Disability income insurance is a notoriously under-utilized financial protection, particularly with women.
Like fire insurance, disability income insurance is something most prospects and clients believe they will never need. However, becoming disabled is much more likely than the average person believes. On top of that, women actually have higher incidence of disability than men. For these reasons and more, we need to prioritize talking to our female clients about disability income protection.
Women are not just a good market for disability income insurance simply because they have a higher chance of being disabled; overall, women tend to be more in tune with their health than men. Women visit the doctor more often and are more hands on about long-term health decisions. Because they take greater ownership of their health and wellness, women are often more open to discuss disability income insurance.
Lifestyle shifts are another reason why conversations about disability income protection have become easier with women. Since many women today choose not to get married or to get married later in life, the number of successful single women planning their financial future is rising. Without having a spouse’s income as backup, these women have a greater understanding of how financially devastating it would be for them to lose their income if they became too sick or hurt to work.
While women are a key market for disability income insurance, there are a variety of challenges that make selling this type of protection difficult. The most common thing I hear when I bring up disability income protection is that the client already has a group long-term plan and believes they are covered. Many group long-term plans are restrictive, but most people don’t read the contract until they are in the hospital and it is too late to make any meaningful changes.
I usually invite my clients to share their group contract with me so that I can walk them through their coverage and restrictions. Most of the time, it will become clear to them throughout this process that they need additional protection.
Another challenge in connecting with clients about disability income insurance is that it is a somewhat abstract concept for most people. Life insurance is a relatively simple sell since most clients understand that they will pass away and they need to plan for it. However, disability income insurance presents more of a challenge since nobody thinks they will become disabled. The best way to get clients to connect the dots is to show them stories, statistics and visuals that illustrate how disability is a very real eventuality for many people.
Stories about clients who have gone on claim for disability are particularly effective. I often share the story of my client who became disabled after getting brain cancer and later died at the age of 52. He was a healthy and active man who ran 10 marathons and even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. When he suddenly became too sick to work, his boss continued to pay him despite his inability to come into the office. Yet even with this exceptional charity from his boss, his family had to have a fundraiser to collect money for his medical expenses. This story illustrates to clients how disability can happen to anyone and also how financially overwhelming it can be if you fail to prepare for the possibility of becoming disabled.
Visuals and statistics can also help clients understand the financial reality of disability. For example, the chart below breaks down how much money someone will earn by the age of 67 based on their current age and annual salary. This can help prospects and clients have a better grasp of the value of the income they would be ensuring.
Lastly, I use a metaphor with my clients about a goose that lays golden eggs. I ask my clients if they would rather insure the goose or the golden eggs. When they say they would rather insure the goose, I ask them to think of themselves as the goose and their income as the golden eggs. People tend to spend a lot of time planning around their income, but fail to insure the person that creates that income – themselves.
Even when clients are interested in buying disability income insurance, it tends to fall to the bottom of their to-do lists. One way to create a sense of urgency is by sharing statistics that show the odds of becoming disabled at different ages, all of which are higher than most people anticipate. It’s our responsibility to be persistent and stay on top of clients who are on the fence regarding this type of protection. In some cases, this may mean proactively reaching out to those who have expressed interest in disability income insurance or even reaching out to the relatives of people clients who have passed away claim.
When you sell insurance products, a large part of your job includes having conversations that nobody necessarily wants to have. Convincing women to take disability income protection seriously is the pinnacle of this concept. Despite the challenges that come with talking about such a serious and complex topic, your clients will thank you in the long run if you focus on educating and protecting them as best you can.
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Ann Baker Ronn, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, is the owner of Income Protection Solutions, Inc. in Houston. Ann has been a Life and Qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table for 19 years. She served on the board of NAIFA-Houston for seven years and is the past Vice President of Programming for Hadassah, the world’s largest volunteer women’s organization. As a frequent industry speaker, Ann has presented at various events across the country including the LIMRA Insurer’s Forum and the MDRT Annual Meeting.
Securities and investment advisory services are offered solely through Ameritas Investment Corp (AIC). Member FINRA/SIPC. AIC and IPS are not affiliated. Additional products and services may be available through Ann Baker Ronn or IPS that are not offered through AIC.