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Essential Elements of a Disability Policy

Many professionals understand how important disability income insurance is in protecting their income in the event of sickness or injury.  However, few understand just how drastic policy language can differ between contracts. Likewise, few realize the importance and impact of policy design and how it will manifest itself at claim time.

Unfortunately, too many make a buying decision on price alone and ignore the contract language of the disability policy.  This can lead to financial devastation in the event of a claim.  For life insurance claims, the process is simple; the claim is paid upon death.  There are not any arguments between the beneficiary and the insurance company whether the insured is “really” dead or not.  I often say jokingly with clients and brokers, “unless you are a vampire, it is easy to determine whether you are dead or alive; but, whether you are disabled by definition and going to get paid is determined by your disability policy language.”

Do you know what constitutes a good disability policy and why?  In simple terms, I will discuss what I believe are the essential elements of a disability income policy, why they are important, and the consequences of not having them in your policy.  Make sure to consider these features when purchasing a disability income policy as all policies are definitely not created equal.  Written by Vincent L. Gallo* founder of


Stock vs. Mutual Companies & Carrier Financial StrengthNon-Cancellable and Guaranteed Renewable Structure (Non-Can and GR)
Reasonable Waiting Period & Benefit Period to Retirement AgeGraded Premium Option Convertible to Level
True Own Occupation Definition of Total Disability and Specialty LanguageMedical & Dental Specialty Language
New Enhanced Medical DefinitionPartial Benefits with a Built-In Recovery Provision & Adjustments
3% Compound Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) RiderNo Limitations on Benefits for Mental and/or Substance-Related Disorders
Future Increase Option (FIO) RiderEnhanced Catastrophic Disability Benefit (CAT)
Unemployment Policy Suspension & Unemployment Waiver of PremiumRetirement Protection Plus (RPP) or Lump Sum Rider
Student Loan Protection Rider (SLPR) and the Supplemental Term RiderSerious Illness Benefit




















Stock vs. Mutual Companies & Carrier Financial Strength: 

When choosing a DI carrier, it’s important to consider the differences of a publicly traded stock company and that of a mutual company.  The primary purpose of a stock company is to make a profit for the investors.  The primary purpose of a mutual company is to uphold the promises to the policy owners who own the company, not make a profit for the company's private investors.   Simply said, a stock company first and foremost is there to return a profit for its’ shareholders.  Claimants are an expense against the desired quarterly profit.  A mutual company may be able to more easily manage long term promises since short term thinking of investors is not a concern for management.  Since a policy is little more than a promise to pay, financial strength is just as important as policy language.  If a carrier can't keep a promise, that promise is of little value.  Make sure your agent helps you choose a financially sound company, which provides the ideal elements I will describe next.

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Non-Cancellable and Guaranteed Renewable Policy Structure (Non-Can and GR): 

Non-Cancellable and Guaranteed Renewable means the insurer cannot cancel nor change the policy in any way until the end of the non-can period, usually 65 or 67.  This also means that the policy language and the policy premiums cannot change as long as premiums are paid on time.

Not having a policy with this structure could cause the rate of the policy to go up to an unaffordable premium (consequence).  Additionally, if your policy doesn’t have this basic structure - the entire policy can be canceled without your consent (major consequence).   

Have you heard of someone getting into an auto accident and right after the claim was paid, they were dropped by their insurance carrier in an attempt to prevent another auto accident claim because they are considered “high risk?”  Clearly, an auto insurance policy is neither non-cancellable nor guaranteed renewable.  Imagine having your disability policy dropped right after conclusion of a claim.  You would not be protected if you had any other impairment or if your condition returned.   

By lacking both the non-cancellable and guaranteed renewable structure, the insurance company can change the definitions of the policy (consequence).  For example, regarding a health insurance policy, possibly you’ve heard of a situation where the insured files a claim and learns that the company no longer covers that condition. Really?  You definitely don't want your disability policy’s carrier to have that option.  Group disability income insurance and most association disability plans do not have the non-cancellable and guaranteed renewable structure.  

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Reasonable Waiting Period & Benefit Period to Retirement Age:

The waiting period is the amount of time that must pass before benefits become payable (like a disability deductible). The benefit period is the maximum amount of time the benefit can be paid in the same claim. 

A waiting period that is too long may become a challenge if you don’t have ample savings to pay your bills before disability benefits begin. Most importantly, take note as to what qualifies as a day that counts toward the waiting period.  Unfortunately, many weaker policies and almost all voluntary group association disability plans trigger the waiting period on a total disability only.  According to the Council for Disability Awareness's (CDA) Website (, 90% of all things that cause long term disability claims are caused by sickness and only 10% are caused by accident.  Scary is when you apply that reality to a total disability only waiting period.   

In most cases when you are completely healthy one day and totally disabled the next day, the cause is likely to be an accident which is estimated to be just 10% of the claims per the CDA noted above.  If you become ill (90% of all causes), that sickness may take years for the condition to progress to the point where you can’t do your job.  You get nothing during the period of decline, which may be years or even decades, resulting in an unreasonable wait before benefits start.

Again, referencing the CDA’s website, the national average individual long-term disability claim duration is 31.6 months  The CDA also states the younger the person in most situations, the more likely the claim will go longer than the national average.  Furthermore, the CDA notes that a typical healthy male or female age 35 that has a disability claim prior to 65 will last an average of 84 months (  Although the average claim may be less than retirement age, it does not mean that you will not need a longer benefit period.   

No one can predict how, when, nor how long someone may be disabled.  Ideally, you would want a benefit period to retirement age.  The risk of doing anything other is placing yourself in financial distress if you suffer a long lasting disability. Generally speaking, there is a minimal difference in premium between a 10 year and an age-65 benefit period.  

For those eligible, I believe it can be worth the extra cost for a client to purchase an age 65, age 67, or even some type of Graded Lifetime benefit (available from only one carrier-Berkshire Life Insurance Company1) or the unique Lump Sum Disability Benefit Rider* only available from Berkshire Life Insurance Company1 with Provider Choice except for CA.  

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Graded Premium Option Convertible to Level: 

Ability to convert a temporary lower premium to attained age level premium without having to prove good health and not lose or change any policy provisions. 

Most new professionals, residents and fellows have a significant earnings potential and in some situations are offered coverage amounts that exceed the amounts they would be eligible for based on income due to their significant income potential.  Additionally, some experienced newly self-employed professionals may qualify for disability coverage with a new start-up company under the Start Up Savvy Underwriting Program or a similar program.  In these situations, the income potential may be there but the immediate cash flow may not be.  The graded premium structure is designed so you can pay the lowest possible price for the needed insurance while locking in coverage and insurability.  The graded premiums start off low but will increase over time according to a guaranteed predetermined schedule as your age increases.  The insured has the ability to convert to attained age level premiums without evidence of insurability locking in the rate.  On the better graded to level options in the marketplace, the policy language does NOT change at all.   Weaker policies convert to an entire new policy with provisions that may not be present in the new policy.    

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True Own Occupation Definition of Total Disability and Specialty Language: 

Being protected with a true own occupation definition means you are totally disabled if due to injury or sickness you are unable to do the material and substantial duties of your occupation (or occupations if more than one), even if you are at work in a different occupation.  

By not having a true own-occupation definition of total disability in your policy, if you choose to work elsewhere while on claim, benefits being received may end or be reduced.  The lesser definition of total disability that is often confused with true own occupation is called modified own occupation.  It reads very similarly to a true own occupation definition in a policy but adds the phrase “and not working” to the definition.  While both the true own occupation and the modified occupations have scenarios where one may be better than the other regarding cost limitations, the true own occupation definition may be your better option.  Especially when you consider the true own occupation definition usually only adds between 2-8% to the cost for most white collar and professional occupations. 

Most people do not fully understand the importance of having a true own occupation disability income policy vs. having a modified own occupation disability income policy.  To fully understand the difference, we must first look at a hypothetical claim from a different perspective.  I do not know of any carrier that will insure 100% of your after tax income (unless you qualified for an extra benefit called catastrophic, more on that later).  This simply means when you are on a total disability claim and not working, there is always a reduction in net income to you.   The reason for this is because the disability benefit offered at any income is less than the actual income.   This means you will most likely suffer from a net loss of income even when receiving full disability benefits.  

By not owning a true own-occupation definition of disability policy, you cannot better yourself financially by working elsewhere because earning other income could reduce or end your disability benefit.  As a result, you wind up on a financial plateau and who wants to be there?  A financial plateau means you are unable to better yourself financially, unless your new occupation pays more money than your old occupation, which in most cases is very unlikely.  True own occupation contract language gives the freedom of being able to do something else to better oneself financially when on claim.  Even if you choose not to work, you will be happier knowing you have the choice. 

Specialty language for medical and dental occupations   - the improved definition of "your occupation". 

Specialty language states if you have limited your occupation to the material and substantial duties of a single medical or dental specialty, that specialty will be considered your occupation.  

Since many medical and dental occupations are so specific, specialty recognition in the policy can be an important feature.  Having a true own-occupation policy with specialty wording gives the freedom to choose to do something else (even if a different specialty).  The person with that choice will be much happier at time of claim because there is a chance they can still improve their financial situation by choosing to pursue another occupation.  There is peace of mind knowing they can work in their general field (i.e. medical/dental) yet collect the full disability benefit since they are still unable to perform their specialty.  Many carriers offer a true own-occupation rider to certain occupations and ages, but very few offer medical and dental specialty language. 

Example: An orthodontist runs a growing and successful orthodontic practice.  This individual develops an eye condition which makes the he/she unable to perform the orthodontic procedures.  This person would be considered totally disabled and collect full policy benefits, even if they were to teach or work in a different dental specialty. 

Additionally, medical occupations have a new alternative calculation to qualify for true own-occupation.  The new Enhanced Medical Definition adds the following paragraphs to the specialty definition to make the definition even stronger.  The below Enhanced Medical Definition is exclusive to Guardian1

If Your Occupation is limited to a Medical Doctor or Doctor of Osteopathy and more than 50% of Income is earned from Hands-On Patient Care, We will consider You to be Totally Disabled even if You are Gainfully Employed in Your practice or another occupation so long as, solely due to Injury or Sickness, You are not able to provide Hands-on Patient Care.  


If Your Occupation is limited to a Medical Doctor or Doctor of Osteopathy and more than 50% of Income is earned from performing Surgical Procedures, We will consider You to be Totally Disabled even if You are Gainfully Employed in Your practice or another occupation so long as, solely due to Injury or Sickness, You are not able to provide surgical procedures. 

Enhanced Medical Definition Example:  A neurosurgeon works for a successful practice where he is a partner and owns 25% of the practice.  He specializes in very detailed brain surgery and over 50% of his income comes from doing those procedures. The same neurosurgeon develops a disease which prevents the ability to perform surgery.  With the new Enhanced Medical Specialty language exclusive to Guardian1, the Enhanced Medical Specialty disabled doctor can still work for the practice (not performing surgery), and still collect 100% total disability benefits.   His benefits will not be reduced by the income he receives from running the practice nor his partnership distribution from his ownership.   

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Partial Benefits with a Built-In Recovery Provision & Adjustments of Prior Income to Inflation

Partial disability provides benefits when you are gainfully employed but because of injury or sickness you suffer a loss of income.  With most carriers, the partial benefit is equal to the percent of income loss, provided you meet a minimum income loss percentage.  For example: 50% loss of income = 50% of policy benefit.  

Having a quality partial benefit is a very important feature of a disability policy.  The quality partial provisions do not require a total disability first, have a 15% loss of income threshold (vs. 20%), have no requirement for loss of time and duties, and provide an unlimited recovery benefit.  The quality unlimited recovery provisions provide inflation adjustments on your prior income to allow you higher percentages of your policy benefit.  

By not owning a contract with partial benefits your policy becomes an “all or nothing” policy.  Simply put:  if you are not totally disabled, you will not receive any benefit.  Most people at some point of a disability will be working in their own occupation while they are either getting better or getting worse. In other words, it is unlikely that someone is totally healthy one day and totally disabled the next day.

The percent loss of income threshold is worth noting.  The quality policies use a 15% loss of income (instead of 20%).  In many situations this allows, a quicker qualification of claim as the benefit may be paid on a smaller loss of income.   Additionally, a 15% loss threshold potentially allows paying a claim longer because you are not removed from claim until you make 85% of your prior income vs 80%. 

‘Time or duties’ clauses reflect another area of concern.  For a partial claim to be paid, a ‘time or duties’ clause adds the requirement of a loss of time and/or duties, in addition to the income loss.  The best partial provisions have no ‘time or duties’ clauses.  This means if you have a loss of income solely due to disability, you simply are eligible for partial disability benefits.   

Dollar for dollar or 50% (whichever is greater).  A high quality partial disability rider will pay dollar for dollar benefits of lost income not to exceed base benefit or 50% of monthly benefit, whichever is greater, during the first 12 months.  If you lost a hundred-dollar bill, would you like to get it all back or would you be ok accepting a $50 bill in its place?  Ideally you should have a policy that pays you the greater amount: actual loss or 50% for the first year of claim which often is the most stressful for those on claim.

The policy may or may not have a limited recovery benefit.  What does that mean?  After you make a complete physical recovery from your ailment, your partial benefit may end, even if you are still suffering from a loss of income.  

You think:  when I recover I’ll be back to work & I’ll be back to my full income…. But, what if you've lost some of your referral sources, or patients, and/or your reputation now suffers, or maybe even your job?  People are hesitant to go back to you for your services because they know you were disabled.  In some cases, you could have a loss of income for the rest of your career.  A high quality policy with a partial benefit will contain a recovery provision that continues to consider you residually disabled up to the full benefit period as long as your income loss is due solely to your disability even if you are now completely recovered, as long as you can show a 15% loss of income. 

Other policies that have a recovery provision may produce a one time lump sum payment or a monthly recovery benefits for a limited time period.  Ideally, the recovery provision should be up to the maximum benefit period.  Additionally, the best recovery provisions are unlimited and index pre-disability earnings to inflation when calculating your benefit. 

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3% Compound Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Rider3,4:

A Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) rider helps provide protection from the effects of inflation while disability benefits are being paid. 

If on claim and without the cost of living adjustment (COLA) rider on your policy, you will be on a fixed income, and your benefit will not adjust for inflation.  Imagine living today on the income you have now and never getting a raise, or worse yet, imagine living on the income that you made five or ten years ago.  Everyone needs their benefit to increase at least with inflation to make sure they are able to maintain their standard of living.  The better COLA riders have minimum compound increases, typically 3%, and are not tied to the consumer price index (CPI), for increases less that 3%.  Additionally, there is a different option regarding COLA, which is a Four Year Delayed Cost of Living Rider.  This allows long term inflation protection, but at a lower cost because the insured self insures inflation for the first 3 years of claim.  Depending on the situation, this may be a good option to help you save premium.  The lower quality COLA options are often CPI tied up to a maximum of 3%.  The best COLA riders have a feature where the increased benbefit from a COLA increase on a clalim, becomes the new benefit amount for the next claim at no additional cost.   Additionally some carriers offer COLA riders up to 6% at a higher cost for those willing to pay more for this higher level of income protection.  The better 6% COLA riders out there have a 3% minimum with CPI tied increases above 3% to a 6% max.

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No Limitations on Benefits for Mental and/or Substance-Related Disorders5:

Not having your benefit limited for mental disorder claims, i.e. depression, anxiety, drug abuse, etc. 

According to John Hopkins in 2023 ( an estimated 26% of Americans ages 18 and older, about 1 in 4 adults, suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.  Imagine losing a child, losing your spouse, or going through a divorce. You could be emotionally devastated.  Any normal person going through an experience like that may be disabled due to such a loss.  Many of them will have a loss of income.  Think about this: imagine being out of work for a year or two because of severe depression that occurs after an emotionally difficult situation.  Having full mental disorder coverage allows you to be eligible for benefits for up to the full benefit period available on your policy in these situations.  On the less expensive policies, these types of claims are limited to 2 years and sometimes even 6 months.  

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Future Increase Option (FIO) Rider6:

A policy rider or feature that allows you the opportunity to increase your coverage, as your income rises, even if your health deteriorates.  Typically called: Future Increase Option (FIO), Guaranteed Increase Option (GIO) or Benefit Purchase Rider (BPR) or similar. 

Without this feature as your income rises (and you want to buy more protection) you would have to be fully underwritten again for any future increases in coverage. Most people when young are as they say “young and healthy,” however, as most people get older, they develop health issues.  Those health issues may prevent them from getting the additional coverage, or at least those conditions may be excluded when adding additional coverage.  Adding this optional rider to a policy affords you the opportunity to buy more coverage without evidence of medical insurability. With this rider, you are medically underwritten only once and guaranteed coverage later so long as you qualify financially during the option window. Your income is going to go up, so why only cover the income you have now? 

The quality riders for this purpose allow you to apply for additional coverage every year (time window usually 30 days before to 30 days after the anniversary date), have a pool of potential benefit to purchase from, and allow off anniversary exercises for special situations like loss of underlying group LTD insurance.   The weaker guaranteed increase options often limit how often and how much can be exercised on an option date.  For example, an option that is exercisable every three years until age 55 is not as favorable as an option that can be exercised every year until age 55.  Additionally, the higher quality options do not require the insured to take action, to keep the option when they need it.  For example, with some cheaper forms of additional purchase riders, you must complete an application for additional coverage; submit financials, even if your income does not change, every time the option comes up (usually every three years).  Additionally, you must accept at least 50% with Guardian BPR of the coverage if any is offered to you.  With the cheaper versions if you fail to do any of these requirements (even if you are too busy and forget), you forfeit all future increase options.  That is definitely something you do not want to have to deal with, so I strongly recommend to purchase a policy with a quality increase feature. 

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Enhanced Catastrophic Disability Benefit (CAT):

Catastrophic disability features provide extra benefit above the base or regular disability benefit if a severe (or catastrophic) disability occurs.  To be considered catastrophically disabled in an ideal policy, one must have total: loss of sight in both eyes, hearing in both ears, loss of speech, loss of use in their entirety of both hands, both feet, or one hand and one foot, or, inability to do 2 of 6 Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), or severe cognitive impairment. 

If a catastrophic disability occurs, your living expenses are going to increase for the extra healthcare and assistance you will need.  The catastrophic benefit feature gives you extra benefit on top of your base to help compensate for these added expenses.  By using this feature, you can bring your disability benefit potentially to 100% of your prior income tax-free.  Yes, 100% of your income tax free will give you more spendable dollars than 100% of your after income tax earnings.  However, this extra income may be needed to help offset the increased cost of living often associated with a catastrophic disability. 

For example, let’s assume you are a highly compensated surgeon that makes $475k a year and has $17k month of a quality true own occupation individual DI policy with the new Enhanced Medical Definition discussed previously.  You become totally disabled by definition of the policy and can no longer perform surgery due to loss of fine motor control of your dominant arm and hand.  Assuming that you are otherwise healthy, the $17k month would likely be enough to maintain your household even though the $17k benefit is less than what was being cleared after income taxes when working.  What would happen if you had a stroke or a horrible car accident that resulted in permanent paralysis of the 2 or more limbs, etc?  In any of those catastrophic situations the $17k may be inadequate due to the added cost of living due to the very significant change in health.  You may need around the clock care and may even need to hire a nanny to take care of the kids in addition to home modification to accommodate a wheelchair.  Another thing to note, is that it is not an expensive rider but may pay you significantly more if you qualify. Lastly, weaker catastrophic riders typically do not trigger by loss of  ADLs nor have a built in COLA feature.

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Unemployment Coverage, Unemployment Policy Suspension, and Unemployment Waiver of Premium Rider (UWPR):

We all live in uncertain financial times.  How a policy treats unemployment is an important factor of a disability policy.  Without these features or riders, many run the risk of not being covered in a period of disability or not being able to pay the premium (lapse the policy coverage). 

Unemployment Policy Suspension allows the insured the ability (if desired) to put the policy in suspension (no premiums due & no benefits paid) in the event of unemployment.  Premiums can be started up again when employment is obtained.  Back premium is not required to take out of suspension.  

The Unemployment Waiver of Premium Rider (UWPR) waives the premium for one year if the insured is unemployed and collecting unemployment benefits for 60 consecutive days provided that the insured has received at least eight weeks of governmental unemployment benefits. 

The requirement for having received a minimum government unemployment benefit applies only to the Unemployment Policy Suspension. The Waiver of premium rider continues to offer coverage while waiving premiums due to unemployment but it has a cost.  The policy Suspension feature has no cost and is built in.

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etirement Protection Plus (RPP) or Lump Sum Rider7,8: 

The Retirement Protection Plus Program available through Berkshire and similar programs by other carriers insures up to 100% of the retirement contributions (401k, 403b, Profit Sharing Plans, etc) in the event of total disability and not working. The Lump Sum Disability Benefit Rider, only available on Berkshire DI products, provides an additional Lump Sum Benefit at age 60 in the event certain criteria are met. 

If you became disabled, would you still be able to save money for your retirement as you did when you were working?  Probably not, especially since your disability benefit is likely to be less than your pre-disability earnings.  Chances are you will need your entire disability benefit to pay your living expenses to maintain your standard of living. 

There are two basic options for this dilemma.  One option is RPP.  This is a separate policy (or Rider) that covers 100% of your total retirement contributions (employee + employer) in the event of total disability.  The benefits are paid into a trust and invested at your direction.  At age 65, the trust assets are distributed to the insured to supplement whatever he or she receives from the original retirement plan. The trust assets will be distributed to your estate or to a designated beneficiary in the event of death.  The limitation of this type of policy is that benefits are typically paid only in the event of total disability and not working with most carriers that offer similar coverage.  Guardian has a two year true own occ for a separate policy which will allow you to work in another occupation during the first two years of disability. 

The other option is the Lump Sum Disability Benefit Rider, only available with Guardian DI products.  No other company offers a benefit like this one for this purpose.  At age 60 the lump sum rider comes into play.  If total and residual benefits were paid that exceed an equivalent of twelve times the monthly benefit, then an additional amount of 35% of all total and residual disability benefits paid will be provided in a lump sum payment.  I particularly like this option because you can use the lump sum payment to pay off a mortgage, pay for children’s college education, or even provide funding for you to complete your bucket list. 

Not having one of these options could put your retirement standard of living at risk.  Consult your agent as there are certain situations where either RPP or the Lump Sum Disability Benefit Rider could be the appropriate option.  Generally speaking, I believe the Lump Sum Disability Benefit Rider is appropriate if you are purchasing a larger policy and RPP is better if you are buying a smaller underlying policy.  This is because the RPP benefit is not determined by the size of the underlying policy.   

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Student Loan Protection Rider (SLPR) and the Supplemental Term Rider:

Both riders provide additional benefits to help with financial obligations.  The Student Loan Protection Rider (SLPR) provides a benefit to reimburse for Student Loan payments to cover student loans. The Supplemental Term Rider (STR) pays additional benefits in the time of one’s career where their debt to income ratio is typically the highest.  

If you became too hurt or sick to work in your own occupation would you be able to afford to pay your student loans?  Probably not since student loans may be a significant portion of your budget.  On average medical graduates have 215,900 in student debt.9.   Many may have significantly more student debt than the average.  

These riders can be sold over and above the normal issue limits up to $2000 for Advanced Degree and $2500 for MD or DO for a 10 or 15 year benefit period.    The student loan rider is reimbursed based on the amount actually paid to the loss payee while the Supplemental Term Rider is an indemnity which pays the actual amount issued.

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Serious Illness Benefit:

What are you most afraid of that may disable you?  If you are like many, you fear cancer, heart attack, and stroke the most.   This benefit equal to 50% of base policy benefit in addition to the full benefit is paid for a maximum of 12 months during the life of the policy and only while monthly benefit is payable.  This feature is built in to the policy.  

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The views and opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America or its subsidiaries or affiliates thereof.   

*Vincent L. Gallo is one of the most successful and experienced Disability Income Specialists residing in Central or Eastern Pennsylvania (PA) representing The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, NY, NY. Vince is the Disability Income Specialist (DIS) for the Eastern PA branch offices of First Financial Group. He manages the Guardian Agency Disability Income (DI) and Brokerage Departments for Eastern and Central PA, DE, NJ, and Northern MD. Vince has helped numerous agents and clients with DI insurance.   Vince’s career change to the disability income area was a direct result of his mother-in-law’s tragic disability.  He has been a DIS with First Financial Group since 2001.  In this role, he has assisted the firm in becoming one of the most successful Guardian DI-producing agency on the East Coast. Vince's expertise in the field is especially strong in policy language variation and client education. Vince has earned numerous awards from Guardian, including multiple Leader’s Club and Advanced Disability Meeting (ADM) recognitions.  On May 8th 2012, Vince was noted as a Guardian Hero in a full page Guardian ad in the Wall Street Journal.  He was one, of only a handful of Guardian Disability Specialists nationally, to have ever received this distinction. Additionally, Vince was inducted into Guardian’s DI Circle of excellence in 2017.   Vince is also valued by the Home Office of The Guardian for his insight into the development of Guardian continuing education (CE) classes, sales presentations, product design, and product enhancement.  Vince is unique in that he often authors and teaches his own DI CE classes. 

1Disability insurance Policy Forms 18ID, 18UD, & 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.    

An individual’s eligibility for benefits is determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the factual and circumstances presented as well as the terms and conditions of his/her policy(ies). 

3Optional riders are available for an additional premium.  

4This benefit is not necessarily protection against increases in the cost of living.     

5All new policies issued in California will have the Mental and/or Substance-Related Disorder (MSRD) limitation. Policies issued to anesthesiologists/anesthetists, emergency room physicians, pain management physicians, and dentists will always have an MSRD limitation. Discounts are applied when there is an MSRD limitation. MSRD limitations do not apply to policies issued as the result of a future increase or future purchase option when exercised from a policy that did not have such a limitation.

6Restrictions and limitations apply. While medical information is not required when exercising a future increase option, applications to exercise an increase option will be financially underwritten, taking into consideration both the applicant’s then current income, as well as all disability insurance which is then in force, or for which the insured has applied or is eligible to receive. 

7Retirement Protection Plus is not a pension plan, qualified retirement plan, qualified individual retirement account, or a substitute for one.     

8This publication is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered tax or legal advice.  Please contact your tax or legal advisor regarding the tax treatment of the policy and policy benefits.  You should consult with your own independent tax and legal advisors regarding your particular set of facts and circumstances.  The information provided is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be relied upon, to avoid penalties imposed under the Internal Revenue Code or state and local tax law provisions., July 2021.


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Financial Representatives of the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, New York. Financial Growth Partners is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian.  Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents, and employees do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional regarding your individual situation. This website contains the opinions of the author but not necessarily those of The Guardian Life Insurance Company (Guardian), New York, NY or its subsidiaries and such opinions are subject to change without notice.  Important Disclosures:  Terms and Conditions    Privacy Policy

This website is intended for general public use. By providing this content, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, and their affiliates and subsidiaries are not undertaking to provide advice or recommendations for any specific individual or situation, or to otherwise act in a fiduciary capacity. Please contact a financial representative for guidance and information that is specific to your individual situation.

Individual disability income products underwritten and issued by Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America (BLICOA), Pittsfield, MA or provided by Guardian. BLICOA is a wholly owned stock subsidiary of and administrator for the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Product provisions and availability may vary by state. 

2024-171414 Exp 4/26