Physicians looking for disability insurance in the marketplace will soon discover that it is a very competitive market. As a result, it is hard for some physicians to uncover the truth about the individual disability insurance policies being presented. It can also be hard to know who to trust.
Here is a guide to help you discover the truth about individual disability insurance for doctors:
1) Read the full illustration and fine print. Make sure your policy not only has a true own occupation definition of disability, but for the full benefit period. I recently worked with a surgeon looking into an association plan. The representative from the association ensured that it had an own occupation definition. I called the association and I discovered that it did in fact have an own occupation definition of disability—but only for 2 years. Thereafter, my client would not have any coverage if they were capable of working in ANY capacity. I spoke to an orthopedic surgeon recently who met with an agent of a well known company. He was shown an own occupation contract and wanted to compare his quote to those offered by Set for Life. It wasn’t fully revealed in the illustration but the company was only showing him own occupation for 2 years. I knew based on experience that this particular company did not have own occupation to age 65 for surgeons.
2) Experience matters. Policies change over time and it is important you work with an independent broker who is aware of these change and the nuances of policies.
3) Independence. If you are working with a true independent broker—someone who does not have incentive to write business with one company or who works for a company, you are more likely to see the full picture. I recently had an anesthesiologist come to me who was presented a policy by an agent posing as a broker. As it turns out, this agent was only contracted with one company and was giving my client misinformation about the other companies. She clearly did not understand the other contracts or have enough information to provide proper advice.
4) Referrals. Ask your fellow physicians who they used and find out about their experience.
5) Find out who you are working with. If you are shopping for disability insurance online and the website does not reveal biographical information about the broker or agent, you may not have enough information about who you are working with or what qualifies them to be experts in their field.