Our Product Portfolio Competitive Advantages

Our Product Portfolio Competitive Advantages

When you shop for an individual disability income policy, look for one that:

  1. Can't be cancelled by the insurer (unless you stop paying premiums) and is guaranteed renewable, which means the insurer can't increase your premiums;
  2. Pays you a monthly benefit if you are totally disabled in your own occupation, even if you can work in another occupation;
  3. Offers a variety of built-in policy provisions designed to protect your interests; and
  4. Offers a selection of optional benefits, known as riders (often available for an additional premium) that allow you to create a policy best suited to your specific needs.

* The term "benefit" is used in place of "indemnity" throughout this publication. Insurance policy language equates benefit with indemnity. An AFS policy provides a Monthly Indemnity for Total Disability.

1. Renewability Provision: Keeping Protection In Force
Pay particular attention to renewability provisions, because they define your rights in maintaining your disability income protection. Look for a policy that is both non-cancellable and guaranteed renewable. When a policy is guaranteed renewable only, it will remain in force as long as you continue to pay for your policy on time, but the insurance company may increase your premium.

When your policy is both non-cancellable and guaranteed renewable to age 65 or 67, only you can request that changes be made or the contract be cancelled. Your policy will be renewed each year at a guaranteed premium as long as you pay your premium on a timely basis.

2. Total Disability: When Benefits Are Payable
Disability income insurance policies provide a monthly benefit for total disability. Pay particular attention to how total disability or totally disabled is defined. It is the key differentiating factor in how valuable that policy will be to you during an actual disability.

We offer a true own-occupation definition of total disability. It considers you to be totally disabled if, solely due to injury or sickness, you are not able to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation (or occupations, if more than one), even if you are at work in another occupation.

Medical and dental specialists will also appreciate our specialty language: If you have limited your occupation to the performance of the material and substantial duties of a single medical or dental specialty, we will consider that specialty to be your occupation.

We feel it is our responsibility to assist you in comparing disability income policies carefully before you buy. Many don't provide true own-occupation coverage or specialty language.

Built-In Basics: More Protection, Stronger Coverage
All insurance policies have base provisions that further define how the policies work, but some are stronger than others. The features described here are part of all policies AFS offers through our various insurance carriers. Let's examine how each works and how they differ from similar provisions in other companies' DI policies.

Elimination Period: Common Feature With Added Value

* The elimination period of a disability insurance policy may be referred to in days or months. We suggest the elimination period is in days. For the purposes of this illustration, one month equals 30 days. All disability income policies have an elimination period (or waiting period)—the period of time that must elapse before benefits become payable.

We suggest different periods of disability from the same—or a different—cause count toward the elimination period. The days on which you are disabled need not be consecutive, but must occur within a specified accumulation period. For example, policies with a 90-day elimination period have an accumulation period of 210 days.

As this chart shows, even though the second disability isn't related to the first, we do not apply a new elimination period to the second disability. Many other companies require the second disability to be due to the same or related causes. If it is not, they will require the insured to satisfy a new elimination period before monthly benefits would become payable.

And to provide even more value, AFS suggests a built-in waiver of elimination period. The elimination period will be waived for any subsequent disability—related or unrelated to the original disabling condition—that occurs within five years of the end of the previous disability.We do not require a new elimination period if your original disability lasted more than six months and we paid benefits for that disability. Most other policies waive the elimination period only within 12 months of returning to work, and only for a relapse of the original disabling condition.

Should you suffer a subsequent disability, benefits would be payable from the first day. What does this mean in real dollars? In the scenario shown, this benefit could pay you up to $15,000 more than most other policies.