As an adviser, you are confident and skilled when it comes to selling the products that make up your core business. Products such as long-term care, health and life insurance can help prepare your clients for the unexpected.

However, you may be leaving money on the table — and exposing clients to risk — by not selling one product that can help protect your clients’ income and maintain their standard of living: individual disability income insurance.

Many agents recognize the need for their clients to buy IDI, but struggle at effectively proposing it. However, there is a natural segue to IDI from just about any insurance or investment product. In many instances, the timing may be ideal if you are putting your client through medical underwriting for another purchase.

Good salespeople understand the impact of an effective opening statement. Here are five examples of conversation starters to transition to IDI from another product. Practice them, adapt them to your style and integrate them into your sales strategy.

1) Life insurance

“Congratulations on putting this life insurance policy in place and helping provide for your family if you are not here to do so. However, what if you survive a serious illness or injury? How will you take care of your family if your health impacts your ability to work?”

2) Financial plans with periodic contributions

“The best financial plan in the world will survive only as long as your income does. Before we part today, let’s plan to ensure you can still make ends meet even if you cannot earn your usual income. Otherwise, all this planning we just did could be for naught.”

3) Long-term care insurance

“It is likely that the need for long-term care will arise later in life. But how would your income continue if some serious illness or accident strikes during your working years?”

4) Individual health insurance

“This health insurance will make sure the doctor, hospital and pharmacy get paid. But if you get seriously sick or hurt, who will make sure you get paid?”

5) Group long-term disability

In this instance, consider talking with your employer clients to discuss layering IDI on top of existing coverage. “Group LTD is a great first line of defense for your employees’ incomes. But, as you know, the group plan is structured in a way that often does not fully cover higher-earning employees, such as your executives. Let’s look at filling in the gaps left by group LTD with IDI.”

In almost any discussion involving financial services products, there is a logical path to bring up IDI. For additional help, work with an IDI brokerage firm to help get you up to speed on additional product insights. Make the effort to learn how to broach this topic now, and someday, a client might be forever grateful you did.

Waters, CLU, RHU, REBC, is the second vice president of individual disability income insurance sales at Standard Insurance Company. Reach him at

The Standard is a provider of financial products and services, including group and individual disability insurance, group life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance, group dental and vision insurance, absence management services, retirement plans products and services, individual annuities and investment advice. For more information on The Standard, visit

The Standard is the marketing name for the subsidiaries of StanCorp Financial Group, Inc.: Standard Insurance Company, The Standard Life Insurance Company of New York, Standard Retirement Services, Inc., StanCorp Mortgage Investors, Inc., StanCorp Real Estate, LLC, and StanCorp Equities, Inc. 

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