Some Thoughts on Disablement, Disability Insurance and the International DI Society

Imagine being a single mother of 4 children and becoming disabled at the age of 45.  This is a story that I lived when my mother became ill and could no longer work.  She was a strong willed, intelligent woman who enjoyed her career as the only female high-level executive at the Tech company she worked for.  The good news was that she had Group Long Term disability coverage through her employer. The bad news was that the benefit had a low cap, was taxable and did not provide enough income for her to live without help from her children.  My mother quickly sold the home she worked hard to buy and moved into a 700 square foot in-law apartment where she lived out her life. It was hard for her; it was hard for us.  She was close to becoming an empty nester and excited to start a new life focusing on herself until her illness struck out of nowhere.

One of the most unsettling issues was that she was underinsured, and the group benefits consultant did not identify this issue.  It’s likely that all the top executives in this Tech company were all grossly under-insured.  She also had an insurance agent who never brought up the need for more income protection. He only talked about Life Insurance. 

Unfortunately, this story happens more often than you probably think. The Council for Disability Awareness ( reports that:

  • At least 51 million working adults in the United States are without disability insurance other than the basic coverage available through Social Security.
  • Accidents are NOT usually the culprit. Back injuries, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses cause the majority of long-term absences.
  • Only 40 percent of US households have enough in liquid savings to cover at least three months of their recurring expenses, and only 28 percent can cover at least six months.
  • A 2019 study of consumer bankruptcy filings found that 77.8% of debtors cited income loss as a contributor to their bankruptcy. This included 44.3% specifically citing medically related work loss as a contributor.

The good news is that there is a group of individuals who focus on providing education, training and support to those producers who want to take this as an opportunity to help their clients understand the risk of not adequately protecting their ability to earn an income.  Each year this group embarks on a 2-day conference led by the International DI Society The International DI Society (IDIS) is an organization whose members dedicate themselves to providing disability insurance to individuals, families, business owners and employers to afford financial security in the event that an unforeseen disability occurs.  They are devoted to growing consumer awareness and enhancing the disability insurance industry by expanding resources, remaining current on industry trends, and providing a community for producers, distributors, underwriters and carriers to establish relationships and drive innovation.  The 2023 conference provided a robust agenda which included sessions on; Underwriting Innovation, LTD & IDI Combo Sales, Guaranteed Standard Issue and how to Present like a Pro.  This was followed by a main stage speaker who shared his story of how Individual Disability Income Protection helped his family keep their home, cars and pay their bills while he was disabled and could not work and earn an income. The conference also provides several opportunities to network, learn about tools to help grow sales and reach consumers, legislation, underwriting, state of the business and motivational speakers.  This conference is open to anyone interested in learning about Individual Disability Insurance.   

Passion is an innate behavior developed by past experiences whether they were positive or negative.  You can be passionate about the chocolate cake you had for dessert or your career.  Many who have witnessed a parent, friend or relative become disabled in their past are often passionate and driven about spreading the message around the importance of protecting one’s income in the event of a disability. We need more passionate representatives in this industry.

–Published with permission from On the Risk magazine.