Disability Insurance Awareness Month may not start until May 1, but that doesn’t mean preparations to make the most of it are not well underway already.

For our part, Life Insurance Selling has just finalized details for a free webinar with a high-profile lineup of disability insurance producers serving as panelists. I am pleased to announce that Marvin Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC; Brian Ashe, CLU; and Gary Sutter, CLU, CLTC, will participate in the hour-long live event at noon Eastern on May 17. A link to the registration page for the webinar will be posted on the home page at www.lifeinsuranceselling.com in the near future.

The webinar will surely provide valuable insight for any producers interested in making DI sales a bigger part of their practice. And judging by a 2010 Assurant Employee Benefits broker survey, many of you are interested. The survey found that 55% of brokers are increasing their focus on selling ancillary benefits such as DI in anticipation of health care reform’s effect on their business.

If that indeed rings true and more advisors actually start initiating the DI conversation with clients and prospects, perhaps DI will finally start demanding a little more attention from consumers who have long ignored the very real need at their own peril.

While reading through one of the “Trends in DI” features we have scheduled for the upcoming May issue of Life Insurance Selling, I gained a greater understanding of just how big the hurdles are for DI as a product category. In her article, author Sheryle Ohme of Assurant Employee Benefits points out that everyone wants health care, and everybody knows they need it.

“The need for DI is just as great, even though few people know how much they really need it. After having listened to information on the ‘must-have’ benefits of dental and medical, clients are already too fatigued to have meaningful discussions about disability coverage,” Ohme says.

That is indeed a very real obstacle, and beyond health and dental, I’m sure it’s similar when a prospect has just been pitched on the need for life insurance as well.

Only about 3 in 10 people in the workforce have any disability insurance coverage, despite the fact that 3 in 10 people entering the workforce today will become disabled before they retire. Americans have this perception that the only people who need DI coverage are highly paid medical professionals or people with hazardous occupations. They don’t realize that the vast majority of disability claims are the result of illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease — not on-the-job accidents.

These are the kinds of misperceptions that campaigns such as Disability Insurance Awareness Month aim to dispel — for producers and consumers alike.

I encourage you to check out the resources available to you through DIAM, and if you have a great idea you would like to share about how to initiate the DI conversation, please share it via the comment box below.

To read more from Brian Anderson, click here.

For more on selling DI, see:

Larry Schneider wants you to sell DI

Disability Insurance: Help your clients’ employees answer, “What if?”

To your good health: Risk and other four-letter words