Individual Disability Insurance Can Help Family Caregivers

Agents can help make the claim process go more smoothly

(Photo: Thinkstock) (Photo: Thinkstock)

Are your clients in the sandwich generation? You know what that means — they have their family at home and also are helping with aging parents. As part of this situation, they may be providing care to a loved one with a severe cognitive impairment, caring for a child or aging parent with a serious health condition, or even caring for a spouse who has become ill.

Let’s talk income protection

Being a caregiver isn’t easy and a loved one’s serious health condition can last longer than expected. In addition to handling the day-to-day issues of being a caregiver, there’s another challenge they face which can affect their ability to provide care for someone with long-term needs: money.

(Related: How to Streamline the Disability Insurance Claims Process)

A working individual may already be balancing career concerns with family obligations. If he or she needs to pause their career to care for a family member, that pause could significantly impact their income stream, and potentially have a negative effect on their ability to financially provide for their family’s needs. Not only that, an individual in the sandwich generation is often in the prime earning stage of his or her career: he or she may be self-employed with additional financial responsibilities related to their business while others are in an occupation — such as medical, law or a financial services profession — where income protection is critical.

When you have a client looking for enhanced benefits or paid leave in a caregiving situation, you’ll want to talk with them about whether their individual disability insurance (IDI) offers this assistance. IDI products help provide important income protection to a client who faces their own disabling health condition, and newer products on the market also help to allow them to focus on family caregiving responsibilities, while protecting them from significant financial hardship.

Explaining IDI to Clients

IDI coverage can help ensure your client has income protection when faced with a disabling health condition. In addition, when their IDI policy includes a family caregiving benefit, it can provide that same support when a loved one has a serious health condition. This allows a client to receive monthly payments when taking time away from work and experiencing an income loss to care for a loved one — a spouse, domestic partner, parent or child — facing a serious health condition, such as cancer, cognitive issues or an extended stay in a care facility.

This unique insurance benefit provides the right-sized income protection for caregivers who require financial security.

Helping a Client File a Caregiving Claim

To file a caregiving claim, the process is similar to submitting a regular IDI claim. Your client will need to provide information regarding the loved one’s condition and demonstrate a loss of time and earnings in his or her own occupation.

One of the most important things for a client to understand is timing — not only for filing the claim but for the duration of the loved one’s illness, which is how the waiting period is determined to be met. Each policy is different, so the waiting period may be as short as 30 to 60 days or as long as 180 days.

But that doesn’t mean that a client should wait that amount of time to inform the carrier. It’s important for a client to connect with the IDI carrier right away, and not wait until the waiting period has been exhausted to give the carrier notice. This way, the claim evaluation process can begin and the claims team can be prepared to share a decision and provide any benefits that are payable in a timely manner.

Providing Peace of Mind

Income protection is vital, not only during an insured’s challenging health situation, but also when they are the caregiver for a loved one. Now, IDI can be part of the plan toward helping your client achieve that peace of mind.

—-Check out Analyst Sees ‘Great Restructuring’ of Life Industry on ThinkAdvisor.

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