The income umbrella (AP photo/Charles Dharapak)

I went home to Kansas City for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary this past weekend and learned something interesting.

A long-time, hard goods sales rep I know (many details changed to protect privacy) lost her job while she was suffering from the effects of a serious accident.

She is having trouble getting a new sales job.

She is still suffering from problems as a result of the accident, and, the truth is, she had no source of private disability insurance.

That sales rep would not show up on a disability insurer’s list of claimants because she had no disability insurance policy, but it hit me: When I go to disability insurance events, it looks as if most of the people attending the events appear to be completely able-bodied.

Meanwhile, when I go to those events, I hear a lot of talk about how new disability insurance sales reps are scarce.

Of course, there are all kinds of disabling conditions, including many that would be completely invisible to someone like me. But it seems as if it’s rare for me to see anyone at a disability insurance or other insurance event who uses a wheelchair, crutches, a hearing aid, or visual enhancers other than ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses.

The woman I met in Kansas City could probably make a good insurance sales rep, because she already knows how to sell, has a wide circle of friends and acquaintances in Kansas City who have no more income protection than she had, and is, at this point, passionate about the need for income protection insurance.

If she had a policy, she might still be enmeshed in a dispute with the insurance company over just how disabled she was, but at least there would be something to hope for. Maybe she’d already be collecting benefits. 

As it is, she’s already marketing disability insurance on a spontaneous, volunteer basis. I wonder if there’s a way for the income protection community to reach out more visibly to people like that — veteran sales reps who know first hand just how devastating a serious illness or injury can be — and get them involved in formal disability insurance sales programs.

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