Is universal life insurance a good choice for me?

People often ask us, “Is universal life insurance a good choice for me?” This is a good question. A universal life policy is a form of permanent life insurance. The appeal of universal life includes a variety of payment options, potential for cash value growth and the flexibility to change the death benefit in the future. At time of purchase, the insurance company establishes a recommended premium for you to pay based on mortality charges, policy expenses and interest rates. The company also sets a minimum interest crediting rate as outlined in the…

Are disability insurance benefits taxable income to me?

One question we hear often is, “Are my disability insurance benefits taxable to me?” If the premium for your disability coverage is paid with after-tax funds, then benefits received from a disability policy would not be taxable income. So the full amount of benefits received while on claim would be spendable money for you and your family. However, if you deduct the premiums for disability insurance, or your employer pays for the policy and does not ‘gross up’ the premium to you, then benefits received would be taxed as ordinary income. A few…

Do I pay an additional fee by using a broker to obtain disability insurance?

One question we’re often asked is, “Do I pay an additional fee to use a broker to help me obtain disability insurance?” In short the answer to this question is ‘no’. Disability policies, definitions and premiums are filed with each state’s insurance commissioner. As a result, the cost for individual disability coverage and the accompanying riders is the same if you work with a broker or go direct to the insurance company. However, the top insurance companies have discount programs they make available through their key brokers. In other words, not all brokers…

What is COLA and how does it work?

  A common question many people have is, “What is COLA and how does it work?” COLA stands for the Cost of Living Adjustment rider. The COLA rider is designed to increase your monthly disability benefit while on claim to offset the negative impact of inflation over time. The benefit increase is calculated on either a simple interest or compound interest basis. The amount of increase can be a fixed rate, such as 3 percent or 6 percent. Or the rate can be variable, in which case it’s usually tied to a national…

What is the Future Insurability Option?

  A common question we’re asked is, “What is a future insurability option?” A future insurability option is a rider on a disability policy that allows you to increase your coverage in the future as your income increases. Structured properly, this rider gives you the right to this additional coverage without any further medical underwriting. In addition, this additional coverage should contain the same specialty occupation definition of disability as the original purchase amount. And lastly, any discounts contained in the original purchase amount should also be included in the future insurability amounts….

What makes residual benefit important?

We are often asked “What is a residual benefit and what makes it important?” Being residually disabled is often defined as having a loss of earnings because of an illness or injury, yet still working in your job because you’re not totally disabled. In a disability policy, a residual benefit rider is designed to provide supplemental income to a partially disabled person who is still working. It pays if you are residually (or partially) disabled, unable to work at full capacity and suffer a loss of income of 15 to 20 percent or…

Can the insurance company cancel my policy or raise my rates?

A common question we’re asked is, “Once my specialty disability policy is issued, can the insurance company ever cancel my policy or raise my rates?” With the top-tier disability insurance companies we broker, policies cannot be cancelled and premiums cannot be increased by the company. This is commonly referred to as a non-cancelable policy and is typically the most desirable long-term approach. Another type of policy is called guaranteed renewable, which means the insurance company cannot cancel the policy, however they do have the right to raise the premium for an entire occupation…

What happens to my coverage if I decide to work outside of the country?

A question we’re commonly asked is, “What happens to my coverage if I decide to work outside the United States?” With the top-tier disability insurance companies we broker, benefits would typically be paid if someone is disabled while working overseas. However there’s usually a 12 or 24 month limitation on how long benefits would be paid if you remain overseas. In order to continue receiving benefits beyond 12 or 24 months, you’d be required to move back to the United States to live. The exception to this coverage while overseas is if the…

What is the true own occupation definition of disability?

A question we’re commonly asked is, “What is the ‘own occupation’ or ‘specialty occupation’ definition of disability? This is an excellent question and it’s at the heart of quality disability coverage. The true own occupation definition means that you’re considered totally disabled if, due to illness or injury, you’re unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation, regardless of any income you later earn in a different occupation. If you’re a physician or dentist, your occupation can mean a specific, professionally recognized specialty or subspecialty. Because of slick marketing from…

What others are saying about working with Billy Gwaltney

Billy Gwaltney’s focus is providing specialty occupation disability insurance protection for physicians. His firm serves hundreds of clients from coast to coast, and he’s been in the insurance business since 1991. Here’s what one client said about Billy: “I met Billy over 6 years ago when I was finishing my OBGYN residency. He took the time to explain disability insurance without making me feel pressured to purchase. His honesty, availability, and genuine concern for my financial security has ensured my customer loyalty. I have recommended him to many of my friends.” An orthopedic…

During my residency, Billy got me pointed in the right direction financially as a new doctor, and I have continued to rely on him for sound advice after starting my career on Guam. Billy seems to understand the needs of physicians-in-training, and has a relaxed and thoughtful approach. I was seeking an advisor to help me with disability insurance after hearing from Dave Ramsey and others how important it is to have disability insurance beyond what your employer provides. Many young physicians don't realize how financially vulnerable they are. After being over-sold by other brokers, I fortunately found Billy. I highly recommend his services to any medical professional.

-Dr. Hale, Neurologist and Sleep Physician

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