Disability Insurance Awareness Month Planning Panel

The following are questions posed to Thomas Petersen (Vice President of Petersen International Underwriters) by Broker World Magazine in anticipation of Disability Insurance Awareness Month which begins today.

Broker World:  What special initiatives is your company undertaking to take advantage of Disability Insurance Awareness Month?  What do you do to build on your DIAM momentum to help agents perpetuate DI awareness throughout the year?

Thomas Petersen:  We try and remind insurance professionals that each year DIAM highlights the need for income protection to the public through numerous tools and outlets.  It is an awareness, not a sales strategy.  However, it is this increased awareness that makes it prime time to focus on marketing and talking to clients about the need for income protection for both personal and business needs.

BW:  What suggestions do you have for brokers to help them take advantage of DIAM and engage clients/prospects in the DI discussion?

TP:  First, Life Happens and the Council for Disability Awareness have incredible tools for producers to tap into.  These sources are printed, electronic and in video formats.  Most of them are even free!  Look at these websites.  They can be found via Google search or through many websites that link to them, such as our own website at www.piu.org.  Second, talk to your clients.  There is no need for a pressure sale, just a reminder of the “what happens when income stops.”  Lastly, take advantage of May and June to promote disability insurance since the public campaign is going full tilt throughout May.  People are in tune and open to the discussion!

BW:  What advice can you offer brokers who are not DI specialists to make it easier for them to approach their clients about DI?

TP:  Talk to your clients!  You are the financial expert.  They have called you for advice, so advise them!  If you sell life insurance, you usually speak in terms of income replacement due to death.  Income for keeping the home, business or family intact.  What if you don’t die?  It’s the same story, just a different product.  If you sell medical insurance, the reasons usually fall into the category of need because of the high cost of getting well.  It is an income story!  Isn’t this the same need for income protection?  Just talk to them.  They can decide if it is time to buy or not, but if they don’t know about the products available, the options they have or the need, then they can never get a chance to buy!

BW:  What techniques can you recommend to brokers to successfully address DI needs in the business market?

TP:  Again, talk to your client!  Business tune-ups are important.  At least once a year an insurance advisor should be looking at existing coverage and counseling a business client on the need for more, different or changes to insurance protection.  If the focus has always been on life insurance, the conversation is simple – “I am so glad you have the life insurance to cover the xxx (buy-sell, key person, bank loan, etc.).  Have you ever stopped and considered what you would do financially if there was a disability involved?  You would have the same financial obligations, but without disability insurance in place, you would have to self-fund these obligations.  For a few dollars we can cover that too!”


*Reprinted with permission from Broker World Magazine.