Protection Products

Summer’s Slippery Slope


Summertime is quickly approaching, and your clients’ outdoor activity schedules are about to get busy. Walking, running, hiking, biking, baseball, softball … all are great ways to enjoy the outdoors. Though these activities can lead to a lot of fun … they can also lead to unforeseen accidents and injuries … which can lead to medical expenses and time off work … which can lead to financial devastation for your clients. 

Yes, it can be a slippery slope, both figuratively and literally. Your clients hopefully won’t be injured this summer … but, what if they are? With disability insurance, you can help them plan for any circumstances that affect their ability to earn a living with. 

Disability insurance – or, as we like to call it, paycheck protection insurance – is a vital coverage to protect your clients’ financial future. Don’t let them believe “It won’t happen to me” or, “If I become disabled, I will qualify for Social Security.” 

Know the facts: 

  • It CAN happen: More than 1 in 4 of today's 20-year-olds will become disabled before they retire,1 and the average individual disability claim lasts 31.6 months.2

  • Many people do not have any financial protection in place if a disability event does occurs – about 100 million workers are without private disability income insurance.1

  • Nearly 68 percent of all Social Security disability claims applications were denied in 2015.3 If your client does qualify, it may take more than a year to go through the process. 


No matter what your clients plan to do this summer, make sure they have financial protection in place to account for the unexpected. Protect their paycheck – and their financial future – with disability insurance. 


1U.S. Social Security Administration, Fact Sheet, February 7, 2013

2Gen Re, U.S. Individual DI Risk Management Survey 2011, based on claims closed in 2010

3 Social Security Administration, Disabled Worker Beneficiary Statistics,


About the Author

As vice president of disability income and long-term care insurance at Ash Brokerage, Tim Kukieza knows coverage he helps place will dramatically and positively impacts clients’ lives when they need it most. His vast knowledge comes from more than 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, including working with a number a carriers before joining Ash Brokerage.  

DI Disability

Ask an Underwriter: What’s the big deal with a little extra weight?


For every life insurance policy, underwriting begins with three basics: build, blood pressure and lab results. Positive findings can speed the process for you and your clients, and result in better rates and lower premiums … so if general health and wellness aren’t incentive enough, maybe the potential for less hassle and lower costs could entice them to get in shape. 


Why Wellness Matters

Insurance carriers acknowledge and reward healthy lifestyle choices. Many have adopted crediting methodologies which empower their underwriters to seek out opportunities to improve your client’s rate class based on things such as regular exercise, sustaining a healthy diet, being a lifetime nonsmoker or simply partaking in preventative medical visits, including appropriate screenings.  

Most of the impairments we see stem from a breakdown in basic health. In a nation where obesity is prevalent, it’s common to see many long-term complications of being overweight, such as diabetes, sleep apnea, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure and even depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control, even modest weight loss, such as 5-10 percent of total body weight, can produce healthy benefits such as lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar – which can in turn improve underwriting results. 

Don’t let your clients be discouraged by the numbers, however. If they are only a few pounds from the next best rate class, underwriters will take into consideration whether they are truly making strides toward living a healthier life.  


Not All Loss is Equal

We see many clients with a history of gastric bypass surgery for weight loss, which is usually rapid. However, underwriters must look at the time period post-surgery to confirm the weight loss is steady and maintained. We also look closely at lab results after these types of surgeries to make sure there isn’t any concern with malnutrition or malabsorption. 

A better approach is slow and steady weight loss that includes a healthy diet and exercise. When you lose weight this way, you’re more likely to keep it off and cause less trauma to your body. 


Many Factors of Fitness

Of course, weight loss is only one component of health and fitness. Clients of any age can start a program for cardio conditioning, strength training, stretching, core balance, mental rest and relaxation, sleep, and healthy eating (after they consult their doctor, of course). Yoga, dance lessons or walking clubs are just a few examples of healthy choices for any client.  

You are never too old or out of shape to get started! Even clients who have been on medication for years can find their way to good health by starting with a few basic lifestyle changes that can also lead to better rates and lower premiums.  


About the Author

Rachel Landrum has been with Ash Brokerage more than eight years with an eye on a holistic approach to underwriting. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from Purdue University, is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, has taken many LOMA exams and has passed all of the Academy of Life Insurance Underwriting exams. Health and fitness are an important part of her life, and she encourages everyone to start healthy habits no matter where they are in life.   


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underwriting build weight fitness

5 Questions You Must Ask Your Relatives


It’s that time of year – do you have another family event this weekend? Whether it’s Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, a graduation party or a family reunion, our lives often revolve around visits with family.

However, longevity has introduced a new dynamic. Because we’re living into our 90s or even to age 100, our visits with relatives have taken on a new meaning – and often a new commitment.


Ask the Hard Questions

I have an idea. The next time you visit your relatives, ask them some important questions about the future:

  1. Where and how do you want to live in your 80s and 90s?

  2. Do you have a plan for when you slow down and need help with basic needs?

  3. If you need long-term care, do you have a preference for where and how it is provided?

  4. Who in the family will be responsible for making decisions about your care?

  5. Who in the family will be responsible for administering care?

These questions we often leave unasked because they are sensitive for you and those you love. But, if you explain that you’re asking these questions out of love and respect for their future, I bet they’ll be willing to discuss their plans.

This conversation isn’t just about their future – it’s about yours, too. Today, people living in their homes longer than any past generation, and any needed care is often provided by those closest to them. It’s noble of you if you are willing to care for a relative … But have you thought about how it could impact your family, your career and your health?


Look at Options

Having a plan is half the battle. Paying for that plan is another issue. Thankfully, there’s an entire suite of private long-term care insurance options to help your relative receive the care they need and allow you to provide support (not the actual caregiving):

  • A traditional plan can provide a monthly sum that will offset the cost of home health care, assisted living or a nursing home

  • With private long-term care insurance, the benefits are income tax free

  • We can combine life insurance with long-term care insurance, or even annuities with long-term care insurance

  • Some companies help you access your 401(k) to help create a private long-term care insurance plan


Your relatives aren’t getting any younger. Now is the time to begin the discussion so everyone can implement a plan for caregiving. You have to address the potential need, determine where you fit, and get your loved ones to embrace a solution that will work for the entire family. 

So next time you visit, don’t just stop by – start the conversation. As they say, “You’ll be glad you did.”


About the Author

Bryan Langdon is passionate about his work – protecting clients and their families. As Ash Brokerage’s national spokesman for long-term care and disability income, he knows it’s important for people to firmly believe in the solutions they are investing in or providing. That’s why he’s sharing the story of the powerful impact that insurance can create – and how the teams at Ash can help make it happen.

No Scare Tactics: Your Clients Need Insurance


Friday the 13th is a few days away, but now is not the time to panic. On this day that’s so often associated with bad luck and superstition, it would be easy to focus on sad stories where the lack of insurance protection exposed consumers and their families to overwhelming risk.

Instead, let’s talk about how diligent advisors can collaborate with insurance specialists at Ash Brokerage to help clients protect their hard-earned assets. Insurance should be sold on need, not scare tactics, so let's take a look at some typical consumer insurance needs. 


Everyone Needs

  • Level Term Life – During working years, life insurance helps families protect against loss of income from premature death so the mortgage can be paid, kids can go to college, and retirement plans can be completed.

  • Disability – Whether attained at work or individually, a disability contract is a key tool in protecting your client’s income if an accident or health event prevents them from working.


Many Need

  • Long-Term Care – Modern asset-based products allow clients to protect their assets from the risk of an extended health even without the risk of rising rates or loss of benefits if they aren’t used.

  • Permanent Life – Many high-income earners are frustrated with how much they can save for retirement on a qualified basis. Besides offering unmatched leverage at death, permanent insurance offers many Roth-like qualities to help people save tax-efficiently now and access their money on a tax-friendly basis later. 


Some Need

  • Business Protection – Business owners often spend more time working in their business versus on it. As a result, they rarely have updated or funded buy-sell agreements, plans to retain key employees, or documented exit strategies. An insurance specialist can help put all of them in motion. 


About the Author

As executive vice president of life sales distribution, Bob Klein is responsible for all of Ash Brokerage’s life, long-term care and disability income insurance sales. He is driven by his desire to help others get the most out of their natural gifts, and he gets the most satisfaction from seeing others grow and succeed.


Life Insurance Long-Term Care Business Owners Disability Needs

Disability Insurance: Key Coverage for Key People


Do you have clients who are business owners? Then you should be asking them some key questions: 

  • Do they have key employees who are critical to the success of their business? Are the business owners themselves the key employees? 

  • What would it mean to the business if their key employees were not able to work every day? Lost sales? Lost revenue? Lost clients? A potentially lost business? 

Nearly every business has key employees who are vital to its success – without them, the negative effects could be catastrophic. That’s why we’re having more conversations than ever about key person disability insurance. This type of coverage is critical to the planning process for business owner clients. 

How Key Person Disability Insurance Works

  • The coverage provides an indemnity benefit to the business owner, via lump sum or monthly payment, if/when the key person becomes disabled 

  • The policy’s overall benefit is a multiple of the insured’s income – usually up to two times their salary, but there may be some variation

  • Normally, there is a 90-day waiting period, but again this could vary

  • The benefit can be paid out for two years

You may already be familiar with key person life insurance – that’s a great product, too. The key difference is the qualifying event. With life insurance, it’s the death of the key person, but with disability coverage, it’s a disabling injury or illness. 

Either event could be devastating to the business, but there’s a much higher probability of being disabled during your working years versus dying. So, if your clients want to insure a key employee with life insurance, they should absolutely insure them with disability insurance as well. 


About the Author

As vice president of disability income and long-term care insurance at Ash Brokerage, Tim Kukieza knows coverage he helps place will dramatically and positively impacts clients’ lives when they need it most. His vast knowledge comes from more than 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, including working with a number a carriers before joining Ash Brokerage.  

DI Key Person Disability Insurance Business Owners