It’s a common understanding among agents that individual disability income insurance can be a difficult sell. Clients may think of individual DI insurance as an optional expense or find it unpleasant to think about their own disability; however, successful selling is about providing good financial advice that will ensure the ongoing financial security of your clients. The right strategy and a willing audience make selling easier.
Among those who may have a higher interest in disability insurance are veterinarians. They face the risk of a disability in their career and need income protection in case they are harmed by one of the animals they treat. Just like the growing number of Americans in other fields who live paycheck to paycheck, veterinarians continue to be hugely dependent on steady income. They can only do their jobs if they are physically able. Over a lifetime, veterinarians can earn a considerable income, which means their ability to stay healthy and earn an income throughout their lives is their greatest asset.
Below are some key insights into the veterinarian industry and strategies for closing the deal.
1. Who are they?
Veterinarians are doctors to animals of all kinds. They may do anything from giving puppies their shots to caring for elephants and other exotics in the nation’s zoos. The veterinarian industry has grown over the past decade, with about 105,358 veterinarians in the United States specializing in zoos, clinics, and animal hospitals, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Veterinarians earn an average of over $80,000 annual income, according to PayScale.com, and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges found that 2015 veterinary college graduates came out with an average of about $142,000 in debt. Student loan debt is an important factor. It indicates that veterinarians will face severe financial consequences if they become disabled, cannot earn an income and cannot make their loan payments.
Being a veterinarian is fiercely competitive. Should veterinarian clients need to leave work due to illness or injury, they may find re-entry into the workforce challenging. Additionally, the average individual disability claim lasts 31.6 months, according to 2011 data from Gen Re, and there’s a 38 percent chance that a disability claim can last five years or longer. Ask your client: Do you have enough income to cover your expenses for a minimum of three months? For veterinarians earning $80,000, that’s $20,000 in savings they need to have set aside for a rainy day.
As veterinarians care for their patients’ needs — vaccines, nutrition, and medications — to avoid future problems, they must find ways to plan for their own financial future.
2. What do they need to know?
They need to know DI is not as optional as they may think. Many people don’t think disability insurance is a necessity when they think about insurance policies. When they do, they associate DI with accident claims. In reality, only one-fifth of disabilities are caused by accidents. And, as veterinarians work, they are always at risk of suddenly becoming disabled because of an accident that could render them unable to work. It can happen and it does happen.
In addition, a whopping 90% of disability claims, for those in their prime working years, are for illness or disease. The top claims for DI are for illnesses such as cancer, heart attack, diabetes, and depression. Back pain and arthritis are also significant disability causes. Even if veterinarians carefully avoid accidents, they can still be prone to other issues that make working impossible.
None of us plans to become disabled, but the sobering reality is that nearly one in four of today’s 20-year-olds will be disabled by the time they reach retirement, according to the Social Security Administration. That means that, if your client has a partner, there is a 50 percent chance that either the client or the partner will be disabled by the time both reach retirement.