Guardian reveals its new disability contract, that’s good news for consumers and bad news for other insurers.
Earlier this year Berkshire released Provider Choice, a powerful individual disability product. Berkshire pulled out all the stops with their new product and more specifically their language within the contract. Berkshire is one of the nation’s highest rated insurance companies, scoring a 99 out of 100 in Comdex rating*. The company, who already holds a large market share nationwide, is looking to signify itself as the “go-to” in the individual disability insurance sector.
Berkshire has set itself apart by paying out the most amount of benefit for the largest number of scenarios. There are two major aspects that separate Berkshire from their competitors, one is the company’s financial strength, and the other lies within the company’s contract language. As I mentioned earlier, Berkshire has a 99 Comdex rating, making it a financially secure company. This is important because a disability contract may pay out benefits for 30 to 40 years. So whether you need your benefit paid today or 20 years down the road, you can feel secure knowing that company who promised to pay your benefit will still be around. In the following paragraphs I will dive into Berkshires superior contract language.
Berkshire has a core of built-in benefits in all of their core policies. One such benefit is its Waiver of Premiums benefit. This means that Berkshire will allow you to continue your coverage, without paying the premium, while disabled and for six months after your disability ends, should you recover. You read that correctly, should you become disabled your premium is waived. If you recover Berkshire will foot the bill for another 6 months.
A benefit that is exclusive to Berkshire is its Waiver of Elimination Period. This benefit states that, if you suffer a disability that last more than six months and Berkshire has paid you benefits, they will waive your elimination period for any subsequent disability of 30 days or more, so long as it occurs within five years of your previous disability, regardless of the cause.
This next benefit is new to the Berkshire contract and that benefit is the Hospice Care Benefit. Berkshire states that if you are admitted into a qualified hospice program, they will consider you to be totally disabled. Berkshire will also waive the policy elimination period so that you can receive your benefits faster. This is an amazing feature and unique to Berkshire.
When I first read this next benefit in the contract, I could not believe my eyes. Berkshire has introduced a Serious Illness Supplemental Benefit unlike anything I have ever seen in the disability space before. This added benefit states that should you become totally disabled from cancer, a stroke, or a heart attack, Berkshire will pay an ADDITIONAL 50 percent on top of your current monthly benefit for up to twelve months! Let me break that down for you with some math. Let’s say that you’ve been paying for a monthly benefit of $5,000 a month and you suffer a stroke. Berkshire will pay you $7,500, not the $5,000 you’ve been paying premiums for, for up to 12 months. As we all know, not all disabilities are permanent in nature and not all disabilities cause you to be totally disabled. Berkshire does a better job than most other insurer’s when it comes to partial disability benefits and it just strengthened that position by making their Enhanced Partial Disability rider stronger than ever. This benefit is a little harder to understand so I will be as thorough as I can be for you. This Enhanced Partial benefit provides benefits when you become disabled solely due to injury or illness and suffer a loss of income of 15% or more. This applies when you aren’t totally out of work but have lost 15% or more of your income. Here is what makes Berkshire’s Enhanced Partial special:
· For your first 12 months, the benefit is equal to the actual loss of income, up to 100% of your monthly benefit BUT the minimum monthly benefit paid out is 50% of your monthly benefit.
o What that means is, if you had a monthly benefit that would pay out $10,000 (assuming you earn $20,000) and you suffer a 15% loss of income which only totaled $3,000 you would actually receive $5,000 or 50% of your $10,000 benefit.
· After 12 months, benefits would be paid out in proportion to your actual loss in income.
o If your loss of income is more than 75%, Berkshire will consider your loss to be 100%
· Even after an individual has fully recovered and returned to work full time, the company will continue to pay benefits as long as there is a loss of income of at least 15% and the loss is solely the result of the injury or illness that caused the disability.
o This is especially important for individuals whom provide some type of service and could possibly loss customers or clients due to their disability.
These are just a few of the key components to Berkshire’s amazing contract. It is easy to see that with all of these added benefits and Berkshire’s already solid contract language, that it would be extremely difficult for other competitors in the field to match up evenly.
Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). 5426 Bay Center Drive, Suite 550, Tampa, FL 33609. Security products/services and advisory services offered through PAS, a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. Financial Representative, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY. PAS is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian. Westshore Financial Group, Inc. is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian.
PAS is a member FINRA, SIPC.
* Comdex is not a rating, but a composite of all ratings that a company has received from the major rating agencies (A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch). Comdex percentile ranks the companies, on a scale of 1 to 100 (with 100 being the best). Ratings are as of August 2016 and are subject to change.
Individual disability insurance policy Forms 18ID, 18UD, and 18GI underwritten and issued by Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America, Pittsfield, MA, a wholly owned stock subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY. Product provisions and availability may vary by state. In New York: These policies provide disability insurance only. They do not provide basic hospital, basic medical or major medical insurance as defined by the New York State Insurance Department. For policy form 18ID, the expected benefit ratio is 50%. For policy forms 18UD, 18GI, 18UD-F, an 18GI-F, the expected benefit ratio is 60%. The expected benefit ratio is the portion of future premiums that the company expects to return as benefits, when averaged over all people with these policy forms.
Optional riders are available for an additional premium.
An individual’s eligibility for benefits is determined on a case-by- case basis, taking into consideration the factual circumstances presented as well as the terms and conditions of his/her policy(ies).
Pinpoint #: 2016–28128– 11–18- TBD