More employers offer disability insurance, employees realize need yet many fail to act

Disability Insurance Awareness Month focuses attention on this important protection product

Business Wire

NEWARK, N.J--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

With May being Disability Insurance Awareness Month (DIAM), timely findings from a Prudential report reveal that while 82% of employers report they are offering long-term disability insurance in 2013, up from 74% in 2012, 33% of employees are reporting they are without disability insurance of any kind whether it be short-term, long-term, individual or group coverage.

According to Disability Insurance: Beyond Paycheck Protection , the third in a series of five research briefs based on the Prudential Insurance Company of America’s (Prudential’s) Eighth Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond, short-term disability insurance programs are also on the rise with 85% of employers offering them in 2013 compared to 77% in 2012.

Despite this trend, a disconnect remains in the minds of employees. The vast majority (72%) report that making ends meet is very important and 56% say having financial security in the event a wage earner can no longer work due to a disability or illness is also very important. However, only 28% say their ability to replace earnings due to being out of work as a result of a disability is very good and just 38% think their ability to pay for health care costs, such as wellness and preventative maintenance, chronic conditions, and critical illnesses, is very good.

”Employers are doing their part to make valuable disability insurance coverage available to their employees. Yet, as employees evaluate benefit options and personal budgetary challenges, in some cases, conflicting priorities lead to inaction. The industry is looking to do more to increase benefits education on the value of disability insurance and the role it plays in protecting one’s overall financial wellness,” said Jim Gemus, senior vice president, Products, Prudential Group Insurance.

Established in 2007 by nonprofit Life Happens, and supported by the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA), DIAM presents an annual opportunity to educate the public on the importance of the product. “In support of Disability Insurance Awareness Month, we’re helping bring attention to the Council for Disability Awareness’ five step process aimed at helping Americans understand how to prepare and protect their financial security from a potential disability,” said Gemus. CDA encourages individuals to prepare for the potential impact of a disability by:

1. Completing an Income/Expense Review: Get a clear picture of where your money is coming from and where it is going.

2. Adjusting expenses: Look for ways to reduce spending.

3. Finding additional sources of income: Identify alternate sources of income such as Employer Sick Pay.

4. Staying Healthy: Maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is one of the best ways to avoid a disability.

5. Taking Action: Develop an action plan to put in place in case you are faced with a disability and update it annually.

“The reality is a vast majority of Americans underestimate their risk of becoming disabled. Helping them understand the likelihood of experiencing a disability at some point, coupled with the potentially devastating financial impact it can have, is an important foundation to help educate them on the importance of disability insurance,” said Gemus. “Disability Insurance Awareness Month is a great opportunity to boost awareness activities and emphasize the role of disability insurance in maintaining financial wellness.”

To learn more about the value of disability insurance and for help determining how much you need visit www.prudential.com/benefitsmatter. For more information on CDA’s resources and Five Tips visit www.disabilitycanhappen.org.

Disability Insurance: Beyond Paycheck Protection is the third in a series of five research briefs that highlight the major findings from Prudential’s Eighth Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond. The research was conducted via the Internet during August and September of 2013, and consisted of three distinct surveys — one for plan sponsors, another for benefits brokers and consultants and a third for plan participants.

Prudential Group Insurance manufactures and distributes a full range of group life, long-term and short-term disability and corporate and trust-owned life insurance in the U.S. to institutional clients primarily for use in connection with employee and membership benefit plans. The business also sells critical illness insurance, accidental death and dismemberment and other ancillary coverages and provides plan administrative services in connection with its insurance coverages.

Prudential Financial, Inc. (PRU) a financial services leader, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit http://www.news.prudential.com/.

Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Group coverages issued by The Prudential Insurance Company of America, 751 Broad Street, Newark, NJ 07102.

0261280-00001-00

Contact:
Sheila Bridgeforth, 973-802-6852
Sheila.bridgeforth@prudential.com

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