When asked if they have health, auto or home insurance, 80% of Americans say they have at least two types, but only a third of employed Americans (34%) reported they have disability coverage provided by their employer, according to a new survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of OneAmerica.
These findings, released May 11, are particularly timely as May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month.
The survey of more than 2,100 U.S. adults ages 18 and older revealed that among employed Americans who do not have short- or long-term disability insurance provided by their employer, 43% say the reason is because their employer does not offer it. Only 14% say the reason they don't have it is because they cannot afford coverage; a combined 34% don't have policies through their employer due to other obligations or expenses they feel are higher priorities (12%), don't see the value (12%), or say "I am healthy and don't need it" (14%).
Indianapolis-based OneAmerica, which experienced all-time high sales of voluntary life insurance and disability insurance products in 2016, is using the survey results to help educate consumers by challenging assumptions.
"People insure their homes, their cars, their health, but too often they don't consider the importance of insuring their paycheck — and that's the foundation on which a person builds, and sustains, all of those other financial goals," said Jim McGovern, senior vice president of Employee Benefits for OneAmerica. "Our survey illustrates what we know from our personal experience — there are millions of businesses that could offer Americans access to disability insurance, yet too few offer this cornerstone of financial well-being in their benefits package."
Among other OneAmerica survey findings, only 23% of employed Americans with a household income of less than $50,000 per year have disability coverage provided by their employer. And 34% of working women between 18 and 34 who don't have disability coverage through their employer don't have it due to a belief they are healthy and don't need it, which may mean they are ignoring the common practice of using disability insurance to cover a portion of their income during maternity leave.
"We see a great need for education in the marketplace," McGovern said. "People don't understand what disability insurance is, so they don't see the need for it. There is a misconception that disability insurance is for the older crowd, for people in high-risk occupations, or for people in poor health. That's just not the case. Disability insurance is for everyone."
Disability coverage provides replacement for a portion of employees' incomes when they face extended work absences, allowing them to continue to care for themselves and their families. Additionally, sick leave or other accrued time-off options may not give employees all the time they need when rehabilitating from an injury, recovering from illness or coping with mental health concerns, according to Life Happens, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers take personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance and related products.
Agents should encourage employees to check with their human resources representative about disability coverage; sometimes employees discover this vital benefit is available from their employer but got overlooked during open traditional enrollment periods or immediately after a hire, when they were selecting benefits.
Find more information at https://www.oneamerica.com/products-services/business-disability-income-insurance
About OneAmerica: A national leader in the insurance and financial services marketplace for 140 years, the companies of OneAmerica help customers build and protect their financial futures. OneAmerica offers a variety of products and services to serve the financial needs of their policyholders and customers. These products include retirement plan products and recordkeeping services, individual life insurance, annuities, asset-based long-term care solutions and employee benefit plan products. Products are issued and underwritten by the companies of OneAmerica and distributed through a nationwide network of employees, agents, brokers and other sources who are committed to providing value to customers.
About the survey: The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of OneAmerica from March 28-30, 2017, among 2,167 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,110 were employed. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Tom Spalding.
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