4 reasons why disability insurance should be on every broker’s radar in 2021


The COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on the importance of disability insurance, a social benefit that often goes unnoticed.

The possibility of becoming disabled and unable to work is not a priority for most people. They generally think of a disability as something resulting from an accident and believe that “it will not happen to me”. However, more people become disabled from illness than from accidents. COVID-19 has drawn attention to the fact that people can get sick and be absent from work for weeks or months. If not covered by disability insurance, the resulting loss of income can take a toll on their lives in addition to illness.

By the numbers

Key statistics of the Advice on disability awareness tell the story:

  • Today, more than one in four 20-year-olds can expect to be out of work for at least a year due to a crippling illness before reaching normal retirement age.
  • In the United States, at least 51 million working adults have no disability insurance other than basic Social Security coverage.
  • 90% of disabilities are due to illness rather than accidents
  • The top five grounds for long term disability claims include musculoskeletal disorders; Cancer; pregnancy; mental health problems, including depression and anxiety; and injuries such as fractures, sprains and strains of muscles and ligaments.

Disability trends for 2021

As the importance of disability insurance reaches new levels of awareness among U.S. workers, employers, brokers, and benefit advisors, here are four disability industry predictions for this year.

  1. Disability insurance will be an important part of the conversations that benefit brokers and advisors have with their clients this year.

COVID-19 may have drawn more attention to disability insurance, but the need for this benefit exists even in the absence of a pandemic. As brokers discuss benefits with their clients this year, disability benefits will likely occupy a higher place in the conversation. Brokers need to focus early and often on quality group disability plans.

  1. More employers will add or update long term disability benefits.

While most patients with COVID-19 have been shown to suffer for only a few weeks, some have become very ill, spend weeks or months in the hospital, and suffer long-term or persistent effects. These patients are eligible for normal group LTD benefits after 90 or 180 days. Currently, no US law requires employers to provide LTD coverage. Most employers offer a short-term sick or disability leave policy, and about half of all companies offer long-term coverage. LTD coverage is an important benefit for employees that will likely be further highlighted by brokers in 2021 due to the impacts of the pandemic in 2020.

  1. There will be more interest in LTD coverage for stress-related disabilities.

The pandemic has drawn attention to how LTD policies address stress-related disability, particularly among healthcare workers. Virtually all LTD policies limit the duration of nerve / mental claims, generally to a maximum of 24 months for the lifetime of the claimant. A LTD policy more suited to COVID would not use this “lifetime max”. To be most useful to their healthcare clients in 2021, brokers need to understand mental health issues or stress-induced diagnoses that various disability insurance companies might cover.

  1. A priority for brokers with healthcare clients will be making sure their income protection disability policies are up to date.

No one may have felt more pressure from the pandemic than healthcare professionals. In addition to ensuring that healthcare clients have adequate disability coverage for any type of stress or mental health claim related to COVID-19, brokers should ensure that these policies provide coverage. own occupation ”which pays benefits based on CPT or CDT codes for the procedures they perform. Without this type of protection, healthcare professionals risk having their benefits denied or reduced at the time of claim.

The Role of Benefits Brokers and Advisors

This year will be a pivotal year for the disability insurance industry. Disability coverage shouldn’t be about “set it and forget it”. Periodically assessing coverage is still crucial, but it’s even more important now that the pandemic has drawn attention to the need to review disability policies.

Related: Essential Role of Brokers: Healthcare Professionals and Disability Insurance

Benefit brokers and advisors should make an effort to review disability coverage with all of their clients this year. For brokers and benefit advisors with healthcare clients, the pandemic has been a wake-up call to ensure these clients have the right disability insurance options to provide the protection they really need. . Once the pandemic is slowed, increased attention will be paid to disability insurance and other high quality benefits for healthcare professionals as a recruitment and retention strategy due to the continuing shortage of doctors.

While disability insurance is a benefit that sometimes goes unnoticed, it is poised to come into the limelight in 2021.

Jeff Brunken is President of MGIS, one of the leading national insurance program managers who designs and manages specialized disability insurance programs for healthcare professionals.

About Antoine L. Cassell

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