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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing > Income Investing

Insurers, Distributors Keep Up Disability Insurance Awareness Fight

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What You Need to Know

  • Life insurance and retirement planning have soaked up mind share.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated underwriting,
  • Many marketers are emphasizing that disability insurance can protect the income needed to support retirement planning efforts.

Life Happens and other groups are trying to remind consumers — and insurance agents, and retirement planners — that just about all positive financial decisions depend on a worker’s ability to earn a paycheck.

The groups began the 16th annual Disability Insurance Awareness Month outreach campaign Sunday.

Life Happens is offering financial professionals and other campaign supporters access to a free package of education support materials, including flyers, brochures and social media-friendly graphics.

For organizations that pay for a subscription, the nonprofit group is offering access to a bigger library of disability insurance content, along with videos featuring real people who have used disability insurance to keep their families going through difficult times.

Life Happens is working on the campaign together with two other nonprofit groups: the Council for Disability Awareness and the International DI Society.

“Disability insurance is arguably the most misunderstood of all major insurances,” Devin Pascoe, Life Happens’ marketing director, says in a guide to the group’s 2022 awareness month resources. “Chances are, if you live long enough, you will most likely experience a disability in your lifetime. That’s why disability insurance is so important. It provides a portion of your income if you’re unable to work.”

Campaign participants are emphasizing that workers’ compensation protects workers against only a small percentage of the health issues that lead to disability, and that the main public support program for people with disabilities, the Social Security Disability Insurance program, has an average monthly benefit for most beneficiaries of just $1,358 per month.

Another Income Planning Tool

Pascoe and other campaign supporters have also been trying to drive home the point that disability insurance is as much an income planning tool as an annuity is.

Many of the agent and distributor campaign supporters are supporting a social media outreach effort that shows the tag line “May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month,” with the word “disability” crossed out and replaced by the word “income.”

Bryon Holz, an RIA with SagePoint Financial, is an example of a financial professional who is using the image on Twitter.

“We’re a proud supporter of the Disability Insurance Awareness Month in May,” Holz tweeted. “Your income is your most valuable asset—it pays for everything else. So, be sure to protect it with disability insurance.”

The COVID-19 pandemic, a focus on annuity-based income planning efforts and the impact of low interest rates on the bond portfolios supporting long-term disability insurance policies seem to have cooled the energy behind disability insurance promotion in recent years.

For insurers, one concern is what the COVID-19 pandemic will do to U.S. consumers’ disability risk over the long term.

Emily’s Story

But Emily, an Integrated Benefits Inc. employee who helps IBI clients apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, wrote in a blog post for the Council for Disability Awareness that she has seen the importance of telling clients about disability risk first-hand.

One evening, she was in the car with her husband, her 6-year-old son and her newborn baby.

“Disability was my career,” Emily wrote. “It was my life for 40 hours every week. Yet still, I never expected to need short-term or long-term disability (STD & LTD, respectively) for myself. However, when a drunk driver crossed the median at 66 mph and hit us head on, I soon learned how important disability coverage is.”

Disability insurance and voluntary accident insurance replaced her income and helped pay most of the hospital and emergency bills and emergency transportation bills not paid by Emily’s major medical insurance.

“I originally got this protection in case I broke an ankle or something, but it turned out to be much more important than I had ever anticipated,” Emily wrote. “It didn’t cover the entire bill, but it was significantly reduced to an amount that was realistic for us to pay back.”

(Image: galitskaya/Adobe Stock)