Own-Occupation. Is It Really?
By: Steve Crawford
Ten years ago if you read the words "own-occupation" on a disability insurance proposal, you could feel comfortable that the policy being proposed to you truly was the best definition of total disability available in the industry. Today, that is just not the case, buyer beware!
This is the one issue that upsets me the most about this industry. There is no regulation regarding the various terms used in individual long term disability insurance policies. The "own-occupation" definition in one carrier's contract is not the same as the "own-occupation" definition in another carrier's contract. The consumer, who should not be expected to read the different definitions in
various contracts may be left with a contract, which they believe to be own-occupation and is in-fact a "modified own-occupation" policy.
Ten years ago carriers that offered own-occupation disability insurance policies had one definition of total disability. Everybody was marketing the same "own-occupation" definition and the consumer was not responsible for verifying what was being sold to them. Ten years ago, the definition went something like this:
"Because of sickness or injury you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your regular occupation. We will consider you to be totally disabled even if you are at work in some other capacity, so long as the disability prevents you from performing your original occupation"