Post updated on November 15, 2020
Covid-19 has brought many challenges to business owners, HR directors, and employees across the Northeast. It has also created many questions regarding temporary disability benefits and eligibility.
As a trusted insurance broker, it helps to have answers to frequently asked questions regarding temporary disability and long term disability payments. One of the most frequently asked questions, recently, addresses employees with lingering illnesses or injuries not incurred in the workplace: “What can I do when temporary disability runs out?”
Fortunately, there are multiple solutions. As a P&C insurance broker with The DBL Center’s vast network of top-rated carriers behind you, you’re equipped to assist with at least two of these:
If a customer asks what their employee can do when statutory short term disability (TDB in New Jersey, DBL in New York, and PFML in Massachusetts and Connecticut) or private group short-term disability (STD) runs out, here are some options you can suggest.
Some people with an illness or injury may try to apply for Social Security benefits. However, to qualify for Social Security / Disability benefits, you must be unable to work for at least one year, or have an illness that will lead to death. The time between 26 weeks and a year is a long span to live without any income if you are unable to work.
Group long-term disability insurance increases the length of time of coverage up to 60 months. Employers can choose from “same occupation” or “any occupation” coverage. Class I coverage, for the executives in a company, offers up to 60% of income replacement up to $15,000 per month.
The cost to the company is actually very small, especially if the employer purchases coverage bundled with statutory benefits or other ancillary benefits, like dental, vision, and Group Life / AD&D.
Group LTD benefits higher level employees in the same way enriched DBL does in New York, providing income replacement at a minimal cost. Employers can avoid tapping into their 401K or selling other investments. Let’s face it – especially in today’s market, selling stocks may not be the best answer for high-earners to free up capital for living expenses!
In addition to providing company owners and high-level executives with a safety net and peace-of-mind should they become injured or disabled, a generous group LTD package can also benefit the company as a whole.
It may help entice star talent, but, more importantly, it can help a business retain high-quality employees after they bounce back from an illness or injury. If a company takes care of someone in their time of need, they will return to work with a degree of loyalty. In fact, due to the strain financial difficulties place on a person’s health, having disability coverage to provide for themselves and their family could, in fact, help make a return to work after injury or illness possible.
For business owners who don’t want to make the investment in Group LTD, or for self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and solopreneurs, private long-term disability insurance provides an income replacement solution.
Since the premiums on this insurance are paid out-of-pocket, after taxes, the disability income is not taxable. Claimants receive their full benefits when they need the money most.
Disability insurance may seem like a tough sell when it is not mandated by the state. But the coronavirus pandemic has made many people come to terms with their own health and even their mortality. More than ever, people are thinking about their financial future should they be unable to work for any length of time. This includes COVID-19 long-haulers, those who experience symptoms even after the worst of the illness has passed.
The Social Security Administration estimates that a 20-year-old employee faces a three in ten chance of becoming disabled before age 65. Other reports say one in four workers becomes disabled during their working life. These odds increase for heavy smokers, people who are overweight, or those who have a chronic condition such as heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure. And these numbers have undoubtedly risen since the pandemic.
Yet, only 45 percent of millennial workers have long-term disability insurance, according to The Hartford Financial Service Group. More than 20 percent of millennials said they would need help from family or friends or move back in with their parents if they were unable to work due to illness or injury, while another 20 percent would have to rely on credit cards or borrowing against their 401K retirement account.
While employees don’t want to consider being one of the 25 to 30 percent of people who become disabled, it’s a reality. And most disabilities are caused by illness, not injury. Knowing they are protected, whether through private income replacement insurance or employer-funded long-term disability benefits offers peace-of-mind and greater financial security.
As a broker, remind your customers that temporary disability coverage doesn’t have to be “all-or-nothing.” Voluntary group long-term disability coverage can be fully employee-funded, with no out-of-pockets costs for the employer (other than the employer’s insurance premiums to cover themselves). Since this is a pre-tax benefit, some employees may enjoy the tax benefits, too, although it means they will have to pay taxes on their disability income if they ever make a claim.
Employers also have the option to split the costs of group LTD with their employees, or to fund the benefit completely as an incentive to recruit and retain top talent. You can help your customers weigh cost factors with the benefits of employee recruiting and retention based on their industry and region.
It costs more to gain a new customer than to upsell an existing account. In these challenging financial times, consider Group LTD, along with other ancillary benefits, as a means to grow your book-of-business and increase your commissions.
And don’t forget to use your Broker Dashboard to track it all! Schedule your free demo of this state-of-the-art statutory insurance net revenue tracker today.
by Dawn Allcot
A recent article in The Digital Insurer pointed to chatbots—sophisticated artificial intelligence programs that can answer questions and provide customer service for companies in much the way human representatives can—as replacing insurance underwriters in the foreseeable future. We beg to differ.
The jury’s still out on chatbots and widespread acceptance of this technology, especially when it comes to B2B insurance sales. Insurance brokers work in a high-touch industry, where consultative selling is a key, and relationships build business. A consumer looking for the lowest price on car insurance may accept a chatbot to provide a quote. But a business is not going to trust a computer program—even a sophisticated one—to write a mandatory disability insurance policy for 100 employees in their company.
The high level of personalized, white glove service The DBL Center provides is one reason we have more than 4,000 insurance brokers across 15 states, who rely on us to supply mandatory disability insurance (TDB in NJ and DBL in NY), as well as ancillary benefits, group life AD&D, and a growing list of additional insurance and investment services, to their business customers.
But as much as we are, and will remain, a service-oriented business, we do consider ourselves pretty high tech, too, here at The DBL Center.
Get Easy Online Quotes
While much of the industry was still relying on cold calls for insurance sales and faxing documents to bind quotes, we began providing the ability to bind a quote for NY DBL coverage for fewer than 50 lives online with a few clicks. The automated system operates through our portal, permitting agencies to quickly and easily compare prices and coverage with top-rated insurance carriers in our industry. Agents can bind the quote with just a few clicks, without ever speaking to a representative. Of course, we are available if you do have any questions, need guidance through the process, want to upgrade to an enriched DBL plan, or add ancillary benefits. But our entire system is designed to make the process quick and easy for the insurance brokers who do business with us.
Insurance Brokers Can Manage Accounts Easily Online
Our proprietary insurance broker’s portal, available to insurance agents who write their business through The DBL Center, gives our customers access to a host of information. Brokers can:
– Track their book of business
– Track commissions and export the data
– Issue their own Certificates of Insurance (DB-820) in real-time
These capabilities put our brokers in better control of their businesses, and frees up our staff to focus on areas where the human touch is needed to provide the next level of customer service.
Your Wholesale Agency Goes Mobile
The next phase of our development involves a mobile app that provides our brokers with expanded capabilities to manage their book of business from anywhere they might be. Brokers no longer have to wait to return to the office to issue DB-820s, get quotes, or write new business.
With the rise in telecommuting and flexible hours, brokers who write their business through DBL Center can now enjoy the freedom of working from virtually anywhere, achieving new levels of productivity and, in turn, serving their customers better.
High-Tech and Still High-Touch
While the app puts advanced capabilities at our brokers’ fingertips, it will also help The DBL Center team take our service to the next level. By automating several behind-the-scenes processes, we’ll be able to free up our staff to provide better, faster service when our brokers and their customers need the high-touch experience that is expected in this industry.
Best of all, our brokers don’t have to be exceptionally tech-savvy. That’s our job. We’ve worked with top developers to make the app as easy to navigate and as intuitive as possible.
As the world undergoes a digital transformation, the insurance industry can’t afford to be left behind. We provide the tools to help our insurance brokers make the transition in order to increase productivity and earn more.
Learn how you can expand your book of business with The DBL Center by your side.
If you’re running a business or have a full-time career, are raising a family, and managing to juggle the other responsibilities of adulthood, you already know the holidays are stressful. But did you know the months following the holidays are more dangerous than other times of the year?
A study done by The Hartford, one of The DBL Center Ltd.’s top insurance carriers, showed that short-term disability claims went up in January and February. Are you ready?
Why Do Disability Claims Go Up in the Winter?
January and February are challenging months for many people. The rise in prevalence of colds and the flu can lead to increased respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia, which sometimes requires hospitalization and a short-term leave from work. The Hartford study shows that 66 percent of all winter disability claims were illness-related, which also can include depression. Additionally, 22 percent of claims were for pregnancy/childbirth, and 11 percent were due to accidents.
Slips and falls on ice, car accidents, accidents and injuries related to snow shoveling, as well as winter sports injuries all contribute to increased disability claims in the winter. Depression and stress-related illnesses also tend to rise in the northeast during the long, cold winter days. Although the study was completed in 2009, these facts haven’t changed. But there are ways you can make a difference in your workplace.
Focus on Employee Health and Wellness
Encourage employees to take a sick day—and visit a doctor—when they are sick, to help prevent the common cold from turning into pneumonia and to keep them from spreading germs around the office. Frequent hand-washing is shown to be the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Make sure the restrooms and kitchen are stocked with hand soap.
Consider implementing stress-reduction programs such as office massage or lunch-break yoga classes. If you don’t have an employee gym facility on-site, consider adding gym membership reimbursement to your perks and benefits package. Studies show regular exercise may help the body fight off colds.
Be Prepared with a Plan
When employees go out on short-term disability, their team members must pick up the slack. Cross-training employees on mission critical tasks, so that someone can fill in when there’s an unexpected illness, or even a planned maternity leave, can help keep office stress levels down and maintain employee morale.
Make sure employees understand the expectations and reward them in tangible ways and with praise when they step up to help out their co-workers.
Offer Enhanced DBL to Help Avoid Long-Term Claims
If an employee’s short-term disability coverage can’t help them get through the rough patch, they might be tempted to consider other alternatives, such as applying for long-term disability (Social Security Disability Insurance). They might use their short-term leave to find another job with a better benefits package.
The Benefits of Enriched DBL and TDB Disability Coverage
New York-based businesses can provide an enriched DBL package, which increases benefits beyond the New York State minimum of $170/week. Businesses in New Jersey can offer long-term disability coverage to dovetail state-mandated temporary disability benefits (TDB), and may also save money by bundling TDB coverage with other ancillary benefits such as dental, life insurance or add a group short-term disability policy over and above the state-mandated benefit.
Beat the Winter Blues with Better Disability Coverage
Business owners and HR directors should consider beating the winter blues with enriched DBL or privatized TDB. You can switch your disability insurance providers on the first day of each quarter: January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.
If you’re an insurance broker, this is the perfect time to write new business by letting companies in New York and New Jersey know about the advantages of privatized disability coverage with personalized service and benefits beyond the New York State minimum, so they can be prepared for the possibility of increased disability claims in the first months of the new year.
Let The DBL Center Ltd. help you get through the winter with the disability coverage you need.
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.