach out to existing customers who write their other insurance lines with your company and let them know you can offer them a better product at the same price the state of New Jersey offers. Use your reputation for white-glove customer service to sell TDB.
And let DBL Center help manage your TDB accounts, putting commissions in your pockets with a minimum of work on your part.
Need help getting your customers to switch?
DBL Center provides white-label, white-glove, concierge-level service to help brokers earn more.
Reach out to us today.
Centric Benefits Consulting of New Providence, NJ, is a small retail broker specializing in healthcare and ancillary benefits for businesses of every size, from two to 2,000 lives. “Our customers represent a solid cross-section of New Jersey businesses, which is primarily small businesses under 100 lives, but also larger corporations,” says Brian Reilly, vice president for Centric Benefits Consulting.
Explaining that each Centric Benefits broker has their own specialty niche, he notes that he primarily works with organizations in the public sector such as charter schools.
Industry colleague Lori Rose, now AVP of ancillary lines for DBL Center, recently encouraged Reilly to shop his ancillary benefits packages through DBL Center. As a new DBL Center customer, he says he was exceptionally pleased with the process, the service, and the pricing.
Reilly had worked with Rose in her previous role at a dental carrier. Seeing Lori’s excitement over working with DBL Center, Reilly decided it was worth taking a chance. “If Lori was that excited to be joining DBL Center, it told me a lot about the company,” he says.
“Lori helped me deliver a better product at a better price for a client with dental coverage,” he says. “She also helped us win a customer who had been using us for healthcare and wanted to expand into ancillary benefits. Lori put together a fantastic package of dental and vision benefits.”
Reilly says he likes the convenience of getting quotes from a multitude of carriers through one contact, combined with DBL Center’s analysis of those quotes. “They pointed out the nuances behind each policy, so I knew what I was asking my clients to buy. It helped me find the best fit for my client.”
Reilly notes that DBL Center “outperformed expectations” immediately with the first account, and he had no hesitation to shop a second policy through the wholesaler.
“There are brokers who think they will lose out on commissions by working through an insurance wholesaler,” Reilly says. “But working with DBL Center has really added value – for myself and for my customers.”
He continues, “One thing that really impressed me: Shortly after I started working with DBL Center, owner Michael Cohen called me. That showed the attention DBL Center gives to each of its customers. For the company president to call a new broker, who is part of a small agency – it was very classy and made me feel good about the relationship.”
Reilly mainly deals in medical benefits, ancillary benefits such as vision and dental, and some long-term disability. But he is always open to cross-selling opportunities.
If he is going to sell a product, he wants to make sure he has the knowledge, support, and insurance industry relationships to do it right.
Reilly says DBL Center opens doors for him to sell TDB in New Jersey in the future, along with growing his ancillary benefits and long-term disability sales.
“I haven’t put a lot of time or effort into TDB coverage in the past because I didn’t want to be stretched too thin. But now I can go into TDB, especially when the rate change is announced in November, knowing I will have the support to do it right,” he says. “With DBL Center, I found a path and a partner that allows me to look at lines of coverage I haven’t dedicated the resources to pursuing.”
Although Reilly is typically very cautious about new endeavors, he’s actively recommending DBL Center to his colleagues at Centric Benefits Consulting, too.
“I tend to dip my toe in the water, first, before jumping into anything full force,” Reilly says. “But DBL Center made it worthwhile to jump in. I’m looking forward to more opportunities to partner with Lori and DBL Center.”
As you know if you’ve been reading our blog or have been talking to members of our team, The DBL Center has achieved several milestone growth markers in 2018. In addition to our new offices and achieving the milestone this summer of writing 1 million lives, and servicing and insuring 32,000 corporations annually.
Are you an insurance broker ready to grow your business? Before you start doubling or tripling your sales figures, it’s important to consider how you will manage high volume business.
Managing a handful of companies under 50 lives is not the same as servicing thousands of corporations with 1,000+ employees each.
Your marketing, customer education tools, management software, and your employees all need to be ready for the change. DBL Center can help.
Let’s look at the five elements you’ll need in place as part of your growth plan.
1. Consider your customer retention.
Before you can expand, you have to ensure you are keeping the customers you have – large and small. If you start losing customers, you are just trading one account for another and not really growing. It costs more in time and money to gain and onboard new clients than it does to maintain existing customers, so focus on retention as the first stage of your growth plan.
2. Set tangible goals and put a plan in place to achieve them.
As business expert Zig Ziglar says, “A goal carefully planned is halfway reached.” Perform a business analysis and determine where you want to be in six months, a year, and maybe even three years. DBL Center recently started offering incentives for writing new DBL business with us. Setting a goal to qualify for these incentives could be a good place to start.
3. Emphasize customer education.
Our PFL resource center helps set us apart, contributing to our inbound marketing efforts in 2018. We also introduced webinars about PFL and NRT, giving our brokers the tools and information they need to educate their customers. These efforts, combined with a solid marketing plan, tangible goals, and hiring employees specializing in the areas we aimed to grow, all led to a highly successful year for DBL Center.
4. Make sure you have the support you need.
Consider your CRM, bookkeeping, and sales software to ensure you can handle the volume. The Net Revenue Tracker (NRT) powered by DBL Center may be able to help you track renewals, commissions, and revenue, making it easier to retain customers and also see how close you are to achieving the goals you set.
You also want employees in place who can manage high-volume, high-pressure accounts.
Having an insurance wholesaler like DBL Center in your corner to provide white-glove, white-label service can help when you are ready to pursue the next stage of growth.
5. Keep your eyes on the pulse of the industry to be in the right place at the right time.
Back in 2012, Zurich Insurance Company left the New York State DBL market. Then Hurricane Sandy hit, wreaking havoc on the insurance industry and leaving P&C brokers scrambling to cover losses totaling $19 billion.
Knowing there was an industry shake-up coming due to the Affordable Care Act, even before Sandy, The DBL Center under the leadership of David Cohen was set to make a move.
The DBL Center began promoting enriched DBL coverage in New York, opening a gateway to greater profits for our brokers.
In 2017, DBL Center was on the forefront of reporting on the introduction of Paid Family Leave in New York. As part of our strategic marketing initiatives, we provided brokers with the resources they needed to explain the benefit to their customers. We also gave them access to the carriers who were able to write the PFL rider and incentives for moving their business.
As PFL announces its next increase, to go into effect in January 2019, we will be there to guide brokers.
Meanwhile, we continue to watch the industry and see what may be on the horizon, constantly innovating new ways to help our brokers.
For instance, our NRT app fills a unique need for brokers who provide DBL, PFL, TDB, and other employee benefits.
If you are looking to grow your business, manually tracking accounts or using siloed software that doesn’t meet all your needs will no longer work.
As we step into the future with advanced technology and new profit opportunities, we are excited to help our brokers who want to join us.
Are you ready to grow with us?
The DBL Center held a summer celebration at Prime in Huntington on the Long Island Sound.
The team, led by Michael Cohen, has plenty to celebrate in 2018. We have a new office in Melville and we’re getting set for the launch of our Broker Dashboard this fall, followed by the introduction of our Net Revenue Tracker (NRT) software.
We’d like to take this chance to give you a peek into life at DBL Center.
You’ll get to know us a little bit better. And maybe understand exactly how – and why – white-glove service is a core part of our company mission and how important our brokers are to us.
The DBL Center has always been a family-owned company. And our employees are a lot like family, too.
With this in mind, picture your most boisterous family meal, and you could imagine our lunch at Prime.
There was lots of great food, many laughs, and great stories from great storytellers. (We have many in the DBL extended family). As the conversation meandered to family traditions, there were strong reminders of where we came from and some talk of where we are going.
Our new office at 155 Pinelawn Road in Melville, a few miles south of our prior location and near prestigious Long Island companies like Newsday and Estee Lauder, gives The DBL Center more space and more amenities. With room to grow within our suite, the office boasts an open floor plan that allows our team to work more closely in alignment. We are all here to help each other.
On a summer Friday afternoon, the office spaces are filled with laughter. The atmosphere makes us more eager to work and happy to provide our brokers with the service they expect. Productivity, creativity, and idea-sharing are all enhanced as DBL Center prepares to enter its next stage of growth.
In the doorway of the office suite to greet visitors and employees is an original drawn portrait of founder David Cohen by local artist and family friend John D. Herz, who David often called, “the Michelangelo of the #2 pencil.” The image reminds us, daily, of why it’s so important to continue living up to our founder’s vision of white-glove service.
Of course, the new office space boasts all the expected amenities. New, ergonomic office chairs were specially chosen for our employees’ comfort and enhanced productivity. In addition to the large conference table in the common area, there is a conference space in president Michael Cohen’s office, where he records our popular webinar series that covers topics like Paid Family Leave, and a screen to show WebEx demos of our new NRT software to brokers.
As DBL Center continues to expand in every way, we have more resources to serve our brokers better, faster, and with the level of attention you expect and deserve. Our webinars and website are just a few examples of how we’ve evolved for the better in the past few years, and our new office is the next step in that evolution.
As our sales volume increases, it puts us in an even better position to negotiate with carriers to secure the best deals for our brokers.
Yet, DBL Center will never forget our roots and will never neglect the personalized service we have offered for more than 40 years. We may grow larger, with nicer offices and more personnel, but we won’t ever become a “big box” insurance wholesaler.
We maintain true to David Cohen’s vision of a “boutique” insurance agency dedicated to serving our brokers, even as we leverage today’s technology to do so in new and more effective ways.
Drop us a line and let us know how we can serve you today.