Steve Brady — who is national accounts sales director at The Standard in Portland, Ore.— recalls a group of ship pilots who work the waters of Puget Sound. Their employer's agent proposed individual disability insurance, with guaranteed issue, as a voluntary addition to group disability coverage.

"Of the 55 pilots, 53 signed up for individual disability coverage," Brady says. "The agent who wrote the policies has that business, as well as 53 new files of people who are high-income earners and may be interested in his other offerings, including life insurance and other products."

That's just one example of the increasing popularity of disability insurance, which is both growing as a product in its own right and as a stepping stone to other offerings.

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