A dollar puzzle with SARS-CoV-2 virions Overall, the COVID-19 crisis appears to have sucked muchof the energy out of disability awareness month promotionalefforts. (Credit: Thinkstock; NIH)

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It's May, and that means Disability Insurance Awareness Month2020 has started.

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The month has arrived as the possible COVID-19 effects on lifeinsurance and health insurance claims are dominating the insurancenews, and as efforts to use low interest rates to keep the economyafloat are depressing the bond earnings that life insurers need towrite profitable long-term disability insurance business.

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Related: Meet the new face of disability insurance:millennials and Gen Z

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And as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2(SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, appears to be leavingsome working-age survivors with serious, long-lasting healtheffects, such as difficulty with breathing, and a need for kidneydialysis.

Resources

  • The Life Happens Disability InsuranceAwareness Month 2020 resource page is available here.
  • The Council for Disability Awareness DIAM 2020resource page is availablehere.

The Integrated Benefits Institute has estimated that thepandemic could leave insurers with at least 648,000 short-termdisability insurance claims, and a total of about $4.9 billion inshort-term disability benefits bills.

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Forecasts of the long-term disability insurance claim impact arehard to find, partly because COVID-19 is so new that researchersare still learning what the long-term effects might be.

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Many purchasers of individual disability insurance arephysicians, and many of the people affected by COVID-19 arephysicians. It's possible that COVID-19 could lead to a noticeableeffect on individual disability claims.

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Two industry outreach groups — Life Happens, a general life andhealth consumer education coalition, and the Council for DisabilityAwareness — have created Disability Insurance AwarenessMonth 2020 resource packets aimed at advisors, including factsheets, and collections of prewritten Twitter, Facebook andLinkedIn content.

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Life Happens has named Scott Rider, a former financial advisorwho developed Parkinson's when he was 47, to be its disabilityawareness month spokesperson.

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Rider will be spreading the message that he and his family havebeen able to maintain their lifestyle thanks to having disabilityinsurance.

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Standard Insurance has promoted an awareness month packet for financialprofessionals who want to tell clients about individual disabilityinsurance.

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The list of entities promoting the month includes Ash Brokerage,Instant Disability's InstantDisability.com website, Modern InsuranceAgency's MeetBreeze.com site, EmpowerHealthInsuranceUSA.com,, and AdvocateInsurers.

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Overall, however, the COVID-19 crisis appears to have suckedmuch of the energy out of disability awareness month promotionalefforts. The volume of promotional Tweets appears to be muchlighter than in 2020, for example.

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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, ThinkAdvisor's insurance editor, previously was LifeHealthPro's health insurance editor. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Think_Allison.