Protect Your Most Important Financial Asset - Your Income.
Sean Perry
December 2017

A lack of disability insurance has the potential to disrupt payment for any estate and legacy planning (or other investment) strategies, and thus your client’s standard of living. Per the Council for Disability Awareness, 57 percent of working Americans report that they have no disability insurance and remain vulnerable to losing their income due to an illness or injury. Furthermore, 78 percent of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck, up from 75 percent last year. While household income has grown over the past decade, it has failed to keep up with the increased cost of living over the same period according to a recent report from CareerBuilder. Having inforce coverage can assist your clients by paving a successful avenue toward their financial goals.

On a personal note, I know a couple who have recently been battling an aggressive form of cancer. The last thing they need during this uphill struggle is more adversity in the form of new and recurring financial obligations. Having an inforce policy allows them to prioritize the focus on health maintenance without added stressors. Had they not been offered this form of coverage they would have had to access their savings and investments prematurely, leaving them unable to navigate future financial responsibilities. 

As insurance professionals we have the opportunity to educate and offer the most complete coverage possible. One of the best ways we can improve client service is by extending options past the standard carrier when necessary. Through collaborative efforts, nonstandard carriers may be able to offer viable asset protection. Nonstandard carriers have the ability to use creative solutions to safeguard residual income in order to maintain the lifestyle clients have worked diligently to achieve. In the event of a claim, disability insurance assists with day to day needs as well as continued contributions to investment vehicles. 


Solutions for your nonstandard cases are readily available
A couple of carriers specialize in the nonstandard disability insurance niche. These carriers offer an array of disability insurance products for clients who are otherwise deemed to be high risk and uninsurable in the standard disability marketplace. 

I can provide more insight on two such options. The first is a guaranteed renewable product that has a level premium to the age of 65.  With this product the client’s coverage is never re-underwritten and cannot be cancelled due to claims history. While the guaranteed renewable product would be considered a safer product for someone with chronic or severe medical conditions, this product is more costly and sometimes more difficult to sell.

The second is a less expensive alternative to the guaranteed renewable product and is readily available to clients that have been declined in the standard disability market. This is a term product which requires underwriting review in most cases after five years. The premium increases at each term for the client’s attained age at the renewal. Also, it can be modified if the client’s medical history has changed and is thus a bit more risky for a client with chronic or severe medical conditions. 

While the benefit periods for these products are limited to five years compared to disability contracts offered in the standard market, comprehensive coverage will substantially diminish the impact of a disability and loss of income. Various options will assist in the sales process and solidify a comprehensive product offering. Product comparisons provided with both product quotations will aid the producer in explaining each product’s features and contrast the difference, thus allowing the consumer to make a better informed decision and to choose the option that best suits their needs and budget.

Throughout my career working behind the scenes in the standard and nonstandard market, I have had countless conversations with agents and brokers who were convinced that they had reached an impasse with their declines.  They were pleasantly surprised to learn that other options were available. That being said, I encourage any producer with a challenging case to reach out to a disability insurance specialist in order to discuss the various nonstandard tools that are readily available for their clients to utilize. 

To further educate producers on locating coverage for their declined cases in the nonstandard market, keep in mind there are various conditions that can be taken into consideration such as:

  • Back and Spine Issues requiring chiropractic treatment and/or chronic pain medication
  • Cancer History
  • Cardiovascular Disease, Heart Attack, Bypass Surgery
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Cirrhosis 
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • History of Drug/Alcohol Abuse or Addiction 
  • Overweight
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Systemic Lupus 

My counterparts and I are actively involved in the nonstandard market and aim to provide optimal income protection vehicles that will truly equate to peace of mind. Seek out a Brokerage General Agency that specializes in disability insurance and they will strive to put your declined disability applications in force. We as an industry take pride in assisting our BGAs, their producers, and ultimately their clients in obtaining a product that ensures financial security.

Author's Bio
Sean Perry
is a senior underwriter at Risk Insurance and Reinsurance Solutions in Miami, FL. He has been with Risk Insurance since April, 2016. Prior to Risk he was an underwriter at MetLife for seven years. Mr. Perry’s main goals are to provide brokers with customer centric solutions for their declined and hard to place disability insurance cases and to educate producers regarding nonstandard disability insurance and the overall need to make sure their clients have income protection. He has an ALMI and ACS designation from the Life Office Management Association as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Perry can be reached by telephone at 954-642-2525, ext. 3160. Email:

Leave a Comment