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.
by Dawn Allcot
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.
Corporate Synergies is a full-service insurance brokerage, providing health, ancillary benefits, P&C coverage, and DBL / PFL for companies with as many as 10,000 employees.
“We have about 600 customers total and we have office in Melville, Long Island; New York City, New Jersey, Maryland and Florida,” says Peter Tonna, vice president and benefits consultant for Corporate Synergies. “We primarily operate in the middle market, serving businesses with 50 to 1,000 employees, but we also have customers with 5,000 to 10,000 employees, especially in the fields of not for profits, education, and financial services.”
Digging Deep into Practical Matters Concerning PFL
Experts in the field of health and ancillary benefits, as well as DBL, Corporate Synergies has relied on DBL Center’s knowledge and expertise when it came to navigating the often-muddy waters of New York State’s new PFL coverage. “The DBL Center has come to us many times with educational materials to help us understand the new law and how it’s implemented. If I have questions, I can pick up the phone and Mike [DBL Center President Michael Cohen] will explain it,” says Tonna.
“It’s one thing to talk about PFL in broad strokes, but when you get into the weeds, talking about a specific situation or a real-life experience, Mike has helped explain the differences and overlap between PFL and FMLA in ways we can convey to our customers,” he continues. “Most importantly, DBL Center gives us ways to make sure that knowledge and insight is communicated to the employees and HR directors.”
Analyzing Ancillary Benefits
Corporate Synergies also leverages DBL Center’s relationships with carriers to get the best rates by bundling DBL and ancillary benefits. “We promote dental and group life as the power players for ancillary benefits,” Tonna says. “Voluntary group life is typically low cost, and employees many not have to go through medical underwriting, which saves time and hassles.”
Corporate Synergies and DBL Center: A Mutual Focus on Service
With a new website focused on educating customers about the ever-changing landscape of employee benefits, Corporate Synergies shares DBL Center’s philosophy of providing exemplary service and consultative selling to drive repeat business and referrals.
With offices just minutes away from each other in Melville, The DBL Center and Corporate Synergies have maintained a relationship any business owner dreams of. The DBL Center is more than just a wholesaler for Corporate Synergies, but a trusted partner, sharing advice and referrals.
“The whole DBL team is local, knowledgeable and experienced,” Tonna says. “And that translates into increased value for my customers. My customers are the most important thing in my world, and I want to make sure they are educated and informed. DBL Center has been a great resource to help us cut through the fog and confusion surrounding DBL and PFL in New York.”
Brokers: Is Your Insurance Firm Ready to Be Next?
Are you enjoying our Broker Spotlight series? Reach out and let us know!
If you have a unique and interesting story to tell about your relationship with DBL Center or how we have helped you grow your business, contact us now to be featured as our next “Broker Spotlight.”
ComTon Inc. in Fairport, NY, specializes in Employee Benefits insurance for organizations with over 200 lives. Serving upstate and western New York, from Rhinebeck to Lake Placid and across the state to Buffalo and Rochester, ComTon has been in business since 1998. “Most of our business is through word-of-mouth and referrals,” says ComTon Principal Gregory D. Singleton.
“One of our biggest compliments is when we have an HR director or a finance person who leaves an organization we’ve worked with and moves to another organization and immediately brings us in,” adds Principal Rob Commisso.
ComTon has carved out a successful niche working with large organizations to provide employee benefits, including DBL / PFL, group life, health insurance, dental insurance, workers’ compensation, short-term and long-term disability, and other voluntary benefits. Unlike many brokers, ComTon offers packages for self-insured businesses and is certified by the state of New York as a third-party administrator of workers’ compensation and DBL / PFL benefits.
As an administrator for self-insured DBL policies, ComTon faced an unusual challenge when PFL was first introduced in the beginning of 2018. “Some of our self-insured clients weren’t necessarily comfortable with the unknown costs of PFL, so they wanted to pursue fully insured options,” recalls Commisso.
That’s when ComTon realized the true benefits of working with The DBL Center as their white-glove, white-label insurance wholesaler. “DBL Center provided us with a lot of help so we could offer our clients options for a fully insured program,” says Singleton. “Because DBL Center has such a big book of business and great relationships with the existing carriers, they were able to get us very good rates for our clients who wanted to move to a different carrier or to go from self-insured to fully insured.”
Singleton reveals that ComTon provided quotes for all their existing clients to transition to fully insured benefits, so that their customers could choose the best path for their situation. The DBL Center expedited the process, shopping around for the best rates.
ComTon clients who decided to switch to a fully insured program reaped the rewards of low rates as well as fast claim payments and the stellar service that ComTon has been known to provide to its self-insured clients for two decades. The DBL Center made it easy for ComTon to quote rates from a variety of carriers, write the policies, and deliver excellent service through top-name carriers capable of writing DBL policies with the PFL rider.
“DBL Center streamlined our quoting process for our DBL prospects and existing clients considering fully insured options,” says Singleton.
“But what it really came down to is the cost,” adds Commisso. “DBL Center was able to help us get better rates than we may have been able to do on our own, with a variety of carriers.”
He continues, “The whole team has been wonderful to work with, very responsive to our questions and our needs, and helpful in offering solutions or ideas we may not have thought of. The DBL Center team is very good about explaining the capabilities of one insurance carrier over another, and of helping us market the benefits of various carriers to our clientele.”
Singleton adds, “I thought we had a great knowledge of DBL coverage here at ComTon, and the DBL Center’s knowledge is as good—if not better—than ours.”
Total Management Corporation, an independent insurance agency with offices on Long Island and Manhattan, has built a successful business for more than 40 years by focusing on two things: stellar service and customer education. TMC wants to be the first to tell their customers about new benefits and opportunities.
Likewise, TMC recognizes the advantages of selling DBL insurance to every business customer. Many small business owners are unaware of this mandatory benefit. TMC serves their customers’ best interests by educating them about DBL coverage. For the broker, DBL provides residual commissions every year, and represents opportunities to grow their book of business through consultative selling.
“DBL business never goes away,” says Total Management Corporation’s Phil Bilello. “The client gets a bill once a year, pays it, and doesn’t think twice. We insist all our business clients carry disability insurance. We won’t write an account without it.”
Rather than ignoring the mandatory coverage, TMC puts disability insurance side-by-side with other group benefits packages, providing a page on their website where small business owners can request a disability insurance quote online.
It sounds simple, but in a world where DBL coverage is often a forgotten benefit, this page helps keep disability insurance on the minds of busy business owners and HR directors who visit the TMC site.
To increase DBL revenue, the Total Management team has become adept at recognizing customers, usually higher end service professionals like real estate agencies, doctor’s offices, and law firms, who may be amenable to enhanced DBL coverage.
“We find that service professionals are the most likely to agree to enhanced DBL benefits, so we come back to them every year and discuss the possibility of providing a better benefits package to their employees,” says Bilello. “We will also discuss it over the course of the year. You want to have multiple touchpoints when you’re trying to enhance a policy.”
These customers who recognize the value of robust business insurance policies, Bilello says, are his ideal customers. “We want to sell to the true business professional who values insurance, values the coverage and values the services an independent insurance agency can provide,” he says.
For more than 40 years, Total Management Corporation has focused on delivering exemplary service to business professionals, as well as individuals and not-for-profit organizations.
“It’s hard to say what differentiates one insurance agency from another,” Bilello admits. “But we have a hard-working, conscientious staff that takes ownership of their accounts and cares about the agency. We work hard for our clients, earning their business every year, and maintaining their trust and loyalty. Those are the keys to our success and our future success. If you don’t work hard every day to keep your business growing, you won’t be in business much longer. You can never get complacent.”
Total Management Corporation recognizes that DBL Center shares these values of hard work and exemplary service, resulting in a 20+ year partnership between the independent insurance agency and the wholesaler. “We started out working with [founder] David Cohen and [VP of Sales] Richard Slavin, and now we have the whole team behind us,” says Bilello.
“DBL Center has been wonderful because they get out in front of their brokers, and let us know they’re supporting us,” says Bilello. “They’re always very helpful, very professional, and very educated about their products.”
The DBL Center provided support when New York State first implemented Paid Family Leave laws, permitting Total Management Corporation to better educate their customers, show their knowledge, and build trust. The DBL Center offered seminars and lunch and learn programs, sent out informational emails, and launched its Paid Family Leave Resource Center to educate brokers about the upcoming mandatory benefit.
“If it weren’t for DBL Center, we wouldn’t have known anything about Paid Family Leave,” says Bilello. “Michael [Cohen] and his staff took the ball and ran with it. PFL is confusing enough, but they made the transition so much easier for all of us.”
In Q2 2018, Total Management Center will be looking to The DBL Center for additional resources in the form of an app that enables brokers to track all of their accounts from one intuitive, easy-to-access dashboard. “We’re looking forward to Net Revenue Tracker,” says Bilello. “Real-time information is always important and having data and analytics at your fingertips is invaluable for an insurance agency.”
He concludes, “DBL Center has become a trusted partner and we look forward to a continued relationship.”
Want to become our next Broker Spotlight? Contact us today.
In preparing our new “Broker Spotlight” feature each month, we’ve been speaking to several of our top insurance brokers, who specialize in everything from homeowners’ policies to business insurance. And we are discovering that many of their customers still have questions about Paid Family Leave. The answers to these questions spark further discussions with their clients about other business insurance, including New York State-mandated DBL (Disability Benefits Law) coverage.
Some small business owners don’t know that they are not in compliance and could be subject to fines. They are running a business in New York with more than one employee and are missing an important business insurance line; they don’t have DBL coverage.
Others provide the state-mandated minimum benefit coverage limits to their employees, but don’t realize how affordable it is to enhance their employee benefits package with enriched DBL.
And yet, many insurance brokers don’t talk about DBL as much as they should. They fail to market DBL alongside their other lines of business insurance. Why not use DBL to expand your book of business, actively selling this mandatory benefit to employers (that is, your existing customers, as well as new ones) who didn’t know they needed it?
Every New York business owner with at least one employee who has worked full-time for a covered employer for four consecutive weeks or has worked part-time for a covered employer for 25 business day, is required to purchase a DBL policy covering those employees.
Additionally, previously covered employees returning to work after being on unemployment are eligible for DBL coverage. Finally, business owners who employ personal or domestic in-home workers (such as nannies, home health aides, housekeepers, and other staff) for at least 40 hours per week must provide DBL coverage.
As an agent, this means every day you could be talking to employers requiring a DBL policy along with their other business insurance policies. Those employers have the choice to purchase DBL coverage through the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF) or through you, their trusted insurance broker.
With the right tools and resources in place, it is easy to sell DBL coverage. (You’re talking to the pros here, after all.)
Even brokers who focus on homeowners’ insurance, umbrella policies, and other personal insurance lines should talk about DBL to their customers who own businesses operating in New York State. If you are writing high value home insurance policies, umbrella policies, even boating insurance, those clients may be business owners or have full-time domestic help eligible for DBL coverage.
If you are writing health insurance, ancillary benefits, E&O policies, property insurance, auto insurance for business vehicles, worker’s compensation, or any other type of business insurance, you should make sure your customer has their state-mandated DBL requirements covered. If they do, it’s time to get them thinking about enriched DBL.
Take the First Step to Sell DBL with Other Business Insurance
It’s important to make NY State DBL coverage part of every conversation you have with new customers. Devote a page on your website to the basics of DBL coverage, which will give you a place to direct employers to gain the knowledge they need.
Even with the media coverage PFL received in the insurance trades, on premier carrier websites, and in business publications, New Yorkers may still not be aware of the new benefit and how it affects DBL coverage as a rider to existing policies. Make sure to mention DBL and PFL when people ask about your various personal and business insurance lines and open the door to a conversation.
DBL coverage and the new PFL benefits give brokers an opportunity to share their insider knowledge, educate customers, and expand their book of business with a policy that renews, almost without a second thought, year after year.
Want to make writing DBL coverage even easier? Ask us how our new Net Revenue Tracker can help you manage policies and measure and improve profitability for your insurance agency.
by Michael Cohen
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.”
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