Implementation of the Affordable Care Act has emphasized the importance of the ancillary market. Many brokers are starting to find their new approach to selling in a post-ACA environment, and have found that disability insurance has been lucrative for their business.

Although many employers are rethinking the way they offer medical benefits, some are putting an increased emphasis on group benefits to make up for shifted or reduced coverages elsewhere. Due to its ability to provide income protection for employees who incur a severe illness or injury, disability insurance has become a benefit that employers are looking to enhance to help attract and retain talent.

Carriers are offering additional benefit options that can enrich already strong disability plans. These enhancements not only help employers provide a robust offering with only a slightly higher load, but they also provide more support for employees — especially when faced with a life-altering condition.

One step further

An example of an additional benefit enhancement to sell is a provision that can help provide financial security to employees with severe disabilities during their working years and after retirement. This add-on is a popular among companies with a paternalistic culture and those with highly paid professionals (e.g., attorneys, physicians or architects).

This benefit takes income protection one step further, as it helps provide a lifetime of financial assistance to employees who aren’t able to perform duties associated with daily living. In essence, it extends the disability benefit payment that’s in effect when an employee’s claim would normally reach the maximum benefit period. Not only would employees in such circumstances continue to receive an income — what’s in force at the maximum benefit period — they also would receive that monthly payment until they die.

To help position this benefit, ask your clients about the nuances of a typical disability claim:

  • Do they know their policy’s maximum benefit period?
  • How would an employee on a long-term disability claim pay living expenses while trying to save for retirement?
  • Are they interested in adding an additional benefit to an existing plan that can help provide for employees after retirement?

By finding a carrier that has a strong base offering and adding additional benefits or coverages to adapt to an employer’s needs, you can create a niche offering that often can help employers think holistically about their employees’ financial future.
Scott is marketing product manager with Standard Insurance Company (The Standard) and responsible for the company's long-term disability product, as well as employee assistance and Workplace Possibilities programs.

The Standard is a marketing name for StanCorp Financial Group, Inc., and subsidiaries. Insurance products are offered by Standard Insurance Company of 1100 SW Sixth Avenue, Portland, Ore., in all states except New York, where insurance products are offered by The Standard Life Insurance Company of New York of 360 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 210, White Plains, N.Y. Product features and availability vary by state and company, and are solely the responsibility of each subsidiary. Each company is solely responsible for its own financial condition. Standard Insurance Company is licensed to solicit insurance business in all states except New York. The Standard Life Insurance Company of New York is licensed to solicit insurance business in only the state of New York.

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