At some point before they retire, more than 25 percent of those who enter the workforce today will experience an illness or injury that will result their being unable to work for more than 90 days. Your clients and prospects have a crucial need to protect themselves financially in case they become ill or get hurt. Here are five strategies you can use to help them get the disability income (DI) insurance they need.
 Ask them. Ask your clients and prospects about their income protection plan. As you meet with them, ask them, “I was reviewing the files of my favorite clients and realized we don’t have your current income protection details. What is your current plan?”
 Offer DI insurance to help protect their retirement. Most clients who become sick or injured struggle to make ends meet. When they were working, they protected 100 percent of their income. But they still don’t have enough money to save for retirement.
With higher medical bills and rising expenses, your clients can’t set aside money for retirement. After being on claim for years, when their policy ends when they reach age 65 or 67, or they hit normal Social Security retirement age, your clients have nothing to retire on.
You can tell them not to worry. They can buy a retirement protection policy that pays a specific benefit amount into a trust account (basically a 401(k) plan replacement) if they are totally disabled. Typically, they can purchase policies that cover up to 15 percent of income, or a cap of $4,300 per month.
 Offer a policy that protects 100 percent of their income. Many people have a group DI plan that covers 60 percent of their “covered earnings,” which typically don’t include things like commissions and bonuses, health insurance premiums covered by the employer or a 401(k) match. Typically, group plans will have a maximum, such as $5,000 or $7,500 a month.
Tell them that they can supplement that group plan to cover some of the gaps. Sixty percent group long-term disability plus 20-25 percent individual disability plus 15-25 percent catastrophic illness feature equals 100 percent income replacement. Then ask them, “If you knew you were going to become sick or hurt, how much of your income would you want to be replaced?”
At the end of my fact-finding session, I spend time educating clients about their group plan and the coverage gaps within it. Most people have the biggest percentage of their health insurance premiums covered by their employer. But if they become sick or hurt, they have to pick up COBRA expenses. This means that their out-of-pocket expenses will skyrocket.
 Offer “compassionate” DI insurance. Most advisors, brokers and clients have never heard of this policy. About a year and a half ago, a young man from my alma mater was playing hockey for the high school team, was checked from behind into the boards, and was paralyzed. His world changed and his parents’ world changed as well. I imagine his parents took a long time away from their jobs to care for him. If one of them had had a policy with this “compassionate” feature, they could have taken off work for nine months and they would have been paid for six months under their disability policy. This assumes a 90-day waiting period.
Can one receive DI benefits without being disabled? Yes. If they take time off to care for a parent, a spouse or a child who needs long-term care, they can receive up to six months’ worth of benefits on their policy. I am hopeful that more carriers will introduce this type of policy soon.
 Stay positive and let the client vote. When I started in this business, I would tell myself, “The client won’t buy that, or he does not need this.” I later learned that our role isn’t to make decisions for our clients. Instead, our responsibility is to present them with options and to explain those options to them without bias. Many clients have decided to go with options I thought they would skip. If I had made that decision for them without showing them the options, their plan would not have given them what they wanted.