Is Virtual Selling Enough for Insurance Brokers?

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.

Connecting… Virtually

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?

Three Tips for Insurance Brokers to Connect to Clients During the Pandemic

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. 


Private Disability Insurance in New York: Great Reasons to Enrich DBL Now for Your Clients

The New York State Disability Benefits Law (DBL) mandates every “covered” employer (employers with one or more employees) to provide private disability insurance in New York to employees who are ill, injured off-job, or pregnant. To stay in compliance with the law, the employer can purchase private disability benefits insurance in New York either from an authorized insurance carrier or through the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF).

Many employers don’t know of the tremendous advantages of bundling an enriched DBL policy with other, highly desirable ancillary benefits in New York State. As successful insurance brokers who emphasize customer service, it’s important for you to remind them of the top reasons they should privatize DBL in NYS.

Privatize DBL for Added Income Protection

You know from shopping policies with The DBL Center for years that your customers can save money, get better coverage, and enjoy the white glove service you provide as a broker with The DBL Center as your back-office staff. Enriched DBL especially benefits the high earners in a company, since they are getting more bang for the buck with the benefit. The extra cash may help keep them from tapping into investments like stocks (no one wants to sell when the stock market is low!) or borrowing against their 401K. Keep that money in savings where it’s earning passive income for the future and use the benefits you’ve been paying for anyway.

Enriched DBL enables employers and employees, alike, to receive a weekly maximum benefit of up to $850, with optional in-hospital coverage available through select carriers.

But the income protection isn’t the only reason New York State employers should consider enriching DBL today.

Privatize New York Disability Benefits Law Coverage to Improve Employee Recruiting and Retention by Bundling Ancillary Benefits

Many employers today realize that highly capable workers want intangible benefits like flexible hours, telecommuting options and – above all else – a clear direction of their job expectations with guidance from their supervisors.

But when it comes to benefits, employers might be surprised to realize that traditional – and practical – benefits win out over other employee perks. In a study done by staffing agency Robert Half, employees listed paid time off, dental insurance, and vision insurance as three of the top five benefits they’d prefer. The state of New York recently forced employers’ hands with mandated New York State Sick Leave.

To stand out in a competitive market, you need to be able to offer ancillary benefits like vision and dental at a reasonable cost. According to the survey, 71% of employers offered dental insurance while 63% provided vision coverage.

When employers write NY Disability Benefits insurance through a private insurance carrier, they can bundle ancillary benefits at a low cost. Plus, these insurance options can be voluntary and employee-funded, costing the employer absolutely nothing out-of-pocket. Consider hosting a webinar to get in front of employees or the HR team and explain how much they can save with enriched DBL and ancillary benefits from your insurance agency and you’ll make friends for life.

After all, who wouldn’t want to save money on their insurance and necessities like dental care and eyeglasses?

Why Insurance Brokers Should Choose DBL Center for New York Disability Benefits Coverage

Are you new to DBL Center? DBL Center works for its clients by offering quality assistance on the best NY State Disability Insurance Benefit packages and providing top-notch white-glove service.

With our instant, binding application, we help you prepare quotes from multiple carriers in a matter of minutes. Compare rates, diversify your portfolio, and earn more commission while DBL Center serves as your back-office support staff to manage and maintain your policies.

Plus, you’ll gain access to our state of the art Broker Dashboard to track your cancellations, upcoming renewals and commission.

Bind your application for under 50 lives today!


Don’t Be Late (on DBL Premiums): Let The DBL Center Help You Get the Commissions You Deserve

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.

Are You Leaving Commissions on the Table?

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.

We’re More Than Your Insurance Wholesaler, We’re Your Bill Collector

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.

Tracking Lives After Layoffs and Furloughs

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.

Free Up Your Time to Grow Your Business

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.


Should the State Increase NY Disability Insurance Rates?

Governor Cuomo signs Covid-19 legislation.We’re living in unprecedented times and federal, state, and local governments are looking for ways to adapt. Seeking a balance between regulations and budget, legislation has sought to help Americans keep their businesses open and their employees paid through the vast challenges 2020 has brought us.

Most business owners in New York, along with insurance brokers and other professionals, have concerns about keeping our economy going. Increasing NY disability insurance rates for statutory DBL coverage might be the last thing on people’s minds. But it’s something those of us in the insurance industry should be thinking about.

Should the State Consider Raising NY Disability Insurance Benefits?

NY State Disability Insurance benefits, or DBL, has not increased in decades. With a maximum payout of $170 per week, NYS DBL lags behind New Jersey TDB benefits, and even Massachusetts and Connecticut. The latter two states recently introduced statutory paid leave for non-work related illness or injury.

The last thing New York business owners would want to face right now is a premium increase for any benefits. Many New York City landmarks have shuttered as a result of recent events, and mom-and-pop shops in Main Street areas across upstate and downstate New York have closed permanently or struggle to stay alive.

But an increase in NY state disability insurance pay-outs could yield benefits to employers in the long run, especially as we face uncertainty related to the pandemic. Will DBL claims rise if we see a second wave of the virus? Will the government be so quick to offer Federal aid packages the second time around? Will businesses, already hard hit by recent events, be able to mount a second comeback? No one knows the answers to these questions.

FFCRA Alleviates Pressure on NY State Disability Insurance Brokers

When the first wave of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, hit, the Federal government intervened with the Families First Act. The FFA alleviated much of the pressure on insurance carriers who otherwise would have faced unprecedented levels of claims because of COVID-19.

Here at The DBL Center, we also sprung to action. Our COVID-19 pre-screening software helped eliminate confusion regarding NY State Disability Insurance claims and FFA claims.

If the Federal government had not signed the FFA to help Americans with income replacement if they became ill from COVID-19 or had to care for family members with the virus, disability insurance carriers and brokers may have experienced a situation similar to what P&C brokers in the northeast experienced in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Business owners and the insurance industry, alike, were not set up to respond to an emergency of this scale. Our country was not prepared; but perhaps there is no effective way to prepare for a global pandemic.

Looking to the Future of NY Disability Insurance

Many people reading this, even our brokers who are tapped into the industry, don’t realize that the governor initially had plans to increase DBL benefits when he introduced Paid Family Leave. A short-term disability insurance increase was in the original legislation, but removed before the Paid Family Leave Act was signed.

Increasing NY state disability insurance benefits will help business owners retain high-quality talent, which is a challenge in any economy. New York City, especially, is suffering from “brain drain,” or young, smart, and affluent couples leaving the city. Reports say five percent of Manhattan’s population fled the city between March 1 and May 1 at the height of the pandemic. Further, 69% of tech and finance employees said they would leave New York if they could work from home.

This exodus began years prior to the pandemic because of real estate prices, but was exacerbated this spring.

No, increased DBL may not tip the scales, but having peace-of-mind that you can survive on your disability insurance benefits should you become ill with coronavirus could give many New Yorkers one less reason to leave. Couple that with the most robust PFL policy in the nation, and New York becomes a more family-friendly state.

It’s a good time to make legislation changes right now. New Yorkers have become accustomed to rapid change and increased benefits, including the $600 Federal boost in unemployment benefits.

As always, because it is a shared benefit, DBL represents one way business owners can provide added value to their top employees at a small cost.

Until the time comes that NY State disability insurance benefits rise, business owners can purchase private disability insurance in New York. DBL Center brokers can offer their customers increased benefits through enriched DBL, white-glove service, and faster, more flexible payouts.

What do you think? Is it time for NY to increase their disability insurance benefits?


Private Disability Insurance in New York: Save Money and Create Happier Customers

As New York begins its phased reopening, many employers seek to call back workers on furlough or re-hire employees who have been laid off. Employers may also be looking for ways to reduce expenses as they come off possibly the roughest financial quarter New York businesses have faced in decades.

Now, more than ever, your clients are looking to save money and improve retention (or entice employees back to work). Enriching DBL benefits through private disability insurance in New York is one way your customers can:

  • Enjoy better service
  • Get an enriched benefits package
  • Save money by bundling statutory NY disability insurance with ancillary benefits

Why You Should Encourage Employers to Privatize NY Disability Insurance

The New York State Disability Benefits Law (DBL) gives employers the option to purchase NY state disability insurance through the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF). But writing policies through the NYSIF does not offer the advantages of private disability insurance. New York businesses who write DBL with the NYSIF max out coverage limits at $170 a week for 26 weeks. Who could live on that, especially in downstate New York?

When employers write NY Disability Benefits insurance through a private insurance carrier, they can enhance coverage limits past the state minimum, improve employee retention, and enjoy more personalized service. Additionally, DBL Center has relationships with multiple carriers, to offer a wide range of coverage options.

Why Insurance Brokers Should Choose DBL Center for New York Disability Benefits Coverage

The DBL Center has been helping NY insurance brokers write private disability insurance in New York for more than 40 years. Our instant binding application helps you prepare quotes from multiple carriers in a matter of minutes.

You can bundle enriched NY state disability insurance (DBL) with ancillary benefits like vision, dental, and group life / AD&D for added savings. Plus, you’ll gain access to our state-of-the-art Broker Dashboard: Net Revenue Tracker, helping you keep sight of it all with just a click.

Compare rates, grow your book of business, and earn more commission while DBL Center serves as your back-office support staff to manage and maintain your policies.

Bind your application for NY disability insurance (DBL) today!

 

 


The Rule of 72 and Why Your Customers Need Enriched DBL

In our last post, we spoke about using ancillary benefits to help reduce the financial stress that’s placed on employees.

This is especially crucial for employees in the New York tri-state area, which includes regions with the highest cost of living in the country. An accident or illness can leave an employee’s finances depleted. The New York State minimum for DBL coverage hasn’t kept up with inflation and isn’t enough to live on. In fact, the statutory disability benefit in New York has not increased since 1989.

The Rule of 72, for example, states that a specific dollar amount invested at an annual fixed interest rate of 10% would take 7.2 years to double. Yet, in 30 years the DBL benefit has remained the same.

Why not enrich DBL for a very low cost, ramping up the ROI on the investment?

Enriching DBL helps this important benefit keep pace with inflation to cover more of an employer or employee’s living expenses if they are ill or injured.

Consider the Needs of Your Customers

While it’s important to consider hourly workers who may be living paycheck to paycheck, it’s also important for brokers to consider the needs of company owners and top-level employees, including CEOs, CFOs, and HR managers, who make the buying decisions when it comes to employee benefits.

Of course, c-level executives want the best benefits for their employees to improve morale, maximize productivity, and aid recruiting and retention. But if you can also sell decisionmakers on the benefits that also serve their best financial interests, you’ll earn their lifelong trust.

Twenty years ago, Governor Mario Cuomo voted to increase the statutory disability benefit. His son, Andrew Cuomo, decided not to increase DBL. Instead, he introduced Paid Family Leave as a statutory benefit in New York.

But PFL – while it’s undoubtedly an important benefit – doesn’t apply to a vast majority of workers. Many middle-aged and older employees are past child-raising years and have already faced the loss of their parents. People in these demographics, especially middle managers and top executives, need benefits that will appeal to their needs.

Enriched DBL is a “set it and forget it” benefit. Once a business owner enhances their short-term disability benefits in New York, they will renew automatically each year. They aren’t likely to go back to the state minimum benefits.

Why Is Enriched DBL Such a Good Investment for Company Executives?

Many business owners and executives have savings and investments to cover a worst-case scenario such as an accident or illness that could leave them unable to work.

But, in fact, enriching DBL can be the smartest investment company leaders can make.

If it takes 7.2 years to double your income from investments at a rate of 10%, you don’t want to pull that money out to cover your living expenses.

Enriched DBL allows employers and employees – from c-level executives to hourly wage workers – to keep their savings where it is and receive a rate-of-return on their insurance premium that is far beyond any investment.

If a company enriches DBL by 5X, they will only pay $9.75/mo/male in premium and $11.50/mo/female, and if they need to make a claim, receive $850 per week for up to 26 weeks.

When you show your customers the math – and the benefit of leaving their investments growing – they will ask you to enrich DBL for their own financial peace-of-mind.

Build Relationships with the Right Advice

Smart insurance brokers are serving two customers – the employees who use the benefits, and the company owners and HR executives who are making the decisions on what benefits to offer.

When you can open doors to give them a low-cost, high-return benefit that appeals to employers and employees alike, you can gain trust and earn their business for life.

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    Are You Selling DBL Coverage and Ancillary Benefits to Your Customers Who Need It?

    Coastal Insurance offers tips to expand your book of business with strategic cross-selling of home insurance, DBL coverage, and ancillary products

    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?


    DBL Center Acquires DBL Advantage, Starts the New Year with Major Growth Initiative

    Top New York insurance wholesaler announces the acquisition of DBL Advantage Etc. Ltd

    Effectively immediately on January 1, 2019, the DBL Center Ltd. has acquired DBL Advantage Etc. Ltd., a New York-based licensed General Agency specializing in NYS DBL, Paid Family Leave,  NJ TDB and group ancillary benefits. The synergy between the two company’s insurance lines, as well as the mutual carriers and industry partnerships developed by both firms over several decades, made the acquisition the next logical step in The DBL Center’s growth.

    DBL Center: Celebrating a Rich History and a Strong Future

    The DBL Center was founded in 1976 by David J. Cohen. Now under the guidance and leadership of Michael Cohen, the company is one of the largest insurance wholesalers in the New York Tri-state area. In 2014, The DBL Center Ltd. acquired Combined DBL, a Long Island-based General Agency, to expand its ability to serve customers in the NJ TDB, NYS DBL, and group ancillary markets.

    In addition to these noteworthy acquisitions, the past decade has brought unprecedented growth, market expansion, and new technologies to the company. The acquisition of DBL Advantage is a testament to, and a direct result of, DBL Center’s rapid expansion and market position.

    How the Acquisition Will Affect NJ TDB and NYS DBL Brokers

    Expanding The DBL Center’s market share and increasing the general agency’s leverage in the marketplace, the acquisition provides outstanding benefits to new and existing DBL Center brokers. The acquisition promises to strengthen the position of The DBL Center and its brokers in the statutory disability, PFL, NJTDB, and group ancillary markets, resulting in lower rates, higher commissions, and more options.

    “The combination of premium between DBL Advantage and the DBL Center enables the DBL Center to provide brokers with higher compensation on new DBL and PFL business placed after the first of the year and moving on through 2019,” says DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen.

    “New brokers that came to us as part of the acquisition will enjoy additional office staff to answer all their questions and to provide the full, white-glove back-office support DBL Center is known for,” Cohen says. “With generous commissions, multi-line discounts, and the most advanced technology available to P&C brokers, we have no doubt that our newest customers will view the acquisition as a favorable transition, and we welcome DBL Advantage brokers to the DBL Center family.”

    White-Glove Support and the Latest Technology

    The DBL Center will provide new customers with a designated account manager for over- and under-50 employee cases, as well as sales representatives to assist in the cross-selling of ancillary product lines.

    “Working with DBL Center, brokers will discover multiple ways to round out their book of business and earn additional compensation through the sale of Group Life / AD&D coverage, group long-term disability, dental, and vision benefits,” Cohen says.

    In addition, new brokers will gain free access to the DBL Center’s proprietary Broker Dashboard, a cloud-based app that enables brokers to track accounts and renewals, receive monthly reports on cancellations and reinstatements, and receive an earnings report on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis.

    With the white-glove service brokers have come to expect for more than 40 years, along with the latest technology and innovative solutions to the challenges today’s NJ TDB and NYS DBL brokers face, DBL Center is ready to move to the next phase of growth.

    “To say we are excited about the future is an understatement,” Cohen says. “As the NYS DBL and NJ TDB markets change and evolve, The DBL Center keeps pace, providing our brokers with all the support they need to thrive.”

     


    ShelterPoint Life Insurance Executive Shares Important Facts about PFL in New York

    The opportunities under Paid Family Leave are too powerful to ignore.

    Are you an insurance broker worried about managing the added operational and transactional requirements of New York’s new Paid Family Leave laws? Although the rate has yet to be announced (as of this writing), and no one knows the commission potential, one top DBL carrier isn’t worried — and says you shouldn’t be either.

    Photos courtesy Nicole Best, Best Photography
    Photos courtesy Nicole Best, Best Photography

    New York State PFL  is one of the most comprehensive policies of its kind in the country offering paid time off and job security for employees. We covered some of the specifics of the mandatory Paid Family Leave benefits here. But if you’re a broker, you probably still have questions. Fortunately, The DBL Center, along with ShelterPoint Life, one of our top carriers, is prepared with answers.

    How Much Commission Can Brokers Earn?
    Commissions will depend on the rate, which is yet-to-be-announced, although we’re expecting to find out by early-to-mid May. “Our commitment is we are going to do everything possible to make fair payments to brokers,” says DeWitt M. Smith, Senior Vice President and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer for ShelterPoint Life, a top-rated insurance carrier poised to offer Paid Family Leve coverage through brokers across New York State.

    Because of the additional premiums that will be deducted from employee wages and paid by employers, there could be a “nice increase in potential commission revenue,” continues Smith. “We believe the State appreciates the efforts involved by the brokers, and will make it possible for us to offer incremental increases in broker commissions.”

    In short… we’re still waiting to find out how much commission brokers can earn. But The DBL Center and ShelterPoint Life are ready to make it as easy as possible for brokers to streamline PFL sales, enabling brokers to maximize those potential profits. “We’re working to take the worry and stress out of all the transactional and compliance-related issues that go along with PFL,” says Smith.

    How Much Work Will It Take?
    Writing PFL coverage will represent an added step in a consultative selling approach for DBL brokers in New York. In spite of the news coverage, many employers and HR executives still don’t understand what PFL means or what they need to do to get coverage in place. Employers can begin making payroll deductions for this coverage as early as July 1, so it’s up to you, the trusted broker, to educate your customers on their options.

    Fortunately, ShelterPoint Life and The DBL Center are working to make it easy. If you currently write your NYS DBL policies with ShelterPoint Life through The DBL Center, PFL coverage will take the form of a simple rider added to the DBL policy. “For brokers accustomed to working with us in a simple, automated way online, adding PFL coverage to existing policies should be easy,” says Smith.

    Brokers who offer PFL should also be ready for an influx of new customers, as only select carriers will write PFL coverage. Brokers who work with The DBL Center have an advantage, because our brokers can continue to write both DBL and PFL coverage policies through us.

    My Customers Have Questions. Where Can I Go To Find the Answers?
    The PFL education process will take time. Yet, it represents a great opportunity for brokers who work with The DBL Center to employ their consultative selling skills to give customers the answers they can’t find elsewhere. “We’ve had a dedicated task force in place since the day the law was signed,” notes Smith. “We also have a robust external communications strategy, with a dedicated PFL micro-site, blog, and newsletter designed to provide answers to brokers, employers, and employees.”

    Browse the ShelterPoint PFL micro-site, formulate a marketing strategy to educate customers, and be certain to turn to The DBL Center should you (or your customers) have additional questions. You might also make plans to attend our informative seminar, sponsored jointly by ShelterPoint Life, The DBL Center, and the New York Business Council, to be held May 10, 2017 from 3 to 5 PM at The Friars Club, 57 E 55th Street, NY, NY. Seating is limited, so RSVP today by emailing michael.cohen@dblcntr.com.


    New York Leads the Way in Paid Family Leave

    Brokers can profit by providing your customers with the information they need about Paid Family Leave.

    Last year, New York State announced new Paid Family Leave regulations to be phased in over four years starting in January 2018.

    Photos courtesy Nicole Best, Best Photography
    Photos courtesy Nicole Best, Best Photography

    The regulations would give New York families the best coverage in any state, surpassing even California, which currently has the most generous PFL laws in the country.

    To recap what Paid Family Leave provides to employees (from our April blog post, which you can read here):

    PFL mandates up to 12 weeks of job-protected, paid leave for all New York employees, regardless of the size of the company, for any of the following reasons:

    • bonding with and caring for a newborn, adopted, or foster care child during the first 12 months
    • caring for a seriously ill family member
    • addressing important needs related to a family member’s military service.

    Draft of PFL Regulations Released

    Yesterday, the State of New York governor’s office published an important press release outlining developments in the PFL law, as well as a draft of parts of the new PFL regulations. The regulations are now in an important, 45-day pubic commenting period, so changes can still be made. One of our top carriers, Shelterpoint, compiled the regulations in an easy to read format.

    Local Change Sets an Example for the Nation

    Described as the “nation’s strongest and most comprehensive Paid Family Leave policy,” the policy seeks to support our state’s working families. While past presidential administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have touted support for women and families, the fact is, the U.S. has failed when it comes to putting the legislation in place to support parents and other caregivers.

    New York’s PFL policy, like those of California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey, creates a benchmark for other states to follow in providing families with the financial support they need when caring for children and the elderly, and to assist military families in their times of need.

    What PFL Means to New York Insurance Brokers

    PFL is mandated insurance coverage, just like NYS DBL. Employers will be turning to their DBL insurance providers for the information they need. Obviously, writing PFL policies represents another stream of revenue for brokers—and because it’s mandatory, it’s an easy sell. Your customers know and trust you. They will come to you with questions. It’s important to be prepared with the right answers.

    That’s where The DBL Center comes in. We are your back-office for insurance sales and service, including DBL, ancillary benefits, and now, PFL coverage.

    What We Know Right Now About PFL in New York

    We know that the new insurance will be employee-funded and community rated, but we don’t yet know the rates. It will be up to carriers to set commissions, which will be dependent on the state-mandated rates in order to keep this employee-funded coverage affordable.

    As always, the best way to make money on these policies is to bundle them with other coverage to maximize commissions. Rely on The DBL Center as your back office staff to do the legwork, so you can optimize your time and maximize your profits.

    Get Involved

    We urge our brokers to read through the regulations, think about them carefully, and propose suggested changes in writing, which will serve to benefit insurance brokers and their customers.

    Most importantly, keep an eye on this site to read the latest news and developments about PFL in New York. The times they are a’changing, as they say.