I don’t get to the gym as much as I would like to. Sometimes I like to go to the gym and just unplug from the stresses of the office, and usually work is not foremost on my mind when I am working out. However, my most recent gym visit had me more tuned in to work than ever. But seriously – who discusses insurance at the gym?
Well…maybe I should start.
I was standing in line waiting for our gym class to start; these were the regulars – everyone in line with me was fairly young, toned, and appeared disgustingly healthy. (To be fair, I was likely the oldest person there!) I happened to overhear two women in their early 30’s start discussing one of the class instructors; we’ll call him Joe. Unfortunately, Joe had recently been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. This was shocking, because Joe was in his early 30’s, incredibly fit, and even had military service under his belt. He was the picture of health and fitness, and one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet. According to the other students waiting in line with me, Joe’s illness was completely unexpected, and unfortunately, Joe had no one to help take care of him and he had no way to replace the income he was going to lose while he was undergoing treatment. Now his family was scrambling to cover for Joe’s basic needs and expenses. One of the women asked the other, “Well, Joe was single, had no children, and was in great health. Why would he ever need disability insurance?”
I stared at them in disbelief. I desperately wanted to interrupt them, but out of respect for Joe I kept my opinion to myself.
In my mind, this encounter even further confirms the need for everyone to have some sort of disability insurance coverage. Joe’s case is a perfect (but sad) example – he was the picture of health and the last person you’d expect to need assistance because of a disability or illness, yet someone had to step up and help him due to the loss of his income; in this case, it was his family. Would you want to put your family through that kind of financial burden? I sure wouldn’t.
One of our greatest hurdles as insurance professionals is making our clients understand that, despite public perception, there are a variety of reasons why everyone should have disability insurance. We use insurance to protect our lives, our cars, our homes, and our possessions – why not use insurance to protect our most important asset – the ability to earn income and make a living for ourselves and our loved ones? Social Security estimates that 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67, and over 37 million Americans are currently classified as disabled – about 12% of the entire population! More than 50% of those disabled Americans are in their working years, from ages 18-64. (1) It’s painfully clear that a disabling injury or illness can strike and any time, regardless of age, sex, occupation, or lifestyle habits.
Thankfully, I later found out that other instructors had organized a fundraiser in Joe’s name, and all of the proceeds were slated to go Joe’s family to help offset the cost of taking care of his treatment and expenses. The outpouring of love was deeply touching, but I just can’t help but think how unnecessary it all was; how it all could have been much less of a burden if Joe had purchased disability insurance. With his young age and excellent health, Joe would have found it very affordable.
It falls to all of us to help educate the public and shed some light on why disability insurance coverage is absolutely essential – whether you are single, married, have children or not. A disabling injury or illness can happen to anyone at any time – and once that injury or illness occurs, it’s already too late.
Even if you’re not familiar or up to speed on disability insurance, don’t worry – let us be your disability insurance experts. Give us a call today.