We all know 2020 presented major challenges for insurance brokers. I discussed some of these challenges with Charles Callery, Regional VP for Lincoln Financial, and Michael Pelligrino, Lincoln Financial sales representative in the video, “Getting Creative in the Time of Covid-19.”
So much has changed this year – but adapting is an important part of success.
Heading into Thanksgiving we would look forward to The DBL Center’s Annual Holiday Party the first week in December. Of course, we aren’t holding the event this year due to the pandemic.
A few months ago, I would have connected with brokers, carriers, and colleagues at our summer gathering. I’d been planning a get-together in Manhattan, instead of one of our usual Long Island venues. The location would have made it easier for those out of state to join in the fun and would have given my employees and favorite people a unique and memorable experience. (Needless to say, we had to cancel.)
We all understand that insurance is a commodity. We aren’t selling DBL or TDB or PFML, specifically. We are selling a white glove experience. Stellar customer service. State of the art technology.
Aside from reduced premium rates and better, more flexible coverage, it’s the service that sets private disability insurance apart from the state plans.
And with that service comes perks for your best customers. Holiday parties. Sporting event or concert tickets. It’s all a part of the industry and it helps us build better relationships to grow loyal customers. After all, (you’ve heard it before) it’s not what you earn, it’s what you keep.
Insurance brokers can hold meetings by phone or video. We can host virtual Zoom gatherings, and even virtual Zoom happy hours to create a more casual environment for connection. But it’s still not the same as taking your favorite customers out for drinks, meeting courtside at a Knicks game, or sharing dinner overlooking the Long Island Sound.
As a father, I’ve watched my boys struggle with virtual schooling and being unable to see their classmates since March. Fortunately, they just went back full time. But we are all counting the days, knowing nothing is permanent as Long Island communities around us shift to “Yellow” status and… who knows what happens after that?
The teachers try their hardest to deliver a quality education online. But they are missing that personal connection. A hand on a shoulder. The nuances of facial expressions. Easy, convenient interaction without lag or household distractions.
Insurance brokers, right now, face the same challenges as teachers in forging a personal connection with our customers. And, in the world of consultative selling, we do act as educators for our customers, imparting the information they need to make the best decisions for their businesses.
So what can we do to create personal connections when we can’t meet face-to-face?
Things are different right now. And not in a good way. But we have to keep going, just as teachers have done, to do our jobs and build success.
If you haven’t already done so, the pandemic is a good time to establish a strong digital marketing campaign. It’s more important than ever to deliver value to our customers and the business owners in our region.
Leverage email – Send touch-base emails more frequently than usual to stay front-of-mind. Mass emails that share helpful tips and information, as well as personalized emails to foster connections, are quick, easy, and effective to stay in touch with your customers.
Email generates $38 of revenue for every $1 spent, according to a Hubspot survey. Nearly 4 billion people use email daily. And 35% of online marketers send their customers 3 to 5 emails per week. So don’t worry about reaching out too often. You don’t want to be forgotten amidst all the other distractions your customers face every day.
Pick up the phone – As early as April 2020, just a month into the pandemic, workers started suffering from Zoom fatigue, which occurs due to the exhaustion of constant visual engagement forced by video calls. Instead of taking the extra time and energy to schedule a call and email the other party a conference link, pick up the phone for an old-fashioned voice conversation.
This impromptu, casual conference can help create a better rapport, offering more time and energy for personal conversation. You might find a phone call is more efficient and, ironically, more personal and heartfelt, than a Zoom call initiated for the sole purpose of conducting specific business.
Of course, arm yourself with the latest industry news to help customers understand how claims have changed in the time of Covid. As much as the personal connection, business owners will appreciate this type of valuable information and will rely on you as a trusted resource – which can result in future sales and upsells.
Plan for the future – We won’t always be on lockdown. The pandemic will end someday, especially with news of a vaccine on the horizon.
Whether you’re on Zoom calls, the phone, or via email or social media, engage your customers with positive thinking and something to look forward to. Start talking about future plans for traveling when the pandemic ends. Even if you’re joking about putting meetings on the calendar for late 2021, you’re helping your customers see a light at the end of the tunnel.
This summer, as stores and restaurants started re-opening under strict guidelines, I kept saying, “Stop talking about a second wave.” I’m still saying it. Be realistic, but think positively, too. It’s all we’ve got right now as a community.
Are these virtual connections enough to keep customers and grow your book of business? Time will tell. What’s working for you? Drop me a line and let me know your thoughts.
by Michael Cohen
Ancillary Benefits Account Manager Annette Sperandio joined the team three years ago, at the beginning of its most recent growth phase. Coming to DBL Center from the prestigious Chernoff Diamond firm, Annette was looking for a company where she would be empowered to learn and grow in a pivotal role.
Annette’s feeling that DBL Center was about to “take off,” – combined with a certain propitious poster on the wall of Mike’s office during the initial interview — gave Annette the feeling she’d found her new home.
Mike Cohen: Remember when we interviewed? What did you say?
Annette Sperandio:There were many things that were said. [laughs] One thing I remember is sitting across from you, and seeing that Jaws movie poster, which I thought was a weird sign from my dad. My dad’s restaurant in Eastchester, NY, was called Jaws. And he had a huge following once that movie came out. It was a chops and seafood house. I was like, “What the heck are the odds of that poster being on the wall right now?”
Then I had this feeling that you were going to take off. I felt like that was a good fit for me because I was ready to take off with somebody.
Mike: That’s a good jump-off point. Where have we gone as a team since that day?
Annette: Three years ago in September I joined the DBL Center. We were in a small two-office suite. It was truly a mom-and-pop shop, and I was coming from a prestigious firm. I said, “This is going to be a great opportunity. There’s somebody here who is willing to grow.”
And we did just that. There was a trajectory set. I said tell me what I need to do, and we did just that. We grew a database – from a statutory database to now being a statutory and ancillary benefits database.
We took our knowledge together and we built upon something your dad was very passionate about, his manual ledger. We added our tech-savvy to that whole process: From the audit to the processes, to being able to create a portal, to our carrier portal.
Mike: Explain that for a moment, because you’re in the day-to-day…
Annette: We really started from the ground up. That’s because I saw a lot of influx coming in from Rich’s clients, and your clients, and even some of your dad’s clients coming by the phone, and I said, “We really have to streamline this.” It was too much in the weeds, too much getting stuck.
I knew these carriers had the capability to do online portals, and to make them user-friendly for our clients and brokers alike. Aside from that, we gave them these super-access powers that allowed them to do employee terms and adds and address updates.
We still get involved with retro terminations, but it’s good to be needed. We want to be needed, but we also want our brokers to be proactive on their own. So, we took that information and we started to train our broker community.
Mike: Don’t you feel like we’re in control for the first time? We formed the masses to get them to go in a specific direction, like the pied piper. They’re using the database and the dashboard. That function was missing before.
Annette: Yes. There was an opportunity for us, as a team, to show our customers we now have a service model. That service model was going to make the best use of these things that these carriers had been spending millions of dollars on, but so many people were not using.
Does that mean we don’t help out? No, of course not. We teach them. Then, when they need us for something, we know it’s a true and blue issue.
We have up to 150 brokers at this time using it, with two or more users on it. We get such good, positive feedback because they’re able to do things that they would originally have to [email us about]. Even if they were reaching out to the carriers themselves, that’s a 7- to 10-business day turnaround time.
Mike: And that simplicity shaves a little bit of time and fat off of everybody, internally. If we’re less stressed, the clients pick up on that, the broker’s community. They can feel it.
Annette: Yes. I think people really rely on us to get things done. If you think about the sales process, they come to you or come to me, and they say, “Here’s a census and this is what I’m looking for.”
That’s one process by itself. But then there’s implementation, which is where I take the reins. And then there’s servicing a case that’s been finalized. So, we have this tiered system in place, and they need to know the pecking order and they rely on us to get it done within a certain amount of time.
Mike: And everybody’s in their lane. And all of that – in just three years.
Annette: Yes. When I joined the team there was a start to a system. It was statutory based. And then I felt like the first six months of my being here, aside from learning the system, was changing over from our old system to the new system: adapting, changing, and tweaking it. We’ve done that for well over two years, to a point where now we’re able to give it to our broker community. We’re able to share that with people, so they can see what we’re bringing to the table. Because we’re not just a general agency.
Mike: It’s far beyond… that’s our competitive advantage.
Annette: Yes. There’s service, upon technology, upon being platinum status with our carriers.
We’re always looking to our brokers the best prices for ancillary benefits, and a lot of times, we do that by bundling DBL or TDB. We have relationships with six carriers for ancillary benefits, and nine carriers if we bundle statutory benefits. So, I look at all nine when I’m writing ancillary benefits. We’re always trying to get the best rates and provide the best service.
by Dawn Allcot
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 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?
More than 1.5 million non profit organizations are registered in the U.S., says the National Center for Charitable statistics. And they all need nonprofit insurance coverage.
With 20.3 million people living in the New York Tri-State area, it’s safe to say a proportionate number of those non profits are based right here. And, just like your small business and large corporate customers, they are looking for low premiums, high-quality insurance coverage, and stellar service from their non profit insurance brokers.
Non profit workers are traditionally paid less than their counterparts at for-profit companies. Owners of non profit organizations must tread carefully because they could face fines if the IRS deems their employees’ salaries “excessive.” Not only do nonprofits have less money to pay out—because their funding comes from supporter donations—but employers opt to err on the side of caution with employee salaries.
In order to find the best people to help them achieve their mission, non profits must look at other ways to attract and retain top employees. And that’s where insurance for non profit organizations comes in, especially when you are talking about enriched DBL and ancillary benefits. Most non profits have smaller operating budgets than corporations, including less money to pay out for employer-funded benefits like healthcare. But voluntary, employee-funded benefits like group life, vision, and dental coverage deliver great value at a low cost to employees.
Non profits go beyond foundations and mission-specific charitable organizations. They may include hospitals and universities, and other important business-oriented organizations with large teams and hefty operating costs.
Not only can non profits be a valuable sector by themselves, but selling not for profit insurance can also attract local business leads and new clients when your non profit customers spread the word to their members and volunteers about the service you deliver. Local networking groups such as your Chamber of Commerce, Lions’ Clubs, and Kiwanis are all non profit organizations.
Are you ready to start selling insurance for non profit organizations?
To successfully sell not for profit insurance benefits, you need to understand what motivates the employees. Value-driven millennials often seek work with non profit organizations, because they want a career that makes a difference in the world along with providing a paycheck.
Employees are often willing to accept less pay because the intrinsic benefits of the job win out in the end. But, once reality sets in and the rent comes due, top talent may quickly be recruited away with promises of a hefty salary, ancillary benefits, and exciting perks in the corporate world.
A non profit may not be able to match a Fortune 500 in terms of pay. But non profit insurance brokers can offer something equal in intrinsic value and help organizations recruit and retain top talent by following these four steps.
Any good salesperson knows how it important it is to understand your audience. And the non profit group tends to be passionate about their beliefs. If you are working with an animal rights organization, for instance, mention your family pets you adopted from a rescue.
If you are working with an organization that supports eco-tourism,, and can off-handedly mention your Prius, they will understand you are aligned with their values. They will also love the efficiency of getting nonprofit insurance quotes online, without the hassles of paperwork.
Once you’ve made that personal connection, how do you make the leap to insurance products? By tapping into what’s important to non profit employees, you can show them the employee benefits that will help enhance their lifestyle by saving them money.
Millennials — especially those who choose to work for non profits—treasure a work/life balance and want to make a difference at work and at play. Saving money on dental and vision costs may free up cash so they can travel more, for instance, or adopt another pet from the animal rescue.
A good life insurance policy will provide peace of mind to employees starting a family. And a 401K will give them the financial freedom they need to continue supporting their favorite causes, through donations or volunteerism, into their retirement.
Recruiting and retention is a major challenge for executives in the non profit sector. Smaller organizations may not have an HR director who understands the specifics of employee benefits packages, how they are structured, or what’s available.
They need a non profit insurance broker they can trust to explain how ancillary benefits can be bundled with mandatory coverage for maximum savings, and how these benefits can be used as important recruiting and retention tools to keep top talent.
Don’t assume anyone in the organization understands the value of employee benefits. Hold a lunch-and-learn seminar, make information available on your website, let employers and their employees, alike, know you are available for questions.
Bottom line: Making insurance for non profit organizations part of your book of business involves a large amount consultative selling. Make sure prospective clients understand that these are employee-funded, voluntary benefits that cost very little compared to the money they will save over their lives.
If you are a broker who sells ancillary benefits such as life, dental, and vision coverage, you are already familiar with the paperwork required to complete a company census. Your customers have to submit a company census showing the number of employees, their ages, genders, and salaries.
Now, with the introduction of Paid Family Leave, some insurance carriers may require a company census for their DBL insurance, too.
Even if it isn’t required by your carrier, having an accurate and up-to-date census can benefit brokers and their customers, alike, resulting in money savings for customers and increased opportunities for brokers to cross-sell ancillary benefits with DBL coverage. Read on to find out how.
With a census in hand, business owners will receive more accurate insurance rates that are based on the exact head count of covered employees. They won’t overpay for their insurance coverage, which can enable the company to better manage cash flow without tying up funds needlessly.
And if you have to break the bad news that their insurance premiums will go up slightly, at least your commission will rise proportionately. They will now be paying for the actual coverage they are receiving, which is difficult for any business person to argue.
With a company census for each one of your customers in hand, it is easy to request a quote for ancillary coverage through the DBL Center. In order to accurately quote ancillary coverage, you need the census. Now that your customers have that information, you can show them how affordable it can be to sweeten their employee benefits package with group life, vision, or dental coverage.
If you’ve already shown your customers you can save them money on their DBL and PFL, now you can show them how to take that extra money and invest it into ancillary policies that will make all their employees happy, build loyalty, and help attract top talent.
For small business owners, completing a census shouldn’t take much time at all. They can delegate the task to an office manager or set aside a few hours to gather the information from their employees. It could even be as fast as sending out a company-wide email.
For larger corporations with more than 50 lives, and even up to thousands of employees, gathering census data will, admittedly, take more time. But the cost savings could really add up for larger companies.
Once the census data is in place, it doesn’t take long to update it, annually, with new employees and to remove employees who no longer work for the company.
“It makes sense to calculate accurate insurance premiums based on the actual number of lives in a company and can result in cost savings for customers,” says DBL Center’s Selena Kutschera. “It also makes it easier for brokers to get an accurate quote in order to enrich their customers’ benefits packages with ancillary benefits.”
Pinpoint a few customers, especially corporations over 50 lives, who would benefit the most from a census and be most amenable to ancillary benefits if it was fast and easy to get a price quote. If carriers begin requiring a census for DBL coverage with a PFL rider, these customers will have the information in hand.
“Filling out census forms for more accurate insurance billing is new and unfamiliar to many brokers,” says Kutschera. “But the DBL Center is here to help our brokers and their customers complete a company census. It’s also important to remember that this a one-time-only process that will allow the carrier to better serve brokers and their customers.”
The DBL insurance industry recently experienced a shake-up when New York State passed a law requiring mandatory Paid Family Leave coverage, to be written as a rider to NYS DBL policies. Several carriers exited the DBL insurance market because they didn’t want to write PFL riders, which left many brokers looking to replace their DBL policies.
Brokers had two choices: Lose the DBL business or leave their existing carriers to write DBL insurance policies elsewhere. DBL Center brokers who relied on DBL Center as their back-office staff were able to move those DBL policies with ease, impress their customers, and strengthen their position in the marketplace.
These brokers found that DBL insurance policies open doors to more business. This has always been true, but it’s even more relevant now, in 2018, when fewer carriers are writing DBL insurance coverage.
If you are the broker who can write these policies for New York State business owners, provide exemplary service, and build trust with your customers, they will come to you for all their insurance needs.
For P&C brokers, DBL insurance can act as your foot in the door, giving you the chance to write high-commission policies like home, auto or even umbrella policies for business owners and their employees.
Let’s look at some of the opportunities available to P&C brokers to expand their book of business with new and existing DBL insurance customers.
1. Smart business owners will consider expanding employee benefits packages with ancillary lines of coverage.
We’ve talked in-depth about enriching DBL coverage in light of the new PFL law. But business owners can also improve employee retention with ancillary benefits such as vision, dental, and life insurance.
The DBL Center can provide a discounted benefits package when you bundle these ancillary lines with an enriched DBL package, allowing you to provide your customers with even more value.
2. Business owners will rely on someone they can trust to write their personal insurance policies.
In addition to business insurance and employee benefits, business owners also need insurance for their personal assets. As an insurance broker, you know that many business owners possess one or more of the following: high-value homes, vacation homes, automobiles, recreational vehicles, or boats.
Once you’ve established trust as their broker of choice for mandatory DBL insurance or enriched DBL coverage, it’s easy to ask your business customers if they’d like a quote on an umbrella policy to cover their home/auto and other possessions requiring insurance. They might also consider purchasing life insurance through your brokerage.
Most consumers understand that when they do business through one company, they can get the best deals and preferred service as a loyal customer. It’s your job, as their broker, to remind them about your other insurance lines and the savings you can offer them. A new sale and a large commission check could be just that easy.
3. Business owners may refer their employees to you for their personal insurance coverage.
Not only do business owners have cars, homes, and boats to insure, so do many of their employees. What if you could earn referrals from your biggest accounts, just by providing excellent service and low rates to the owner of the company? You can increase your commission checks by writing homeowners’ insurance, auto insurance, umbrella policies, renters’ insurance, or whole- or term-life insurance policies.
In New York, DBL Center specializes in DBL, PFL and ancillary benefits. We couldn’t tell you how to sell your P&C lines or where to go for the best rates.
But we can remind you that almost every business owner needs DBL coverage. And with our back-office staff providing white-glove service, as well as our new Net Revenue Tracker app giving you fast, convenient access to all your accounts, we make it easy for you to sell DBL and maintain your DBL accounts.
By doing so, the DBL Center opens doors for you to expand your book of business with the lines that you know best such as health, life, home and auto insurance and umbrella policies.
Need more information about DBL and PFL? Need tips on marketing DBL insurance coverage? We are here to help. Give us a call at (631) 293.5100 or get a quick quote now.
If you or your employees have a flexible spending account (FSA) you may be scrambling to spend that money before it expires. That’s one of the main differences in an FSA v. HSA v. ancillary benefits package. Your FSA expires at year-end. (Although, in some cases, that deadline is extended to mid-March.)
Whatever benefits package you have, healthcare is expensive. When you factor in the costs or co-pays of prescription medicines, doctor’s visit co-pays, not to mention vision and dental costs or co-pays, plus the actual cost of healthcare coverage, the average person spent $10,345 in healthcare in 2016. FSA, HSA, or ancillary benefits packages can help defray some of those costs.
When comparing FSA v. HSA v. ancillary benefits, each has advantages for certain people. If you’re an employer interested in offering the most robust benefits package to your employees, combine ancillary benefits that include dental benefits and vision benefits with an FSA to pay other costs, not ordinarily covered by insurance, with pre-tax dollars.
When you’re looking at the differences in FSA v. HSA v. ancillary benefits, one of the biggest drawbacks to an FSA is it expires at year’s end.
Let’s sort through the other differences in FSA v. HSA v. ancillary benefits to better understand employee benefits available. As a broker, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to guide your customers toward the best ancillary benefits package to improve employee loyalty and morale.
An FSA, or flexible spending account, is a pre-tax savings account you can use to pay for a variety of expenses related to health and wellness and, in some cases, dependent care.
The employer withdraws a set amount of money, pre-tax, and provides employees with a debit card to purchase any items or services covered by the FSA. The list includes a number of surprising items, including co-pays, prescription and over-the-counter medicine, childcare, and even items such as bandages and sunscreen.
If you don’t spend the money in the account by the deadline (typically December 31 or March 15), you could lose it, although some plans let you roll up to $500 into the next year.
An HSA, or a health savings account, is often confused with an FSA. But a Health Savings Account is available only to individuals enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). The idea is that the health savings plan can help cover the deductible cost with pre-tax dollars. HSA money can also pay health-related expenses not covered by your insurance, such as vision or dental costs.
Unlike an FSA, you can deduct money from your HSA for other reasons, but you will pay tax on that money, including an additional 20 percent tax penalty.
If you’ve read this far, you understand why an FSA or HSA is not always the best option employers can provide to their workers.
Ancillary benefits, including vision and dental benefits, work like any other insurance plan. Employees pay the premium with pre-tax money deducted from their paychecks and the insurance benefits pay for things like check-ups, corrective lenses, or dental work. In some cases, the employee might have to pay a co-pay.
Most ancillary benefits are completely employee-funded, which means the employer has no added costs. Ancillary benefits are enticing to employees because it’s like money in the bank with no risks involved.
Advantages of Ancillary Benefits:
Brokers, if your customers ask you, “Which is better: FSA v. HSA v. ancillary benefits?” we encourage you to share this post with them and guide them toward the best conclusion. Flex spending accounts have their place, but as people rush to spend the money in their account this month, it might be a good time to show your customers a better, less frustrating way to pay for common dental and vision expenses.
You can add an ancillary benefits package to any enriched DBL account when the policy renews this winter. Let the DBL Center help as your white-glove, back-office team to help the process go smoothly.
Autumn is approaching and, here at The DBL Center, it’s one of our favorite times of the year. Autumn on Long Island is absolutely beautiful, with so much to do. Baseball season comes to a climactic ending with the pennant race heating up and the promise of post-season play. (We don’t want to talk about the Mets, but will the Yankees make it?) Football season begins. Weekends at the wineries on the East End are a perfect way to relax with family and friends. Fall festivals bring fun for all ages.
Autumn is also the time of harvest – when hard work comes to fruition to create a bounty. This is definitely what’s happening at The DBL Center this year. Our efforts of the first three quarters combined with legislation changes have resulted in tremendous growth for our business and expanded commission opportunities for our brokers across the country —especially here in New York and New Jersey.
PFL Is Here
If you’ve been reading our blog and newsletter, you’ve no doubt heard about the changes to Paid Family Leave. NOW, this autumn, is the time, if you haven’t already started, to educate your customers about this mandatory insurance. PFL coverage is written as a rider to existing DBL policies in New York, and employers are permitted to begin withholding to pay the premiums. If you haven’t begun discussing coverage options—and suggesting enriched DBL as an additional policy upgrade—now is the time.
As part of our expanded marketing and outreach efforts, the DBL Center launched a webinar series this autumn to explain this new coverage to our brokers. We have a resource center in the works, and also recently launched a video Q&A with DBL Center President Michael Cohen discussing some surprising facts about PFL that even the most savvy brokers may not know.
The webinar, video and resource center for PFL are just the beginning. We also have plans to launch a PR and marketing campaign designed to educate New York business owners about PFL, which will help our brokers sell the coverage by creating a more knowledgeable audience.
New Hires Help DBL Center Continue to Provide Personalized Service
Our growth initiatives also extend over the bridge into New Jersey. The DBL Center recently hired two new employees to help accommodate our rapid expansion and better serve our brokers. Lori Rose joins The DBL Center to serve our New Jersey brokers as Assistant Vice President of Ancillary Lines. Lori has been in the insurance industry specializing in employee benefits for over 25 years, with expertise in Group Life, Disability, Dental and Vision. We are excited that she is bringing her expertise and passion for insurance sales and service to DBL Center brokers.
In addition, Melissa Bilka has joined The DBL Center team as Benefits Coordinator. A newcomer to the insurance industry, with a degree in Mathematics Education from Long Island University, Melissa will assist our expanding Group Ancillary Department in providing the level of white-glove service our brokers and their clients have come to expect.
DBL Center App Goes Online
The DBL Center has always been on the cutting edge of technology, and as we enter the fourth quarter of 2017, this remains true. In addition to an upgraded database that will streamline operations in-house, we’ve launched our new app that helps our brokers manage their accounts from anywhere they might be working—in the office, at home, or on the road.
Look for Even More from Your Insurance Wholesaler
As we move into what promises to be our most exciting fourth quarter in our 40-year history, we have even more in store to help our brokers with a consultative approach to insurance sales. Stay tuned to our blog and sign up for our newsletter to stay on the forefront of industry developments and learn how to expand your book of business with minimal effort.
And about those Yankees? Through our partnership with Steiner Sports, we can help you set up celebrity appearances or even reward your best customers with once-in-a-lifetime sports experiences this autumn. From PFL to home plate, we’ve got you covered.
Do you spend the time to shop each carrier for every client, in order to secure the lowest premiums and best coverage plans for your customers? Or maybe you work with a select group of high-rated carriers and rely on those insurance providers for the bulk of your business in order to streamline your operations and processes. Have you considered the benefits of working with an insurance wholesaler to gain better access to carriers and provide a higher level of service to your customers? In short, an insurance wholesaler can save you time and help you earn more money.
If you’re a P&C broker, working with an insurance wholesaler can help you expand your book of business and increase your commissions while spending less time on every sale. Let’s look at some of the benefits of partnering with an insurance wholesaler to write new business and service and expand existing accounts.
1. An insurance wholesaler provides greater access to a broader choice of carriers.
Now in its 40th year in business, the DBL Center Ltd. works with the top-rated, well-known, highly respected carriers of mandatory disability coverage, group life / AD&D coverage, and ancillary benefits. Each of our carriers has a minimum A- rating (some with A++ ratings) from Standard & Poors, and provides us with the most competitive rates based on our contracts and block of premium that we manage through them, which we in turn offer the brokerage community.
2. Insurance wholesalers have a better, broad knowledge base of the market.
Our account representatives are experts in consultative selling, with a deep understanding of the Statutory and Employee Benefits space, in order to provide your customers and their employees with the best benefits packages and most affordable premiums. We spend time and money on employee training and education, so our account representatives are always up-to-date on the latest trends and industry technology, making it easier for brokers to provide a higher level of service to their customers.
3. An insurance wholesaler does all the legwork—the hard work—so you, as a broker, can focus on attracting new customers and expanding your book of business quickly and easily.
Imagine having a partner you can trust to provide your customers with the best policies and lowest premiums available on everything from state-mandated disability coverage to ancillary benefits such as Life, Long & Short Term Disability, vision and dental coverage. That’s what the DBL Center Ltd. provides. We write every policy through our white-glove, white-label service, so it’s your name and agency number that appears on every form.
We provide the highest level of round-the-clock service to the insured, so you don’t have to spend time on servicing accounts. Send us the necessary information to provide you with a fair quote for your customer, we will bind and write the policy, and you cash the commission check. It really is that easy.
4. We recognize additional opportunities for increased revenue for our brokers.
As the Affordable Care Act reduced health benefits for a number of companies and employees nationwide, Life and Health brokers are in a unique opportunity to bridge that gap with voluntary ancillary benefit policies for workers. P&C brokers are sitting on additional revenue streams, simply by offering these niche products to their commercial clients with the help of an insurance wholesaler to guide them through the process.
The DBL Center Ltd. has been in the business of ancillary benefits, as an offshoot of our disability insurance products, for decades. We are happy to help P&C brokers increase their commissions through the sale of voluntary or employer paid ancillary benefits.
5. We offer training and value-added services to our brokers.
The DBL Center is here to help our brokers every step of the way, because your success is our success. To that end, we provide training resources, mentoring, and information on industry trends, including the articles we post here on this blog every week.
We also provide value-added services, from lining up entertainment for your holiday party to acting as a concierge service if you want to show a top client a once-in-a-lifetime night on the town. Now, thanks to a partnership with Steiner Sports, the number one source for sports memorabilia, with exclusive contracts with many top professional athletes, the DBL Center Ltd. can book celebrity appearances, comedy acts, and other entertainment for corporate events and outings.
Interested in increasing your commission and enhancing the service you provide to customers? Contact The DBL Center today.