Change the Perception of Disability Insurance

Physician's Money Digest, April 2007, Volume 14, Issue 4

Attending the 2nd Annual InternationalDisability Insurance Conference at the LakeLas Vegas Resort in Nevada shed some lighton why so many Americans have a negative attitudetoward the disability insurance industry. Most peoplehave only been exposed to the negative publicitythat surrounds the claims that have been denied. Butfew people have heard the real-life stories from thoseon the other side—those whose lives have beensaved by disability insurance.

At the conference, several of the scheduled speakersdiscussed their experiences. Some were nightmarishstories that covered near-death experiences, divorce,lack of self-esteem, and thoughts of suicide, whichbrought most of us to tears. But in the end, these speakers' disability policies saved them from ruin.

The Cold, Hard Truth

Let's get something straight: Most Americans wouldgo bankrupt within 90 days of a disability. We just donot save any money and thus find ourselves without asafety net, making disability insurance a necessity. Beingdisabled is a living hell. It takes the whole family down,as well as friends, employees, and businesses. Just lookup the figures on how many businesses declare bankruptcydue to disabilities—it's a large number.

The problem with our industry is perception. Wehave done a very poor job in responding to the need foreducating the public. We must change the public's perception,and this takes time and a united effort. Thiseffort has begun with the Council of Disability Awarenessbeing formed, along with the International DisabilityInsurance Society, and the American College.

Growing Resources

The International Disability Insurance Society's purposeis to educate its members and share informationfor the public's benefit. The Council of DisabilityAwareness consists of insurance companies and isfocused on making the public aware of disability insuranceand creating a more favorable image of the industry.The American College has partnered with theInternational Disability Insurance Society in an effort toeducate those within our industry. Courses related todisability will be taught by disability insurance expertsall around the United States. It is indeed time to teachour own and carry this message to the public.

Physicians should demand that their financialadvisors and consultants take another look at disabilityinsurance—one that is more realistic in the overallplanning of their clientele, one that begins withthe need for disability insurance. Life insuranceagents should consider protecting their clients from aliving death, as well as protecting themselves fromfuture lawsuits by offering their clients disabilityinsurance coverage. This becomes a win-win situationthat indeed benefits all those concerned.

The case for disability insurance can easily besummed up: When Jack came down the beanstalk,what did he take? He took the goose—not the goldeneggs. By protecting yourself—the goose—you protecteverything else in your life.

Ron Cohen, RHU, RR, has specialized in disability insurance forphysicians since 1969. He has authored many articles on thistopic, served as a guest speaker for insurance companies andprofessional organizations, and consulted with many companiesin the design of their disability products for physicians. He welcomesquestions and comments at ron@roncohenrhu.com. For more information,visit www.roncohenrhu.com.