DBL Broker Spotlight: Hometown Insurance Agency

A focus on customer education and diverse offerings set Hometown Insurance Agency of Long Island apart

 

Hometown Insurance Agency, based in Bohemia, New York, has been serving Long Island, upstate New York, and parts of the New York tri-state area since 1979. Hometown provides a full line of insurance products, with a 50/50 split of personal and commercial customers. Hometown’s business insurance lines include individual and group health, ancillary benefits, and, of course, New York State mandatory DBL insurance.

Within that commercial demographic, Hometown serves a wide range of businesses, from Main Street small businesses to municipalities, fire departments, towns and villages, local libraries, as well as not-for-profit organizations, and larger companies including manufacturers and contractors.

But one thing is consistent in the way Hometown approaches every one of its clients. “One of the areas we pride ourselves on is educating our customers,” says Hometown President and CEO Rebecca Weber, noting that DBL coverage and especially Paid Family Leave still require a lot of attention when it comes to customer education.

“I still am convinced that not everybody is talking about it like they should be,” says Weber. “And that education we provide is what sets us apart. Most agents go in and are focused on the meatier parts of the policy, so it is very easy to overlook DBL coverage.”

She adds, “At Hometown, we’ve made it part of our routine. Our agents need to go in and talk about enriched DBL—and the new PFL rider is a great place to start.”

As a female executive in a male-dominated industry, Weber sees the appeal in the personal stories behind the groundbreaking and culturally significant benefit. “We have two family members who work in our company, in two different departments. When the mother returned after eight weeks taking care of her newborn, her husband was able to take time off. We see, as a company, how important this benefit is to our employees. To be able to share that story with our business owners really brings it home to them.”

Hometown Insurance Agency has worked with DBL Center for two generations; Rebecca’s father, Dan Weber, began doing business with DBL Center President Michael Cohen’s father, David, decades ago. “Our relationship has grown along with our management and ownership,” says the younger Weber, who took over leadership of Hometown in 2007.

Even as both companies have grown, they remain focused on personalized service. “In working with DBL Center, there is a sense of dealing with people that you trust, and people that you know. You’re not treated like a number,” says Weber. “Invariably, the service is absolutely wonderful and exceeds our expectations.”

Weber notes that DBL Center caters to small to mid-size agencies, providing not just exceptional service but bleeding-edge technology to help the agency operate more efficiently.

Hometown Insurance Agency is one of a handful of DBL Center brokers who have already previewed the proprietary Net Revenue Tracker (NRT) software.

“We are very excited to begin using the software,” says Weber. “We believe it is going to help streamline our process and be more efficient. Our reports will be more reliable.”

By automating renewal notifications and tracking functions, the software will free up employees who are currently focused on manual data entry so they can complete more complex, high-touch tasks.

“It’s a win-win for our agency,” Weber says. “And we are very fortunate to have access to the software and to have The DBL Center in our corner.”

Would you like to be featured in our next DBL Broker Spotlight? Reach out today.


Insurance Agency Tax Time: How Are You Tracking Revenue?

Use this tax season to reflect on how you can improve processes in your insurance agency

It’s tax season once again and for insurance brokers, it’s also a good time to reflect on ways to improve business efficiency in your insurance agency.

For small to mid-size businesses in New York and New Jersey, including many DBL Center brokers, March means working with your tax accountant, sorting through receipts and expenses, running QuickBooks reports, and reviewing your annual revenue.

But there is a lot of data hidden inside those numbers besides just how much you owe the I.R.S. Are you tracking and leveraging your business analytics to their full capacity? The DBL Center is introducing a tool that will allow property & casualty and other licensed agents the ability to do just that.

DBL Center Offers Net Revenue Tracker Software to Insurance Brokers

QuickBooks and other accounting software provides reports to help you track income and expenses, but it is not tailored to an insurance agency. You can’t view the profitability of different types of insurance or different types of customers. You can’t track cancellation trends so you can improve customer retention. And you can’t reliably predict cash flow or opportunities for growth without a way to track renewals.

CRM software can help your insurance agency sales team track leads to generate new business. But someone in your office has to input the data and your sales team has to be invested enough in the process to use it.

Our new Net Revenue Tracker is tailored to P&C insurance brokers to help you manage all your accounts and spot opportunities for growth. It connects directly to your DBL Center back office so all the analytics you need are at your fingertips at any time, wherever you may be. The cloud-based software functions seamlessly and securely on any internet-enabled device, including a desktop PC or Mac, laptop, or Android- or iOs-based smartphone or tablet.

Grow Your Book of Business with NRT

The Net Revenue Tracker provides the information most important to help you grow your book of business, enabling you to track the profitability of specific accounts, track policy renewal dates so you can be proactive about renewals and up-sells, and view important business metrics at a glance.

You can view accounts by carrier to see where you might want to diversify to protect your business interests, and where it might benefit your customers to consolidate for better coverage and lower premiums.

And because it is based on software we’ve used here at The DBL Center for years, we know it is user-friendly to help you increase efficiency and streamline your business processes.

How Will The New Tax Laws Affect Your Insurance Agency – And Your Customers?

As you’re assessing your business processes to increase efficiencies and track your revenue more effectively, it’s also important to begin thinking about tax strategies for 2018.

This year’s tax season should be straightforward for most insurance brokers, or at least business as usual. The big changes went into effect beginning this year and will be reflected on corporate taxes filed in March 2019. Talk to your tax accountant about the new tax laws and how they may affect your business — and your customers’ businesses, for that matter.

With reduced or eliminated deductions for fringe benefits like transportation, meals and entertainment, employers and HR directors may be looking to enrich disability coverage and ancillary benefits to recruit and retain top talent. Our Net Revenue Tracker can help you spot these opportunities for increased sales with existing customers at your New York insurance agency.

Be one of the first brokers to catch a sneak preview of the software in a live webinar demonstration.

Schedule Your NRT Demo Now


DBL Center Helps Brokers Track Revenue

New application gives brokers deep analytics and actionable business insights to grow their business


For 41 years, The DBL Center has provided brokers with white glove service and the lowest insurance premiums available for enriched DBL, ancillary benefits, group life, and more. As the industry changes, we stay ahead of the curve to deliver greater value.

Measure and Improve

We’ve always believed in the adage, “You can’t improve what you don’t measure.” DBL Center Founder David Cohen had an almost-compulsive need to pay close attention to the details. In our office, we have a database that allows us to track every account, see at a glance when renewals are due, and track our total revenue. We’ve been doing this so long, we almost took the value of it for granted.

In talking with our customers, we learned that many insurance brokers have no simple way to track revenue, new business, or cancelled policies at a glance. Most agree this information would be valuable. They just don’t have the means to do it.

Other Software Solutions Don’t Work for the Insurance Industry

Conventional CRM software doesn’t work for insurance brokers. Accounting software can provide part of the picture, but not everything a broker needs. Most major industries, from healthcare to IT, have their own software that tracks and reports the information relevant to that specific field.

Why shouldn’t brokers have a way to track their statutory and group ancillary business?

That’s when we set our programmers on a new task: To create a software program for our customers that would give them actionable insights for business development in an easy-to-read interface.

DBL Center Prepares to Launch Net Revenue Tracker

For the past year, we’ve been working on a software application that will let our brokers manage their accounts and track their commissions from anywhere. Because we know our brokers spend a lot of time on the road, having this information at their fingertips makes it easier for them to serve their customers and write new business because every dollar counts in this industry.

Our new mobile-friendly broker dashboard, the NRT (Net Revenue Tracker) will help brokers who put their business with the DBL Center stay ahead of the competition and see their bottom line in real time. Because success is not created by what you earn, but by what you keep.

Net Revenue Tracker Provides the Answers You Need to Grow Your Book of Business

Would you like to:

  • Track new business and see where it comes from to determine your most successful salespeople?
  • See how much you’ve earned monthly, quarterly, and annually at a glance?
  • Determine what percentage of your revenue comes from new business vs. renewals?
  • Know exactly when each customer’s policy renews?
  • Find out, at a glance, what percentage of business lies with each major insurance carrier?
  • Have all this information available to you through a user-friendly application?

Our developers are hard at work, right now, creating the Net Revenue Tracker software, which will do all of this and more for DBL Center brokers.

The Net Revenue Tracker will allow brokers to:

  • View business metrics at a glance
  • Track profitability of specific accounts
  • Learn where you need to diversify your business between multiple carriers to protect yourself, and where it might pay to consolidate for better rates
  • Reduce your dependency on carriers by tracking renewals in your office
  • Spot trends in cancellations so you can improve customer retention
  • Track and improve business growth

Time-tested Platform Gives Our Brokers the Edge
The DBL Center has been relying on software to track our net revenue and growth for more than a decade now. Our time-tested platform of proven business development tools will give our brokers the edge. The Net Revenue Tracker provides deep analytics and actionable information for business growth in a convenient format.

With 41 years in the insurance business, The DBL Center has learned a few things about business processes. We know how important it is to pay attention to the finer details and track your results for consistent growth.

Isn’t It Time Be An Early Adopter?
If you aren’t tracking your revenue in a reliable way, or if your current platform falls short of what you need, we invite you to give us a call for a quick demo of our software solution.

Watch the video above and then book your free, one-on-one WebEx demo to learn how you can track your insurance agency revenue more effectively and efficiently.

Schedule Your NRT Demo Now


Creating An Employee Wellness Culture In Your Organization

Focusing on employee wellness can reduce disability insurance claims

State-mandated DBL (New York) and TDB (New Jersey) insurance provide employees with income if they are sick or disabled for an extended period of time. Overall, this insurance coverage can increase employee job satisfaction and overall company morale.

But, even with insurance coverage sick employees still take a toll on the business. You can fight these negative effects by fostering an employee wellness culture within your organization.

Reduce Productivity Losses, Improve Profitability through Employee Wellness

Productivity losses linked to employees who miss work cost employers $225.8 billion, or $1,685 per employee, each year, according to CDC statistics. Of that lost money, more than half ($153 billion) is a result of sick time used by full-time workers who are overweight or obese or have chronic health issues.

Reducing excess weight, high blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol levels by just 1 percent are employee wellness measures that can save up to $103 annually in medical costs per person.

One way to encourage healthier lifestyles for your workers is by building an employee wellness culture within your organization, modeled by executives and carried down to every employee.

There are many ways to do so—and these small changes don’t have to cost a fortune. And certainly less than the $1,685 spent per employee when people get sick).

1. Make healthy snacks available in the break room.

We all cringe that first week back to work after the New Year. Many of us might be trying to eat healthy or even starting new diets. But others decide to bring those leftover cookies, pies, chocolates, and fruitcake to the office, where “someone will eat them.”

As a leader in your organization, you don’t have to be that “someone.” You can even provide an alternative for everyone and encourage employee wellness through healthy foods.

Stock a mini-fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables, provide herbal teas for those who need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, and even consider bringing in a healthy catered lunch once a week.

Or send an email to organize a mid-day potluck on a Friday, where everyone brings in their favorite healthy meal and shares the recipe.

2. “Challenge” your employees.

“Challenges” are the new fitness craze, and they work to get people moving by motivating them through the thrill of competition. Oh, and cash prizes.

Here’s how it works: Collect a small amount of money from everyone who wants to participate. Set rules, such as being active for 30 minutes each day. Employees show proof of their activity through a Fitbit, Apple Watch, or even a free downloadable app like MyFitnessPal. At the end of the challenge (typically 30 days) everyone who completed the challenge as per the rules is entered into a random drawing to win the money.

You can also divide the office into teams. The team that shows the most total minutes of physical activity over 30 days wins the challenge.

3. Plan an active office outing.

Color runs. Obstacle races. Walkathons. 5K events. There’s an activity for employees at nearly any ability level. And while the weather may not be conducive to running for anyone but the diehards right now, spring is on the way.

It’s time to catch the early-bird registration pricing for a team-building physical challenge. You can even get healthy while helping others, and engage in a race or event that donates proceeds to charity.

If you’re looking for a winter activity, consider indoor rock-climbing, laser tag, or even bowling.

4. Provide health-related perks

From free or discounted gym memberships to in-office massages, two-thirds of all U.S. workplaces today offer wellness-related benefits. But it’s not enough to provide the benefits.
You must let employees know they are available and make it easy for them to take advantage.

When you get half the office talking about last night’s boot camp, and the other half want to know where to sign up, you know you’ve created an employee wellness culture within your organization.

Mandatory DBL and TDB coverage is there when you need it. But taking small steps toward a healthier workplace can make a big difference in your organization’s overall productivity.

The DBL Center wishes all our brokers, clients, and readers a happy and healthy 2018.

 

 


The DBL Center Family Celebrates the Holidays

DBL Center party promotes camaraderie and idea exchange to wind down the year.

As it enters its 42nd year, the DBL Center is and has always been, a family-owned business. The company recently celebrated the holidays with a party at the historic Paramount concert venue, bar and lounge in Huntington Village, Long Island.

Taking over a private VIP room below the theater, the DBL Center hosted a Speakeasy Holiday Party.

For those who’ve never visited, the Founder’s Room at the Paramount features décor of the 1920s, along with music memorabilia for those who wax nostalgic about the earlier days of rock and roll. Absolutely perfect for The DBL Center employees, clients, friends, and peers who were invited to the party. It’s a cliché, but it’s also accurate to say “a good time was had by all.”

In the tradition of The DBL Center, the venue, the food, and of course, the people created an incredible atmosphere of first-class fun.

Concierge Service, High-Tech Capabilities

The DBL Center was founded by David Cohen to offer insurance brokers the type of highly differentiated, personalized service provided by “boutique” companies in other industries.

Those who knew David knew he loved to travel. He loved staying in luxury boutique hotels instead of the bigger chains. He enjoyed not just the personalized service, but the original and unique touches these hotels provided.

What White Glove Service Means To Us

The concept of “concierge service” provided at boutique hotels was the inspiration for our website cover photo. And that philosophy of providing white glove service translates into everything we do.

From giving our brokers the latest resources to help them understand new legislation such as Paid Family Leave, to our app that puts control of our broker’s accounts right at their fingertips, on the road or in the office, everything we do is designed to provide a higher level of service to our brokers and their clients.

No doubt, it takes a lot of work to maintain that level of service and stay ahead of the pack.

But we also have a lot of fun along the way, with our holiday party as just one example!

Nurturing a Family Atmosphere

The family atmosphere that we nurture within the organization welcomes an open exchange of ideas to help The DBL Center continue to improve. Whether in the office or after-hours at a gathering like our holiday party–we listen to our employees and our customers.

We are continually brainstorming new ways to service our agents in areas that matter to them. Our technology, our back-office staff, and the resources we offer can help agents expand their book of business and increase their profits in less time.

Paying Tribute, Saying Thank You

President and CEO Michael Cohen, of course, didn’t stand still during the party. He traveled the room sharing stories, always with a crowd around him, eagerly awaiting the punchline.

Mid-way through the night, Michael took the time to gather everyone near the bar and shared his gratitude and appreciation for The DBL Center family — employees, brokers, clients, contractors, and friends.

Join Us in 2018

No doubt, 2018 has been a year of changes and adaption – for The DBL Center family and for the insurance industry as a whole.

Armed with determination, knowledge, and a team that is stronger than ever, The DBL Center moves forward into 2018 with unprecedented optimism, new ideas to implement, and more opportunities than ever before for our brokers to expand their book of business and make more money with us.

Happy Holidays, from our family to yours. 

Are you ready to join The DBL Center family?

Find out how we can help you get the best rates on enriched DBL coverage, ancillary benefits, and more.


FMLA vs PFL: What’s the Difference?

FMLA vs PFL: The DBL Center explores the differences

Since New York introduced Paid Family Leave, there has been a lot of confusion. Brokers, HR directors, employers and employees are just beginning to understand what PFL means and who it will affect.

One point of confusion: Many people believe the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the federal law put into place during the Obama administration, is the same as New York’s PFL.

In fact, the two are loosely related, and can be applied in conjunction with each other.

But they are not the same thing.

FMLA vs PFL: What Is The Difference?
For starters, FMLA is a federal level law, while PFL provides benefits to employees at the state level.

The key difference in FMLA vs PFL is that FMLA is not a paid leave. It offers no compensation to employees taking time off. PFL in New York, on the other hand, provides both job protection and income for employees on leave.

Read on as The DBL Center, your expert in Paid Family Leave in the New York Tri-State area, explains more  you should know about FMLA vs PFL.

What Is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
The Family Medical Leave Act was signed into law by the federal government to protect the jobs of employees who have to take time off for medical reasons of their own or to care for a sick or disabled family member.

When the employee returns from leave, the employer must be able to provide that employee with the same position they had before or one that is equivalent in pay, benefits, and status. While the employee is out on leave, the employer must also maintain their benefits at the same level as when they were working.

FMLA vs PFL: Who Can Make a Claim?
FMLA legislation applies to people who take medical leave for themselves or take time off to care for a loved one.

On the other hand, Paid Family Leave applies only to employees taking time off to care for family members. Employees can make a PFL claim to take time off to care for ill or disabled family members, infants, adopted or foster children within the first year of care, or any family member while a spouse in the military has been deployed.

Employees who are ill or injured, themselves, would need to file a DBL claim in New York to receive income while they cannot work. They are not eligible for PFL. However, the employee’s job would be protected on the federal level by FMLA if they meet the other requirements, such as total number of hours worked for that employer.

Eligibility Requirements for FMLA vs PFL
FMLA applies to companies with 50+ employees. PFL is available to any eligible employee working for a business with one or more employees. This makes PFL available to more New Yorkers than FMLA.

The employment requirements for PFL are also less stringent. Employees working 20+ hours per week must have worked for 26 consecutive weeks at their current, covered employer to make a PFL claim. Part-time employees who work less than 20 hours per week must have worked at least 175 days for their current employer.

On the other hand, employees must have worked at least 1,250 hours each month for the past 12 months at their current employer to qualify for job protection under FMLA.

FMLA vs PFL: Other Important Differences
There are a few other differences in FMLA vs PFL, such as how the federal government and the state government define family. For instance, the FMLA does not protect the jobs of employees who take time off to care for an in-law. Employees would make a PFL claim, instead, for income and job protection.

The rules of FMLA vs PFL also differ slightly for members of the military and their spouses.

Finally, the federal government offers FMLA time off in increments of 15 minutes, while employees make a PFL claim for time in days, which will gradually increase to a maximum of six weeks by 2021.

NJ Family Leave Act: What Is It?
To further complicate things, if you live in the New York tri-State area, you may also have heard of the New Jersey Family Leave Act. Where does NJ FLA fit in?

New Jersey’s FLA, similarly to the federal FMLA program, does not provide New Jersey workers with paid leave. It only offers job protection to those employees. New Jersey employees would make a TDB (Temporary Disability Benefits) claim to receive income if they are unable to work due to medical reasons.

Similar to PFL in NY, the FLA is broader than the FMLA in its definition of “parents.” New Jersey employees can take time off to care for in-laws, step-parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, or anyone with a parent-child relationship with the employee.

Putting It All Together

New York’s new PFL coverage puts our home state on the cutting edge of protecting and providing for employees caring for family members. It exceeds FMLA coverage in many ways, including a broader scope and paid benefits for claimants.

However, the FMLA was an important stepping stone toward PFL adoption. It is also important to protect employees in other states, who may not have access to PFL benefits to protect their jobs and provide them with a living wage during leave.

As a broker, it’s important to understand the difference in FMLA vs PFL. If your customers ask, you want to be prepared with the right answers. Presenting yourself as an expert in PFL coverage will help you gain the trust of your customers and pave the way to referrals and increased profits through the sale of enriched DBL and ancillary benefits.

PFL is Almost Here:
Visit our PFL resource center to be sure you are ready.


Your Guide to Family Leave Benefits and Employment Taxes

Family leave benefits in New York bring new IRS tax implications

Credit: artystarty

Disability Benefits Law (DBL) brokers in New York State are getting a handle on the new paid family leave benefits, with the new PFL law set to start January 1, 2018.

The DBL Center has provided a host of paid family leave resources and information in a new section on our website. We will also continue to offer webinars and live sessions explaining the intricacies of this new benefit.

While we know tax laws may change across the board in 2018 for businesses and individuals, it’s important to understand the tax ramifications of PFL for employers and employees now.

In short: how should accounting departments, Human Resources, payroll, and benefits departments in small businesses and larger corporations treat family leave employee contributions and benefits?

Family Leave: Taxable Just Like Disability Income
Family leave benefits, just like short-term disability benefits, are taxable as non-wage income and reported by taxpayers using FORM 1099-MISC.

The exception? Employee contributions, deducted after taxes, are not included as part of this taxable income. The insurance provider or employer should send a 1099-G form that employees can use when filing taxes, so they know which portion of their family leave benefits are taxable.

Employees Should Understand Withholding Tax Laws to Budget for An Event

The tax ramifications of paid family leave benefits will take some money out of the pockets of claimants. Smart planning can help employees minimize their tax liability on April 15, when federal and state income taxes are due. Alternately, employees can opt to keep more money in their pockets when they need it most—at the time of the family leave.

Employees can request to have withholding taxes deducted from their family leave benefits before receiving their benefits. This will reduce the size of benefits checks, but may also help reduce tax liability at the end of the year. Depending on the length of the maternity leave, the employees’ personal savings and financial situation, along with their expected tax bill, some employees may choose to have taxes withheld.

More commonly, employees will collect the full amount of their family leave benefits and then pay taxes on that income when they file federal and state income taxes. By that time, it’s expected that employees would be back to work and collecting their full salary, putting them in a better position to pay those taxes.

In the case of family leave taken for childbirth or adoption, the employee may also be able to take advantage of the child tax credit and claim their new family member as a dependent, further reducing their tax liability.

How Family Leave Taxes Affect Brokers

As a broker, it’s good to know the tax implications if Paid Family Leave in order to help educate the c-suite executives and HR professionals who make up your client base. You can be a resource for your customers and the first person they think of when they need an expert in PFL and disability benefits law.

When you inform employers and employees of the potential tax ramifications, this can help them make the best decisions or decide to pursue further information from tax experts. When customers have questions, it’s important to suggest they check with a tax professional to determine the best course of action.

Are Your Customers Ready for Paid Family Leave?
The PFL benefits rider to New York State DBL goes into effect in less than two months, on January 1, 2018. Many of your customers should already be deducting employee and employer contributions.

Now is the time to discuss options, including enriching their DBL benefits package so it is comparable to paid family leave in New York.

Contact The DBL Center now to enrich DBL for your customers and increase your commissions on these important mandatory benefits.


Ready to Write Enriched DBL? Three Ways We Can Help

Enriched DBL coverage can make it rain commissions for insurance brokers.

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.

 


Paid Family Leave Makes DBL Insurance “Relevant Again”

Bold statement from DBL Center President Michael Cohen leads into how brokers can grow their book of business with PFL
 

 

P&C and health brokers know that enriched DBL in New York can be a tough sell.

As a mandatory benefit, DBL is a no-brainer, but let’s face it: The commissions aren’t making anyone rich. That’s why we promote enriched DBL, as well as ancillary benefits, including vision, dental, and even life insurance as a way for brokers to expand their book of business and make more money.

But with the introduction of the Paid Family Leave Act, DBL is finally relevant again. That is to say, it’s not only making headlines everywhere in New York, it’s also become profitable. “Health brokers, life brokers, P&C brokers, even estate planners and CPAs are using PFL as a tool to broaden their book of business. And, of course, here at The DBL Center, we love it,” says Michael Cohen, DBL Center President.

Questions about PFL?

If you’re reading this, you probably know that PFL coverage, which goes into effect in New York on January 1, 2018, will be written as a rider to existing DBL policies. And that employers were allowed to begin deducting premiums as of July 1, 2017. “A lot of brokers and employers face some confusion or hesitation about the payroll deductions,” says Michael Cohen. “I’m telling people not to get hung up on the deduction, but instead think about how you are marketing PFL to grow your book. As brokers, at the end of the day, it’s all about taking advantage of these opportunities to increase profits.”

The DBL Center is taking a multi-faceted, multi-tiered strategic plan to marketing PFL which, in turn, helps their brokers. “We’re relying on our relationships with top carriers, and differentiating ourselves with educational content, including webinars and thought leadership articles. We are building an even stronger social media presence on LinkedIn, and we are leveraging the relationships I have in the entertainment industry to organize seminars and talks with celebrity tie-ins,” says Michael Cohen. “In essence, we are working hard to make the industry fun again while sharing information and promoting a very profitable – and important – product.”

Still have more questions about PFL and how to use it to grow your book of business?

DBL Center President Michael Cohen recently recorded a video with ShelterPoint that tackles many of the toughest questions about PFL coverage in New York.

Make sure to watch to the end, because you won’t believe what Michael Cohen says about how PFL will change the DBL industry —for the better. Watch the video here, and use the information to drive PFL marketing campaigns within your own brokerage.


Five Things DBL Brokers Should Tell their Customers about Paid Family Leave

The DBL Center and ShelterPoint Life help clear up confusion about Paid Family Leave in New York

Are you ready for Paid Family Leave in New York? No doubt, employees are ready to enjoy more socially conscious, financially viable leave to care for newborn children, aging or sick loved ones, or adopted or foster children. But many employers still have questions and concerns about the policy. Here’s what DBL brokers should know in order to educate their customers.
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1. Employers can begin payroll deductions to pay for PFL premiums as early as July 1.
Just as individuals may begin saving money in advance of an important event, employers can begin making payroll deductions for PFL beginning this July. Because DBL and PFL premiums will be due annually on a concurrent basis, this timing can help business owners manage cash flow as they phase in this new benefit. “Collecting PFL premium from payroll early alleviates some of the upfront financial burden on the employer,” writes insurance carrier ShelterPoint Life in a blog post on the company’s PFL micro-site.

2. Employers should consider continuity of operations and contingency planning in anticipation of employees using PFL beginning January 2018.
Contingency planning is important for any organization, at any time. But new PFL regulations could make it more financially feasible for new fathers to take time off to be with their new babies, for mothers to take extended maternity leave, and for employees of any age to take time off to care for loved ones without the financial concerns they might have had in the past. To maintain company morale and efficient business operations, it’s important to have a plan in place to temporarily fill these positions.

3. Employers should understand how and when their employees can use Paid Family Leave.
Employers will want to consider how they manage Paid Family Leave and other Paid Time Off. It’s important to understand:

  • DBL and PFL cannot be paid concurrently, and DBL and PFL cannot be combined to extend past the 26-week maximum benefit for any 52-week period. HR departments should understand when an employee is eligible for DBL and when PFL is appropriate.
  • Employees who have accrued paid time off may combine those days with PFL to earn their full salary for a portion of the leave, or keep their vacation time and collect only PFL benefits.
  • Employers may require employees to use accrued vacation time instead of PFL benefits.

4. Not every insurance carrier will offer PFL coverage.

PFL coverage is a rider to DBL policies, and both benefits will be mandatory in the state of New York beginning January 2018. However, not all insurance carriers will elect to offer PFL coverage. If a carrier elects not to provide PFL coverage, they must exit the DBL market and notifiy the insurance regulators accordingly.

For brokers, this means some of your customers will have to move their DBL policies to a new carrier as early as July 1. At The DBL Center, we’re committed to helping our brokers move those policies to preferred carriers prepared to offer DBL policies with PFL riders.

5. For employers, choosing the right broker will be the key to a seamless transition.

The DBL insurance industry is expecting a shake-up. Brokers who choose The DBL Center will be prepared to weather the storm. And employers who choose our brokers will find the transition seamless, as The DBL Center provides our usual white-glove, white-label service and acts as a full-service, back office to write and issue DBL policies with PFL riders. The new PFL coverage has been years in the making, and The DBL Center is ready to help our brokers educate and serve their customers.

Have more questions? Consider attending our free seminar, held May 10, 2018, from 3 to 5 PM at The NYC Friars Club, 57 E 55th Street, NY, NY, sponsored by The DBL Center, ShelterPoint Life, and the New York Business Council. RSVP today at michael.cohen @dblcntr.com, as seating is limited. Refreshments will be served.