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Disability Insurance Ideas: AIG, Guardian, Assurant

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AIG Benefit Solutions is one of the companies with disability insurance news to share as the disability insurance community gears up for May.

Community participants conduct their annual Disability Insurance Awareness Month in May.

AIG Benefit Solutions, Neptune, N.J., a unit of American International Group Inc., New York (NYSE:AIG), says it believes consumers are interested in policies that pay a one-time, lump-sum payment when an insured experiences a disabling condition.

If a product pays a lump-sum benefit, rather than the traditional stream of benefits, the beneficiary can use the money immediately to pay debts or medical bills, the company says.

Workers in group long-term disability (LTD) plans often have a pressing need for lump-sum benefits, because they often have to get through a 6-month elimination period before collecting LTD benefits, the company says.

AIG notes that the Council for Disability Awareness, Portland, Maine, has found that 38% of U.S. workers say they would have a hard time covering normal living expenses if they were unable to work for just 3 months.

Another disability insurer, Assurant Employee Benefits, Kansas City, Mo., says it believes brokers and employers have a hard time knowing how to compare disability insurance arrangements.

Assurant Employee Benefits, a unit of Assurant Inc., New York (NYSE:AIZ), has developed a Web-based disability benefits analysis tool that can help users compare how return-to-work offsets, Social Security offsets and index might affect policy benefit levels.

A return-to-work offset can provide a partial benefit when a worker with a disability is working part-time.

A Social Security offset may lower the cost of coverage by subtracting any Social Security Disability Insurance benefits a worker receives from the amount the private insurer will pay.

Indexing features affect how much a worker with a disability can earn before the private disability benefits phase out.

Meanwhile, Michael Relvas, a disability insurance specialist at Guardian Disability Insurance Brokerage, a unit of Financial Balance Group L.L.C., Rockville, Md., has posted a discussion of residual disability benefits for partial disability on the Guardian Disability website.


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