Disability insurance (DI) gets a bad rap sometimes. Some find it too expensive, some see no need for it and others just don’t understand it or know how to acquire it. And for brokers, this creates a notoriously difficult selling environment.
It’s a sad fact that people rarely think about disability insurance the same way they think about health insurance. And that’s especially true now, with the umbrella of health care reform shielding everyone’s view from other important insurance benefits.
But DI remains a viable tool for protecting a worker’s most valuable financial resource: Their income.
“If people think about what the long-term costs of a disability could be, it could be $50,000 and 10, 20 years of disability,” said Scott Carter, vice president, market segment finance leader for Unum, an insurance underwriting company. “That’s a pretty big financial asset that folks need to protect. So in that respect, it’s very viable. Certainly we see a need. And I think there’s a societal benefit to having more folks protecting that.”
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And, as Carter feels, even if employers can’t afford to sponsor their employees’ DI benefits, the product is still pretty reasonable on a voluntary basis, in terms of cost. “You talk about numbers that are probably less than people pay for their cable and internet,” he said.
But knowing the benefit and selling the benefit are two very different things.
“I think it’s hard to sell now,” said Carter, referring to the fact that some employers aren’t able to pay for such benefits. “I think accessing those populations or getting them the coverage they need is probably going to be more about employee pay options and that’s also a challenge. We haven’t had much success getting employers who don’t currently offer [disability insurance] to make the decision to offer it and I think that really changes the nature of selling the product, at least from a typical group insurer or group broker prospective.”