The policies we currently recommend for dentists and dental specialists are available through The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY who offers high quality income protection through its wholly owned stock subsidiary, Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America, Pittsfield, MA**.
Their current offering for Dentists and Dental Specialists offers a true “Own Occupation” definition of total disability in the contract. This is the heart of your policy. If you become totally disabled in your occupation, you will be eligible to receive your total disability benefits even if you decide to work in another occupation, so long as solely due to injury or sickness you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation. Don’t settle for “modified own occupation” or “transitional own occupation” definitions of “total disability” that can reduce and eventually eliminate your benefits if you choose to earn a living in a new occupation after suffering a disabling accident or illness. You deserve better.
Please also note that this policy includes “specialty” language in the definition of your occupation. If you have limited your occupation to the performance of the material and substantial duties of a single ADA recognized dental specialty, then they will deem that specialty to be your “occupation.” If you’re a dental specialist, be sure to check other contracts you may be comparing for this vital contract language.
In addition to optional benefit periods of two years, five years, ten years, “to age 65,” “to age 67” or “to age 70” – when building your personal disability insurance policy, you should consider the following optional benefit “riders” to enhance your protection.
Enhanced Partial Disability Benefit Rider***: Sometimes an illness or injury doesn’t cause a total disability but does limit your ability to work, which results in decreased income. Or, you might suffer a total disability and return to work, but not at your pre-disability earnings. This rider helps support your financial recovery by providing benefits, when solely due to injury or sickness you suffer a loss of income of 15% or more. Our recommended plan replaces income dollar-for-dollar, up to the policy’s total monthly benefit during the first 12 months of partial disability. After benefits have been paid for 12 months, proportionate benefits (between 15% and 75%) begin in month 13. You’ll receive 100% of your total monthly benefit for a 75% or greater loss of earned income due to partial disability. Proving a loss of “time or duties” is not required.
Future Increase Option Rider***: This rider allows you to increase your monthly indemnity every year on your policy anniversary without further medical underwriting (through age 55). You only have to prove financially that you qualify for the increased benefit. Please note that the insured may buy all or part of the increase on any option date up to age 45. On or after age 45, an insured may buy up to one third of the original option amount on any option date. Restrictions and limitations apply. While Medical information is not required when exercising a future increase option, application to exercise such 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. This feature is only available to ADA recognized dental specialists.
Benefit Purchase Rider: This rider allows you to increase your monthly indemnity on every 3rd policy anniversary date through age 55. You only have to prove financially that you qualify for the increased benefit. Restrictions and limitations apply. While Medical information is not required when exercising a benefit purchase rider option, the application to exercise such 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.
Cost of Living Adjustment Rider***: This rider protects your policy’s monthly benefit from the ravages of inflation over time – something that has come to the forefront recently in the economy. Berkshire Life offers three different COLA rider options that adjust your policy’s monthly benefit annually to help keep pace with inflation during a disability. Each of these riders is designed to adjust your monthly benefit, whether your totally or partially disabled, and includes compound annual adjustments and a minimum benefit adjustment of 3%, calculated on a compound basis. Please note that this benefit is not necessarily protection against increases in the cost of living.
Student Loan Protection Rider**: Today’s average general dentist leaving school has a student loan debt burden of $241,097! (Source: 2013 ADEA Dean’s briefing book) This is a major concern for long-term financial planning as such debts are not forgiven for most disability claims. Make sure your IDI policy pays an additional tax-free benefit to cover these monthly payments. This benefit rider provides coverage for a period of ten or fifteen years from the policy date. When a qualifying total disability occurs, benefits are payable during the remaining portion of the ten or fifteen-year term that has not elapsed when the disability begins.
Retirement Protection Plus Disability Benefit Rider***:This is a rider that protects your retirement plan contributions in the event of a total disability. RPP Coverage is financially underwritten and issued in addition to other DI coverage, and on top of our normal issue and participation limits. The benefit amount is dependent on the retirement contributions currently being made by you or your employer on your behalf. It is also available as a separate individual disability insurance policy. Other benefits are available: ask Dave for more information on limitations and availability.
*Individual disability insurance policy Forms 18ID, 18UD, 18GI, 1400, 1500, and 1600 underwritten and issued by Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America (BLICOA), Pittsfield, MA. BLICOA is a wholly owned stock subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), 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 forms 18ID, 1400, 1500, and 1600 the expected benefit ratio is 50%. For policy forms 18UD, 18GI, 18UD-F, and 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. ***Retirement Protection Plus is not a pension plan or a substitute for one. Optional riders are available for an additional premium.