Watching the Yankees on TV with my sons the other night, I had the thought, for the first time in my life, that we’re living in the future. The future we grew up with in fiction – the Jetsons and the rest of the science fiction we watched as kids – is here now. With the changes the pandemic brought to Major League Baseball, the Yankees were playing the Tampa Bay Rays at a stadium in California for the American League East title – as holographic fans cheered in the stands.
We hold multi-person videoconferences seamlessly. We have voice-controlled, artificially intelligent personal assistants. We work from home with powerful Wifi signals keeping us in constant contact with coworkers and clients. We carry around voice-activated mini-computers more powerful than NASA computers from 50 years ago in the palm of our hand. The latest iPhone carries more than 100,000 times the processing power of the computers that took Apollo 11 safely to the moon in 1969.
We have TVs we hang on our walls and phones we put in our pockets! But where are our flying cars? For a variety of reasons, that probably wouldn’t end well. The vehicles of the future are likely to be autonomous but not airborne.
In essence: The world is changing quickly. While the P&C insurance industry has not usually been ahead of the curve when it comes to the adoption of new technologies that is changing, too.
For years, The DBL Center has been breaking new ground when it comes to providing superior customer service and a tech-forward approach to statutory disability sales for our brokers.
We have to look back and laugh at this blog from January 2017, where we doubted the effectiveness of chat-bots and AI in the P&C insurance industry. The chat box we added to our site in 2019 keeps us in constant contact with our brokers to answer questions and improve the stellar white glove service we have always offered.
The chat-bot can answer basic questions 24/7 but can also put you in touch with a real live person from The DBL Center team to answer your questions in a timely manner. We love that technology helps us stay in touch with our brokers – so you can serve your customers better at any time of day in this “always-on” world.
Back in spring of 2017, The DBL Center also teased the introduction of a cloud-based application that would allow brokers to:
On August 8, 2017, the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker desktop app was born. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a dashboard that provides our brokers with everything they need from an account management basis to compare premiums and bind policies easily from anywhere they happen to be. It is available free to DBL Center brokers for accounts you write through us.
Accessible from mobile phone, PC, or desktop computer, the Broker Dashboard was met with accolades from our brokers as a great way to stay on top of renewals and cancellations and to manage their business from anywhere.
And then the pandemic hit.
The Broker Dashboard became more than just a “nice-to-have” resource, but a necessity to allow our brokers to access information about their customers from anywhere – including their home offices. Brokers also receive bi-monthly reminders of cases that are pending non pay as a result of the extended grace periods due to the New York governor’s moratorium.
And then, in September 2020, nearly 3 years from the date of its launch, the Broker Dashboard got its own app in the Apple App store. Available for iOS users (iPhone and iPad mobile devices) the app brings all the functionality of the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker SaaS to your mobile device.
When you’re on a mobile device, logging onto the web takes added bandwidth and can be slow to load. An app, on the other hand, is easy to access with just a click on your iPhone or iPad.
Just like the Broker Dashboard desktop app, the mobile app is free to our brokers for the accounts you write through The DBL Center.
User-friendly and intuitive, the app is the future of statutory disability insurance in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts – and beyond.
If you’re interested in a free demo of the Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker and its new features, reach out today. You’ll gain free access to the Broker Dashboard for all your accounts.
The statutory insurance business is built on return customers and repetitive commissions. As my father, DBL Center founder David Cohen, used to say, “It’s not what you earn, it’s what you keep.”
Let The DBL Center help you retain more of your business – even in these challenging times. Schedule your Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker live demo with me today.
by Michael Cohen
Insurance brokers know that DBL stands for “Disability Benefits Law,” which provides statutory New York State short term disability insurance to qualifying workers through employer-funded benefits packages.
But here at DBL Center, we love a good play on words. We want to remind our brokers that this year, more than ever, the “DBL” in DBL Center stands for “Don’t be late.” That is, don’t be late with your NY disability insurance premiums and delay your incoming commissions because clients haven’t remitted premiums on time.
Across New York, businesses have closed as a result of the pandemic. From mom-and-pop boutiques, to law firms, restaurants, gyms, and even larger companies, New York business owners felt the crush of the quarantine, followed by re-opening regulations, and a public that is wary of leaving their homes or spending money.
As we continue to struggle with these challenges, one thing insurance brokers shouldn’t have to worry about is whether or not their clients still in business have paid their premiums.
Yet, it’s a fact of life. Brokers face cancellations due to non-pays, client bookkeeping errors, and other lapses that can delay your commissions.
Even in the best of times, you don’t want to have to waste time chasing down clients. The Covid-19 pandemic complicated it further, because you don’t know who:
• Went out of business
• Doesn’t have the money to pay
• Received a PPP loan but perhaps thought premiums were yet another bill waived due to the pandemic
• Put their statutory DBL last on the list of payments to make, after paying the lease and keeping the lights on
Whatever your client’s situation, if they have an in-force NYS DBL policy or enriched DBL, they owe the premium amount due – and you deserve your commission.
DBL Center is here to remind your customers “don’t be late,” on their DBL payments. Through our powerful Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, we can track renewals, cancellations, and non-pays.
Then we send those emails and make those uncomfortable calls reminding your clients their New York state DBL payment is due. We use the utmost tact, and will get that bill paid so you can collect your commission.
And if a company has gone out of business? We’ll adjust the Broker Dashboard records to reflect that. No more wasted time on out-of-business companies.
Many customers might have NYS DBL premium payments due, but not understand the amount owed due to a change in their overall employee head count. If their bill does not reflect the new number of lives, reflective of layoffs or furloughs that occurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ll recalculate the total amount due.
And, again, get that bill paid so you can collect your commission.
When you help your clients purchase NY disability insurance through The DBL Center, we serve as your back-office staff to manage your accounts. That frees you up to do what you do best, which is sell insurance – even in a struggling economy.
With access to our Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, you’ll always know what you’re earning at a glance. You can track accounts ready for renewal, cancellations, and commissions. The Broker Dashboard helps you stay on top of it all – and The DBL Center team is here to help you manage it.
As I stated in my last video interview, the year is more than half over. Halloween is just around the corner and before you know it, we’ll all be closing the books on 2020 and hoping for better things ahead.
Now is the time to start planning for 2021. What will your book of business look like? Are you putting the time into sales or hunting down premium payments? Let us help so we can all look forward to a better future.
Have your customers privatized NJ temporary disability insurance for potential cost savings and superior customer service?
As we reported in October 2018, the State of New Jersey waived the signature requirement for business owners to obtain privatized New Jersey TDB coverage. This opened the door for brokers to write privatized NJ temporary disability insurance to provide customers with:
By law, premiums must be the same or lower than NJ temporary disability insurance written through the state. At the same time, benefits packages for New Jersey TDB must be the same as – or better – than state benefits.
New Jersey has always had a robust disability benefits package. In January 2020, New Jersey TDB payouts increased to 66.67% of a worker’s average weekly salary, up to $667 per week through June 30, 2020.
As of July 1, 2020, the benefit grows to 85% of a worker’s average weekly salary, capped at $881 per week.
With these benefit increases come a change in premium payments, too.
Employees now contribute .26% on the first $134,900 of earnings, with a maximum annual contribution of $350.74. Employers have a different taxable wage base than employees. Employers contribute based on employees’ earnings, with a cap of $35,000.
If your customers have not privatized New Jersey TDB yet, now’s the time. The next deadline to shift policies from New Jersey TDB written by the state to a private plan takes place June 15, 2020.
We can make it easier than ever for you to help your clients privatize New Jersey TDB – and grow your book of business with a statutory benefit with automatic renewals.
Just follow this simple, three-step process.
1. Instruct your customers to obtain form AC-174.
Brokers can no longer download the AC-174 form for their customers, and your insurance wholesaler also can’t provide it for you. Employers first must visit the New Jersey Department of Labor website and fill out the Employer Application.
This form replaces the previous TWES form. If your customer has already registered, they can go here to log in. From either location, they can download the AC-174 form and fill it out.
The census can help you obtain an accurate quote so there are no surprises for your customer when premiums are due.
2. Provide the AC-174 to DBL Center so we can shop policies through our network of top-rated carriers.
The DBL Center does all the work for you from here. We will shop policies and leverage our industry relationships and volume to find the lowest premiums. You may find your customers can save even more by bundling New Jersey TDB with ancillary benefits like vision, dental, and life insurance.
3. Write the policy and track your commissions through our Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker.
Once we’ve secured the best coverage and lowest rates we can find for your clients, it will be an easy sell. After all, what business owner would want to pay more through the state and miss out on concierge-level service and faster payouts?
New Yorkers have benefited from private statutory benefits for years. It’s time New Jersey business owners enjoy the same flexibility and superior service they can get from The DBL Center and our dedicated New Jersey rep and brokers.
Let us help you write the policies for your New Jersey clients. You’ll gain access to our proprietary Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, where you can track your commissions, renewals, and pending cancellations to improve customer retention. You’ll be able to view your book of business at a glance and access carrier portals with a click.
The world seems to be changing here in the Northeast U.S. every day. The service you receive from The DBL Center is one thing you can always count on.
Within the first few days of the coronavirus pandemic and the New York On Pause order, DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen felt the same as many of those in the insurance business did.
“When I first got news of this being a reality in New York, which is now a hot spot, I felt like I was back up against a wall,” he recalls. “I was nervous.”
He sprung to action immediately, though. He took what he learned from his decades in the statutory insurance industry and his knowledge of what technology can accomplish to create a solution to slow the onslaught of PFL claims. “I felt I had to do something to mitigate the claims,” Cohen says.
Within days of schools and businesses closing across New York State, and shortly after, through Massachusetts and New Jersey, Cohen and The DBL Center launched the COVID-19 Pre-Screening Software for PFL Claims.
A tool for insurance carriers to manage PFL claims that may not qualify, the COVID-19 pre-screening software requires employers to answer a series of questions to determine if their PFL claim is valid before requesting a claim form from the carrier. Many statutory PFL claims actually qualify for federal help under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which was enacted April 2, 2020.
The DBL Center also created a document to help show when an employee may qualify for PFL and when an employee would qualify for FFCRA aid, instead.
“Even though the changes related to PFL and FMLA [in Massachusetts] have been clearly stated, you’re still going to have some confusion at the employer level in terms of what is a valid COVID claim and what is not a valid COVID claim,” says Charles Callery, Regional VP for Lincoln Financial, one of DBL Center’s many preferred carriers. “I thought the software was perfect for that scenario.”
He added that he also sees it having long-term applications once the pandemic ends. “In general, it can help cut down on some of the administrative costs that we incur, and that others occur, taking in paper claims. I bet the industry still sees the majority of our claims in paper form, versus electronic, and this is a good first step to enter the electronic environment. It’s something the industry could use, because it pre-qualifies a lot of claims upfront.”
The Broker Dashboard Net Revenue Tracker was the first technological innovation from The DBL Center, an electronic version of the paper and pen ledger that Founder David Cohen brought to every meeting.
Designed specifically for DBL Center brokers, the Broker Dashboard helps agencies track cancellations and pending cancellations, new policies, and commissions, at a glance. A cloud-based app that gives brokers actionable insights to improve retention rates, the Broker Dashboard brings David Cohen’s paper ledger into the digital age and delivers it to the hands of every broker.
Michael Pellegrino, Lincoln Financial sales representative, reminisced about the way DBL Center tracked revenue when he first entered the industry. “I remember I’d come into your father’s office,” he tells Michael Cohen in the latest Rep Roundtable video. “He’d put down his pen and paper. He was keeping everything in order, but how time-consuming it must have been. “The fact that you took that pen and paper ledger and made that electronic is awesome!”
In addition to discussing the technology that sets The DBL Center apart, Cohen, Callery, and Pellegrino reminisce about summer get-togethers and talk about how the economy and the industry have changed in the past 20 years. Michael Cohen also reveals his secret to surviving the pandemic … all in the latest Rep Roundtable, brought to you by The DBL Center.
by Dawn Allcot
Watch the video and then read on to learn even more about how our proprietary Broker Dashboard can help you capture data about your book of business, track policies and cancellations, and improve your net revenue.
“It’s not about what you earn. It’s about what you keep.” Since the early days of The DBL Center, this philosophy has been the company’s mantra. From founder David Cohen’s handwritten ledger to our state-of-the-art Broker Dashboard, DBL Center provides its brokers with the tools, technology, and service they need to retain more clients.
Times are challenging right now for businesses of all sizes. As small businesses struggle and close, we wonder how many will open their doors again once the pandemic is over. It’s crucial, right now, especially, for brokers to closely track their book of business, including renewals, cancellations, and pending non-pays.
The Broker Dashboard makes it easy.
The video above highlights the Broker Dashboard’s features that enable our licensed insurance agents to track new policies, policies that have lapsed, and overall retention, along with real time calculations of annualized premiums, and total commissions paid.
Having all this information in one easy-to-use, cloud-based app can help brokers manage their accounts – from wherever they might be working.
Let’s review some of the Broker Dashboard features that can help brokers keep more of what they earn and significantly improve their returns – making more in less time than ever before. Because we all know it costs more to sign a new customer than to retain one you already have.
1. Track cancellations.
As small businesses close their doors, it’s important for brokers to track the reason for cancellations and non-pays. Brokers receive emails every two weeks that list policies that are pending non-pay, so you can reach out and make sure the policy doesn’t lapse.
The Broker Dashboard also shows you the reason for the cancellation. You can even sort cancellations based on the size of the account, so you can focus on small businesses who may be struggling and help them find solutions to pay their bills. Nickels, dimes, and quarters make dollars. By tracking your clients through Broker Dashboard, you’ll be in a position to help keep their policies in force… which is good business for everyone.
2. Track new policies.
How much new business are you writing? Are you meeting your agency’s goals for growth?
The Broker Dashboard lets you track countless policyholders and up to date head count giving you real time eligibility, so you can see how much volume you have – from your biggest client to the smallest.
3. Track commissions.
Bottom line: How much are you making? The DBL Center’ proprietary Broker Dashboard shows you how much commission you’ve received across any selected time frame – for the month, the quarter, or the year broken down by product. This is the single-most important piece of information you need to gauge the overall health of your business. These net revenue tracking capabilities, alone, make Broker Dashboard an indispensable tool for your business.
4. Get direct access to preferred carrier websites.
The Broker Dashboard is more than just your net revenue and policy tracker. It is also your one-click portal to preferred carrier websites. Download claim forms and other documents and access important information from any internet-enabled device, regardless of the carrier’s business hours or availability of team members.
In today’s remote working world, business never stops. Broker Dashboard is there whenever you need it.
5. Contact DBL Center directly through the Dashboard.
Have a problem or question? Need to speak to your DBl Center representative? Want to learn more about a specific Broker Dashboard feature? Click the “report an issue” button and someone from The DBL Center will get back to you to help you get the most from your Broker Dashboard app.
There’s never been a greater need for cloud-based tools enabling DBL Center brokers to work from anywhere, at any time.
If you aren’t already using your Broker Dashboard, or would like to learn more about how it can help you track your business in real time, contact us today to schedule a remote WebEx demo.
It’s tax season once again and for insurance brokers, it’s also a good time to reflect on ways to improve business efficiency in your insurance agency.
For small to mid-size businesses in New York and New Jersey, including many DBL Center brokers, March means working with your tax accountant, sorting through receipts and expenses, running QuickBooks reports, and reviewing your annual revenue.
But there is a lot of data hidden inside those numbers besides just how much you owe the I.R.S. Are you tracking and leveraging your business analytics to their full capacity? The DBL Center is introducing a tool that will allow property & casualty and other licensed agents the ability to do just that.
QuickBooks and other accounting software provides reports to help you track income and expenses, but it is not tailored to an insurance agency. You can’t view the profitability of different types of insurance or different types of customers. You can’t track cancellation trends so you can improve customer retention. And you can’t reliably predict cash flow or opportunities for growth without a way to track renewals.
CRM software can help your insurance agency sales team track leads to generate new business. But someone in your office has to input the data and your sales team has to be invested enough in the process to use it.
Our new Net Revenue Tracker is tailored to P&C insurance brokers to help you manage all your accounts and spot opportunities for growth. It connects directly to your DBL Center back office so all the analytics you need are at your fingertips at any time, wherever you may be. The cloud-based software functions seamlessly and securely on any internet-enabled device, including a desktop PC or Mac, laptop, or Android- or iOs-based smartphone or tablet.
The Net Revenue Tracker provides the information most important to help you grow your book of business, enabling you to track the profitability of specific accounts, track policy renewal dates so you can be proactive about renewals and up-sells, and view important business metrics at a glance.
You can view accounts by carrier to see where you might want to diversify to protect your business interests, and where it might benefit your customers to consolidate for better coverage and lower premiums.
And because it is based on software we’ve used here at The DBL Center for years, we know it is user-friendly to help you increase efficiency and streamline your business processes.
As you’re assessing your business processes to increase efficiencies and track your revenue more effectively, it’s also important to begin thinking about tax strategies for 2018.
This year’s tax season should be straightforward for most insurance brokers, or at least business as usual. The big changes went into effect beginning this year and will be reflected on corporate taxes filed in March 2019. Talk to your tax accountant about the new tax laws and how they may affect your business — and your customers’ businesses, for that matter.
With reduced or eliminated deductions for fringe benefits like transportation, meals and entertainment, employers and HR directors may be looking to enrich disability coverage and ancillary benefits to recruit and retain top talent. Our Net Revenue Tracker can help you spot these opportunities for increased sales with existing customers at your New York insurance agency.
Be one of the first brokers to catch a sneak preview of the software in a live webinar demonstration.
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For 41 years, The DBL Center has provided brokers with white glove service and the lowest insurance premiums available for enriched DBL, ancillary benefits, group life, and more. As the industry changes, we stay ahead of the curve to deliver greater value.
We’ve always believed in the adage, “You can’t improve what you don’t measure.” DBL Center Founder David Cohen had an almost-compulsive need to pay close attention to the details. In our office, we have a database that allows us to track every account, see at a glance when renewals are due, and track our total revenue. We’ve been doing this so long, we almost took the value of it for granted.
In talking with our customers, we learned that many insurance brokers have no simple way to track revenue, new business, or cancelled policies at a glance. Most agree this information would be valuable. They just don’t have the means to do it.
Conventional CRM software doesn’t work for insurance brokers. Accounting software can provide part of the picture, but not everything a broker needs. Most major industries, from healthcare to IT, have their own software that tracks and reports the information relevant to that specific field.
Why shouldn’t brokers have a way to track their statutory and group ancillary business?
That’s when we set our programmers on a new task: To create a software program for our customers that would give them actionable insights for business development in an easy-to-read interface.
For the past year, we’ve been working on a software application that will let our brokers manage their accounts and track their commissions from anywhere. Because we know our brokers spend a lot of time on the road, having this information at their fingertips makes it easier for them to serve their customers and write new business because every dollar counts in this industry.
Our new mobile-friendly broker dashboard, the NRT (Net Revenue Tracker) will help brokers who put their business with the DBL Center stay ahead of the competition and see their bottom line in real time. Because success is not created by what you earn, but by what you keep.
Would you like to:
Our developers are hard at work, right now, creating the Net Revenue Tracker software, which will do all of this and more for DBL Center brokers.
The Net Revenue Tracker will allow brokers to:
Time-tested Platform Gives Our Brokers the Edge
The DBL Center has been relying on software to track our net revenue and growth for more than a decade now. Our time-tested platform of proven business development tools will give our brokers the edge. The Net Revenue Tracker provides deep analytics and actionable information for business growth in a convenient format.
With 41 years in the insurance business, The DBL Center has learned a few things about business processes. We know how important it is to pay attention to the finer details and track your results for consistent growth.
Isn’t It Time Be An Early Adopter?
If you aren’t tracking your revenue in a reliable way, or if your current platform falls short of what you need, we invite you to give us a call for a quick demo of our software solution.