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Policy Matters

Second Quarter 2022


Do you have clients (or clients with kids) who are among the new class of graduates entering into their residency or fellowship programs or beginning that first year of grunt work after law school? Most will be on the path toward high net worth, simultaneously beginning to pay back large student loans. Have you talked with them about protection for that income and those loans in case they get sick or injured and can't work? (Yes, we know, that’s a whole ‘nother conversation: “You’re not invincible!”)

Until now, for most students, their largest asset has been a car. Maybe a house. They probably haven’t even stopped to think that their largest asset is actually their ability to earn an income.

The hope is that they will have long, lucrative careers in the profession they have spent so much time studying and that asset will grow nicely. But in the event a disability happens and they aren’t able to work (for a short or a long time), it’s wise to protect the investment of time and money they have made in that education. And even wiser to start that protection early since, well, you just never know.

While their new employers may provide group disability insurance (DI), group policies often fall short of providing the benefits needed, and supplemental DI can help your clients maintain a lifestyle closer to the one they’re used to. And because budgets are tight for many residents and fellows, we can help them find policies that provide substantial coverage with benefits and premiums that match their financial situation, and can even grow with them as they grow in their careers.

Consider these individual disability insurance (IDI) key features:

  • Own Occupation
    Disability insurance policies contain definitions of disability and most come with what's called regular occupation definition. Your clients can go out on claim if they are unable to perform duties of their regular occupation. But for specialized occupations (consider a brain surgeon client who develops Parkinson’s Disease and can no longer perform this intricate work), they can collect total disability benefits even if they choose to work in another occupation (the brain surgeon becomes a legal consultant). Having an own occ definition of disability can mean the difference between staying home and collecting DI benefits vs. going back to work; and the desire to continue working can't be underestimated, especially in high achievers.
  • Mental health and substance abuse coverage
    Stress can be off the charts for healthcare workers who see sickness, trauma, death, and family grief daily. They often work long, irregular hours and days, and hold people’s lives in their hands (sometimes literally). There is a high rate of depression for professionals in the healthcare fields.
  • Family caregiving benefits
    There are policies available that include family caregiving benefits that provide your clients with financial freedom to be there for loved ones who need them (so your client may not be disabled, but a family member may be struck with a serious illness or injury).
  • Student loan payment
    Graduates in these programs are beginning to live a lifestyle that’s typically different from their college life. And they begin paying back student loans. But if they become disabled, will they be able to make those loan payments? Defaulting on that student loan debt certainly wouldn’t be a good start to their young career life. With a student loan rider*, that worry is alleviated. That payment is made if they go out on claim. If your client is totally and permanently disabled, the government may allow them to discharge the outstanding debt, but private institutions may require the student loan debt be paid off. And we’ll have to see what happens with the current proposed student loan debt forgiveness.
  • Future Increase Option
    FIO is a rider* available with some DI policies. It protects future earnings without medical underwriting with increases based on income and other disability insurance in force.

*LLIS doesn’t recommend a lot of riders with the policies we help your clients get, but these are two we definitely do, and especially for this type of client. To see a list of DI riders we do recommend, click here.

Your clients may be eligible for an individual disability policy while still in school. As a matter of fact, The Association of American Medical Colleges requires all medical schools to offer students disability insurance coverage; typically optional. However, that coverage may not be enough and may expire upon graduation or entering residency. An IDI policy would be a beneficial enhancement or replacement for that school policy.

We also like a program called the New Professionals Program (NPP). NPP helps eligible graduates get high-quality disability income insurance without proof of income. It offers a graded premium option, which helps make the initial cost more affordable at the onset of a career.

You can help these new grads get a financially secure start by educating them on the benefits of an IDI policy that will give them peace of mind with income protection, strong coverage, and the flexibility they need at this time in their life, sometimes with waived medical or financial documentation. And peace of mind as they advance in their profession because the coverage will grow with their career.

Our DI experts are here to help: Brian Ciccarelli & Kathy Bilodeau.


Term Life Insurance | Low-Load Universal Life (Individual & Survivorship) | No Lapse Guaranteed Univeral Life (Individual & Survivorship) | Long Term Care Insurance | Disability Insurance | Critical Care Insurance | Low-Load Variable Annuity | Immediate and Fixed Annuities | Low-Load Variable Universal Life | Hybrid Life/LTCi | Hybrid Annuity/LTCi

(We recommend low-load permanent life insurance and annuities when possible)

(Not all policy types available in all states)

For a list of current providers, visit the Advisor Tools section of our website and click on "Insurance Companies We Work With".

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