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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 ElderLawAnswers.com.

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.

Why Disability Insurance Policy Language Matters: Waiver of Premium

 

Disability-InsuranceWaiver of premium is a feature that is commonly offered on individual DI policies.  In fact, I would bet that most of us hardly give the feature a second look on a DI illustration.  It’s just assumed that if the client is disabled, the premium payments will stop until the client is back to work, and any premiums sent in when the client was initially disabled will be refunded.  But for such a simple policy feature, there are actually significant differences between carriers in how it works.

Consider the following scenario:

Your client, a hairstylist, has a stroke.  After three months of recovery, she is able to start working on a part time basis and continues to do so for a full year.  How might the benefits under waiver of premium vary by carrier assuming a policy with a 60 day elimination period and a monthly premium of $75?

  • White Collar Carrier: $1,125 in savings
  • Blue Collar Carrier #1: $225 in savings
  • Blue Collar Carrier #2: $0 in savings

Why the disparity in savings?

  • White Collar Carrier: This carrier will waive all premiums due while the client is receiving disability benefits (full or partial) as well as recovery benefits.  After the waiting period has been completed, the carrier will refund premiums paid after the date of the client’s disability. This saves the client $1,125 during a time of limited income as well as additional expenses. Total Savings: $1,125
  • Blue Collar Carrier #1: This carrier will waive premium due after the client has been totally disabled for the elimination period.  Premiums are not waived while the client is partially disabled. This client would be able to have one month’s premium waived while totally disabled and receive a refund of the prior two month’s premiums after the date of her disability.  This would save the client $225 however she would have to continue to pay the premium on her policy while only able to work part time and partially disabled. Total Savings: $225
  • Blue Collar Carrier #2: This carrier will waive the premiums due after 90 days of continuous total disability (even with a 60 day elimination period).  Premiums paid during the 90 day period of total disability will be refunded.  Unfortunately, since the client was not totally disabled for 90 days, she would not be eligible for have any premiums refunded. Also, since she is only partially and not totally disabled, she would not be eligible to have premiums waived.  This carrier would save the client $0.  In order to keep her policy in-force, she would have to continue to pay the premium on her policy while working part time and partially disabled. Total Savings: $0

These are generalizations, meant to illustrate the importance of contract language so please check the specific product language of the carrier you are selling (or call and ask us)!  Also, I firmly believe that some coverage is always better than none at all.  If the premium of a white collar carrier policy is prohibitive, then it would be in the client’s best interest to have a blue collar type policy even if the definitions are not as comprehensive.

Call on DIS for the advice you need to protect your clients’ paychecks!  Looking for more detailed information about policy design? Read my previous articles:  Multi-Life: The Discount Deal of Disability Insurance and The $27,600 Difference: Why Disability Insurance Policy Language Matters.

Super Heroes + Insurance Agents = Super Agents

 

Insurance-AgentsEvery summer Trekkies, comic collectors and fans of the supernatural flock to Comic-Con International: San Diego for a weekend event that celebrates the influence of comics in art and culture. Since 1970, the comic book convention has grown to include celebrity panels, film screenings and costumes galore.

And though I’ve never read a comic outside of the “Archie” series and I couldn’t tell you the difference between Star Trek and Star Wars, I, like most San Diegans, headed downtown over the weekend for a little people watching.  Zombies and heroes and cartoons, oh my!

Here’s what I discovered--all bias aide, insurance professionals aren’t all that different from super heroes.  We might not be fighting crime or beating up bad guys, but we are, in a sense, protecting the public.  AND—we, too, look good while doing it, with or without a cape, a sidekick or a fancy car/flying contraption. We have so much in common with super heroes, we’re practically supernatural beings. 

Check out the descriptions below and let me know in the comments which super hero you’re most like. **Personally, I’m Batman** 

  • Superman – You have a strong moral compass.  From an early age you realized your strengths and you resolved to use your talents helping others. You don’t just go above and beyond for your clients, you’d literally fly to the ends of the earth to help save their rates and protect their policies.  
  • Thor – You rule with an iron fist, but in a positive way.  You have amazing senses, making you a great listener and a sweet talker. You’re ability to maintain control throughout the application and underwriting process strengthens your execution and ability to close sales. You’ve been in the game along time and rookie agents could learn a thing or two from you. 
  • Wolverine – Sticks and stones won’t break your bones and words will never hurt you.  You don’t see setbacks as hindrances, but instead heal quickly and move on. You’re strength is your ability to forget the past and look toward the future and how you can improve. You’re practically immune to failure. 
  • Batman –You always have the newest gadgets and most advanced technology. You understand the need for social media and you’re a wizard when it comes to finding clients online.  You might spend your days in the office, but it’s at night when the real work gets done. 
  • Mystique – You can do it all. Life, DI, commercial lines, personal lines—regardless of the product, you can sell it. You know the insurance industry is always changing and you’re more than willing to shape-shift into whatever position is going to help your clients and your company. 
  • Spiderman – You’re very family-oriented and your past experiences give you insight to the importance of insurance coverage. Your “spider-sense” allows you to react quickly to problems.  Basically, with just a flick of the wrist, you can get whatever your client needs. 
  • Iron Man – You’re highly intelligent (albeit a little cocky), making you an expert in several areas within the industry.  Your peers might misconstrue your demeanor as snobbish, but that doesn’t stop you from excelling. You know what’s best for your clients, so you wear thick armor to shield the haters…err, competition. Whatever—you.are.Iron.Man. 
  • Storm – Your network is vast and powerful, allowing you to take full command of the resources available to you.  Whether it’s calling in special favors, or sweet-talking an underwriter, you have a real knack for controlling situations when you feel as though you’re being backed into a corner. 
  • Hulk – You use your size to get what you want.  You’re kind of a big deal, so you’re used to getting your way.  And if you don’t get what you want, you get a little angry. Underwriters and carriers won’t like you when you’re angry, but really, deep down, you’re just a nice guy who can’t always contain your emotions. HULK SMASH. 
  • Professor X – You’re the peacemaker. Whether the carrier or your client has a problem, you’re quick to strategize a solution that will make everyone happy.  A real thinker, you have a keen insight to the needs of your clients, enabling you to cross-sell more easily.

Now that you’ve channeled your inner Super Agent, go forth and do good. You can start by learning how to choose the perfect prospect. Our free report helps you identify the good, the bad and the ugly!  Download it here!

What Stay-at-home Spouses Are Worth and Why Critical Illness Insurance Is Essential

 

Critical-Illness-InsuranceDo any of your customers live in single-income households?

If so, they’re probably well aware that the person who stays home is an invaluable member of the team. Often an unsung hero, the stay-at-home spouse bears the full responsibility of running the household, supporting their spouse’s career and raising their children.

Yet while it’s easy to talk about how much an employed person is worth – they have wages, after all – it’s much harder to quantify the value of the one who stays home.

Salary.com is out to change that.

How much is a stay-at-home spouse worth?

This year saw the 14th annual “Mom Salary” survey, in which Salary.com used their salary wizard to collect data from 15,000 stay-at-home moms. Participants submitted the number of hours they spend each week doing various jobs; Salary.com compiled the data to answer the question, “What if moms were paid?

And the results?

“Stay-at-home moms went from working 94 hours per week last year to 96.5 hours on household and childcare duties in 2014. If paid for their 40 hours plus 56.5 hours of overtime, stay-at-home moms would earn $118,905 – an increase of more than $5,000 from last year” (source).

Lest it go unsaid, moms aren’t the only ones who stay at home. That’s why Salary.com also has a salary wizard for stay-at-home dads.

What would happen if they were unable to work?

If a stay-at-home spouse was injured or ill, how much would it cost to hire someone to fill in? To answer that question, let’s look at the weekly work breakdown for the average stay-at-home mom: 

  • Meal prep: 14.5 hours/wk. Hiring a cook: $203.58/wk
  • Cleaning: 7.8 hours/wk. Hiring a janitor: $79.09/wk
  • House-keeping: 14.6 hours/wk. Hiring a housekeeper: $148.77/wk
  • Doing laundry: 6.5 hours/wk. Hiring a laundry operator: $65.65/wk
  • Shuttling family members: 7.8 hours/wk. Hiring a driver: $106.47/wk

Those tasks alone total about $600 a week – and that’s not even the full list. Here’s the infographic where you can learn more.

Paycheck protection for the stay-at-home spouse

It would be wonderful if stay-at-home spouses got paid for their work. Unfortunately, they don’t. The value they provide is invisible, measured in terms not of what they earn, but of what their family doesn’t have to spend.

Yet when illness or injury disables a stay-at-home spouse, that value becomes all too apparent, as expenses pile up out of nowhere.

Although disability insurance is not available for stay-at-home spouses, there are ways to protect that “invisible paycheck” through critical illness insurance. If the stay-at-home spouse is diagnosed with a covered critical illness, the policy immediately pays a lump sum, which the family can use to hire help, among other things.

We encourage you to talk to your customers about critical illness insurance for the stay-at-home spouse in their family. Download the sales guide here. Or, request a critical illness insurance quote.

Even the Invincible: When Athletes Need Disability Insurance

 

Disability-InsuranceWe’re all human, although it’s easy to forget when you’re watching your favorite athletes at the top of their games. Athletes are people who’ve cultivated such remarkable physical abilities that when we see them in their element, we’re filled with awe and delight. It’s wonderful to realize just how powerful, how fast, how agile they really are.

But no one’s invincible – not even the superhuman athletes we just watched in the World Cup. Below are a few examples of how disability affects everyone.

BASE Jumper Jeb Corliss

BASE jumping is a little like skydiving: both events involve jumping from a height and trusting your parachute (or similar) to slow your fall.

But BASE jumping is much more dangerous, because you’re jumping from fixed objects at a lower altitude. That means you can’t rely on air speed to stabilize your fall and help you deploy your parachute successfully. BASE jumpers ride a fine line between vulnerability (the risks are extreme) and invincibility (a tempting delusion for some jumpers).

Jeb Corliss had made 1,000 jumps from many well-known sites – the Eiffel Tower among them – before he smashed into some rocks at 120mph during a jump in South Africa and suffered devastating injuries.

Unbelievably, he made a full recovery after a year and a half: placing him among the 1 in 4 Americans who experience disability for three months or longer between age 20 and retirement.

Distance Runner Mary Decker-Slaney

Mary Decker was breaking records in track and field back when she was only 15 years old, competing indoors in the mid-70s. In 1983, she really hit her stride, defeating several Olympic favorites to bring home two gold medals.

The next year, things changed. When Decker collided with a competitor during the Olympic Trials, she sustained a serious hip injury and spent the next few years in and out of surgery. Eventually, she had to accept that this injury marked the end of her career.

Snowboarder Kevin Pearce

In 2009, Olympic snowboarder Kevin Pearce took a blow to the head while practicing the Cap Double Cork, one of the riskiest stunts in the game, and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

His doctors questioned whether he would ever walk again. For the next two years, Pearce struggled to develop the basic abilities to feed himself, speak and walk. But his intensive rehab program paid off: four years after his injury, he returned to the sport.

Things are different now, though. “It’s a huge change,” [said Pearce]. “It’s crazy how different my abilities are now than they were before, because I was really good at snowboarding. I was able to do a lot and now I’m not able to do ... a lot” (source).

The numbers don’t lie

Many people believe that if they’re healthy, if they take care of themselves, if they play it safe, they can avoid a debilitating injury or illness.

But the statistics tell a different story. Even those whose physical fitness is absolutely superb go through times of serious injury and protracted recovery. Even healthy people with a relatively safe lifestyle have a 21-24% chance of becoming disabled for three months or more during their working years.

When it comes to disability, it’s important to comprehend the facts and get the right protection. Insurance brokers: Here are some tips you can use to guide the conversation about disability insurance. Even better, request a disability insurance quote here.

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