Hospital Cash: Help Your Clients Relieve Out-of-Pocket Burdens

Even as a P&C broker, you can help your customers relieve the pain of out-of-pocket medical costs

The DBL Center is always on the lookout for creative tools to help you address your clients’ pain points when it comes to essential insurance coverage. While we specialize in DBL coverage and other temporary disability benefits, we know that many of our brokers also deal with major medical.

Even if you don’t, P&C brokers are in a unique position to help their clients address the painful medical renewals they face every year, as coverage levels decrease and premiums rise. In fact, the solution may be easier than you think, and it’s right in the wheelhouse of P&C brokers.

DBL Center President and CEO Michael S. Cohen sat down with Simon Klarides, Director of Business Development at ShelterPoint Life1 to answer our questions on how ShelterPoint Life’s recently updated Hospital Cash program fits in the picture – and to help you sell this commissionable coverage.

Michael S. Cohen: Simon, why do you think Hospital Cash indemnity insurance is a good option?

Simon Klarides: Let’s face it: Looks like high deductible medical plans are here to stay and they are placing more and more of a financial burden on the employees. Although Supplemental Medical Gap policies are not available as a solution in New York, simple, indemnity-based Hospital Cash insurance may present an option. In fact, we’ve configured our Hospital Cash2 product so that you don’t have to go through the full, traditional underwriting process: an alternative, much more streamlined way to get it is by selling it with DBL.

That sounds intriguing, but before we go into those mechanics, can you explain what exactly Hospital Cash indemnity insurance is?

Sure. Hospital Cash pays a fixed amount per day while confined to the hospital for at least 24 hours. This helps with expenses that result– such as copays and deductibles. I remember a Business Insurance article stating that 43 percent of adults said their deductible is difficult or impossible to afford.3

Anyway, our Hospital Cash benefits are paid for an unlimited continuous number of days per hospital stay, and they are paid independently from any other insurance. The nice thing is that benefits are paid directly to covered individuals and can be used however they choose, whether to help with medical bills or everyday expenses like groceries or the phone bill. And what’s even better – our plans cover not only the employee but the whole family!

So how much does Hospital Cash indemnity insurance pay?

New York State regulates the maximum daily benefit by region. The maximum for NY metro areas is $240 per day and $165 per day everywhere else in New York.4 As I mentioned before, there’s no cap for the number of continuous days per hospital stay. Skilled Nursing Facility stays are covered at the same benefit level but are limited to a maximum of 5 consecutive days.

Let’s circle back to how Hospital Cash indemnity insurance can be sold by brokers and in conjunction with DBL. Can you explain, Simon?

Yes! The easiest way of giving clients this coverage is by getting it at time of DBL application. We’ve created a simplified version as part of our BaseLine suite of products that is issued on a non-roster basis with flat per-capita rates – just by checking a box. This means, no enrollments are required while all active employees and their family members are automatically covered.

While Hospital Cash may certainly benefit groups regardless of how robust their medical coverage is, we typically see the sweet spot for this coverage with micro groups that have minimal medical coverage with high deductibles, if any coverage at all. Many times, these types of groups don’t have a benefit broker at all and look to their business insurance broker for guidance. That’s where you can differentiate your approach as a P&C broker to be more consultative and provide extra value to your clients, all while making more commission.

That’s very insightful. Now, for brokers who are looking to sell Hospital Cash, what if their clients already have DBL, whether through ShelterPoint or not?

The BaseLine version of Hospital Cash can be added at time of DBL renewal for existing ShelterPoint customers, and I know your team, Mike, can help with that. For groups with DBL elsewhere or groups that want customized benefits and riders, we still offer Hospital Cash on a traditionally underwritten basis.

Hospital Cash indemnity insurance will help differentiate yourself from other brokers. Call us here at The DBL Center to add this coverage for your existing clients or chat with us about options how to assure that this gets added to your future cases.

Learn more about ShelterPoint Life’s Hospital Cash here.

Reference Notes:
1 ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company, a NY-domiciled insurance carrier with principal office in Garden City, NY
2 BaseLine version of Hospital Cash policy available in NY only and underwritten by: ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company, Form# SPL GHC115 P NY. The policy described in this post provides limited hospital cash benefits only. It does not provide basic hospital, basic medical or major medical insurance as defined by the New York State Department of Financial Services. Lack of major medical coverage (or other minimum essential coverage) may result in an additional payment with your taxes. Policy provisions, conditions, and exclusions apply. Download this BaseLine Hospital Cash brochure for more information on the BaseLine (non-roster) version. Download this brochure for details and state availability of the FlexLine (traditionally underwritten) Hospital Cash version; this version is available in and underwritten by ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company in NY (SPL GHC115 P NY) and MI; ShelterPoint Insurance Company (licensed in 48 jurisdictions, not including NY) in all other available states outside NY and MI.
3 Livingston, Shelby. Business Insurance 11/25/15 and Commonwealth Fund & Kaiser Foundation, 2017
4 Metro New York area: Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), Manhattan, Nassau, Queens, Richmond (Staten Island), Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties. All other New York counties are considered non-Metro.

Photo by RawPixel.com from Pexels


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.”

 


DBL Center Celebrates the Season in Style

Highlights from our holiday party at the Founder’s Room in the Paramount

The DBL Center had an exceptionally successful year and celebrated the holidays in exceptional style. In what has become a DBL Center tradition, DBL Center family, staff, contractors, colleagues and friends gathered in the Founder’s Room, the VIP room of Huntington’s historic Paramount Theater, a 1,500-seat venue that regularly hosts A-list bands and comedic acts.

The Founder’s Room below the theater is themed out in the décor of a 1920s speakeasy, creating an upscale yet laidback environment for guests to enjoy drinks, music and deliciously creative hors d’oeuvres.

DBL Center guests talked about business, their families, and their plans for the holidays to the backdrop of holiday tunes and big band era hits played by saxophonist Danny Bascher. Bascher, along with DBL Center President and CEO Michael Cohen, is a member of New York City’s exclusive Friar’s Club.

Michael Cohen Takes the Founder’s Room Stage

Cohen took the mic at one point for a short, yet heartfelt speech. Cohen channeled his talents as a stand-up comic to evoke laughs from the audience. The tone of the night was light and casual. His speech exemplified the true family spirit of the DBL Center and its staff. Mike mentioned the company’s continued success in 2018, the new office space in Melville, and a future acquisition to take place by the end of the year.

After the party, he elaborated on The DBL Center’s many successes in 2018 and what makes the insurance wholesaler such a special place to work.
“This is a team of people who really enjoy working together,” Cohen observed. “We work hard, and we also have a lot of fun. My in-office staff is top-notch, best in the business. As we expertly handled the PFL roll-out, we continued to view every challenge as an opportunity and grow the business. The team accomplished great things in 2018 and I know our founder David Cohen would be proud.”

He continued, “I also have a team of independent contractors who are the best in their field, helping to keep DBL Center’s technology systems running and to guide our marketing. We are always trying to stay two steps ahead in these areas, and 2019 will bring continued evolution, innovation, and outreach.”

As We Enter 2019, We Give Our Thanks to DBL Center Carriers and Brokers

DBL Center carriers, too, warrant recognition this time of year. “The carrier relationships we have built allow us many opportunities, from the best pricing and product options for our brokers to cross-marketing to expand our presence,” Cohen says.

Finally, it is the DBL Center’s customers, top brokers across the New York Tri-state area and beyond, who deserve thanks in the holiday season and throughout the year.

“Every DBL Center broker has their own strengths and areas of expertise. We have highlighted some in our new Broker’s Spotlight columns this year,” Cohen says. “As we grow and expand our family of brokers through sales and acquisitions in 2019, we are excited to continue providing exemplary levels of service to all our customers, new and existing and to get to know all our brokers even better. Our success is built on the relationships we nurture and the support we provide. That business philosophy will only continue to grow in the new year.”

See a clip of Danny Bascher as he performs live at The Founder’s Room…


The DBL Center wishes you the happiest of holidays, from our family to yours.


DBL Center Helps Consolidated HR Sell More Group Life Insurance

Brokers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from working with an insurance wholesaler

Consolidated HR is a full-service, nationwide human resources outsourcing firm specializing in payroll, employee benefits, and more. “We work with a variety of different firms, ranging from small family ran businesses, to larger multi-state companies,” says CHR Benefits Supervisor Delores M. Torres. “We help our clients focus on growing their businesses while we help with back-end HR, payroll, and benefits.”

DBL Center has been providing the short-term disability policies for CHR clients in New York and New Jersey for many years.

When Torres connected with DBL Center’s Vice President of Ancillary Sales Lori S. Rose, they decided it was time to explore ways to provide CHR clients with even more value by offering Group Life insurance and other ancillary lines of coverage.

DBL Center started by moving CHR’s existing group life insurance lines to another carrier to provide better benefits and lower premiums.

Working with DBL Center gave CHR access to lines and pricing the HR outsourcing company may not have gotten on its own and helped ensure all the paperwork was in compliance. Access to DBL Center’s exclusive Broker Dashboard can help CHR track policy renewals and revenue moving forward.

It’s All in the Follow-Up

The next step was reviewing CHR’s open enrollment files to give CHR clients a chance to opt in to these voluntary, employee-funded benefits.

DBL Center’s legendary service and support helped Torres tackle an arduous task.

“The support and follow-up from Lori Rose has been phenomenal,” Torres says. “She has really helped reduce my stress. With it being the end of the year and such a busy time for everyone, she’s been so understanding.”

Group Life insurance may be a hard sell, so it’s important for brokers to convey to employers that these benefits can be offered at no cost to the company.

“Our clients tend to downplay the ancillary lines,” Torres says. “We have to explain that they can make it available to their employees with no out-of-pocket costs to the company.”

Why Group Life Insurance Is Important to Today’s Employers

It helps to emphasize that voluntary benefits like Group Life can aid in recruiting and retention, especially for companies looking to attract the next generations of talent.

“Employees in their mid-30s and younger are more open to exploring what else is available in the way of employee benefits and they want the extra lines of coverage,” Torres observes.

Torres’ assertion corresponds with a recent Pew Research study that shows millennials to be the most risk-averse generation since The Great Depression. As millennials finally start paying off their college loans, getting married, and buying houses, purchasing life insurance is a smart, low-risk step to ensure their family’s security if something should happen to them. Other ancillary lines of coverage, such as dental and vision, can help them save money on day-to-day or emergency expenses.

Likewise, Generation X employees can benefit from life insurance investments as they age and have more responsibilities, including a mortgage, college costs for their children, and even the expense of caring for aging parents.

“The follow-up we have to do to show our clients the importance of ancillary benefits can be overwhelming,” Torres says. “But DBL Center understands the hurdles we have to overcome and is always there to help with information and back-office support.”

In the end, it’s worth the effort.

Group Life insurance and ancillary benefits can help brokers and HR firms like Consolidated HR expand their book-of-business while helping their clients’ employees secure a better financial future for their families.

Learn more about DBL Center’s Group Life insurance policies here.


Are You Losing Customers Because They Don’t Understand PFL Billing?

Paid Family Leave became a fact of life in New York very quickly. The statutory benefit, written as a rider to DBL coverage, is ethically responsible and financially needed for New York families. But business owners and brokers weren’t prepared for the mayhem that PFL billing would bring.

I sat down with our President and CEO Michael Cohen so he could explain the challenges of PFL and how DBL Center has found solutions to these challenges for its brokers.

What has been the greatest challenge you’ve faced with PFL?

Once we got past the initial customer education aspects of PFL – letting our brokers and their customers know about this new benefit – we faced the additional hurdle of PFL billing. The New York State government implemented this policy to be phased in over four years, without proper recourse when it comes to giving carriers or brokers the information they need to calculate costs or to bill DBL with a PFL rider correctly.

This has resulted in a higher than normal level of non-pay notifications. New York businesses, large and small, are having their DBL policies cancelled due to billing errors and inconsistencies stemming from this misinformation and miscommunication.

Here at The DBL Center, we are tracking our brokers’ policyholders who are currently in non-pay status, and sharing that information with the broker, so they can fix the issues and increase their book’s retention.

Writing new policies is one thing, but growing a business is not just about how much money you make – it’s about how much money you keep.

Tell us how The DBL Center has stepped in to support brokers and face these challenges around PFL billing?

Behind the scenes, the DBL Center has been working, just as our brokers’ accounting departments have, to find ways to accurately bill PFL.

I began an audit one year ago while coming up with a snapshot of my agency’s statutory book of disability in New York to have a benchmark of what to expect. This put me in a better position to finalize the Broker Dashboard and Net Revenue Tracker, which emanated from the manual methods my father, founder David J. Cohen was using to balance his general ledger.

I realized I could not only turn something antiquated around, but also convert the database we used for our audit into a free Dashboard given to my producers, allowing them to track revenue and policy status for DBL, PFL, and ancillary benefits.

The launch of the dashboard on September 26, 2018 represents an important piece in solving the PFL puzzle.

The Net Revenue Tracker, its more robust companion app, allows brokers to track all policies within their brokerage – not just those purchased through and managed by The DBL Center.

With the PFL rate going up by 24% in January, what can brokers expect in the future?

Quite honestly, if carriers can’t accurately bill PFL, our brokers will be looking at even more unhappy customers when the rate rises.

Our Broker Dashboard provides a solution. In addition to tracking revenue for DBL policies and ancillary benefits, the Broker Dashboard lets brokers know when a policy has been cancelled or is pending cancellation.

Sometimes, the customer has gone out of business, moved out of New York, or decided to move their business to another agency due to no fault of the broker. That’s important information for a broker to be aware of.

For those policies listed as “cancelled for non-payment” or “pending cancellation,” PFL billing errors may be to blame.

So the Broker Dashboard gives producers the information and knowledge they need. Where do they go from there? How can they fix those billing errors to retain their customers?

That’s where DBL Center can help. Thanks to our extensive knowledge of PFL and our relationships with carriers, we can get to the heart of your customers’ PFL problems. We can prevent those policies from cancelling or even have policies reinstated, while helping to preserve important customer relationships.

Your customers trust you. Our brokers can trust DBL Center to navigate PFL until the program starts to run itself, resulting in streams of reliable passive income.

Our Broker Dashboard helps you find out where you’re losing money, and DBL Center’s legendary white-glove service can help you make it right.

Aside from the obvious revenue, why is it so important for brokers to retain their DBL / PFL clients?

We know that implementing PFL hasn’t been the easiest thing our brokers have ever faced. We know this because the DBL Center has been tackling the same challenges. When our brokers make money, we make money. We’re all in this together.

You can continue to look at DBL as either a challenge – or an opportunity.

By continuing to sell DBL and letting DBL Center service the policies through our experienced back-office staff, you have the opportunity to show your customers the true value and worth of relying on your brokerage. Business owners need DBL and PFL coverage. If they don’t get it from you, they will find another broker willing to provide it.

You can use our Broker Dashboard to stay proactive and solve your customers’ PFL problems – potentially even before your policyholder is aware of an issue.

Let DBL Center help you provide your customers with answers to all their PFL billing questions, and you will maintain their trust. They will continue to rely on you for workers’ compensation insurance, major medical, and ancillary lines of coverage.

You’ll watch your bottom line continue to rise as your book of business grows.

It all begins with having the tools on hand to retain your current customers and our Broker Dashboard, combined with our white-glove customer service, can help our brokers stand out from the competition.

Want to learn more about Broker Dashboard and Net Revenue Tracker? Reach out to us now.


King Associates and DBL Center: Merging Entertainment and Business

For more than 35 years, storytelling and enthusiasm help sell insurance

Incorporated as The DBL Center Ltd. since 1983, The DBL Center has many long-time, second generation clients. But few brokers have stories steeped in such rich New York history as Richard King, owner of King Associates.

Richard King was mentored by the late David Cohen, landing prestigious accounts that included The Garden City Hotel and Fairhaven Apartments when DBL Center was a brand-new wholesale insurance agency.

Later, King sponsored DBL Center President Michael Cohen’s admission into The Friars Club, the preeminent members-only club for entertainment professionals located in a five-story English Renaissance Tudor in Midtown Manhattan.

King says the key factor that has prevailed across two generations of DBL Center management is the enthusiasm of the team, which King shares as he reminisces about his mentors, offers tips for brokers, and talks about his involvement with the Friars and how it can help an insurance broker.

How did you first meet David Cohen and start doing business with The DBL Center?

I think David may have cold-called me, because he was very aggressive – just like my dad. I have to give you a bit of the history. It was because of my dad, Murray King, that Dave and I did business together.

My dad was raised in the Bronx with four brothers. When he grew up and got married, he became a math professor at City College. Then he started selling insurance with Hancock, in the 1940s, because he didn’t have a job one summer.

Selling door-to-door in Harlem, he made it big, with a lot of persistence through the years, as a one-man show.

I introduced Dave to my Dad, who was a powerhouse life insurance broker at the time. Dave loved Murray because they were both characters.

Murray was handling life insurance at the time for top real estate developers on Long Island, like Myron Nelkin, who built Fairhaven Apartments and the Garden City Hotel.

So we wrote life insurance and DBL for Fairhaven Apartments – 2,500 units – and the Garden City Hotel through DBL Center. I also handled a printing firm of about 400 other companies, and other Long Island businesses.

Dave was my guy.

What was it like doing business with DBL Center back then, 35 years ago?

I was writing life insurance and DBL. I would use DBL as the foot in the door, because nobody knew about it. Nobody knew it was an employer-funded, state-mandated benefit.

Back then, as far as back office support, it was all Eugene [Puleo]. Eugene was invaluable. Even after all these years, Eugene offers superb back office support, giving me prodigious confidence, accuracy, and the ability to make sales.

How was it different selling DBL back then from now?

It was all about in-person contact. There was no email. There were no excuses or delays because of the electronic convenience aspect. You did not have to wait for someone to reply. You did everything in person.

You made an appointment, you went in, and whether you were successful or not was up to you.

Dave abided by one-on-one communications. He had superior communication skills, just like my Dad. I was fortunate to have them both as mentors.

What set David and DBL Center apart from others in the industry back then?

The key word there is enthusiasm.

David Cohen had it. Murray had it. I had it. Certainly, Michael [Cohen, DBL Center President] has it. Beyond the education and everything else we need to sell insurance, enthusiasm is the key difference.

When someone sees our enthusiasm, we make the sale. Today, if I go in with Michael, we’re getting the client.

Tell us where the Friars Club connection comes in.

I met Michael when he was right out of college, and I remember thinking he had a great voice. Like his dad, communication was his strength.

I started talking to Michael about the Friars Club, and he said he wanted to join. I had been on the admissions committee for many years, and I’d been a member for 25 years, very involved with the club. So, I said, “Let’s go.”

He was the perfect candidate, so I sponsored his induction.

Michael has done a great job promoting DBL in conjunction with the Friars Club, booking comedians through the club, bringing clients there, and using it for networking.

For those who may not be familiar, what are the benefits of networking within the Friars Club?

The Friars Club is the largest entertainment club in the country, and it’s great networking. Two-thirds of the members are professional entertainers and the other one-third are non-professionals. But the celebrities and the non-celebrities are all on the same level.

When you bring clients there, you are including them in something special here in New York. You’re entertaining them like no other agent can.
Merging business with entertainment – that’s something Murray and David were brilliant at, and now Michael is doing it.

If you bring a prospect to the Friars Club, they are not leaving without becoming a client.

To learn more about booking comedians through the Friars Club for a holiday party or special event, call The DBL Center now.


NJ TDB Insurance News: New Jersey May Waive Signature Requirement for Privatized TDB

New Jersey brokers should be ready for this revenue opportunity with privatized NJ TDB


Did you know that 98 percent of NJ TDB temporary disability benefits policies are written by the state?

Even though privatized TDB provides better service and faster payouts than state-funded temporary disability insurance in New Jersey, most business owners don’t know privatized TDB is an option for themselves and their employees.

For New Jersey brokers, this represents a tremendous opportunity for increased revenue. Even though commissions may not be as high as carriers offer for some other types of insurance, including ancillary benefits, the total commissions can add up over time.

NJ TDB is a mandatory benefit, and once a broker has a company signed up for privatized TDB, they are likely to continue renewing year after year, providing largely passive income for brokers.

And the State of New Jersey now has legislation in the works which could make it even easier for brokers to help their customers privatize their TDB.

Why Privatized TDB?

Based on NJ temporary disability benefits law, any private TDB coverage must be equal to state-funded benefit amounts and duration of payments and have the same (or more liberal) eligibility requirements as the State Plan all at the same rates or better.

In addition to equal payments, which private NJ TDB must offer by law, many privatized plans also have faster service, payment choices in the form of direct deposit or a debit card, and an easier claims process.

The state of New Jersey is struggling to keep up with claims.

It often takes as long as four weeks from the date the claim is filed to begin paying claimants. In some cases, employees are back to work before they even begin to receive their disability benefits.

Often, this results in an already-overworked HR department spending time to help employees chase down their benefits. It can also affect employee morale and retention rates within a company.

No Signatures Required?

Currently, to switch to a private TDB insurance plan in New Jersey, employers must get signatures from 50 % + 1 of the employees in a company before making the switch.

But the New Jersey State legislature has introduced a new bill that would waive the signature requirement for employers to switch to privatized TDB.

This eliminates one stumbling block brokers now face in getting their customers to switch their NJ TDB policies to a private carrier.

Customer Education Is Key

Private TDB insurance offers equal (or better) benefits, faster payout times, and less red tape for employers, all at the same rates as the State Plan.

If someone were to offer you an equal or better product at the same price, wouldn’t you accept it?

If the State of NJ waives signature requirements to switch TDB to a private carrier, it removes the last stumbling block for acceptance.

But the responsibility will rest with brokers to let their customers know that privatized TDB is an option, that it is easier to obtain than ever before, and that it can vastly improve the level of service businesses receive when it comes to TDB claims.

What Brokers Can Do

As January 1 approaches and employers begin renewing their TDB policies and getting ready to sign on for another year with the state, brokers in New Jersey should write to their legislators and request that the state waive the signature requirement for switching to a private TDB carrier.

Then, begin a campaign to let your customers know private TDB is an option.

Use email marketing, blog posts, social media, webinars, and printed handouts to spread the word. Network at local business events. Write an article for your local paper.

The market is wide open, with 98 percent of New Jersey businesses still writing their TDB coverage with the state. It’s your turn to carve a slice of that pie.

Reach out to existing customers who write their other insurance lines with your company and let them know you can offer them a better product at the same price the state of New Jersey offers. Use your reputation for white-glove customer service to sell TDB.

And let DBL Center help manage your TDB accounts, putting commissions in your pockets with a minimum of work on your part.

Need help getting your customers to switch?

DBL Center provides white-label, white-glove, concierge-level service to help brokers earn more.

Reach out to us today.


Centric Benefits Sees New Possibilities with DBL Center


DBL Center opens doors to TDB in NJ for healthcare broker.

Centric Benefits Consulting of New Providence, NJ, is a small retail broker specializing in healthcare and ancillary benefits for businesses of every size, from two to 2,000 lives. “Our customers represent a solid cross-section of New Jersey businesses, which is primarily small businesses under 100 lives, but also larger corporations,” says Brian Reilly, vice president for Centric Benefits Consulting.

Explaining that each Centric Benefits broker has their own specialty niche, he notes that he primarily works with organizations in the public sector such as charter schools.

Centric Benefits Gives DBL Center a Try

Industry colleague Lori Rose, now AVP of ancillary lines for DBL Center, recently encouraged Reilly to shop his ancillary benefits packages through DBL Center. As a new DBL Center customer, he says he was exceptionally pleased with the process, the service, and the pricing.
Reilly had worked with Rose in her previous role at a dental carrier. Seeing Lori’s excitement over working with DBL Center, Reilly decided it was worth taking a chance. “If Lori was that excited to be joining DBL Center, it told me a lot about the company,” he says.

“Lori helped me deliver a better product at a better price for a client with dental coverage,” he says. “She also helped us win a customer who had been using us for healthcare and wanted to expand into ancillary benefits. Lori put together a fantastic package of dental and vision benefits.”

Reilly says he likes the convenience of getting quotes from a multitude of carriers through one contact, combined with DBL Center’s analysis of those quotes. “They pointed out the nuances behind each policy, so I knew what I was asking my clients to buy. It helped me find the best fit for my client.”

DBL Center Outperforms Expectations

Reilly notes that DBL Center “outperformed expectations” immediately with the first account, and he had no hesitation to shop a second policy through the wholesaler.

“There are brokers who think they will lose out on commissions by working through an insurance wholesaler,” Reilly says. “But working with DBL Center has really added value – for myself and for my customers.”

He continues, “One thing that really impressed me: Shortly after I started working with DBL Center, owner Michael Cohen called me. That showed the attention DBL Center gives to each of its customers. For the company president to call a new broker, who is part of a small agency – it was very classy and made me feel good about the relationship.”

Expanding Coverage Opportunities to TDB and Beyond

Reilly mainly deals in medical benefits, ancillary benefits such as vision and dental, and some long-term disability. But he is always open to cross-selling opportunities.

If he is going to sell a product, he wants to make sure he has the knowledge, support, and insurance industry relationships to do it right.

Reilly says DBL Center opens doors for him to sell TDB in New Jersey in the future, along with growing his ancillary benefits and long-term disability sales.

“I haven’t put a lot of time or effort into TDB coverage in the past because I didn’t want to be stretched too thin. But now I can go into TDB, especially when the rate change is announced in November, knowing I will have the support to do it right,” he says. “With DBL Center, I found a path and a partner that allows me to look at lines of coverage I haven’t dedicated the resources to pursuing.”

Although Reilly is typically very cautious about new endeavors, he’s actively recommending DBL Center to his colleagues at Centric Benefits Consulting, too.

“I tend to dip my toe in the water, first, before jumping into anything full force,” Reilly says. “But DBL Center made it worthwhile to jump in. I’m looking forward to more opportunities to partner with Lori and DBL Center.”


Grow Your Insurance Business to the Next Level: Expert Tips from DBL Center

As you know if you’ve been reading our blog or have been talking to members of our team, The DBL Center has achieved several milestone growth markers in 2018. In addition to our new offices and achieving the milestone this summer of writing 1 million lives, and servicing and insuring 32,000 corporations annually.

Are you an insurance broker ready to grow your business? Before you start doubling or tripling your sales figures, it’s important to consider how you will manage high volume business.

Managing a handful of companies under 50 lives is not the same as servicing thousands of corporations with 1,000+ employees each.
Your marketing, customer education tools, management software, and your employees all need to be ready for the change. DBL Center can help.

Five Steps to Greater Growth

Let’s look at the five elements you’ll need in place as part of your growth plan.

1. Consider your customer retention.

Before you can expand, you have to ensure you are keeping the customers you have – large and small. If you start losing customers, you are just trading one account for another and not really growing. It costs more in time and money to gain and onboard new clients than it does to maintain existing customers, so focus on retention as the first stage of your growth plan.

2. Set tangible goals and put a plan in place to achieve them.

As business expert Zig Ziglar says, “A goal carefully planned is halfway reached.” Perform a business analysis and determine where you want to be in six months, a year, and maybe even three years. DBL Center recently started offering incentives for writing new DBL business with us. Setting a goal to qualify for these incentives could be a good place to start.

3. Emphasize customer education.

Our PFL resource center helps set us apart, contributing to our inbound marketing efforts in 2018. We also introduced webinars about PFL and NRT, giving our brokers the tools and information they need to educate their customers. These efforts, combined with a solid marketing plan, tangible goals, and hiring employees specializing in the areas we aimed to grow, all led to a highly successful year for DBL Center.

4. Make sure you have the support you need.

Consider your CRM, bookkeeping, and sales software to ensure you can handle the volume. The Net Revenue Tracker (NRT) powered by DBL Center may be able to help you track renewals, commissions, and revenue, making it easier to retain customers and also see how close you are to achieving the goals you set.

You also want employees in place who can manage high-volume, high-pressure accounts.
Having an insurance wholesaler like DBL Center in your corner to provide white-glove, white-label service can help when you are ready to pursue the next stage of growth.

5. Keep your eyes on the pulse of the industry to be in the right place at the right time.

Back in 2012, Zurich Insurance Company left the New York State DBL market. Then Hurricane Sandy hit, wreaking havoc on the insurance industry and leaving P&C brokers scrambling to cover losses totaling $19 billion.

Knowing there was an industry shake-up coming due to the Affordable Care Act, even before Sandy, The DBL Center under the leadership of David Cohen was set to make a move.

The DBL Center began promoting enriched DBL coverage in New York, opening a gateway to greater profits for our brokers.

In 2017, DBL Center was on the forefront of reporting on the introduction of Paid Family Leave in New York. As part of our strategic marketing initiatives, we provided brokers with the resources they needed to explain the benefit to their customers. We also gave them access to the carriers who were able to write the PFL rider and incentives for moving their business.

As PFL announces its next increase, to go into effect in January 2019, we will be there to guide brokers.

Meanwhile, we continue to watch the industry and see what may be on the horizon, constantly innovating new ways to help our brokers.

For instance, our NRT app fills a unique need for brokers who provide DBL, PFL, TDB, and other employee benefits.

If you are looking to grow your business, manually tracking accounts or using siloed software that doesn’t meet all your needs will no longer work.

As we step into the future with advanced technology and new profit opportunities, we are excited to help our brokers who want to join us.

Are you ready to grow with us?