Throughout my career as a financial advisor in the insurance industry, my advice has always been derived from a needs base analysis; if my clients financial security would be severely impacted by an injury or sickness, or from a diagnosis of cancer, a heart attack or a stroke, or from a premature death, then I can help them with their planning. Now however, I feel that it is important to get the message out, especially to those who are thinking about their financial security in light of this COVID-19 situation, by pointing out that a new normal will soon be affecting all future Disability, Critical Illness and Life insurance policies. Very shortly, you will see higher premiums and added restrictions to coverage, that are not currently there, and this will apply to individual policies as well as certificate holders for association plans. Association plans for the Medical, Dental, Legal and Accounting professionals, unlike individual insurance programs, are not guaranteed plans, so the insurance company and/or the association can change the definitions of coverage and/or the premium to existing as well as to new certificate holders without the consent of the certificate holder.
We have already seen how quickly travel insurance plans added exclusions to their policies for pandemics in February. In March, Dentists experienced how swiftly their association insurance coverage changed when the carrier adding in an exclusion for benefit payments for loss of revenue when they were mandated to close their operations due to a pandemic like the one we are currently experiencing. We have seen in the past how insurance policies changed in reaction to AIDS and HIV and how Maternity Benefits were withdrawn from disability policies when larger than expected claims occurred. Throughout my insurance career, the list of examples of how insurance premiums have increased, and covered benefits changed, withdrawn or restricted due to economic conditions and changes in population health, is something I have experienced many times.
So, what can you do? Simply put, if you are concerned, act now! Once you have an individual policy for Disability, Critical Illness, and/or Life insurance inforce, the insurance company cannot change anything in the policy except to make it better for you and you agree to that change. And in the long run, these are the least expensive plans available as the premiums do not change. My office is open and ready to help. Through my website, www.thelivingbenefitsgroup.com or my email address firstname.lastname@example.org, you can contact me to set up a time to review your needs and if insurance is the proper answer, applications can be done electronically and remotely. The thing is, the sooner your applications get started, the less likely you are to end up with policies with these upcoming premium increases and coverage restriction. Maybe it is time to consider your answer to these questions: Would you like to still be able to provide for your family if you are unable to work due to a sickness of injury? If today, you were diagnosed with cancer would you like your spouse to be able to take time off from work to support and care for you? Would you like your family to stay in their home and permit your children to get their proper education if you are no longer with them? Who would you rather see receive your final tax installment, the CRA or a charity of your choice?
Think about it! I look forward to hearing from you.
J.M. (Jim) Corrigan, CHS, CLU