When my mother was young, she was a home health care aide for the local hospital. She enjoyed helping people – it was in her nature to care for those who could not properly care for themselves. But, she had no idea she would one day be sick herself, and unable to work as a caregiver.
After my sister way born, my mother’s health started to decline. Her asthma got worse. She started having severe depression and anxiety episodes. Her body was always in pain, no matter what she did. We used to joke about the “pharmacy” that she carried around with her, but in all actuality, it was sad. My mother was young, but she felt like someone twice her age.
Then, about 10 or so years ago, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She finally had an explanation for her aches and pains. But, on top of that, her asthma had developed into COPD, even though she had never smoked a day in her life. She could barely get out of bed most days. Her depression was worse than ever. She would end up hospitalized every time she got sick, mainly with upper respiratory issues.
Amid all her medical issues, she was no longer able to work full-time. Whenever she would land a job, a few months into it, she would fall ill and need to be hospitalized … then she would lose her job again.
The cycle continued. Eventually, she learned her immune system was basically not functioning. But, without a job to provide proper health insurance, she had no coverage for the medication she needed.
She applied for Social Security Disability Income, but was rejected – three times. It didn’t matter that her physicians had all written letters. It didn’t matter that she had significant proof she was unable to work full-time. It didn’t matter that her illnesses were expected to last over a year.
I’m going to repeat that – she was unable to work full-time and her illnesses were expected to last over a year. That is the basic definition of qualifying for Social Security. But still, she was denied time after time.
Finally, she agreed to hire an attorney. After more than a year and a couple hearings, she has finally been approved to receive Social Security Disability Income. She’ll have some money coming in each month and will no longer have to worry about insurance. She can start focusing on getting better and enjoying her grandchildren.
I wanted to share my mom’s story for two reasons:
As I said, no one believes a disability will happen to them. You may not always see them, and you probably never expect them, but disabilities do happen.
Nowadays, we have an “awareness month” for just about anything. Well, May is no exception. In our industry, May is known as Disability Insurance Awareness Month. Everyone in the business is out there focusing on getting the word out in May. It gets me to wonder, why are we not talking about disability insurance every month?
For some, disability insurance is their primary business, but those advisors are few and far between. A typical advisor may discuss disability insurance as a reactive topic. But, as a wise man once said, if your wait for a client to bring up their need for disability insurance, it's too late. They're probably already uninsurable.
As experts, we have a responsibility to educate the millions of workers in this country on not just their need, but the flip-side of that coin … What would their life look like without income protection? That visual is quite disconcerting.
I’m a believer in real-life stories resonating most with people. Just this morning, I was searching for content to post on a social networking site, and I came across a video that made me pause.* Here was this young guy, just starting his professional career, otherwise healthy, and BAM! While he was crossing the street, he was hit by a drunk driver. Thankfully, he survived, but the repercussions were catastrophic. He spent a considerable amount of time in the hospital, had endless amounts of rehab, and is still not fully recovered. He has residual effects from the accident, and even though he is mostly recovered, he is still unable to work.
Thankfully, this young person understood the importance of individual disability insurance and had purchased policies while he was healthy. Unfortunately, he is in the minority. Having this coverage has allowed him to focus more on his recovery, and not so much on the strain of the unexpected accident.
People don't believe they will become disabled. It’s an inherent flaw in each of us. We see other people have medical issues, or get into catastrophic and tragic accidents, but we will refuse to see that we are one action away – one car ride, one cross of a busy street, one fall from a ladder, one major diagnosis – from something happening to us.
Talk about disability insurance. All year long. Talk about it with each of your clients who are working full-time and rely on their paycheck. Ask the tough questions – you may uncover more ways you can help your friends, family and clients. Disability insurance is much more than adding a revenue stream to your portfolio. It’s more than premium. It’s about protecting your client’s most valuable asset – their ability to earn a paycheck.
Meghan Cormany, sales development specialist for disability insurance, helps provide sales concepts and solutions to advisors, so they may add value and protection to their clients. Meghan has been an integral part of the Ash Brokerage DI team since 2008 and is a leader in disability sales.
Do you have clients who are business owners? Then you should be asking them some key questions:
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.
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.
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.
© 2018 Ash Brokerage LLC.