UNDERSTANDING WHAT GOES INTO A DISABILITY UNDERWRITING DECISION

Presented by Donna Ries

The purpose of disability income is to protect your client’s income in the event they should become disabled from an accident or sickness and unable to work.  The following are common areas every disability carrier considers.

Age:  Disability income insurance is designed to protect your client’s income during their working years.  The issue age has a direct impact on the premium paid for coverage.  Generally the issue ages are between the ages of 18 – 60 (the higher the age, the higher the premium) and since no one has found a way to reverse the aging process yet, we have to go with their current age.

Income:  The benefit amount your client considers has a direct correlation with your client’s income.   The entire amount of income is typically not covered; otherwise, the client would not typically have an incentive to try and return to work.  If your client is paying for their own disability insurance with after-tax dollars, the monthly benefit amount averages between 50% to 60% of their income and it would be paid tax free.  However, if your client’s employer is paying for coverage, or if the employee is paying the premium with pre-tax dollars, a larger monthly benefit is typically allowed because the benefits are taxable to the employee.

It is also important to specify if your client is self employed.  If the client’s income is derived from 1099 reportable income, then the amount of income needs to be stated in terms of net income instead of gross income because of the business deductions allowed.

Occupation:  Disability protection deals with the type of work your client participates in.  The more hands-on or risky the occupation, the higher the premium could be.   It is important to find out your client’s day-to-day duties and not just a job title to determine their occupational class.  For instance, if your client states that they are a manager, that description is too vague to determine a quote.  A little bit more information will help in determining what occupation class to quote from.  Managing a clerical staff is certainly different from managing a tree trimming crew.  The risk between these two types of managers is significantly different.

Health:  Your client’s overall health is taken into consideration.  Height and weight certainly play a role in determining eligibility and each carrier has a slightly different approach with this issue.  Your client’s health history is taken into consideration when determining eligibility and it may necessitate an exclusion if the health condition is significant.

These considerations for disability insurance are common factors no matter what carrier you choose for your client.  Having a better understanding of what goes into the underwriting of disability protection will certainly help you better explain the process for your client.  Feel free to call your Financial Brokerage DI marketing specialist at 800-397-9999 to help you pre-qualify your client.  We are here to help you quote and place your next disability case!

 

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