Insurers, agents and industry groups today launched the 2018 Disability Insurance Awareness Month campaign with something strange rumbling in the background: Employers are said to be asking about the possibility of improving employer-paid benefits.
Executives from both Aflac Inc. and Principal Financial Group Inc. have said during recent earnings calls with securities analysts they see increased employer interest in adding true group disability benefits.
Aflac attributed the increase in interest in group disability to an effort to court benefits brokers. A Principal executive said she thinks the increase in interest is partly due to something that could help all issuers of group benefits products: The U.S. economy is close to the full employment level. Employers are starting to feel as if they have to do more to attract, and keep, good workers.
For insurers, a big increase in sales of long-term individual or group disability insurance would be a mixed blessing.
Insurers like the idea of selling more risk-based insurance, and, in the group long-term disability insurance market, they have much more ability to increase premiums than they do in the long-term care insurance market. But, given how low interest rates still are, insurers still have to work hard to generate the investment earnings they need to support long-lasting claims.
For agents, brokers and consultants, an increase in the underlying level of demand for disability coverage would create a chance to make up for decreases in health insurance-related revenue, while protecting more people against the devastation caused by loss of the ability to work.
DIAM 2018 Activities
The Council for Disability Awareness is offering agents a campaign media kit, including a two-page income protection fact sheet. CDA has also started a new consumer microsite, RealityCheckup.org, and a packaged social media campaign, to help agents who find their minds freezing when they surf over to Twitter.
Life Happens has developed a DIAM campaign package that includes videos, customizable articles, social media graphics, templates for emails, and flyers. The group is trying to hammer home the message that 7 in 10 employed Americans would run into trouble in just a month if they lost their ability to earn a paycheck.