The goal of every public speaker is to connect with their audience.
Those of us who frequently present to audiences can tell during the talk whether or not we have made that connection. If we are successful, reinforcement comes immediately after the presentation, with more-than-polite applause and attendees gathering around to ask questions. Anyone who has ever been in that position knows how gratifying that can be.
However, the real test of the link between the speaker’s message and the audience is not immediate gratification — satisfying as it is. It is whether that message causes a long-term change in thought, behavior or actions. Unfortunately, after the presenter has left the meeting, there usually isn’t an opportunity to know whether his or her words have resonated in that way.
At a recent meeting I was fortunate to have one of those rare post-presentation moments. A woman approached and introduced herself to me. She said, “You probably don’t remember me, but you have made a big difference in my practice.” She continued, “I was in the audience several years ago when you were speaking about disability income insurance, and you said something that was so powerful that it changed my business. You said that you believed that every agent had an obligation to discuss DI with their client, and I have done that ever since that day.”
She went on to tell me that adding DI to the risks she discusses had a huge impact on her agency and, more importantly, for her clients. As a self-professed “DI dork” I was blown away and grateful that I had been able to make an impact like that, but I was unsurprised at the need and amount of a good, high-quality DI contract and what it can do for a client, often at the worst possible time.
Many years ago, my good friend Harold Petersen taught me that when a client experiences a disability that prevents them from earning a living, it is a “living death.” It is one of the most powerful and completely accurate phrases I have ever heard. If a client dies without life insurance, they are (obviously) not around to witness the disastrous effects that their poor decision has on their loved ones. If a client suffers a disability, and has not adequately insured their income from that risk, they have an ongoing, front-row seat to the devastation caused by their decision.
Yet, how can a client make that decision if their trusted advisor has not made them aware that — especially in younger clients in the prime of their earning years — it is a risk that can be easily assumed by insurance. You are familiar with the risks. Most disabling accidents are not work related. One in three 20-year-olds will become disabled before reaching retirement age. More than 50 percent of people have no retirement savings to fall back on, and by 2016, the Social Security Disability Insurance Program’s trust fund is expected to run out of money.
This is Disability Income Awareness Month, so I want to reiterate what I said in that long-ago presentation: If you are a professional, I believe that it is your obligation to discuss DI with your clients.
If you don’t know much about the product and all of its variations, let me assure you of two things. First, there is a way to configure an affordable DI policy for nearly every risk.
Second, there are some great BGAs who have depth and expertise in that market, and who would be more than happy to help you learn what you need so that your clients don’t experience a living death simply because you never raised the issue when initially assessing your client’s risks.
If you aren’t sure where to go for good advice, education and product, contact me.
I will be happy to help you find a specialist in your area. That is my obligation to you. You already know your obligation: fully protect your clients.