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.
Kids-in-Water
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.


Booking Entertainment for your Holiday Parties

Are you planning a holiday party for your hard-working employees? Whether you’re the head of HR or the owner of the business, there’s a lot of pressure this time of year to create a holiday celebration your employees will love. A holiday party is a great way, after all, to thank your employees for all their work throughout the year, as well as to showcase the strength of your organization. After all, if you can afford a high-end venue and top-level entertainment, the implication is the company is doing well and your top talent can feel secure in their positions.The right venue and right entertainment make your holiday party one to remember.

Even if you aren’t in a position to break the bank with your holiday festivities, you can still make it look as if you invested in the best. Trust us – here at The DBL Center, our employees and their spouses talk about our parties for months after the event. We aren’t extravagant and we certainly don’t waste money. But we maintain the same white-glove ambiance we’re known for providing our customers, and we throw a party to remember.

But wait – we know what you’re saying. It’s only October! To give your team the opportunity to book the best—from the venue to the entertainment—it’s not too early to start the party planning process now.

Choose the Right Venue

Select a venue that reflects your company culture, whether that’s a microbrewery or an elegant banquet hall. Where will your employees be most comfortable? Make sure to book a room that’s large enough to hold your whole party… Consider last year’s attendance to see what percentage of employees will show up.

Select an Appealing Menu

Just like the venue, the food should reflect your employees’ tastes. Is a Vegan, raw-food craze going around your office? Does lunch lean toward ethnic cuisine? Unless you run a small office where you may be able to find a consensus for some unusual choices, it might be best to pick a varied menu with something for everyone, from vegetarian options to prime rib.

Book Entertainment That Will Wow the Crowd

All that’s left is the entertainment. A DJ or band is always the old stand-by when it comes to holiday office parties. But a successful night then rests on having a group of people who want to dance.

Why not consider a comedy act, instead? Your guests will be riveted—and will brag to their friends about how their office party had the best comedy show. Laughter can even help individuals bond, so you may find your employees growing closer through the night. Those bonds of friendship will last into Monday morning and into next year.

A Way to Thank Loyal Customers with a Memorable Gift

Through our partnership with Steiner Sports, The DBL Center now offers celebrities bookings—including sports stars and top comedians. We can set it up for you with just a phone call. It’s one way to make sure your holiday party stands out.

If you are an insurance broker with a client you want to thank in a big way, you can offer to book a comedy guest for their office party. It’s a gift that will build loyalty and friendship. Your customer—and their employees—will remember it all year long.

Here at The DBL Center, disability insurance is just the beginning. Our goal is providing white-glove service to our brokers and their customers in every way we can.


New Broker? Consider Using an Insurance Wholesaler

Are you a new insurance broker? Have you been licensed as a broker for some time, but have recently fled health insurance sales due to dwindling commissions and all the red tape forced by Obamacare?

Whether you’re new to the industry or simply new to Property & Casualty insurance sales for businesses, it might make sense to purchase policies through an insurance wholesaler. In today’s highly competitive industry, when top insurance agents are leaving the field—due to retirement, career burn out, or to change careers—a new broker with the right guidance and relationships can experience unprecedented success. The DBL Center team is here to help new brokers.

Let’s look at some reasons to choose an insurance wholesaler as you begin to grow your book of business in this industry.

1. An insurance wholesaler is willing to provide guidance and mentorship.

The BizzGrizz blog recently featured the top three reasons why young insurance agents fail. Number one on the list? “Lack of quality training/education.”

Organizations and schools exist that provide training to young agents. Quality publications like LifeHealthPro offer hundreds of articles and resources to guide those new to the industry, as well as veterans looking for new ideas and support.

But a new agent can also find the necessary mentorship through an insurance wholesaler. Not only does the DBL Center Ltd. provide training upon request, we are always ready and willing to guide new brokers to success. After all, when our brokers produce, we grow, too. Your success is our success.

2. The first few years as an agent can be challenging and your insurance wholesaler is here to help.

Many brokers enter the industry seeking fast and furious financial success. When it doesn’t come, they might get burnt out and seek a new career. From guiding new brokers through the obvious up-sells of ancillary benefits, Group Life / AD&D and even 401K programs, to connecting you with the lowest premiums and most robust policies for your customers by bundling insurance products, a savvy insurance wholesaler can help new P&C, as well as new Life and Health brokers, achieve success early in their career and continue to grow.

The DBL Center Ltd. is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and has decades of experience in the insurance industry. We can—and will—show you how to build relationships, and when you sell your products through us, we provide your customers with the best white-label service, so they will associate that white glove service with your name and your agency.

3. Insurance wholesalers provide the technology-based service you expect.

As insurance brokers leave the industry faster than they come in, insurance wholesalers, carriers, and brokerages, alike, face unique recruiting challenges. Millennials and members of Gen Z preparing to enter the work force are hard-working, tech-savvy, and demanding when it comes to having workplace flexibility and the technology tools to do their jobs wherever they might be.

With the ability to bind DBL coverage in New York for under 50 lives quickly and easily, online, as well as online access to a number of our carriers, The DBL Center offers the technology young insurance brokers expect, which may not always be available through other channels.

Let The DBL Center Help You Take Advantage of Opportunities in P&C Insurance

Twenty-five percent of P&C brokers expect to retire by 2018, according to a study by McKinsey and Co. This leaves an enormous gap to be filled by bright, young talent.

If you’re a new broker, stick with it. Opportunities abound. The DBL Center Ltd. can help guide you toward success.


Expect Better Service from Your Wholesale Insurance Provider

Is your wholesale insurance provider offering white-glove service?

We live in a service-oriented society. From our smartphone providers to our office technology, we expect—even demand—service. And the companies who provide that service stand to profit in the form of repeat customers, word-of-mouth referrals, and up-sells.

It works like this: Provide stellar service, earn trust, recommend additional products, write more sales.

As an insurance broker, you know this, and we have no doubt you’ve built your business upon providing best-in-class service to your clients. But we want you to think about two questions:

1. How much time are you spending delivering that service?
2. Is your wholesale insurance broker providing that same level of service to you?

If you’re purchasing your mandatory temporary disability benefits (TDB) insurance in the State of New Jersey or DBL coverage in New York through the respective states, the answer is probably no.

Purchasing TDB and DBL Benefits Through the State

Insurance brokers are always free to purchase mandatory TDB and DBL insurance coverage through the state exchange. The rates will be comparable to those they will find through any broker on comparable, minimum benefits policies.

But we all know the level of service we can expect from the government. Think about your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Any state-run agency. The U.S. Postal Service of the past. Take note, the USPS was forced to step up its game or lose to competitors UPS and FedEx, and now even Amazon is getting into the shipping game to deliver the level of service the world’s largest e-commerce retailer deems acceptable. Once again, it’s about pricing and service.

But if you’ve ever been to DMV during peak hours, even for a simple transaction, you understand that the U.S. government, typically, does not provide superior levels of service. The same is true for each state’s Department of Labor, which acts as the broker for mandatory TDB and DBL coverage in New Jersey and New York, respectively.

So what do you do if you want better service? You look to the private sector for help.

The Beauty of Better Service

If you’ve ever purchased a new car from a dealer and had the dealer manage all the DMV paperwork, you understand the beauty of service. All you had to do was sign a few papers in order to drive away in a new car with new plates and your registration sticker firmly attached to your windshield.

Now let’s take it a step farther. Maybe that car is a Lamborghini or a Tesla. Now you don’t even have to get a ride to the dealership to pick up your car—they will deliver it straight to your door. It turns out, today, this service is even available on brand-new Hondas and other mid-level automobiles, if you know where to shop. Dealers recognize the value of service to create repeat customers.

Now We’re Talking Concierge Service of the Highest Level

Similarly, when you want ultra-luxury service at mid-level prices in the insurance industry, you have to know where to shop. For more than 40 years, The DBL Center has been providing five-star, white-glove service to our insurance brokers. We love the analogy of a concierge at a boutique, luxury hotel, which you’ll notice from the moment you visit our website to the second you call us.

Serving Your Customers

Not only do we meet your needs and exceed your expectations, we also do so for your c

The DBL Center's Michael Cohen and Comedian Jim Florentine
The DBL Center partner Michael Cohen and comedian Jim Florentine, frequent guest on the Howard Stern show.

ustomers.
The DBL Center acts as your back-office support staff to service all your client’s accounts, so you can focus on expanding your book of business. You know the value of service, but you don’t have to spend every hour striving to provide the best in your area—The DBL Center does that for you. You should expect this level of service, because your customers do.

Your Wish, Our Command

We don’t limit our service to insurance products. If you need a something special to thank a specific client or entice a new prospect, we can use our vast connections across the New York Tri-State area to deliver.

We recently signed an arrangement with Steiner Sports to book comedy acts and sports stars for special events, corporate outings, parties, and more. And that’s just the start.

Whether it’s training for your employees; fast service; quick, binding rate quotes; technology that makes it faster and easier for you to do business, or even something extra, The DBL Center delivers.

How can we be of service?


Turning a Passion into Insurance Profits

How a stand-up comedian-turned-insurance partner leveraged relationships in the entertainment industry to deliver more to his brokers.

When I first started in the insurance industry, it was the last place I had envisioned myself. With a background in film and entertainment, I was a member of The Friar’s Club and was making a living doing stand-up comedy. It was long hours, late nights, and required lots of energy. To be honest, there wasn’t much of a future in it for a family man who wanted to have any sort of life outside the comedy scene.

That’s when I started looking seriously at the industry I grew up around: disability insurance.

When I started working at The DBL Center, it wasn’t easy to form relationships with our brokers. I was young, inexperienced, and had a different way of looking at life. Since I was still moonlighting in stand-up comedy, I started inviting them to my local shows. “If you really want to get to know me,” I said, “come watch my show. If you like me, we can always talk about doing business.”

While I’m no longer doing stand-up comedy, I still use my passion and skill for storytelling to help in this highly competitive industry. I’ve been told by clients and colleagues that I’m a natural storyteller and it helps open doors. It’s been good for The DBL Center, and I believe it’s been good for our brokers, who enjoy the benefits of our full back-office staff to service all their accounts and can work directly with someone they know and trust, both inside and outside the office.Christmas-Party

Now, I’ve found a way to use my relationships in the comedy industry to help DBL Center brokers be even more successful.

Working Together with Steiner Sports to Bring Our Brokers More

I’m still connected to the comedy industry and after all these years, I’ve found another way to merge the two. Through a unique partnership with Steiner Sports, The DBL Center Ltd. can now line up comedians or sports stars for corporate parties and events, fundraisers, birthday parties, recruitment events and more.

Our insurance brokers can offer their clients more with this new offering. In addition to white-glove service for disability insurance and more, plus savings on ancillary benefits, The DBL Center Ltd. provides the means for our brokers to thank long-time customers, solidify relationships, and build your brand as a broker with vast connections across the business world.

If you need a unique event idea for your brokerage or for a client, if you want to host a holiday party that stands out, or create a compelling reason for people to attend a fundraiser you’ve organized, ask us.

The DBL Center Ltd. is not just about selling insurance—we’re about building relationships. And what better way to build a relationship than through laughter or sharing common interests?

Five-star, White-glove Service

We often compare The DBL Center to a five-star boutique hotel, with the best in concierge service to meet your every need. We’ve recently re-defined what service means in the insurance industry by providing the best in corporate event entertainment for you and your clients.

At DBL Center Ltd., we’re willing to do whatever it takes to help you grow your book of business. As President of DBL Center, I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to use my talents and my passion to bring more to our clients.

Michael Cohen of The DBL Center and Jim Florentine
More than insurance: Michael Cohen and comedian Jim Florentine at a Friar’s Club gathering.

In what ways have you used your passion—for building relationships, for serving people, and for sales—to benefit your clients and partners?

We bet if you think about it, you’ll realize that your career, like mine, was built on a passion for connecting with people.

At DBL Center Ltd. we provide the service and back-office support staff you need so you can focus on those aspects of insurance sales that you really love, making it easier to write business for mandatory DBL, TDB, and TDI coverage in New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii, and increasing your profits through ancillary products.

Let us know how we can help you build your insurance business today.