Disability insurance carriers launch education movement

Disability income planning is rarely a conversation topic—and that’s what the Council for Disability Awareness is set out to change.

Part of their solution? Launching an educational program called Defend Your Income, which seeks to unite consumers, advisors, employers and insurers in the fight to protect the incomes of working Americans from the financial risks caused by illness or injury.

CDA is a nonprofit organization with 18 member insurance companies that together represent more than 75 percent of the individual and group commercial disability insurance market.

It’s an important goal: More than a quarter of today’s entrants into the workforce will suffer an income-interrupting disability at some point during their working careers, according to the Social Security Administration. But recent CDA research shows that the majority of working Americans and many of their advisors significantly underestimate their odds of disability. And, about two-thirds of America’s workforce aren’t covered by private long term disability insurance.

“It’s difficult to convey the risks associated with disability,” says Barry Lundquist, president of CDA. “People just avoid talking about the subject. When it comes to thinking about their health, people are optimistic by nature.

“But that kind of thinking has left the majority of Americans unprepared to protect their most valuable financial asset—their income,” he says. “That’s why we’re taking such a new and different approach to engage working consumers and their trusted financial advisors and employers in learning about their risks and empowering them to take action.”

The hub of the Defend Your Income program is an engaging web experience, the CDA says. Set in a martial arts dojo, the site invites visitors to actively learn how to defend their income. They can “meet their attackers” and learn about the top threats to their income.

And they can calculate their Earnable Income Quotient to see what’s at stake—their lifetime income-earning potential.

“We need to change the conversation about income protection planning,” says John Roberts, president and CEO of Assurant Employee Benefits, and chairman of CDA’s board. “This campaign presents the topic in a way that is dynamic, easy to understand and even inserts a little bit of fun into the learning process. When incomes are secure, everyone wins – employers, society, and of course the wage earners themselves.”



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