NU Online News Service, June 3, 12:11 p.m. – Disability insurers need to do more to educate consumers about the need for disability insurance, according to a new study by Conning Research & Consulting Inc., Hartford.

Consumers tend to be less aware of the need for disability insurance than they are for life or health insurance, even though their risk of needing disability benefits is high, Conning researchers report.

The researchers write that 30-year-old female employees, for example, often ask for improved medical and life benefits, rather than disability benefits, even though they have a 57% chance of becoming disabled before age 65 and only a 16% chance of dying before age 65.

Other challenges facing the disability insurance industry include continuing growth in the number of stress-related claims and other new types of claims, and the effects of the economic downturn.

Economic slumps can hurt a disability insurer’s investment income while inducing more workers to file claims, the Conning researchers note.