Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America has introduced an individual disability insurance that could have some appeal for consumers who are also looking at critical illness insurance products.

The New York City-based insurers says its new Provider Choice line includes three policy packages. Each package includes access to hospice care benefits and extra protection against serious illnesses such as cancer, stroke and heart attack.

Optional riders can cover retirement plan contributions and protect the insured’s ability to pay back student loans.

Another optional rider can provide protection against inflation.

Guardian is offering other options aimed specifically at doctors and dentists, such as an option that can protect a physician against the loss of the ability to perform a specific type of procedures.

Related: Disability update: Aflac, Millennium Brokerage

In other disability insurance market news, Allsup reports that the Social Security Administration approved 33 percent of applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits after the initial filing, and 45 percent after the applicants went through the SSDI appeals process. In recent years, approvals after the initial filing have ranged from about 32 percent to 35 percent, Allsup says.

Allsup helps workers apply for SSDI program benefits.

Issuers of commercial disability insurance often help insureds get through the SSDI application process, in part because many of those issuers subtract the amount of premiums insureds get from the SSDI program from the private plan’s own benefit payment amount.

Disability insurers also help workers with the SSDI application process because disabled workers who qualify for SSDI can also qualify for access to Medicare health coverage and other helpful government benefits and programs.

ClamVantage, the Portland, Maine-based U.S. unit of an Irish insurance administration systems company, says it has supplemented Murphy the Moose, its inflatable conference exhibit hall mascot, with a new inflatable conference mascot, Louie the Lobster. Louie is named after Larry the Lobster, a 15-pound lobster who recently became a celebrity because of his size and then died while on his way to an aquarium in Maine.

The company, which is best known for its disability claim administration systems, also says it’s now giving users access to systems for managing all types of life, health and absence claims through a single website, rather than having users come in through separate ClaimVantage and AbsenceDirect websites.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect name for the inflatable lobster, and an incorrect description of his position. His name is Louie the Lobster, and he is sharing exhibit hall mascot duties with Murphy the Moose.

Related:

Disability market snapshots: DIonDemand, Unum and more

7 new cartoons for disability insurance advisors

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