A dollar puzzle with SARS-CoV-2 virions (Credit: Thinkstock; NIH)

It’s May 1, and that means Disability Insurance Awareness Month 2020 has started.

The month has arrived as the possible COVID-19 effects on life insurance and health insurance claims are dominating the insurance news, and as efforts to use low interest rates to keep the economy afloat are depressing the bond earnings that life insurers need to write profitable long-term disability insurance business.

And as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, appears to be leaving some working-age survivors with serious, long-lasting health effects, such as difficulty with breathing, and a need for kidney dialysis.

Resources

  • The Life Happens Disability Insurance Awareness Month 2020 resource page is available here.
  • The Council for Disability Awareness DIAM 2020 resource page is available here.
  • An earlier article about disability insurance awareness efforts is available here.

The Integrated Benefits Institute has estimated that the pandemic could leave insurers with at least 648,000 short-term disability insurance claims, and a total of about $4.9 billion in short-term disability benefits bills.

Forecasts of the long-term disability insurance claim impact are hard to find, partly because COVID-19 is so new that researchers are still learning what the long-term effects might be.

Many purchasers of individual disability insurance are physicians, and many of the people affected by COVID-19 are physicians. It’s possible that COVID-19 could lead to a noticeable effect on individual disability claims.

Two industry outreach groups — Life Happens, a general life and health consumer education coalition, and the Council for Disability Awareness — have created Disability Insurance Awareness Month 2020 resource packets aimed at advisors, including fact sheets, and collections of prewritten Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn content.

Life Happens has named Scott Rider, a former financial advisor who developed Parkinson’s when he was 47, to be its disability awareness month spokesperson.

Rider will be spreading the message that he and his family have been able to maintain their lifestyle thanks to having disability insurance.

Standard Insurance has promoted an awareness month packet for financial professionals who want to tell clients about individual disability insurance.

The list of entities promoting the month includes Ash Brokerage, Instant Disability’s InstantDisability.com website, Modern Insurance Agency’s MeetBreeze.com site, EmpowerHealthInsuranceUSA.com,, and Advocate Insurers.

Overall, however, the COVID-19 crisis appears to have sucked much of the energy out of disability awareness month promotional efforts. The volume of promotional Tweets appears to be much lighter than in 2020, for example.

— Read Where More Prospects Are Getting Kidney Disease: 50 States of Trend Dataon ThinkAdvisor.

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