As the current economy continues to affect consumer spending, critical illness policies are being considered in a new light, providing new opportunities for brokers.

Among Americans, heightened awareness of financial vulnerability makes a compelling case for protection against depleting household resources after a catastrophic health event. On the workplace side, employers are pulling away from the cost of major medical plans, or decreasing the coverage and raising deductibles. In between, brokers are battling for offerings to distinguish themselves and provide solutions to the gaps in health insurance, disability insurance and life insurance.

Market research makes a compelling case for critical illness coverage. This year an estimated 770,000 Americans will have a new coronary attack, and about 430,000 will have a recurrent attack. About every 26 seconds, an American will suffer a coronary event, according to the American Heart Association. An estimated 600,000 Americans will have a new heart attack and 320,000 will have recurrent attacks. Within five years following a first heart attack at age 40 or older, 67 percent of men and 57 percent of women will live. Depending on their gender and clinical outcome, the chance of illness or death for people who survive the acute stage of a heart attack is 1.5 to 15 times higher than that of the general population.

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