Financial stress affects every aspect of an employees’ life, including their work performance. When employees feel as if they aren’t prepared if illness or injury strikes, their health, and workplace productivity suffers. Employees spend an average of 13 hours per month worrying about money while they’re at work, according to a study by Mercer.
In a recent survey, finance website Bankrate discovered that 60% of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover a $1,000 surprise expense. But even middle managers and top talent in the New York Tri-state are not immune to the fear of bankruptcy or a personal financial crisis should an illness or injury occur.
Insurance brokers are uniquely equipped to solve this pain point for business owners, HR departments, and employees. At the same time, successfully conveying the advantages of a robust benefits package to your customers can help you expand your book of business and increase commissions with existing customers.
A robust ancillary benefits package can help eliminate financial stress for employees, which, in turn, can improve their productivity, reduce sick days, and enhance their creativity and problem-solving abilities.
Ultimately, the right benefits can help create better employees.
Finances, health, and work performance are intrinsically linked. Enriched DBL, along with ancillary benefits, can give New York workers peace-of-mind, knowing they have a safety net in place if they become ill, injured, or even need expensive emergency dental care.
New York State did the right thing for families with a PFL policy that is, currently, the best in the nation. Now it’s in the best interests of business owners to enhance their other benefits packages to make sure all employees have access to the resources they need to help them stay productive as well.
A robust ancillary benefits package, including vision, and dental benefits, can help recruit and retain employees while reducing overall living costs for employees to reduce their financial stress. It can also reduce an employer’s bottom line as an investment in ancillary benefits as part of a package that includes enriched DBL often costs less than employees’ raises.
In fact, many ancillary benefits are voluntary and employee-funded and employers can choose to have employees cover part or all of the premium. Employees have the option to dramatically reduce their out-of-pocket costs on necessary expenses using pre-tax dollars, and employers pay nothing.
For brokers, this makes ancillary benefits an easy sell. And, with DBL Center as your back office staff, benefits administration is easy, too.
What benefits should your customers include in their ancillary benefits packages?
Dental and vision are a good start, offering tremendous bang for the buck for most employees.
The Case for Dental and Vision Coverage
As you create an ancillary benefits package for your customers, consider these statistics about eye care in the U.S.:
If more than one person in the family needs vision correction and the costs add up. Yet only 35% of employers offer vision coverage. It’s easy to see how your customers can stand out by offering voluntary vision benefits.
Similarly, the average family of four could spend $2,162 on dental care per year without insurance. Nearly 60% of Americans don’t visit the dentist often enough due to the cost, according to some sources.
However, 77% of Americans do have dental coverage, with 90% of those plans offered by employers. It’s important to offer dental coverage to keep pace with your competitors and retain talent.
Especially as healthcare costs continue to rise, ancillary benefits can play an important role in reducing out-of-pocket costs for employees and employers, alike. And reducing employees’ financial stress can help businesses perform better, with more active and engaged workers.
Brokers should speak to HR directors about developing a robust benefits package that can help keep employees happy, healthy, and engaged.
by Dawn Allcot
By David Clausen, Coastal Insurance
If you’re like most P&C brokers, NYS DBL and NJ TDB insurance aren’t your only niches. Most brokers sell a variety of lines, whether it’s healthcare, business insurance, or personal lines of coverage like home insurance.
But you may not be thinking of ways to cross-sell your lines to expand your book of business and increase your commissions without cold calls or prospecting for new clients.
When you get in the habit of consultative selling, which includes getting to know your customers, their businesses, and additional insurance needs they may have, you’ll discover avenues to increased profits.
Mandatory coverage like workers’ compensation and NYS DBL coverage, along with enriched DBL, provide excellent upsell opportunities. Many business owners don’t realize they need this coverage even if they only have a few employees. Even if they know about statutory DBL coverage, they may not recognize the opportunities available with enriched DBL and ancillary benefits.
As their trusted insurance broker, you can help make sure they are protected from nearly any contingency. Chances are, you are already taking some of these steps. But are you closing the deal?
These tips, garnered from years of experience selling home insurance and other personal and business lines to Long Island-based customers, can help you expand your book of business.
1. Look for opportunities to upsell complementary insurance lines by getting to know your customers.
In Coastal’s niche market of home insurance for high-net-worth homeowners, many of our best clients also own their own businesses. This means they need workers’ compensation insurance and statutory disability coverage in New York State.
Ask your customers, “Who is currently writing your statutory DBL coverage?” to uncover opportunities.
With the introduction of Paid Family Leave as a rider to DBL, they might be looking to shop their policy around, since some carriers have stopped providing DBL.
2. Don’t forget about your customers who hire domestic employees.
Most Coastal customers who aren’t business owners are c-level executives, celebrities, and other high-net-worth individuals who may hire domestic employees to help run their households. A lot of people don’t know that workers’ compensation and NYS DBL coverage is mandatory in New York for full-time domestic employees or for domestic employees who live in your home, even if they don’t work a full 40-hour week.
This includes nannies, au pairs, housekeepers, gardeners, chefs, drivers, personal assistants, and anyone else who works for an individual. Even if people may treat their nannies or housekeepers like family, the State of New York classifies them as domestic workers or residence employees – and they need to be insured as such.
There can be hefty fines for failing to provide the proper insurance coverage for domestic workers, not to mention the liability if an employee gets hurts on the job. Brokers are doing a service to their customers by letting them know what employee coverage is required.
As with any job, providing ancillary benefits to domestic workers can also help improve retention rates and reduce sick time.
3. Discuss the potential for ancillary benefits.
Whether your customers are business owners seeking to hire the best employees, or individuals with a team of domestic help, they may not have considered ancillary benefits as a low-cost way to recruit and retain employees.
Benefits like Group Life, vision, and dental coverage are still highly sought after by workers. In a Harvard Business Review study, 88 percent of employees said they would consider accepting a job with a lower salary if the position had better health, dental, and vision benefits than the job with the higher pay.
Explore these possibilities with your customers, and they will look to you as a trusted business resource rather than just someone selling insurance products.
4. Educate your customers about enriched DBL.
NYS DBL coverage provides a bare minimum to help an employee who is ill or injured (while not on the job). DBL pays out just 50 percent of an employee’s salary up to $170 per week for 26 weeks.
Enriched DBL is a powerful retention tool for middle managers who exceed the maximum payout but may not have private disability insurance or a savings account to help get them through a medical emergency.
With the introduction of Paid Family Leave as a rider to DBL coverage in New York, many employers are looking to enrich DBL benefits in order to provide coverage comparable to PFL for employees who don’t have, or plan to have, families or may want a robust benefits package for themselves.
PFL was the big news in the insurance industry in 2018, but many people still aren’t aware of the policy changes. Stay on the forefront, educate your customers, and they will trust you to write their policies for personal and business insurance.
5. Offer the best rates by bundling coverage.
When you take advantage of The DBL Center’s carrier relationships, you can bundle lines to provide your customers with the best rates for DBL, ancillary benefits, and more.
Why would they go to any other broker if you’ve positioned yourself as a one-stop-shop for their business and personal lines of insurance coverage?
If you’re a health insurance, disability insurance, or P&C broker you understand the pain of dwindling profit margins, increased premiums, and reduced choices for your customers. Good brokers look for ways to save their loyal customers money and deliver greater value.More brokers, today, are discovering they can save their customers money on disability insurance and ancillary benefits if they bundle insurance benefits together and purchasing from one wholesaler.
The Time-Tested Concept of Bundling Services
The idea of “bundling” services to save money isn’t new. About a decade ago, before streaming video services broadened our television horizons beyond cable, consumers bundled their home phone, cable, and Internet service together for substantial savings. People still do it today—although there are even more technology options available.
In the insurance industry, P&C brokers are very familiar with a number of ways to bundle insurance coverage. Individual and business customers alike may bundle property and auto insurance under one carrier for significant savings.
Why not take that one step further and bundle insurance products like your corporate customers’ ancillary benefits under one carrier, too?
Whether you’re a broker currently selling P&C products, health insurance, or disability coverage, you can bundle insurance together through The DBL Center Ltd. and pass the savings on to your customers. They might be encouraged to purchase additional ancillary benefits or products like enriched DBL with the savings. You’ll build loyalty and develop even better relationships with your corporate customers as you take a consultative selling approach to your business.
What Can You Bundle?
Traditionally, many companies bundled health-related insurance products like vision and dental coverage through their health insurance provider. But the Affordable Care Act has led to increased premiums and decreased coverage.
Smart brokers—including P&C and best-in-class health insurance brokers—can fill those gaps when they bundle insurance like dental and vision coverage, previously purchased through health insurance companies. It makes just as much sense, today, to bundle ancillary benefits with mandatory disability coverage—a product your customers in New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii need to buy anyway.
The DBL Center also provides long-term disability, Group Life / AD&D, enhanced disability, and other benefits in bundled packages for cost savings and easier management of policies. We can even help you provide customers with 401K employee retirement benefits. For smaller businesses and individuals, we offer disability income replacement (DI) coverage and individual life insurance, giving our brokers endless options to cater to any size customer.
Let The DBL Center Do the Work
By working through The DBL Center Ltd., you always have one point-of-contact for all your insurance sales, commission checks, and customer service, saving you time. And you’ll save your customers even more money by letting us help you bundle insurance benefits under one carrier.
We will shop around to find your customers the best rates, including the lowest premiums and highest quality coverage, in a bundled benefits package. We do it all, acting as your white-glove back office service staff to write the policies and service your customers in a white-label capacity, freeing you up to sell more insurance, recruit new customers, expand your book of business, and cash commission checks made out directly to you.
Bundling benefits makes sense for brokers and their customers. So does working with an insurance wholesaler to capitalize on a number of different ways to bundle insurance. Why not call The DBL Center and get started today?
Give your employees the benefits they need most with vision insurance.
Vision insurance remains an unsung hero in the world of employee benefits. Although more than 50 percent of the U.S. population requires corrective lenses, and 80 percent of the population over 45, employees don’t look for vision care coverage the way they do dental insurance. In a recent study, 53 percent of employees say they want vision insurance, while 68 percent want dental coverage. Employees are more inclined to use their flexible spending account to pay for corrective lenses – often taking advantage of end-of-year sales reminding people to use their FSA dollars or Healthcare Savings Account (HSA) money before it expires. But vision coverage can represent a far greater value to many employees when bundled as part of their ancillary group benefits package.
Most people think of their vision insurance as a means to pay for their glasses or contact lenses. But annual eye exams are an important part of a person’s overall health. Not only can detecting vision problems early help preserve a person’s vision, the eyes may also indicate signs of other health problems that require a doctor’s care.
Therefore, vision coverage should be part of any workplace that focuses on employee health and fitness to reduce healthcare costs, reduce employee sick time, and improve productivity.
Blood in the back of the eye, which may be detected by an ophthalmologist during a routine annual eye exam, is one of the first signs of diabetes. Additionally, eye exams can reveal conditions such as brain tumors, skin cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other ailments, large and small, before they are spotted by a physician.
Just like regular dentist visits, a visit to an eye doctor should be part of every employee’s annual health routine. Vision insurance makes it easy for employees to pay for the vision care they need, without taking money away from other areas.
Using flex spending or a healthcare savings plan to pay for vision care means that employees might have to choose between using that money to pay for prescription medicine, doctor’s visit co-pays, or vision care. Offering vision coverage as part of an ancillary benefits package helps ensure employees will invest in that important annual eye doctor visit.
As far as insurance premiums go, vision coverage is one of the most cost-effective health care benefits. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics states that vision benefit premiums come to about $70 to $80 annually, per employee, while healthcare premiums average $4,256 annually.
Not only is preventative vision care affordable in its own right, but it can help reduce overall healthcare costs through early detection of other diseases.
By bundling vision coverage with other ancillary group benefits, such as dental coverage, enriched DBL, and Group Life / AD&D, employers can save even more on monthly premiums.
However, vision coverage is only effective if employees use it to get the most out of their vision care. Many employees don’t realize the services their vision insurance covers, or only use it for corrective lenses every two years.
Choosing the right insurance broker to educate you on every aspect of your group benefits plan and provide white-glove service in every situation can help you and your employees get the most out of your vision insurance and other benefits.
Let The DBL Center connect you with the best in ancillary group benefits for better employee health.
by Michael Cohen
Approximately 75 percent of all adults use glasses or contacts for corrective vision, says a report from the Vision Council of America. With daily wear, disposable contact lenses costing more than $100 for a 6-month supply, and annual eye exams costing between $50 and $100, it’s no wonder 53 percent of employees want vision coverage, according to this infographic compiled by Namely, an all-in-one HR platform. Yet, just 35 percent of employers offer this ancillary benefit. Why is this figure so low?
The Perception of Vision Coverage
Quite simply, employers don’t see the value in offering vision coverage to their employees. Yet, there are many good reasons to provide vision coverage as part of ancillary benefits. Let’s look at five eye-opening reasons for your customers to offer vision coverage to their employees. Share this evidence with your customers and they are sure to see it clearly, too. The additional sales will result in greater customer loyalty and increased commission for your insurance agency.
Better Vision Improves Productivity
The glare of a computer screen and the lighting afforded by fluorescent bulbs are bad enough in an office environment. Eyestrain, headaches, and poor vision are exacerbated when employees are wearing old glasses that may not be the right prescription for their changing vision. They may not understand why they have headaches all the time or need more frequent breaks away from the computer, until they go for an eye exam and realize they’ve been using the wrong prescription glasses or contact lenses.
Hard-working employees should never have to put off an eye exam due to the high costs of vision care. When vision benefits include annual exams and discounted corrective lenses, employees will be more productive.
The Eyes are the Gateway to Holistic Health
Annual eye exams by an ophthalmologist are important even for employees who don’t need corrective lenses. Eye exams can help detect such conditions as Graves’ Disease and certain skin cancers. The condition of someone’s eyes can hint at high cholesterol, autoimmune diseases and a number of other disorders. Early detection of these diseases can improve outcomes and lower healthcare costs for everyone. Eye exams should be part of preventative care for everyone, but employees may shy away from an exam if it’s not covered by insurance.
Employers Can Fill Gaps in Healthcare Coverage with Vision as an Ancillary Benefit
The Affordable Care Act has forced many organizations to reduce their healthcare coverage. Vision and dental benefits were previously offered as part of a company’s healthcare plan. Employers can fill this gap by providing vision coverage as an ancillary benefit so that employees don’t feel the sting of having their benefits reduced.
Better Vision Benefits Give Employers a Recruiting Advantage
Because so few companies currently offer vision benefits, yet so many employees want it, firms
can give themselves a recruiting advantage with an ancillary benefits package that includes vision coverage.
Vision Benefits Increase Employee Loyalty
Eyeglass and contact lens wearers, as well as employees with conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, or diabetes, may hesitate to leave a company that offers good vision benefits. Vision care costs can add up to thousands, annually, especially for families with more than one corrective lens-wearer.
A good vision plan is a strong retention tool, especially for companies who employ many workers over 40 or people of any age with families.
Save Money on Vision Benefits with Multi-Line Discounts
You – and your customers – may be surprised by how affordable a good vision plan can be when you take advantage of multi-line discounts with The DBL Center Ltd. If your customers are already investing in enhanced disability coverage or dental with one of our premier carriers, they may as well enjoy the savings of a solid vision plan, as well.