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Disability Insurance: Not Just for the Affluent Market


Disability-InsuranceUntil recently, disability insurance market was mainly targeted toward affluent households, those with annual earnings of more than $100,000 and those with specialized or highly skilled occupations like physicians, dentists, and attorneys. Throughout the years, products and benefits, pricing and affordability, and the marketing and sales approach have been geared to suit the affluent market.

However, now that disability insurance sales have plateaued, carriers are looking to new markets to show growth. Enter the middle-market. According to the US 2012 Census, 48 million households are considered middle income; households with annual earnings of $35,000 - $100,000. The middle-market segment is more than twice the size of the affluent market.

And guess what? Very few producers are talking to them about disability insurance or better said, “income protection.” Entering this market is relatively easy. In fact, you probably have a considerable number of middle-market clients in your practice.

Let’s look closely at the facts that impact the middle-market.

  • 53% of employer benefit packages do not include long-term disability insurance (LIMRA)
  • 76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck ( 2013)

While the premium for the typical disability insurance policy would be prohibitive to your middle-market clients, carriers are now adjusting the pricing and coverages of disability insurance products to make them more affordable. Benefits that are essential in the affluent market may be just not that important in the middle-market. For example, carriers can make the coverage more affordable by limiting coverage conditions that drive higher premiums. The “Own-Occ” coverage definition is important for those in specialized occupations. Middle-market earners are more than likely well-served with the simpler “Modified Own-Occ” or “Any-Occ” definitions. That’s because someone who works in an office setting might be able to transition to a job that accommodates duty limitations with little to no impact on earnings. Not so, for a physician or an attorney. Download the Own-Occ Oversell Quick Tip for more on this issue.

Which of your clients should you talk to about disability income?

Most of your working clients need help, but let’s narrow the field initially.

  • If you work primarily in personal lines, talk to all your homeowner clients. According to a study by Harvard Law School’s Christopher T. Robertson, medical situations contribute to almost half of home foreclosures.
  • If your practice focuses on life insurance, talk to the clients you worked with on a mortgage protection policy. You can also request a disability insurance quote to present as a supplement to every life insurance quote.
  • If your specialty is health insurance, talk to your clients in their prime earning years, Gen X and Gen Y clients. They have the most income to lose because their earning years are the longest.

How should you start the conversation?

Many middle-market consumers are unaware of the risk associated with being off work due to disability. Start the conversation with a “Did You Know” question to pique their interest. has a short downloadable quiz you can use to raise disability awareness with your clients. You can also show them this insightful infographic as part of your presentation.

Targeting the middle-market for income protection isn’t so farfetched:

  • The market is large
  • Carriers are moving down market
  • Carriers are adjusting products to meet the market
  • You already have middle-market clients in your practice
  • It is easy to transition the conversation from your primary practice area to disability insurance

And most importantly, DIS is in your back pocket, with the products and support you need to target the middle-market with suitable disability insurance products. Request a disability insurance quote today, and let us know how we can help you be successful.

Infographic: Why You Need Disability Insurance


Insurance agents
Share this insightful new infographic with your clients to educate them about the risk of disability and the need for paycheck protection. Also, use the embed code below to add this infographic to your website.

Consumers –
Check out the facts, and don't wait another day to secure adequate paycheck protection. Getting disability insurance is one decision you’ll never regret! Request a quote today!

(Click infographic to enlarge as pdf)



Share this Image On Your Site

Disability insurance in action: When a stroke silenced an insurance producer


Disability-InsuranceWhat tool is the MOST IMPORTANT to your success as an insurance producer?

It’s not a sales script or a brochure. It’s not a call center or a follow up strategy. It’s not even a good system for insurance lead generation. While all of these tools are important, they quickly fall flat without a person behind them.

When it comes to selling insurance, people make the difference. They establish rapport, build need, share compelling testimonials, overcome objections and explain all the pesky product details. And when you think about it, insurance sales professionals achieve all of these important objectives through the power of speech.

In fact, your ability to speak may be your most important sales tool as an insurance producer. So, imagine for a moment how scary it would be to lose your ability to speak for a year or more!  That’s exactly what happened to insurance producer, Bob D.

Bob’s Story

A few years ago, Bob was nearly killed by an unexpected stroke. Fortunately, he survived. However, his doctors delivered some disturbing news: They believed he would regain use of all functions – EXCEPT SPEECH. 

Have you ever stopped to think about how you might do your job as an insurance professional if you were unable to talk? That’s exactly the dilemma that Bob had to mull over. As an insurance agent, he could more easily work without the ability to walk, then he could without the ability to talk!

Fortunately, Bob believed in disability insurance and he had taken the time to invest in paycheck protection for himself years earlier.

Instead of losing everything he owned during this potential financial crisis, his disability insurance coverage bought him the valuable time needed to retrain his brain to communicate. Over time, he regained his ability to speak and to tell everyone his personal disability insurance success story.  

If Bob ever had any doubts about the value of disability insurance, those doubts are now erased forever. Share this story with everyone you know, and if you haven’t already done so, get paycheck protection for yourself!

Want more great DI sales advice? Download our all new resource, Three Secret Questions That Can Unlock Your Sales Destiny.”

Annual Reviews – The Perfect Opportunity for LTCi Education


LTCi-EducationAre you conducting annual reviews with at least some of your clients? The annual review, used successfully by many professionals, is not only a forum for reviewing product portfolios, protection levels and investment performance; it’s also an ideal time to educate clients.

Investing in your clients’ knowledge achieves three valuable objectives. It:

1.  Establishes your expertise

2.  Preempts your competitors

3.  Empowers clients to make better financial decisions

    The educational topic will vary by client depending on several factors including age, life stage and financial position. The topic doesn’t always have to be tied to a product. The annual review is a long-term play that leads to a well-integrated practice where your clients have more than one line of business with you and are more likely to be loyal over the long-term.

    Speaking of long-term, long-term care can be a great education topic to discuss with some clients. So many people, even those who are well-informed, have little knowledge of long-term care costs, long-term care insurance, and what, if any, long-term care is covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

    Here are a few facts (found in two studies by Genworth, Beyond Dollars 2013 and Cost of Care 2014) that can better inform your client about the cost of long-term care.

    • Providing long-term care in the home is the favored choice for many. The national median cost for Homemaker services is $19/hour; $20/hour for Home Health Aide services. A conservation estimate for one hour of care each day 5 days a week, comes close to $5,000 a year.
    • The national median monthly cost of care provided in an assisted living facility is $3,500; in a nursing home the cost of care in a semi-private room jumps to roughly $6,360.
    • Based on the national median averages, the annual cost of care provided in an assisted living facility could hover around $42,000; for nursing home care $72,000.

    Highlighting long-term care facts is a great way to pique your client’s interest. Many clients believe the cost of a long-term care insurance policy is expensive. And it can be. Address the silent objection directly. Acknowledge that some long-term care insurance policies can be expensive. Then, take the opportunity to highlight your expertise and continue the education process with the following five steps.

    1.  Share the facts about long-term care claims. For instance according to an November 2013 article in Broker World Magazine:

      • 42% of claims last less than one year.
      • 84% are received at home.
      • 6% are in assisted living.
      • Only 10% are received in a nursing facility.

      2.  Tell your clients that your knowledge about long-term care insurance claims helps you design a policy for them that maximizes the policy benefits and minimizes the policy premiums.

        3.  Ask your clients if, based on the claim statistics, they feel sufficiently protected with a policy that provides a three year benefit period. It keeps the premium affordable yet provides a reasonable period of coverage.

          4.  Now that you have an idea of the benefit period, introduce the daily benefit amount. Refer back to the cost of care numbers you shared earlier. The conversation may go something like this:

            “We know that 84% of long-term care is provided in the home. And we also saw that the national median average for home care was $19/hour for homemaker services and $20/hour for home health aide services. Arriving at how many hours per day care are needed will help us decide the benefit amount.”

            5.  From there you can talk through the possibilities with your clients. What amount of coverage is enough for them feel comfortable and still have an affordable policy?

              The cost of care can be immobilizing for some clients and that’s the last thing you want. By introducing important facts about the cost and the frequency of long-term care, you can educate clients about the risk and present an affordable solution. Need more assistance? Contact me anytime and download our long-term care insurance broker kit today.

              Back-to-school basics for insurance professionals


              Insurance-ProfessionalsAs summer comes to a close and the leaves begin to take on new colors, the biggest change to my daily routine is that I now order a pumpkin spice latte instead of my usual Americano.  For me, fall no longer brings back the burden of a new school year or the anxiety of trying to finalize a schedule that kept my Fridays open. And—fingers crossed—it’ll be years before I have kids of my own to drop off for their first days of school.  But despite the fact that I don’t have to head back to school this fall, there are some back-to-school basics that I (try to) never forget.

              1.  School supplies – When we were younger, our biggest decision was probably deciding between a box of 16 or 64 crayons (though I always envied the kids with the 120-count boxes).  Now, you probably don’t need a new box of crayons, but you should still consider investing in new tools to help you jump out of your summer slump. Whether it’s updated business cards, a current smartphone (so you can access the handy-dandy DIS mobile quote engine app, of course), or even a few new outfits (dress for the job you want, yadda, yadda, yadda), you’ll feel more refreshed and prepared to push through the fall, all the way to the holidays.

              2.  Sit where you can see – While I was quick to steal any back row seat in high school, I quickly learned in college that the front row is where I did my best learning. I’m not sure if it was the sudden realization that I was paying to be there, or the fact that I chose a major that genuinely interested me, but regardless, when I went to class, I wanted to learn as much as I could.  When you log in to a seminar or attend a conference, do you sit back and play with your phone, just waiting for the lecture to be over?  Or do you take notes, ask questions and make an effort to use your time wisely and learn?  Even if you’re just trying to get through your CE credits, remember, this is your career.  You WANT to be the best at your job, right?

              3.  New textbooks – Remember when you used to shell out hundreds of dollars for textbooks, only for your professors to test you solely of their lectures?  Well, good news—online content is free! Take some time to browse insurance news sites and industry-related blogs for up-to-date information on carriers, products, regulations, etc. Just because you don’t have to take tests or write papers doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continually educate yourself.

              4.  Make new friends – Every year when my mother dropped me off for school, she’d smile, wave and say, “Make new friends!”  To me, she was a weirdo, because I already had friends.  Why did I need new ones?  Well, there are several reasons.  For one, meeting new people helps you work on your communication skills.  We live in a digital world where most communication happens through email, texts and social media, making it a rare occasion when we have to converse face-to-face. By stepping out of your comfort zone and engaging with strangers, you’ll open yourself up to new experiences, new contacts and, if you’re lucky, new clients.

              5.  Give new subjects a chance – From the moment I entered my freshman year of college, I knew I wanted to be a journalist.  By the beginning of my junior year I had finished all my upper division English courses, and I spent my remaining semesters taking my general educations courses (very backwards, I know). But because I had been so set on studying English, I didn’t give myself the opportunity to explore other majors and professions.  By the time I took economics, I was too close to graduation to consider moving in a new direction, despite my newfound love for business. Most insurance agents tend to specialize in one or two key areas.  Don’t be afraid to learn about other types of coverage and expand your knowledge on new products. You might think your passion lies with life and health, but what if your talent is selling LTCI or critical illness insurance?  We’re fortunate to be in an industry that allows us to be masters of several products, so don’t be quick to pigeonhole yourself too soon.

              Back to school season is the perfect time to get back to business. Need a refresher? Start with D.I. Dan’s Crash Course.

              Disability Insurance Inspiration: The “Ice Bucket Challenge” and The Iron Horse


              Disability-InsuranceYou would have to live under a rock to have missed the remarkable phenomenon of the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge.” It will soon exceed $100 million raised to further ALS awareness and research. Who would have guessed that watching people getting doused with buckets of ice water could be so much fun?

              Beverly, Mass., resident Pete Frates, along with his family, helped to make the “Ice Bucket Challenge” go viral on the social sites Facebook and Twitter. Frates, 29, has lived with ALS since 2012, and has worked with The ALS Association’s Massachusetts Chapter. A former Division 1 college athlete with Boston College baseball, Frates tirelessly spreads awareness of ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease according to the ALS website.

              And speaking of Lou Gehrig, this year is the 75th anniversary of Gehrig’s retirement from baseball. His premature retirement at age 36 was forced by the symptoms of this devastating disease. Many of us have forgotten the amazing details of Gehrig’s baseball career including:

              • Batting an average of at least .300 in every year of his career except the one previous to retirement. A .340 lifetime batting average.
              • Collecting more than 400 total bases in 5 different seasons, a major league record.
              • Hitting 23 career grand slam home runs, a major league record.
              • Earning recognition as the game’s greatest total runs producer in baseball’s history thanks to the combination of his RBIs and run scoring.
              • Achieving the American League record of 184 RBIs in 1931, a mark still standing today.
              • Playing every game for 13 seasons. X-rays taken late in his career showed 17 different fractures that had healed while he continued to play.

              Lou Gehrig was dubbed The Iron Horse by the press based on his streak of playing 2,130 consecutive games, which ended when he asked his manager to take him out the lineup due to his fading abilities (and imminent disability diagnosis). Gehrig’s record stood for 62 years until it was broken by Cal Ripken Jr. in 1995.

              Iron Horse has morphed over the years to become Iron Man, an athlete of unusual physical endurance. And yet, this Iron Horse - Lou Gehrig, experienced a career ending diagnosis, disability and eventual death in his mid-thirties. Still feeling invincible?

              Even highly-skilled athletes in the prime of life become disabled. And no, those disabilities are not necessarily caused by the physical demands of their sport or an accident. Have you taken time to protect your most valuable asset, your ability to earn an income? Request a disability insurance quote and learn more here.

              Disability Insurance for Producers


              Disability-Insurance-For-ProducersMany of the insurance producers and financial advisors DIS works with also handle their own personal insurance. Unfortunately, we have found that while most agents and advisors recommend individual DI for their clients, they often don’t purchase coverage on themselves! 

              Many producers who do apply for coverage run into the following problems:

              • The carrier does not offer disability insurance to insurance producers.
              • Their income can be complicated leading to lower offered benefit amounts than applied for.
              • They often fail to purchase the best product, features, and pricing available!

              Don’t physicians sometimes ask for a second opinion from a specialist? Would you, as the DI client, appreciate a second opinion from someone fully engaged as a DI specialist? Isn’t it time to look carefully at your own DI protection? We’ll do the analysis!

              How does DIS make it easier?

              1. If you have group DI or individual DI send us your policy summary, schedule page or group booklet. We’ll grab the data and review your current coverage.
              2. If you are unsure what income number can be used for disability insurance, send us your tax return and we will analyze it to make sure you are able to get to the benefit amount needed.
              3. For nearly every case, we prepare 3 or more quotes and carefully summarize them on our DI Analyzer. The DI Analyzer often becomes the basis of our plan recommendation. It covers the important definitions, varying benefit amounts, included riders, a premium comparison and carrier financial ratings. Due to some significant improvements in classing by one of our top carriers, many insurance producers can now get the top occupation class. Translated, this means a preferred product at a very competitive price!

              Are you sure you still want to sort all this out yourself? And don’t your clients deserve that same expertise? The best way to sell more disability insurance is to own the coverage yourself! Move beyond a one size fits all single carrier DI solution and work with professionals offering a broad portfolio and significant expertise. 

              We look forward to working with you!

              Filial Responsibility: What You Need to Know


              Filial-ResponsibilityA few years ago, the U.S. Census Bureau published a report called “The Next Four Decades,” showing how elder demographics are expected to change between 2010 and 2050. In short? They’re expected to grow. (A lot.)

              Today, for every 100 people of traditional working age, there are 22 seniors: this is called the dependency ratio. By 2030, that number is projected to hit 35, at which point elders will represent 19% of the total population.

              This explosion of non-working elders brings with it certain obligations. Who will care for those who cannot care for themselves? Usually, the answer falls along family lines.

              What is filial responsibility?

              Filial responsibility is the obligation that adult children have to care for their aging parents.

              In the U.S., some thirty States have laws about filial responsibility on the books, stipulating that if parents can’t pay their medical bills, the debt will transfer to the children. In about two-thirds of these States, says Life Health Pro, providers of long-term care have the right to sue family members to recover their costs.

              This type of law is not a new phenomenon. There were filial responsibility laws in England up to 400 years ago; closer to home, in the U.S. they’ve been part of the system for decades. Their purpose is to lighten the load on the State, lifting costs off the welfare system by placing them back on the family.

              When does it become an issue?

              Most of the time, these laws are not enforced. When they are, often they take the child’s ability to pay into account. And there are federal laws that prohibit care providers from going after children (source).

              That doesn’t mean, however, that your clients are universally off the hook. According to Life Health Pro:

              "A Pennsylvania state appeals court has ruled that the adult son of a nursing home resident is responsible for her unpaid $93,000 bill. And the decision has some elder care lawyers wondering if this is just the beginning of a trend."

              What about Medicare?

              Filial responsibility laws apply only to patients who don’t qualify for Medicare. Elders in the Medicare system are covered by Medicare.

              So, that means their long-term care needs are taken care of, right?

              Wrong. Remember that Medicare doesn't cover long-term care. These expenses are the patient’s responsibility. If the patient can’t pay, they fall under the umbrella of filial responsibility.

              Educate your customers

              We encourage you to talk to your customers about filial responsibility. Educate them on their parents’ need for long-term care insurance, and brainstorm ways to resolve any concerns they may have about broaching the subject with their parents.

              Make sure they understand their risks, too. Nolo says that adult children are most likely to be held accountable for their parents’ long-term care expenses if the following criteria apply to them: 

              • The parent received care in a state that has a filial responsibility law
              • The parent did not qualify for Medicaid when receiving care
              • The parent does not have the money to pay the bill
              • The child has the money to pay the bill
              • The caregiver chooses to sue the child

              Remember to add to this list: 

              • The parent received long-term care in a state that has a filial responsibility law, whether or not they qualify for Medicaid or Medicare

              To help your customers find answers or create a long-term care plan, you may also want to direct them to

              Most of all, make sure they understand what long-term care is, and what this type of insurance covers. Here's an overview.  Also, our LTCI Fact Sheet #1 is an invaluable tool to share with clients.


              51 things scarier than selling disability insurance


              Selling-Disability-InsuranceIt’s come to my attention that there are still some agents out there who aren’t selling disability insurance.  I can only assume it’s because they’re a little frightened by the process.  Maybe they’re worried their clients will ask questions about riders they’re unfamiliar with, or maybe they don’t know where to place clients with pre-existing medical conditions.  Maybe they don’t even know how to approach the subject with their clients.  Well, fear not dear agents, for DIS is here to help you overcome these obstacles!  Trust me, selling disability insurance isn’t scary.  In fact, it’s the least scary thing I can think of.  That’s why I decided to make a list of all the things that are far scarier than selling disability insurance, just to prove my point.  Enjoy!

              51 things scarier than selling disability insurance

              1. Teenage drivers
              2. Student loans
              3. Peacocks flying in your direction
              4. Madagascar hissing cockroaches
              5. Mail from the collections office
              6. Cars without seat belts
              7. A bad haircut
              8. Ultra marathons
              9. Getting bit by a squirrel that may, or may not, have rabies
              10. Receiving an email from your boss that reads, “We need to talk…immediately.”
              11. Getting motion sickness on a plane with no barf bags
              12. Rain… on your wedding day
              13. Scuba diving with sharks
              14. The World Clown Convention
              15. Babysitting 4+ kids by yourself
              16. Snakes on a plane
              17. Spiders – any size, anywhere
              18. Getting a foot cramp while in the deep end
              19. The first day of high school
              20. Getting locked out of your house during a thunder storm
              21. Choking on a Gobstopper while driving your car
              22. Being locked in a cemetery alone on Halloween
              23. The “Saw” movies
              24. Spending the night in Kodiak Alaska with raw meat outside of your tent
              25. Jumping off a waterfall without knowing what’s at the bottom
              26. A broken coffee pot
              27. Public speaking
              28. Getting stuck in a corn maze after dark
              29. Nuclear warfare
              30. Getting caught in a rip current
              31. Slow internet speed
              32. Getting stranded on a remote island in any sort of “Lost” scenario
              33. Killer whales that have the intention of killing
              34. Angry rhinos
              35. Getting stuck on a broken rollercoaster
              36. Racing in a triathlon without training
              37. Crash landing an airplane
              38. Performing karaoke in front of hundreds of people
              39. Finding out you washed your favorite white shirt with a colored sock
              40. Driving on black ice
              41. Putting your hand in the garbage disposal to pull out whatever’s stuck in there
              42. Going to the bathroom in the middle of the night when your room is a mess
              43. The fact that “Jaws” was based off the true story of the 1916 shark attacks on the New Jersey shore
              44. Losing your wallet
              45. Singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl
              46. Leaving for a business trip and later realizing you forgot your phone charger
              47. The possibility that the plot of Armageddon or Deep Impact could in fact happen
              48. Losing your child at Disneyland
              49. Finding your lost child inside a store after they’ve broken several you-break-it-you-buy-it items
              50. Not having DI
              51. Getting sued by your client after they become disabled and blame you for not offering them disability insurance

              Now that you’re ready to conquer your fear, get started by downloading our Broker Opportunity Kit today.

              A smart way to pay for long-term care insurance: A health savings account


              Long-Term-Care-Insurance-FundingWhether we’re buying a new car, planning a vacation getaway, or choosing a cellular plan, we Americans love having plenty of choices. And when it comes to financing long-term care costs, your clients have choices too.

              As an insurance broker, you’ve probably been stressing the need for and singing the praises of long-term care insurance to your clients for a long time. You’ve cited the statistics – how 70% of Americans who reach age 65 will need long-term care at some point in their lives. You’ve told them how they can spare their families the financial burden and stress of having to pay for a loved one’s long-term care out of pocket.

              But have you told them they can finance their long-term care insurance premiums with their Health Savings Account (HSA)?

              Health savings accounts are becoming one of the most popular savings vehicles. And it’s easy to see why – they’re completely tax free, funded with pre-tax dollars and not subject to taxes at withdrawal, so they can be an excellent way to save for future medical costs. HSA funds can be used to pay for COBRA coverage, healthcare coverage while unemployed, Medicare, or other health coverage at age 65 or older.

              HSAs are also a great way to help pay for long-term care costs.

              With a “tax-qualified” long-term care insurance policy, anyone can use money from their HSA to pay a portion of the premiums, all tax-free. A long-term care insurance policy is considered tax-qualified if it pays benefits when the insured is unable to perform at least two activities of daily living (such as dressing and bathing) or when the insured has a severe cognitive impairment. Most LTCI policies qualify.

              The amount an insured can withdraw tax-free to help pay for long-term care insurance premiums depends on their age. Here’s the breakdown on how much can be used from an HSA for 2014:

              • Up to $370 if age 40 or younger
              • $700 if age 41 to 50
              • $1,400 if age 51 to 60
              • $3,720 if age 61 to 70
              • $4,660 if over 70 

              These amounts are adjusted annually for inflation.

              Help your clients develop their long-term care insurance funding strategy

              With the need for long-term care on the rise, the need for Long-Term Care Insurance will continue to grow too. And your clients want choices. Since HSAs are still relatively new, many people aren’t aware of their potential for financial planning. That spells opportunity for you to educate them.

              When you’re ready to present a long-term care insurance quote, count on DIS to support you throughout the sales process. Ready to get started? Download our LTCi Broker Kit here or contact me for more information.

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