Let’s start off with some key facts about disability and its impact from the Council for Disability Awareness:
- Just over 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before they retire. More than 30 million Americans between the ages of 21 and 64 are disabled.
- Back injuries and major illnesses cause the majority of long-term absences, with lifestyle choices and personal behavior that lead to obesity becoming major contributing factors.
- The average long-term disability claim lasts 31.2 months. The odds for a worker entering the workforce today of being disabled three months or more are about 30%, with less than 5% of disabling accidents and illnesses work related.
- Although 90% of wage earners rated their “ability to earn an income” as “valuable” or “very valuable” in helping them achieve long-term financial security, 67% of workers in the private sector have no long-term disability insurance.
Health insurance. Life insurance. Property and vehicle insurance. Chances are, it probably wasn’t difficult to convince your clients of the value of these types of coverage. But when it comes to disability insurance, it may be more of an uphill battle. Small business owners may feel it’s a luxury they can’t afford while those on a company payroll might think that Worker’s Compensation is all they need.
Unfortunately, neither supposition is completely accurate. There is no denying that, like all insurances, disability coverage can be yet another line item on an already tight budget. But the price of not having it can be disastrous—for the self-employed who provide part if not all of a family’s income and for the estimated 95% of workers whose injuries are not job-related.
Disability Insurance Awareness Month is the ideal time to reach out to all your clients — both employed and self-employed — using the following tools and strategies to educate them about the role disability insurance plays in life planning. The LIFE Foundation producer tool kit can be found at www.lifehappens.org/diamkit.
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogging and email are efficient and effective ways to reach your market. For example, post disability-related statistics or incorporate LIFE’s Facts of Life disability-oriented information into email signatures to make your target audience aware of the vulnerability they face when uninsured.
While facts and figures are important, sometimes it’s the anecdotal story that generates a greater impact. LIFE Foundation’s realLIFEstories bring the message home in a powerful way, as illustrated by the experiences of people like Ashley Tew and Peter Zatir. The Frank Szatkowski story will resonate with self-employed, since the disability policies he had in place not only provided for his family after his illness forced him to stop working, but also allowed his partners to continue the business.
LIFE’s range of informational materials range from one-pagers (Things To Consider and Disability Insurance Coverage Options) to more in-depth pieces such as Guide to Disability Income Insurance and for business owners, An Employer’s Guide to Disability Income Insurance. By providing your clients with the facts about disability insurance in advance of your meeting, the conversation becomes less about the reason why they need it and more about the amount that best fits their needs and budget.
While many producers schedule policy reviews in January, May is an equally appropriate time, especially for those families whose children are shifting from student to full-time employee. Many will be facing insurance questions for the first time as they complete employment paperwork, and will find background information beneficial when it comes to choosing the appropriate coverage.
With many families suffering the fallout from the recession in the form of job loss, self-employment has become a way to replace the company paycheck. It’s essential that these entrepreneurs understand the role disability insurance plays in protecting their livelihood and the family’s future.
In the end, whether the product is life, long-term care or disability insurance, the first role of a producer is to increase awareness and understanding about the need for the coverage, and the role these products play in safeguarding the financial security of individuals, families and business.
For more information about the LIFE Foundation, contact Jaimee C. Niles, V.P., Communications at email@example.com, 703-888-4450 or visit www.lifehappens.org.
The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) was founded in 1994 in response to the public’s growing need for information and education on life, health, disability and long-term care insurance. LIFE also seeks to remind people of the important role insurance professionals perform in helping families, businesses and individuals find the insurance products that best fit their needs. To learn more about these topics, please visit www.lifehappens.org.