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Disability Insurance Product Changes

Massachusetts Unisex Rate Changes - Effective 1/1/2020

The Massachusetts Legislature passed Bill H.482, banning sex discrimination in disability insurance. This Bill will go into effect January 1, 2020. On average, women pay 23.5% more than men for disability insurance. Most insurance companies will be required to change their guidelines and will offer unisex rates for any applicants in MA. This will be a great opportunity for females but males will experience higher costs.

See below a list of the insurance carriers affected by this new Bill and what this means for female and male applicants.

Principal

All new policies written in MA, and issued after 1/1/2020 will require unisex rates.

  • • If policies were issued with sex-distinct rates before 1/1/2020 and an adjustment is made after 1/1/2020, sex-distinct rates will continue to be used for that specific policy.
  • • If sex-distinct rates are quoted in 2019, but the policy will not be issued and delivery until after 1/1/2020, new rates will need to be using unisex rates.

**Please note that this is not a permanent change. Principal is working on a new product and once this is released (which, at the present time, is looking like October 2020), Principal will revert back to using sex-distinct rates in MA**

Ameritas

Ameritas will also require to issue policies with unisex rates for anyone in the state of Massachusetts effective 1/1/2020. Ameritas is also working on a new product that will be likely completed in the next 6 months. As soon as this happens, the unisex rates will revert back to sex-distinct rates.

Standard / Guardian / MassMutual

Standard, Guardian and MassMutual will have no changes to their disability insurance products in Massachusetts and will continue to have gender-distinct rates.

What Does This Mean for You?

If you are a female in Massachusetts, we highly recommend taking advantage of this opportunity. You will be eligible for a unisex policy, with Ameritas or Principal, as long as you live in MA. It is not too early to begin to apply for these unisex rates under this new law. We will be able to make sure your policy is issued after 1/1/2020 so you get the discounting if you choose to apply today. This change is not permanent and the unisex rates will be gone in MA as soon as Principal or Ameritas release their new product!

If you are a male in Massachusetts, the unisex rates may result in more expensive quotes! We recommend speaking with an Independent broker to make sure you are shopped with all the top insurance carriers. Let us know if you’d like us to shop for you and we’ll send you quotes from the Top 5 insurance carriers with all applicable discounts.

Wyoming DI Changes - Effective 11/1/2019

Due to regulatory changes in Wyoming, Standard will no longer offer, issue or deliver any Individual Disability Insurance products. They have refiled their Platinum Advantage Disability Insurance product in Wyoming to meet the new regulatory requirements and expect it to be available for sale later in 2020. Please note, Standard will continue to process increases on existing Wyoming policies with active increase options.

Guardian DI Guideline Changes - Effective 11/1/2019

The following changes were made to Guardian's Individual Disability Income Insurance Product - Provider Choice.

Special Limits for New Professionals Program - Increased Limits

Guardian has increased the Special Limits for the following New Professionals; Dermatologists and Plastic Surgeons. Medical professionals applying for New Professionals Program limits do not require labs, paramedical exams, and proof of income. Regardless of current earnings or in force group LTD, you may be eligible for these special limits. Please contact us to find your special limits based on your specialty and situation.

Special Limits for New Professionals Program - Retirement Protection Plus (RPP) Limits

All applicants (except in NY or CA) who qualify under Guardian’s Special Limits for New Professionals Program are eligible for up to $1,000 of RPP without additional requirements. RPP is not available in CA. Applicants in NY who qualify under the Special Limits for New Professionals Program may apply for RPP; however normal underwriting guidelines will apply - including financial documentation requirements and applicants must be contributing to a qualified plan that has been existence for at least a year.

Catastrophic Benefit Rider (CAT) - Increased Limits & Enhanced Calculations

The Maximum Issue Limit for the Catastrophic Benefit Rider and Severe Disability Benefit Riders has been increased from $8,000 to $12,500. In addition, Guardian will now discount in-force, employer-paid Group Long Term Disability in calculating the eligibility of the Catastrophic Benefit amount just as they do with the base benefit.

CAT coverage is limited to the lesser of 40% of monthly earned income or 100% of monthly income less in force/applied for coverage, and must not exceed the maximum amount of $12,500:

  • • 40% Rule: Use 40% of monthly earned income
  • • 100% Rule: Monthly income less all in force/applied for Individual DI, SIS, CAT, and Group LTD.

Future Increase Option (FIO) Rider - New Special Option Date Declared

Guardian (Berkshire Life) has declared a special option date for individuals who purchase an individual disability policy with an FIO rider. Applicants may now apply for a Special Option date at any time within the first 12 months of the policy being issued with proof of new or increased income (such as an employment contract). A Special Option Date can be exercised once over the life of the rider. If Guardian issues an increase as a result of a Special Option Date, the client forfeits the FIO on the next Option Date and will need to wait for the second Option Date in order to utilize the next increase.

AM Best Downgrades Credit Ratings of Ohio National - 8/14/2019

AM Best has downgraded the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) to A (Excellent) from A+ (Superior) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) to "a+" from "aa-" of The Ohio National Life Insurance Company and its wholly owned subsidiary, Ohio National Life Assurance Corporation (together referred to as the Ohio National Life Group).

See below links to view the credit rating reports directly from AM Best or Moody's.