I recently attended a disability income meeting in Scottsdale, where I heard lots of stories from producers. These stories are incredibly powerful when shared with our prospects and clients.

I will share the ones that were most impactful.

“You can’t sell what you don’t own”
The first agent I spoke with told me that when he first started in the insurance business at age 33 he bought an LTD policy. Why? Because he was told: “You can’t sell what you don’t own.” That was the only reason.

At age 35, he was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease and for the next five years he was only able to work part-time. During those five years he learned to control episodes of vertigo by diet. When he went back to sales full time, he wanted to focus on DI policy sales.

The first prospect he called on asked him to come back in two weeks, saying that at that time he would complete the application. The prospect was 38 years old at the time; by the following week, he had become disabled.

The second prospect he contacted was 37 years old. This prospect liked the idea of protecting his income and asked John to make contact in a month as he had several “family events” occurring at the time. This prospect too became disabled prior to the following month.

The third meeting turned into an application being taken. John did not collect a check to “bind” the coverage. The 43-year-old client climbed on the roof, fell off and became disabled. As you can imagine, John called on yet another client. He did not relay these stories to his prospects thinking no one would believe them! The fourth prospect bought a policy and bound his coverage. He did not become disabled.

The DI payout
Another gentleman shared four disability claims he has paid over the years.

  • A 33-year-old young woman was messing around on a golf cart; she fell off and became permanently disabled.
  • A 63-year-old went on total claim for spine problems.
  • A 41-year-old client went on claim for bladder cancer.
  • A client who was 42 years old went on a Mexican vacation and was thrown through the car’s windshield. His forehead went through the glass, and all of his cognitive abilities were impaired, permanently disabling him.

This last story illustrates just how disabling and disruptive an injury can be. A client of mine recently said to me, “I could always work at Starbucks.” I shared this story with him and told him that to work at Starbucks you had to have the cognitive ability to distinguish a cappuccino from a latte.

Expecting the unexpected
Closer to home, we recently hired a new receptionist. She shared this story with me: On December 15, 2007 at 2:00 in the afternoon, her husband, who was 30 years of age, took a short drive to purchase milk. He lost control in the rain; it was a single vehicle accident. The vehicle flipped several times, finally ejecting him through the windshield. He thinks he unhooked his seat belt to grab an item from the passenger seat — but he doesn’t remember anything. He broke his neck on impact and is now paralyzed from the chest down (C6/C7). I later asked Eric why he didn’t have any disability or long term care coverage and he said those things were never mentioned by his employer or anyone else. He had such a busy schedule and was always “just on the go.” He didn’t ever worry about anything like this happening to him.

What is the lesson here?

It has been my experience that none of us thinks it will happen to us.

It is our job to ask the difficult questions and “show” our clients, by sharing stories and asking them to share their stories, that protecting their income is not negotiable.

Ann Baker Ronn is a financial advisor and team leader at the AFP Group in Houston, TX. She can be reached at ann@afpgroup.com.

For more exclusive DI coverage, visit ASJ’s Disability Insurance Resource Center.

Past DI stories from ASJ:

6 Steps to Finding Disability Insurance Prospects Right Under Your Nose

Disability Insurance as Part of a Divorce Agreement

How to Motivate Clients to Purchase Disability Insurance Today

Rethinking Ways to Prescribe Disability Insurance

How to Help Clients Discover Disability