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Disability Insurance Observer: Brick

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Some exceptionally well-adjusted people may understand in their hearts that they win some and lose some, and that the wins and losses may not necessarily be correlated.

The rest of us tend to let victories and defeats color how we see ourselves.

If we do well, we feel as if we’re generally on the right track.

If we lose, we feel as if we must generally be losers, and have many areas in which we ought to try to improve.

One problem for disability insurers is that the people who’ve taken the heaviest metaphorical bricks to the head — people who have learned that they are disabled, or have health problems that are likely to lead to disability — are uninsurable.

They are ready to change… but, at least from the perspective of disability insurers, it’s too late.

It hit me over the holidays that there’s another group of consumers who are healthy enough to insure but defeated enough to have an interest in changing their irresponsible ways: The many people with solid work histories, decent credit scores, and minor credit report blemishes that make getting a mortgage or other loan difficult in today’s environment.

A young invincible friend hopes to buy a house. The friend’s friend, a financial advisor, told him what a hash he had inadvertently made of his finances (despite working steadily, paying his bills and living a respectable life), and was especially brutal about the fact that the young invincible has no will.

The young invincible is now going to go get a will.

The young invincible friend took the initiative to buy life insurance, but the agent never tried to offer him disability insurance, and the friend has only a vague idea of what disability insurance is. In person, I’m not especially persuasive, and this friend is not too interested when I put objectivity aside and suggest that he might try to visit 

Lenders already have systems in place to make sure that people who get loans have some kind of disability insurance.

If only lenders and credit rating agencies had a system for sending the message even to, say, one in 10 consumers with decent credit scores and no disability insurance who get moderately bad credit news, “You are an idiot. Go get disability insurance.”

My guess is that a little well-timed ridicule would pack a bigger punch than wholesome pictures of families who need coverage and families who are grateful because they needed disability benefits and were able to get disability benefits.

Violins make us smile, but bricks in the head make us move.

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