What You Need to Know
- Breeze sells disability insurance from Principal and Assurity.
- The company surveyed about 1,000 women who had taken maternity leave in the previous year.
- Only 40% said they went into maternity leave with short-term disability insurance while 35% said they didn't have that type of insurance.
Even many workers who have an obvious need to use short-term disability insurance benefits soon may have no idea what the product is, or how the product works, according to new survey data from Breeze.
Mike Brown, an executive at the disability insurance web broker, talked about that confusion in a summary of results from a recent online survey of 1,000 women who had taken unpaid maternity leave sometime between July 2020 and July 2021.
Only 40% of the survey participants said they went into maternity leave with short-term disability benefits, obtained through an employer plan or through an individual policy.
About 25% of the participants would not or could not say whether they had short-term disability benefits.
Another 35% said they had no short-term disability insurance they could use to help compensate for lost wages.
When Breeze asked the women who said they had no short-term disability benefits why they were uninsured, the most common reasons cited were:
- I knew nothing about disability insurance: 33%
- I tried applying once I was already pregnant and learned my pregnancy would be counted as a pre-existing condition and not be eligible for disability insurance benefits: 21%
- I thought I’d be automatically eligible for paid maternity leave through the government or my employer: 16%
Breeze and other disability insurance marketers need to make sure that workers understand what disability insurance is, and why workers have to think about the product even when they feel fine, Brown says.
One key message for clients who might become mothers is, “Plan ahead and apply before your pregnancy, so it is not considered a pre-existing condition,” Brown added.