EP 54 | – Michael Cohen on Expanding Your Insurance Book of Business

07.14.21 | 0 Market Scale

Michael Cohen is the Owner and President of the second-generation, family-owned and operated insurance wholesaler, The DBL Center. A one-stop back office support center for brokers & agents, the DBL Center specializes in temporary disability insurance and employee benefit plans with a special focus on  temporary disability benefits in New Jersey and the Hawaiian Islands, as well as New York Disability. As President of DBL, Michael leverages his wealth of connections to provide white-glove service to insurance agent partners. Under his leadership, the company is currently serving 4,000 insurance agents in 15 states and managing $50 million in premiums.

Michael joins me today to discuss how disability and paid family policies impact businesses across states. He shares his background and experience in writing and performing stand-up comedy and the history of The DBL Center. He explains how advisors and agents can initiate a partnership with The DBL Center and describes how to use warm leads to discuss insurance products in a sales conversation with new clients. He also highlights the life lessons he learned from his father, the original founder of The DBL Center, and underscores the best way for advisors to scale their books of business. 

“Too many advisors whale-hunt and go after the same thing. The best way to expand an advisor’s book of business is on something mandated by law.” – Michael Cohen


This week on The Model FA Podcast:

        Michael’s background, his stand-up career, and how he took over the family business

        The importance of disability and life insurance

        The DBL Center’s insurance niche, its history, and how Michael’s father began selling niche life insurance

        The short-term disability law, how it applies to business owners, and states affected by it

        Details on paid family leave and how it’s slowly becoming a federal issue across the United States

        How insurance brokers and advisors can begin partnering with The DBL Center

        How to talk about other insurance products and services with a new client

        How The DBL Center helps companies save money through their service

        Whether a majority of states will adopt policies similar to the Short-Term Disability Law

        The Don Rickles of the insurance business and the power of using comedy as a door-opener to business


Resources Mentioned:

        Book: The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

        Book: Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson


Our Favorite Quotes:

               “For someone struggling to convert a client, it’s good to establish the relationship, build trust, and follow through on promises that were made on      the front-end.” – David DeCelle

        “Persistence is what matters, especially after COVID. The goal is to keep every piece of business that brokers have intact.” – Michael Cohen

        “When advisors work with a business owner, the lifetime value of that client is higher than most individuals. It’s a great door-opener to share your other products or services.” – David DeCelle

        “Nickel, dimes, and quarters make dollars. It’s not what you earn but what you keep.” – Michael Cohen


Connect with Michael Cohen: 

        The DBL Center

        Email: [email protected] | [email protected]

        The DBL Center on LinkedIn

        The DBL Center on Facebook

        The DBL Center on Twitter

        The DBL Center on Pinterest

        The DBL Center on YouTube

        Michael Cohen on LinkedIn



About the Model FA Podcast 

The Model FA podcast is a show for fiduciary financial advisors. In each episode, our host David DeCelle sits down with industry experts, strategic thinkers, and advisors to explore what it takes  to build a successful practice — and have an abundant life in the process. We believe in continuous learning, tactical advice, and strategies that work — no “gotchas” or BS. Join us to hear stories from successful financial advisors, get actionable ideas from experts, and re-discover your drive to build the practice of your dreams.


Did you like this conversation? Then leave us a rating and a review in whatever podcast player you use. We would love your feedback, and your ratings help us reach more advisors with ideas for growing their practices, attracting great clients, and achieving a better quality of life. While you are there, feel free to share your ideas about future podcast guests or topics you’d love to see covered.


Our Team:


President of Model FA, David DeCelle


Michael Cohen  00:07

We don't make the brokers commission, all of my brokers get paid directly from the insurance carrier, we make an advisory consultant override fee, which has absolutely no bearing on the broker. So their whole, they get paid, their name is on the application. And we just service the accounts so they could go out and continue to sell, like you said, the products that they specialize in.


David DeCelle  00:33

Welcome model essays, I am excited to bring our guests to you today, Michael Cohen. Michael is the owner and president of a second generation insurance wholesaler, a former stand up which I'm excited for today and a writer. And for those of you who are looking to work with business owners and their employees, this is certainly an episode you're gonna want to tune into and take some notes, there's been some changes that require businesses in certain states, and more and more states are getting on board where it makes it much easier in because it's something that they're required to do. And it's a way that you can get in the door, and then obviously go ahead and cross sell in other ways as you continue to build the relationship. So, Michael, welcome to the show.


Michael Cohen  01:26

Yeah, thank you, buddy. I appreciate you having me.


David DeCelle  01:29

Awesome. Awesome. So tell us a little bit about your story just for context. So I know, you know, and we had talked, you know, initially you let me know about your stand up career, you let me know, you know that this business was originally from your father, who had since passed in 2017. And then you've stepped in taking it over. So give us a little bit about your backdrop just for context.


Michael Cohen  01:54

Yeah, he I'm his only child. And unfortunately, he did pass away in 2017. Unexpectedly, so you really realize what life is worth, because my father was only 67, which you know, in today's day, and age is still considered young, and I think is a good segue to the insurance aspect, because it really gave me a value of what I found to be important from life insurance, and how anything can happen in any time. I mean, the last words that I heard from him was have a good vacation. And then him and I went our separate ways. You know, you really don't know, a lot of young people in this business don't appreciate disability insurance and life insurance until it really, they lose a loved one. And that's what I'm trying to sort of use my story to help expand into that. But, you know, to your point, I was 18 years old, I'm his only child, my father told me when I graduated high school in Long Island, go ahead and get your license. And my response to that was I, I already have it, I can drive. And he's like, come on, man. Stop breaking my chops. You know, I really would like you to get it. And I kept saying to him, the more that you asked me to be in this the least I want to do it. So stop asking me I said, but if you're such a good salesperson, give me a reason as to why I should get into the family business. And he goes, listen, God forbid, something happened to me, your mother wants nothing to do with it. I don't have any other children. Just get your goddamn license. And I'm like, Alright, so this way, at least the money could stay in the family and commissions could flow. And he was looking at it from an estate planning perspective. So on the cusp of graduating high school and entering Boston University for a television and film career, which was very liberal arts, of course, in the beginning, I said, Sure, I'll go ahead and I will get your license. So I did that in the summer, while bartending at night and having some fun in the summer, go to college, and not realizing that I would ultimately get into this within a short six year window, because when I graduated college, my senior year was 911. And it was hard enough to get into the entertainment business as it was let alone after that point in time. So my film professor and writing professors said, hey, you've got a really good thing going for you. I'd like to send you to LA and write sitcoms and I said, Oh, that would be great. When do you want to talk? And she said, let's have a conversation. When you come back from like Thanksgiving break? Well, the Writers Guild went on strike 911 happened. And then I come back and I speak to her and she was a co creator of Charles in Charge and full house. And I said, so have a look. And she goes not too good in New York. But if you'd like to go out to LA, you can probably write for The Drew Carey Show. And at the time, I knew him as a stand up comedian. And he had a show called Whose Line is it Anyway. So I'm like, great. That would be cool to do improv and this and that. Well, I come back after Christmas break and New Year's and it turns out that Drew Carey ended up signing for the prices right when he took over for Bob Barker, and there was no Drew Carey Show. So as a matter of like, all these tipping points in a very short semester, and then when I come home for spring break, my father's like insurance is looking pretty good, isn't it? And that's when I decided to solidify my license and said let me work for you part time. And then at nights I was writing for comedians and doing stand up comedy in New York City.


David DeCelle  05:00

Love it. Well, obviously, there's a decent amount of takeaways there. But since you're a comedian, my joke is, it's good to hear that you're an only child. My parents also stopped at perfection. So glad we have that in common.


Michael Cohen  05:16

Exactly, exactly. I don't mind it at all. I've got two boys, though. It's kind of funny, because in a weird way, I didn't want them to be sort of alone, but they're very close to 22 months apart. Cool.


David DeCelle  05:26

So give everyone a sense. I know. you specialize in a particular niche within the insurance space that is required by law for some states. So I'm going to keep my question broad to begin with, and then we'll get more specific over time, but give us a sense as to what that niche is. And what is it that's required by law?


Michael Cohen  05:47

Well, in the state of New York, New Jersey, and the Hawaiian Islands, ironically enough, which copied New York's laws. If you get hurt off the job, and you own a company, you have to cover your employees. It's like workers comp, but it's off the job workers comp is if you get hurt on the job. And what a lot of people don't realize is you have to cover this or you get a fine from the governor's office. So my father was selling life insurance. He didn't like it. And he literally got into a car accident on his way to Stony Brook dental school, because he was supposed to be a dentist. And I guess the running joke was that's what all good Long Island Jewish parents wanted their kids to do is either become an attorney or a dentist or a doctor in the 1960s. And he really didn't want to do it. But the guy that he hit, like I said, was a life insurance salesman. And he goes, listen to me, I hear how you spoke to that cop. You must have half a brain on you because you're going to Stony Brook dental school. I'm looking for a salesman with an underwriters mouth. Why don't you come and work for me. And we'll pretend this accident never happened. And my father's like you're bribing me, he goes, Well, it's either that or I'll call your dad, my grandfather and tell him that you hit me and it was all your fault. You'll be in a heap of crap. So my dad's like, No, no, no, listen, what do you need me to do? He goes work off the accident and come to work for me for a few months. And let's see what happens. He never turned back. He ended up selling life insurance. And he met people along the way that introduced him to this specific niche product that you just mentioned a moment ago, which is something that you have to have by law, and a lot of people would break his chops over time saying, You're never going to make money kid. And my dad's motto was always nickels, dimes, and quarters, make dollars. And it is not what you earn, it is what you keep. So he did not want to be top heavy. He figured I'm going to knock on every door in the town I live in. And then when I'm done, I'm going to go to the next door. And this is when you were able to solicit, there was no no solicitation signs, you know, and he would go to weigh a section of Queens, Long Island, and he would knock on doors and go, you have to have this by law. It's a warm lead, I'm not trying to sell you something you don't have. And I'd like to help you out. And he wrote a lot of business in the late 70s to 1980. And then when he said is I'm so good. Maybe I'll convert this into a wholesale operation, because I ultimately am going to be old one day, and I don't want to continue to do this. So let me have the brokers work for me. So what did he do? He'd knock on the door and go, Hey, David, I took over one of your accounts, and you'd be like, What are you talking about? You compete with me, you took away my Corporation, I was my client, because listen, I'm going to give it back to you, I'm going to be the general agent, you're going to get the full broker commission. But if you have this account, you must have others like it. So endorse over your entire book of business to me for disability, and let me manage it. And that's how we started to build his wholesale distribution model, which I've now taken to a whole nother realm. And His goal was focus on what people have to have by law, and then talk to them about life insurance, long term disability, dental and vision. And it's worked. And now here we are today. We've been doing this since 1976 77. And we have business in 15 states. And we manage $115 million of premium through the brokerage community.

David DeCelle  09:03

Excellent. So if I'm an advisor, and I'm listening to this so far, I hear New York, New Jersey and the Hawaiian Islands. And I'm like, Okay, well I don't live in any of those states, or I don't have clients in any of those states. Let's say I'm I'm in mass, or I'm in Connecticut, or I'm in where I'm at right now I'm in Florida. Are these the only three states that require them to have short term disability by law? Or are there others as well? Or are there others on the horizon? Like, how is this relevant to me in those states?


Michael Cohen  09:39

That's a great question. It's not relevant to you unless you have clients that are in those states. So for example, if you have a friend in Florida is usually because it's basically the second coming of New York so a lot of my Long Island clients that moved down there, they still have clients in Miami and Fort Lauderdale and also in New York City, but they do not need it in Miami Fort Lauderdale. They do need it in New York City, but that uses I get that as an entree to then work with someone in Florida to say, well, Mike, you helped me on that state mandated product in New York. Can you help me with life insurance, long term disability and dental in Florida? So I'll work on the ancillary products in Florida. But the only three states to answer your question that habit are New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, on a private, fully insured basis. California has it Rhode Island have it, but you have to ride it through the state, you can't move it to a private insurance company. But recently, Connecticut and Massachusetts added a paid family leave component, which is what Governor Cuomo implemented in New York over and above the short term disability law. And that's now effective gumming up into New England. So, to give you an example, if you have the corporation in Boston, you've got money coming out of your paycheck right now, for paid family leave, which means you basically, if you want to have paternity, or if your wife wants to have an extended maternity, or if you want to help your father or a grandparent with dementia, you can legally file for mandatory paid leave, and you have guaranteed job protection. So Massachusetts copied New York and Connecticut copy Newton, Massachusetts in New York, and the next two states that are scheduled to have this as Colorado and Oregon. So paid family leave is slowly becoming what looks to be federal across the United States.


David DeCelle  11:20

Okay, is that different than the short term just? Well, obviously, it's different than the short term disability. But yeah, that's something that's just fully funded by the company or their products, insurance products that you offer that can help with that paid leave as well.


Michael Cohen  11:35

So what we can do is we could remove people from the state insurance fund in Massachusetts and Connecticut and place them with a private insurance company like Guardian, Hartford whoever and save their clients money. I like to be the door opener or like the quote unquote, brokers broker like Jerry Maguire and go in and say, Listen, if you've been having trouble trying to get to medical, where have you been having trouble trying to get the 401k? I don't do any of those. But I can help you get it. Let me teach you how. So I help advisors get in the door by asking the right questions. And I start with something that state mandated by law, which is what my father did 45 years ago.


David DeCelle  12:10

Okay. And then you mentioned Colorado and Oregon are on the horizon. Upcoming. Yeah. Yeah. Have you gotten any wind of any other states? Like, do you picture this rolling out through all the states over time, or is that not on the horizon?


Michael Cohen  12:26

No, that's a great question. 30 states implemented this in the last election to be implemented on a federal basis, and a majority of those states were blue. Yeah. So the fact that we have a blue government at the moment, leads to believe the next four years is going to be pretty exciting in the paid family leave space. now live in Colorado might say, we offer but it's not commissionable, we don't know. There is commission to brokers in mass, there is commission to brokers in Connecticut. And there is commission to brokers in New York. The one difference in New York is every time you write a short term disability policy, or DBL, in New York City, let's say you're simultaneously getting commissioned on paid family leave. So you're getting paid two times Connecticut, and mass only has leave there is no state mandated, underlining Short Term Disability product, but they're copying what Governor Cuomo implemented in 2017. Okay,


David DeCelle  13:18

so if I'm an advisor, I have clients in the states that you mentioned. So call it New York, New Jersey, Hawaiian Islands, as well, as you know, soon to be potentially Colorado and Oregon. Cali. If I'm the advisor, how do you and I interact? am I calling your office and you're coming out to the appointment with me? Am I given you the information your reach? How does that process work? How do you partner with advisors,


Michael Cohen  13:44

so as long as you have a license, you know, you have a health insurance license or a life and health license, basically, you would contact my organization, and we would tell you the information that's needed to save your potential client money. So you might already have the estate planning or the worker's comp or the home in the auto, whatever it is, you have a client or an insured and one of those states and I would basically say listen, have you asked about the paid family leave plans? And they say no, I've heard about it I didn't know about I say, Well, let me tell you the information that's required, which is normally in the form of a census and then we take it from there. And my office does all of the marketing and servicing of the account. We also give all of our brokers free tracking software, so they know when all of their insurance are pending for non pay because if the client doesn't pay Dave, they don't get their commission. So in a way I've shifted post COVID from a glorified wholesale or to a bill collector. Because if I'm I'm basically monitoring my brokers book of retention for free, which let's face it, that's a big deal because persistency is what matters, and especially coming after COVID the goal for me for me right now is to keep my every piece of business that my broker has intact. Too much business went out the door last year for ob reasons, many people close their doors, well, we can't control that. But if they didn't pay their premium, I'm the one that's going to help that broker advisor, get that client to pay.


David DeCelle  15:09

Okay? So that's if you know, I already have the client relationship, have some information, and can bring it right if I'm going to someone cold, or if it's a referral, like with the one or two liners, so to speak, to be able to bring up to really capture their attention. Because how I'm seeing this play out is with someone who either they've been struggling to make a client, right, as that business and business owner, it's a great way to say, hey, you're required to do this, you know, let me be your person. And then from there, you establish the relationship you build trust, you follow through on, you know, the promises that you made on the front end. And then you have the opportunity to I love when advisors work with business owners, because there's so many different things that you can help them with their lifetime value. And working together is just so much higher than most individuals. So it's a great door opener to then cross sell your other products and services that you have. But walk me through the one or two liners on how to actually open that door, if you don't already have a pre existing relationship.


Michael Cohen  16:14

When was the last time you looked into your state mandated short term disability and paid family leave coverage, because they all know it. And they might say I didn't even I didn't know who's handling that for you. Because it's required by law. All I need is a copy of your recently paid invoice. And let me take a look at something that you have to have by law period. That's it's a warm lead. Because the benefits the benefit, we're not deviating from that we're just coming in almost like Geico and saying, Let's save you an automatic 10 to 15% off of what you're currently paying, it's pretty much that simple. We've got the cloud and the leverage, where if the risk is large enough, we don't necessarily need a tremendous amount of data, because we're using our leverage of our block of premium to get you the best discounted rate as the advisor, right? So we don't make the brokers commission, all of my brokers get paid directly from the insurance carrier, we make an advisory consultant override fee, which has absolutely no bearing on the broker. So their whole they get paid, their name is on the application. And we just service the accounts so they could go out and continue to sell, like you said, the products that they specialize in,


David DeCelle  17:21

how often do you find so if it's something that's mandated, right, I imagine that most everyone, at least the folks following the rules that don't want to pay fines, have, you know, actually implemented this through someone else like you? Right? So my question then becomes Michael, how often do you find that you are able to actually save them money is that like, hey, half the time we can do this all the time, you know, rarely we're able to save them money. So my question would be two part, how often do you find that you can save a company money on this product specifically? And second question is, why is it that you're able to help save them money, whereas the other people, you know, came in with a higher price,


Michael Cohen  18:05

that would be 85% of the time. And if I already don't have the account, what I realized a lot of the times is remember, I own several general agencies, my father started one, he and I acquired another one in 2014. And then I acquired one in 2019. So through three general agency umbrellas, we control the dominant amount of the business. Currently, the New York State Insurance Fund has X number of dollars of premium that they service for this particular benefit. I'm just shy of around 11 and a half percent of that entire book. So we control a dominant amount of corporations. As of the turn of this year, we insure 26,000 insurance policyholders throughout the state that we're in, but mainly in the tri state area. So the likelihood of us having a risk is high. So I'd say if we don't have it, we could easily get it based on decades of experience in growing our book to become how compounded it's becoming like a world of interest, right? So, you know, I could get favors done that no one else would be able to. And that's kind of kudos to me staying in my lane. I mean, I don't want to do other things, because then I'm a jack of all trades and a master of none. I like the fact that I'm able to focus Dave on what we do best and use that as a door opener. So yeah, we really won't lose I mean, we've I can pick up the phone and go to the head underwriter, the president the manager and say, listen, even though this might not be running, well, we really need a favor here. What can you do for me? Because it's, it's not what have you done for me lately? It's really, this is what we do for the carriers all the time, we are considered their preferred partner in this space,


David DeCelle  19:37

and just said, so it's a mixture of cloud longevity and you know, the amount of business that you've done through them. It seems like you may have more negotiation wiggle room, then some of the other smaller folks out there that are also working with this product.


Michael Cohen  19:54

And it's the service after the sale. I mean, I'll be very honest with you, and I'm not sure people ask me all the time, you know, who was your company? Because you would mentioned there's others like me, well, there really aren't because we either require them or they specialize in major medical, which I don't do. So my 100% might be their 1%, you know, because they're focused heavily on something that I don't do. So there really isn't much overlap. We're still private, we're not publicly backed or owned. So we are able to move and shake very quickly, I give out my software to client brokers for free as an add on so that they endorse over their book to help me track something that quite honestly, they didn't really want to track. I mean, I'm sort of built the business model with my father on becoming like the redheaded stepchild of the insurance business, no offense to any redheaded stepchildren out there. But it's really an afterthought. I mean, people don't think that there's any money in this. And now due to paid family leave, that's certainly changing a lot of people's attitude, because there is money in this. And there's money in it with very little service, you just have to get in and ask the right questions. Too many advisors are well hunting, that's the problem. And they're all going after the same things. And that's not maybe necessarily our motto, because we do very well. And we don't have a very high turnover at our at our staff, either. We've got a tenured intern, a tenured employee here, who's been over 35 years, and the newest employees right around four. So we have a very good track record there too, which just goes to show you how we offer like white glove service to our clients and also to our staff.


Patrick Brewer  21:25

Awesome. Hey, model essays. I know you're enjoying this conversation. But I wanted to take a quick break to talk to you about the model FA accelerator. This is a unique collaboration between us and you, where we help you build a financial advising practice that you can be proud of, we focus on the foundational concepts around how to pick a niche or a specialization, how to price your services, how to construct an offer that people are going to buy, and then how to market it and sell it in a way that will get people to sign on the dotted line and become clients of your firm, all while giving you the information to scale and set up workflows and operational processes that will allow you to reclaim your time and build a practice that doesn't run you. So if you'd like to hear more about that, go to www dot model fa.com forward slash accelerator or www dot model FA comm hover over work with us and click on accelerator and hope to see in the program.


David DeCelle  22:16

So before we transition over to you know that a couple bucks, you know that your favorite so for those of you who are listening, if this is the first episode that you're listening to, in our new format, all the guests, I asked what their favorite book is, and Michael submitted to so we'll talk about those here in a second, the whole idea is to promote learning within our industry, I find that, you know, some advisors are complacent. And I believe in the saying you're either green and growing or ripe and rotting. And other advisors, if they are learning, they tend to stay within the confines of our industry specifically. And then obviously there's, you know, some of you listening to this that do consume, you know, other books and podcasts and things like that. But the whole goal here is to promote learning within our industry, because our industry can be slow to adopt new ideas or new technologies. So for learning about those ideas, be it you know, marketing, or tech or you know, client service, whatever it may be from other industries, we can take those nuggets and obviously, you know, implement them here. So before we transition to that, Michael, any information that would be helpful for a financial advisor to understand regarding this opportunity that I may not have already gotten from you based on my questions.


Michael Cohen  23:31

I think if anybody is listening right now that is looking to expand their book of business, the best way to do that is on something that's mandated by law. And again, I'll recap the states, you have New York, you have New Jersey, you have Hawaii, you have now Massachusetts and Connecticut. And if you want to give a shameless plug to my website, if they want to look it up, because all the states are listed there as well. They could go to insurance wholesaler, dotnet. Again, that's insurance wholesaler dotnet. And there's a paid family leave section that has a whole map of all the states of where they could go, because let's face it, most advisors I don't care for in Florida or are in Texas, there's businesses that are connected to all of those states. So it's very rare that I find a an advisor that doesn't know someone in the New York metropolitan area or in Hawaii, a lot of people in LA have visits in Hawaii and vice versa on the East Coast with Florida versus, you know, Manhattan. So our tentacles extend, you know, greatly cool.


David DeCelle  24:29

So I guess transition over to the books, both of the books that you submitted, I have read in the past, so I'm excited to talk about them. So the first one that you noted was the Steve Jobs bio, tell me a little bit more about why you chose that as one of your favorite books.


Michael Cohen  24:45

I was just in Well, first of all, let me throw it out there. I haven't read a good book in a long time because I've got two kids that are coming up on eight and 10. So if I'll get three pages and I'll pass right out I'm not gonna lie, I can't keep my eyes open man, but when I used to read prior to having children, those are the last two that I remember reading and thoroughly enjoying. And I think the Steve Jobs was just because he was such an enigma, I learned a great deal about him in that book that I don't think was really portrayed on those mini series and films that were done with him like Ashton Kutcher tried to portray him and others. And I just felt the book was just phenomenal. And it said that we lost him so soon. I mean, he was truly an amazing pioneer, Ben Franklin of our time, which is sad, because who would have thought he's been through so many trials and tribulations that I also could relate to, personally, professionally. And he was a very resilient man and I have been through a lot in the last 48 months, and sometimes reflect back on it, of course, it's a much bigger scale of what he was doing, but sort of that never give up and keep pushing. And I just remember when he would speak to people that he might have been at odds with the simple gesture of having a walk with them around the apple campus. I always did that. I always always enjoyed walking with people and getting to know them. If there's ever a problem with my staff. I don't like it in my office with a closed door, as long as it's not raining in Long Island. So let's go outside and just casually chat, because you're humanizing somebody that way. You know what I mean? And, and I think a lot of that tactic resonated with me too, because of my stand up and having that good gut reaction of what people feel they want, which I know we're getting off on a little bit of a tangent is why I really am not a huge fan of doing zoom calls all the time. I really, truly missed that face to face interaction. I'll tell you, these zoom calls, people feel like they get right into it. And it's very corporately structured, right, right. But if I was to meet you, I guarantee you off the cuff, we talked about five or 10 minutes about things that were something we probably would not have mentioned over laptop,


David DeCelle  26:47

totally agree, because


Michael Cohen  26:48

I missed that. And coming from the entertainment side of things, I really missed that because people feel or tend to be more of who they truly are, when they're not behind a camera,


David DeCelle  27:00

I will give you some kudos. So on our first call, we just did the audio. So we weren't able to actually see each other. But I want to say it was at least 10 minutes or so of us just shooting the breeze back and forth. And it was primarily you driving that portion of the conversation, which when I hung up, I was like, Ah, that's refreshing to do that. So I feel like on zoom calls like this, there at least has to be one person who's open to prodding a little bit and getting that other person to open up for relationship building purposes, which I think was it was super helpful for me to be on the receiving end of that. And, you know, it was fun to have that conversation. So even though you may not like it, I would say that you're doing a good job, at least from my experience and make night seem as if it's in person. So good work there. Now the Yeah, of course, the 48 Laws of Power. That's one of my favorite books. I feel like all those books. So it was it the 48 Laws of Power, the art of seduction. I think there's one more Yep. It's slipping me right now. But I feel like in the right hands, it's an amazing skill set to have, I think in the wrong hands. I'm really do some bad with it. But I feel like it did a good job of dissecting different components of a human's life and psyche and scenarios that they may come across. And it was a very, no pun intended based on the title, but there's very powerful book that I consume. What What were your takeaways from what


Michael Cohen  28:37

No, I agree with you on all of those fronts. That book actually was handed to me by my dad when I was in like high school. And that's why was one that came to mind to tell you about because I think what he was trying to do is prepare me for life and, you know, use the words to do so I mean, that's a great word that is truly what it is how to charm people, not really deceive people, but charm them. And I think that was one of the rules is keep your friends close, but your enemies closer to an extent. And my father was very good at that, like the Mao Zedong ideology, you know, and my father, coincidentally enough when he went to Hawaii really resonated with the culture and the Japanese tradition of how they handle business too. So that was one of the reasons why he had recommended that I read those books, because he would say it's all how you handle it to your point. If it's in the right hands or wrong, it could make you a better friend, a better lover or a better person. But it could also completely do the reverse if it's in the wrong hands. But I think it's a great game of how to socially master kind of what we're doing now. Really, I mean, I'm sure that's had some influence into you doing this podcast to some degree, you know?


David DeCelle  29:45

Yeah, I agree. That's one of the books that I've gone back periodically and either listen to certain excerpts of it, or you know, I've listened to it a couple times through it's a pretty dense, I want to say it's like 20 something hours long on audio. Yeah, it's definitely A dense book, but I feel like the format is pretty good where I like talks about the law, specifically, it shares an example from my back, you know, way back when and shares a more like present example. So it's a nice kind of flow that you can get used to, to really understand or really get a good understanding. It's almost like when you learn a word for the first time, they're like, use it in the sentence, right? And you kind of like, hear it in a bunch of different ways. I think that book does a good job of, you know, really ingraining that information into your brain the way that they share it.


Michael Cohen  30:32

And how to conceal your emotions. You see, I remember that one as well. That's a big thing. And see that to me, is comedy there. So he made me read it. And now I'm thinking subliminally, I read it before I did stand up. You know, it's funny, I'm not that I'm into an astrologer at all. But I had seen one at a party once I'll never forget this individual said, You do a lot of things that are similar, you know, as they're reading my cards or what have you. And I said, I don't understand what you mean. And the individual said, You're an only child, you ran track, which I was fairly good at your it's you in the lane against everybody else, you're doing stand up comedy, which is your back against the wall, and you do sales, which is also a lonely, independent type of position. But all of those things helped me realize how I could prove myself to be trustworthy with other individuals. And I, I'll never forget that because all of those compliments into becoming who I am today, which now that I think about it. Maybe that book took me to that next level of connecting all those dots and making me who I am. So I think it's very powerful. If anyone hadn't read it, I think they should give it to people in school, I think.


David DeCelle  31:36

Yeah, I can't recommend that one enough. It's It's really good. And that whole series of books is outstanding. Correct. So awesome. Well, Michael, I appreciate you joining the show. You had mentioned your website. Can you mention that one more time? And then as well as any other ways that people can touch base with you? if they have any questions or, you know, want to collaborate with you at all? How can they get in touch?


Michael Cohen  31:58

Sure. So the website, again, is insurance wholesaler, dotnet, they can live chat with anybody on the website, there's a contact us section two, which has everybody's email mine is there, I'll give it out. Anyway, it's Michael Cohen, at DBL center.com, Michael Cohen, a DBL, C, E and T er, and again, the websites insurance wholesaler, dotnet. And yeah, we've got around the clock 24 seven service, so


David DeCelle  32:22

someone will get back to you. Awesome. Appreciate that, for everyone listening, appreciate you joining for this show, we're gonna enter into the after hours portion here in a second. But as always, two main asks of anyone listening, if you found some value in today's show, and you think some of your peers and colleagues would find similar value, just hit that share button and shoot it over to them. That way they can get some of this value as well. In addition to that, one thing that would really help us as a relates to overall visibility for this podcast would be to leave us a review on iTunes. So if you would be so kind as to leave us a review, little short write up and actually just shoot me a text message with a screenshot of that, you can text me at 978-228-2338. And if you shoot me that text, you will be entered into a drawing to get access to our digital component of our coaching, which is the accelerator program. So just do me a favor and shoot me that text and then just write Michael Cohen in it as well. So I know which episode you are referencing, and you'll be entered into a drawing to get access to the accelerator program. With that being said, again, Michael, thank you. We're going to be heading into the after hours portion now, where we're going to take off the insurance have put on the comedian hat and hopefully have some laughs Oh. All right. You got it, buddy. You're welcome. Thanks. Awesome. So what do you think the majority of states are going to adopt this over time? It seems like you're kind of alluding to that.


Michael Cohen  34:06

Yeah. Oh, without a doubt. Yeah. I think it's the natural scale, you know, and thankfully, you know, I'm behind that. So I've got sort of like those wind beneath my sails. You know what I mean, to help educate people on that. And that's what it really is, is education and consulting. So people that normally would not maybe have come to me in the past, because they figure all this go direct to the carrier or direct to this law attorney. They're coming to me. So I'm completely in the driver's seat right now. And I'm just trying to stay ahead of that curve. So right now I'm focused primarily on Connecticut at the moment. And Massachusetts. I recently opened an office since we last spoke actually April 5 in Connecticut. Oh, also apart. We now have Trumbull Connecticut.


David DeCelle  34:45

Oh, yeah. So one of my first speaking gigs was actually in Trumbull, Connecticut. In Ameriprise where one of my college friends worked.


Michael Cohen  34:53

Oh, nice. Yeah, I mean, it's super accessible from Long Island to because you could take the Bridgeport ferry to Long Island, you know, and so now we've got Like boots on the ground to expand halfway from Hartford to Boston and back to New York. So I'm excited.


David DeCelle  35:05

Love it. So I got a bunch of, would you rather questions that I'm going to bring you through. But before we do that, I kind of want to put you on the spot and see what you got. Do you have any bits that you can share?


Michael Cohen  35:20

Well, I can tell you a true story. So my father thought he was like the Don Rickles of you know, the insurance business. So he was all about those quick, you know, one liners. And that was kind of probably where he, you know, came from and his his background era, I literally would tell real stories. So like, remember now, I'm 41 my first gig and I don't even know if I mentioned this to you. I started writing for black Entertainment Television, coincidentally enough as a writer, so if you couldn't tell, right? So it was really funny, because I was when I went there to work. They assumed because I was like, the token white Jewish guy that I was gonna be like their CPA. And I'm like, I'm like, No, I'm like, legitimately here to like, work with you guys on the videos and the production. And then they found out a red track. And they would, you know, nickname meetings, and I thought it was hilarious. They will call me like, super Jew. And I thought it was hilarious. So I would start doing stand up. And I would tell people that, you know, I worked for bt, but I was only black from the waist up. And I would just kind of zoom right into what I did for them. And, and then remember now to like, back in 2004, like internet dating was new man, like they didn't have any of these apps. So match.com was like a really big deal. And like j date was a big deal. So I had a lot of, obviously African American friends that would say, Listen, man, I want you to take men some of those j dates. And I'm like, but you're not Jewish, like Sammy Davis was. So we would go out and use match calm and Jay bass to like, go and hang. And I incorporated that into some of my bits. So it was really all more like True Stories was fun. That's awesome.


David DeCelle  37:01

Well, when they're true stories, too, it's probably makes it easier to regurgitate them over and over, as opposed to like trying to recall, you know, some made up thing. So it means that you've lived a funny life. And now you're just sharing the stories along the way.


Michael Cohen  37:15

Well, you got a thick skin. I mean, to be honest with you, Dave. That's why I decided I think my father convinced me get into the insurance business. Like, I don't know, a lot of people that, like people might say they're funny, but they never would like, go on stage and actually do it. Like there's a big difference there. And, you know, I made sure I had it memorized to a tee because I had done standard with folks that would go out with like, notes. And I'm like, No, like, you don't want to do that you don't want you look weak, right, you know, so when I would do an enrollment meeting with my pop, like, I didn't know all the answers. So he'd throw me to the wolves. So there was a guy like a broker and I'm like, 24, and I'm doing stand up at night. And he would go me in his send me into the room and he leave. And I'm like, Oh, great. Where's my dad going probably sees this cute receptionist, he's leaving me alone. And this old CFO is sitting there all angry goes. So let me ask you something, kid. Oh, my God, here we go. What do you think is the difference between the pre existing condition between STD and Ltd? If there was an occupation period? I submit I had no idea what you just said. But I'm performing Friday night at governors in Levittown. If you want, I got two tickets. And the guy was like, that's crazy, man. You know, I play guitar. And I started to like, open people up with making them feel comfortable. Because I truly didn't know. And it helped me because I was being transparent with my honesty. I don't know the answer to that. So I get back in the car, and I I'm not happy and I'm like sweating. And my father goes, You figured it out. And I went, I don't know you're talking about he goes, you made people like you, you'll always learn. But the toughest part is making people like you and you did it. And I ended up getting that guy's business. And still to this day, I know the guy. So I ended up writing a blog before it was popular like 16 years ago on how I took my passion to help increase my profits and how I use comedy as a door opener.


David DeCelle  39:10

Love that. If you have that blog handy, I'd love for you to send it over to me. I'd like to read it.


Michael Cohen  39:16

I got to find out. That was one of my first ones I've run and made it renovated my website so many times since then. I'm very happy with what it's come out to be. But yeah, I mean, that was sort of like what I would do and I'd love to get back into it again, especially now having children and I'm just gonna throw this out there. My wife was born in Poland and I only tell you this because she's way smarter than me and I thought they were supposed to be dumb. But she she went to Cornell because a goddamn genius. My wife. She's a physician's assistant. She's like Sumo come loud. He was like the first in her class valedictorian. I was in any of those things. That's fine.


David DeCelle  39:50

So a few Would you rather questions to round this out and you can't make any exceptions? You just have to answer it as is. So put your spot Would you rather kids play by the way. Listen, we're having some fun. We're doing some kids stuff. Would you rather have eyes that can film everything or ears that can record everything?


Michael Cohen  40:11

Oh, that's a tough one. I'd have to go with yours. Yeah, yeah. I get Yeah, cuz I'm a big proponent of listening and being a good listener, which helps me in my job, even though I can't shut up on the show. In the right circumstances, and a meeting professionally, I absorb a lot.


David DeCelle  40:30

Well, and for everyone who's listening and can't see the video, Michael has two miles in one ear. So that's why that is. Would you rather have to wear wet socks every day or only be allowed to wash your hair once a year? And for those listening, he does have hair just so you know.


Michael Cohen  40:50

Wow. No, I'm gonna go with the man. I'm gonna go with the hair thing, man. I'm gonna go. I'm hedging my bed. Because I think that would be less. Yeah, I think that would smell worse over time than the hair thing. Yeah. And finally, I never find out. But


David DeCelle  41:06

finally, would you rather have chapped lips that you can never get rid of? Or dandruff? You can never get rid of


Michael Cohen  41:12

dandruff all day long man that we're in a people come on. Look at you and I were too vain for the chapped lips. We can't deal with that.


David DeCelle  41:19

I literally it's I can't do that I even chapstick, bro, look at you. Look, look, look. There you go, brother. That's hilarious, man. So well. Michael, I appreciate your time today. I appreciate getting to know you. For those of you who stuck around for the after hours portion. Hopefully you found a couple laughs here. And when Michael gets back on the stand up circuit, we'll be sure to let you know. So Michael, thank you for your time. Awesome, man. Thanks a lot, brother. Take care. Take care.