The LifeHealthPro editors have entrusted the disability insurance beat to me.
One of my earliest introductions to the idea of disability insurance came in 1992, when I met a hard-working union organizer and anti-electric power pole agitator who financed his work with … long-term disability insurance. Guillain Barre disease was his ticket to financial freedom and a rewarding career sticking it to the man.
Another case of close contact with the idea of disability insurance in action came about two years ago, when a relative who had no private disability insurance at all was working on his roof. He fell off. He made a miraculous recovery from a coma. Today, he can walk and drive, but the lingering effects of the injury on his brain have made it difficult for him to return to his work in sales.
Then there’s me. I’m fat. I’ve written plenty about individual disability insurance, and thought, “How sensible it would be to have that to supplement my group coverage. If I bought it, and paid a fair amount of money for it, it would magically keep me from ever coming close to becoming disabled.” But, again, I’m fat.
I’ve also written breathless articles about how horrible, evil and cruel to insurance companies and public benefits programs it is for people to be fat, but the truth is that food tastes good. I know enough about disability insurance to know that being rejected could be a problem, but not enough to know whether I’d be rejected, rated, or maybe even just classified as a normal, imperfect shlub.
Then there’s my husband, who’s been surprisingly successfully self-employed in a weird, erratic field, who’s in perfect health but bikes in Manhattan and sometimes climbs up the masts of sailboats to fix the sails. Would agents view him as a great prospect or poison? I got up the nerve to ask the agent who sold him his life insurance about disability insurance. He had to refer us to a colleague. Somehow, I never got up the nerve to call up the agent. Who wants to be told that your husband who can climb up the masts of sailboats to fix sails is poison?
Anyhow, if you’re in the disability insurance field: Hello.
It’s great to have a chance to write for you about such an important, interesting topic.