Epic786

2+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2015
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Resident [Any Field]
Which disability insurance companies are the best? NWM , mass mutual or principal. One of my friends did not had good experience with principal. Any suggestions? Thanks
 

mvenus929

10+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2006
6,920
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I don’t think NWM has true own occupation.

I have Principal and havent had any issues with insurance (retirement accounts, on the other hand....)
 

RangerBob

7+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2012
1,425
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Attending Physician
I don’t think NWM has true own occupation.

I have Principal and havent had any issues with insurance (retirement accounts, on the other hand....)
I assume NWM is Northwestern Mutual, in which case they do offer true own occupation. If I'm not mistaken, it may offer better protection for surgeons and other procedural-based specialties. Often if you're a surgeon and are unable to operate but can still run a surgery clinic, disability insurance wouldn't cover you. Northwestern has (or at least had, when I applied for coverage) a medical own occupation rider that would cover you if you can't perform some of your listed job duties.

With that said, I don't do procedures. I went with Northwestern because other policies turned me down or had ridiculous write offs. Berkshire said because I sprained my hand early in training (with no residual deficits, only one XR and Dr appt needed, got NSAIDs for 2 weeks), that anything that happened to my RUE would not be covered. So if I became disabled due to carpal tunnel syndrome, an amputation, etc., I wouldn't qualify.

That is why it is important to apply for disability insurance early-when you're young and healthy (ie, intern year). It is ridiculous how many things they will carve out, and how easy they will deny you for the smallest of things.

Northwestern isn't considered as big as Principal, Mass Mutual, or Berkshire (I think they changed names). Only NML salesman can sell NML policies, whereas insurance agents can offer you policies from all the other big companies. And Northwestern is a little more aggressive than I'd like on marketing (I had to ask my agent to stop asking me if I could introduce him to co-residents, etc.). But at the end of they day, they approved me when a few others didn't, and their policy didn't have the limitations that others had.

I recommend applying for insurance with multiple companies, and seeing what you get.
 
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MD Financial Services Scott

Disability and Term Life Insurance Representitive
5+ Year Member
Feb 27, 2014
305
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The carriers with the best definition are Principal, Ameritas, Ohio National, Standard, Guardian, and Mass Mutual. If you are looking for a definition that states if you can't do your specialty and are NOT WORKING then NWM can come into play. NWM has a tendency to be 20-40% more than the market place when you build the product feature to feature, but heck somebody has to pay for all of those college sports commercials and bowl football games
 

RangerBob

7+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2012
1,425
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Attending Physician
The carriers with the best definition are Principal, Ameritas, Ohio National, Standard, Guardian, and Mass Mutual. If you are looking for a definition that states if you can't do your specialty and are NOT WORKING then NWM can come into play. NWM has a tendency to be 20-40% more than the market place when you build the product feature to feature, but heck somebody has to pay for all of those college sports commercials and bowl football games
Are you saying that with other policies, that they will let you go back to work at say, McDonalds, and still collect disability benefits if you can't work as a physician? I had thought Northwestern allowed that as well, but I read my policy:

The words "Total Disability" or "Totally Disabled" mean that as a result of sickness or injury, the Insured is not able to perform with reasonable continuity the substantial and material acts necessary to perform the Insured's Usual Occupation in the usual and customary way."

If the Insured does not qualify as Totally Disabled under the previous paragraph, the Insured will be considered Totally Disabled if:

- The insured is not Gainfully Employed in an occupation
- More than 50% of the Insured's time in the Usual Occupation at the time Disability began was devoted to providing direct patient care and services; and
- The Insured is unable to perform the substantial and material acts which accounted for more than 50% of the Insured's charges for direct patient care and services as evidenced by the Billing Codes for the 12 months before the Disability began

"Substantial and material acts" means acts that are normally required for the performance of the Insured's Usual Occupation and cannot be reasonably omitted or modified.


It seems to me, if I can't work in my usual occupation (physician), then I could still work elsewhere. But if I did a lot of procedures and now can no longer do them (but can work as a doctor in some capacity), that the other criteria (not gainfully employed in an occupation, etc.) come into play.
 

MD Financial Services Scott

Disability and Term Life Insurance Representitive
5+ Year Member
Feb 27, 2014
305
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Denver, CO
www.mdfinancialservices.com
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Non-Student
The way those contracts work is if you have a true own specialty definition from one of the Big 6 carriers today then if you can't do your medical specialty then you get paid 100% of your benefit regardless of post disability income. If you have a Own Occupation Not Engaged definition AND you have a Residual feature on your policy then if you can't do your medical specialty full benefits are paid if you do nothing but if you go do any other occupation then your benefits will be paid out the following way '% of income lost is % of benefit to be paid' as long as your pay is greater than 20% of your pre-disability earnings. Now if you have an Own Not Engaged and you Don't have a residual and you go back to work then the benefit is $0.

One also needs to be mindful of some contracts that have a 24, 36, or 60 month clause that will state after that time period the insured should go back to work in ANY occupation that is suitable based on education, training, OR experience. Well for doctors that education component alone means they can be the biology teacher even though they don't have any training or experience. There is a reason some of these contracts are 40-60 pages long, a lot of details and unfortunately most people only read things like 90 day wait, age 65, own occ, $10k then they believe the policy is going to behave in the manner they want vs. the manner it was built.
 
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