The top of the individual disability insurance market seems to be warming up with the rest of the market, but plenty of glacial ignorance remains.
Three income protection specialists told me they have seen more competition throughout the market in the past two or three years, but also a lingering blanket of silence about the holes in group disability plans for well-paid employees.
Steve Brady, an individual disability insurance marketing specialist at Standard Insurance Company, Portland, Ore., believes many of the executives with Swiss cheese coverage do have personal financial advisors. “They said the word ‘disability,’” Brady told me. “The executive said, ‘I have long-term disability at work,’ and that’s where it stopped. They don’t realize they’re discriminated against.”
The design of a group plan might whittle away protection for executives — or even regular staffers — earning as little as $100,000 a year, according to Thomas Petersen, a vice president at Petersen International Underwriters, Valencia, Calif.
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Petersen International is where you could go to get the highest of the high-limit disability coverage. Need $100,000 per month for personal protection, with a participation limit of 75%? Petersen International can arrange for that.
But typical clients simply need coverage in excess of what the traditional insurers admitted to do business in their states can handle. Many agents have clients who fit that description, Petersen said.