A car breaks down during rush hour. A computer malfunction wipes out a key presentation. An alarm clock does not ring on the morning of an important meeting. Inconveniences, yes, but not true disasters, no matter how terrible they may be at the time.
Consider these situations: An employee falls off the roof while cleaning gutters. Another is hospitalized after a major car accident. A third is diagnosed with a serious heart condition. These are all unfortunate situations, yet not in the least improbable — and each event qualifies as a true personal disaster.
Here is something else disastrous: Odds are that just one of those individuals would have supplemental disability insurance in place to help ease financial burdens during treatment and recovery. That is because according to a recent study by One America, only a mere 34% of American workers have disability coverage provided by their employer. Of this number, 43% said the reason for this lack of coverage was because it was not offered at the workplace.
The ‘Not to Me’ Syndrome
It seems every day we hear about people whose life trajectories change due to illness or injury, but many Americans may think they are immune to such dangers. “I have always been lucky,” they say. “Those things happen to other people, but not to me.”
The truth is, when it comes to health and livelihood, no one should rely on luck. Serious sickness or an accident can strike anyone, anytime, bringing everyday life to a standstill – and halting paychecks, too. That is a dangerous scenario considering how many families have a hard time saving for a rainy day.
According to a survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education, about 36% of American working adults are considered financially fragile, which means they are not sure they could come up with $2,000 in 30 days if necessary. The findings echo those of the 2018 Aflac WorkForces Report, which revealed that many employees are dealing with serious financial challenges. In fact, 26% have avoided going to a doctor due to high medical costs, and 19% have delayed a medical procedure for the same reason.
The good news? Brokers and agents can help companies protect their employees’ financial security by making disability coverage available to their workforces. Disability coverage helps protect an individual’s most valuable asset: the ability to earn an income. Without regular paychecks, most people would find it difficult — perhaps impossible — to afford the mortgage or rent payments, car and credit card payments, utility bills, education costs and even food. Disability coverage can act as a financial safety net by helping replace a portion of an employee’s paycheck until they can get back on their feet.
Going the Extra Mile
In addition to helping strengthen their benefits packages and helping enhance employees’ well-being by providing access to disability coverage and other supplemental products, many clients are upping their games by working with insurers that pair their insurance policies with value-added services. These go a long way toward demonstrating that organizations have employees’ best interests in mind. Consider these popular options offered within some value-added services:
Help navigating the health care system, resolving billing issues and negotiating with providers to potentially lower existing medical bills.
Access to licensed professional counselors who offer confidential assistance and resource support for a full range of personal, family and work/life problems.
Financial and legal advice, including online assistance preparing wills and other documents.
As the competition for top employees intensifies, clients are looking for ways to increase their desirability among workers. Disability coverage and value-added services are a strong combination that can be vital to establishing and maintaining a productive, engaged workforce.
Another reason to suggest disability coverage to clients is the importance of social responsibility not only to consumers, but to employees. From within and without, companies today are increasingly judged by the impact they have in their communities and how they treat the workers who depend upon them for financial security. In fact, 69% of employees and 80% of human resources managers believe it is extremely or very important to act socially responsible, according to an Aflac survey.
By providing employees with access to disability coverage and value-added services that can go along with it – in other words, by showing that your organization cares for employees during working hours and beyond – clients demonstrate the compassion that separates the great companies from the merely good.
No one knows what will happen tomorrow. It is a foregone conclusion that everyone, including your clients’ employees, will experience life’s bumps and bruises. Some of those encounters will have long-term, perhaps even disastrous, effects. Providing their workforce with access to supplemental disability coverage helps ensure they can focus on what is important – getting well and back to work — and not on how they are going to pay the bills health insurance doesn’t cover.
Wendy Herndon is second vice president of product solutions at Aflac.