Sonja Spruiel joins The DBL Center as our new VP Business Development & Disability Underwriter. Spruiel comes from Arch Insurance, where she was the Regional Business Development Manager, Accident & Health. Prior to Arch, Spruiel worked at Standard Life as the EB Disability Underwriter specializing in Group Life and Short- and Long-Term Disability in the carrier’s Group Insurance Department.
With this background, Spruiel brings extensive carrier-side knowledge of accident insurance as well as statutory benefits and paid family and medical leave.
Prior to joining our team, Spruiel shared her thoughts with us about the benefits brokers can experience working with an insurance wholesaler to help them secure the best rates and provide a higher level of service to their clients. She also shared her knowledge of PFML in a previous post.
With more states introducing paid and family and medical leave, plus employee demands for benefits beyond healthcare, insurance brokers have more opportunities than ever to expand their book of business and increase revenue.
Fortunately, insurance brokers have more choices to provide their clients.
On the other hand, it has become more challenging for brokers to keep track of the various benefits, from voluntary worksite benefits to statutory insurance products.
Plus, state variations in statutory insurance like Paid Family Leave in New York, Paid Family and Medical Leave in Massachusetts, and a host of other programs in other states makes it virtually impossible for brokers to keep track.
” A broker who finds themselves an expert at a carrier or insurance wholesaler and utilizes their strengths to be the educator and help build client relationships, will be more successful,” Spruiel said.
“I think if the broker brings an expert to the table who is knowledgeable about the products and can really be consultative to the client and help them navigate the transition into these mandated paid leave programs that’s a great way for the broker to leverage those relationships.”
The DBL Center, as an insurance wholesaler, can also make brokers aware of new benefits that create new commission opportunities, she pointed out.
Read on for more of Spruiel’s thoughts on how brokers benefit from helping their clients privatize paid leave and other statutory benefits through The DBL Center as an insurance wholesaler via their preferred network of private carriers.
An Insurance Wholesaler Can Help You Navigate the Changing Landscape of Paid Leave Laws
Currently, 8 states plus Washington, D.C. provide some form of statutory paid family and or medical leave, with several more coming over the next several years. Since benefits, durations and premiums vary dramatically – not to mention which companies are required to provide benefits in different states – it helps to have an expert help you spot profit opportunities and new markets.
Since 2018 when New York introduced statutory PFL as a rider to the Disability Benefits Law (DBL), The DBL Center has been at the forefront of paid family and medical leave news. Our growing team of experts can help you pinpoint opportunities in your region, introduce these new benefits to business owners, and write private policies for cost savings and better customer service.
Your Insurance Wholesaler Can Help You Customize Plans for Clients
Many states rolling out paid family and medical leave programs offer the option for business owners to adopt private plans. A private plan through a top-rated carrier can provide cost savings, better service, and a more personalized plan.
“The state programs are normally a one-size-fits-all. Private carriers are more consultative and can build a more customized approach,” Spruiel said. “State programs don’t do that. You get one plan and there’s nothing customizable there.”
The DBL Center can help you identify gaps in your client’s coverage and bundle benefits for increased savings for your clients and higher commissions for your brokerage. Spruiel joins our growing team that now includes Bill Quinn, senior relationship consultant for group benefits, who focuses on helping clients identify risk gaps. Additionally, Larry Estridge, our regional vice president for group worksite benefits, has specialized knowledge in worksite benefits and executive carve-outs to complete the puzzle.
As DBL Center CEO Michael Cohen says, “We all work together as a team, covering every aspect of statutory, ancillary, and group worksite benefits for clients. Our playbook works!”
Spruiel agreed that The DBL Center playbook, which puts specialists in the right positions to serve clients in the ways they need, works for insurance brokers and The DBL Center’s network of carriers, alike.
She was able to speak frankly about the benefits of working with The DBL Center even before she became a member of our team. Now that she’s here, she looks forward to delivering the same level of service and support she’s seen us deliver over the years.
Save Your Clients Money
While The DBL Center can help you write better benefits packages, we can also save money through our carrier relationships. Your clients might be surprised by how affordable ancillary benefits like Group Life / AD&D, accident insurance, dental, vision, and critical illness coverage can be.
Offer More Personalized Service through The DBL Center
State plans tend to be “one-size-fits-all.” Benefits are the same across the board, with no opportunities to expand or enrich benefits or to bundle ancillary benefits for increased savings and client satisfaction.
Apart from personalized coverage, there’s another advantage to privatizing paid family and medical leave and writing the policy through a broker: personalized customer service.
“There is definitely an elevated level of service with a private company,” Spruiel explained. “There are situations where an employer gets a claim and forgets to submit it. The employer can’t reach out and ask to have payments expedited, but a carrier or brokerage can if the employer has a private plan.”
Likewise, private carriers have more leeway to accept late claims or claims filed by a third-party besides the disabled worker. When you work with The DBL Center, we act as your back-office staff to assist in these matters or direct you to the appropriate carrier representative to help.
Gain Access to Robust Online Claim Reporting Systems
The DBL Center provides our proprietary Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker to insurance brokers to help them track commissions, cancellations and renewals. This is not available for policies written through the state.
You know the importance of tracking – and your clients also deserve the ability to track what’s important to them, including claims.
“Many states don’t offer any reporting to the employers,” Spruiel pointed out. “A fully insured plan with a private carrier gives access to online claim reporting systems.”
Often, reporting can be provided in buckets that align with the different account divisions within an organization for simplified payroll and more. Spruiel noted that its common for employers to take advantage of personalized claims reporting.
It makes sense for your clients to privatize statutory benefits wherever they can and bundle those benefits with ancillary benefits to provide employees with what they want. For brokers and other licensed insurance specialists, you can work with The DBL Center to leverage our industry relationships with top carriers to provide your clients with the best prices and the white-glove service we provide.