Tag Archives: disability insurance

High Limit Disability Insurance

“The highest paid player on an NFL team is the quarterback and the second highest paid player is the left tackle because the left tackle’s job is to protect the quarterback from what he can’t see coming”
The is the opening monologue from the film “The Blind Side”.

A study by the University of Colorado performed in 2007 said that the career of a pro football player is about 3.5 years. Baseball players are slightly better at 5.6 years. An athlete may have to quit, when, for example, in the case of Joe Theismann, a 250 pound line backer falls on his leg.  Did he have High Limit Disability Insurance?

What does a player do when he cannot play in games anymore but he has acquired a life of luxury due to his high income? Unfortunately many athletes listen to bad advice and make bad investments. A report in Sports Illustrated stated that 70% of all professional athletes are either broke or have hit hard times within 5 years of ending their playing days.

Professional athletes often need High Disability insurance for:

  • Personal Disability
  • Contract Guarantee
  • Team Indemnification
  • Loss of Endorsement

Here are some examples:

Auto Racing:

“A client is rated based on the type of motor sport, class and medical history” says Adam Bates, vice president of Insurance Services of America, which offers niche insurance including health coverage for amateur and professional racers. “I usually recommend an Accidental Death and Dismemberment Policy, as most life policies exclude racing”.

Laura Hauenstein, president of WSIB Motorsports Insurance, which insures racers, says some of the agents familiar with motor sports will use the Internet to research the driver. If they find they have a history of crashing, rates can be higher.

WSIB offer worldwide 24 hour coverage on and off the track with varying deductibles and multi-year policy terms;

Benefits are paid on a per race missed basis and/or weekly or monthly basis for a driver who due to illness or bodily injury is unable to drive in a race.

Temporary Disability benefits for periods up to 60 months.  Permanent Disability benefits are paid in a lump sum to compensate for future loss of income.

Professional Baseball:

This is an intense contact sport requiring optimum physical health. A player’s ability to perform could be jeopardised due to either overuse or trauma, such as: muscle strain and meniscus tears; hand and wrist injuries; tendinitis, especially of the elbow; rotator cuff tears; “dead arm” and ulnar collateral ligament tears.  In these scenarios, the athletes need High Limit Disability Insurance.

A Disability Insurance Plan for Professional Baseball Players can provide monthly benefits from $1,000 to $100,000 or higher and offer lump sum benefits of $50,000,000 or more.

Injuries in other sports: offering similar benefits for disability:

Basketball:

  • ankle sprains, ligament tears and breaks;
  • knee and foot injuries;
  • muscular tears, sprains and breaks;
  • jammed fingers;
  • stress fractures;
  • deep thigh bruising.

Football:

  • knee injuries including ACL damage
  • concussion and other head injuries;
  • sprains, tears, broken bones, especially to the legs

Hockey:

  • concussion;
  • shoulder and elbow injuries;
  • wrist fractures;
  • lower back injuries;
  • injuries to the hip

Soccer:

  • ankle sprains;
  • achilles tendonitis;
  • concussions;
  • iliotibial band syndrome;
  • muscle cramps;
  • delayed-onset muscle soreness;
  • patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • plantar fasciitis
  • shin splints
  • calf, hamstring and groin muscle pulls and strains.

These plans are used in a number of ways to insure the professional athlete personally or to insure the team of which the athlete is a member as to the financial losses that result from a disabling accidental bodily injury or sickness. Career length varies by the sport in which the athlete performs. Exceptionally high earnings are generated in a short time span making the adequate insuring of the earning potential a primary financial planning process.

Here are some of the uses of those plans:

1. Loss of Future Earnings

A professional athlete can anticipate income levels and probable playing time. A disability can affect the level of income to be earned in the future and a disability can shorten the career period. As an example, an athlete has no income assurance beyond the term period of the present contract. This plan can insure an income should disability shorten the expected career period.

2. Contract Completion

The loss of an athlete by disability puts the team in double jeopardy. Revenue may slip and the team must continue to pay the non-performing athlete. These plans can insure the contracted compensation to the athlete, thus relieving the team of the financial burden.

3. Loss of Endorsements

Endorsement income and fees continue to flow as long as the public remain fans of the athlete. A political statement, a drug involvement, a drunk arrest, a public relations blemish, and the advertiser/endorsers pull back from sponsorship. This loss is also insurable.

4. Cost of Agents/Managers

During periods of disability it is in the athlete’s best interest to continue the use of agents and managers to keep the athlete’s value as an athlete and as a product spokesperson keenly in the minds of those who contract for their services. These costs can be insured.

Key Person Insurance

Key Person insurance is an insurance policy taken out and paid for by a business which is then able to recoup any financial losses suffered, which may arise due to the death or extended inability of an important member of that business to perform his/her duties. Also known as trauma insurance, it is a standard life insurance policy which protects the business. Should a person who is an income generator die or become incapacitated, then with this cover, the business is compensated by means of a fixed monetary sum specified in the policy, which sum facilitates the continuity of the enterprise. The term of the policy does not extend beyond the usefulness of the individual whose knowledge, creativity and/or skills are critical to the viability or growth of an organisation, and whose loss may cripple it. The compensation amount may go towards financing the search for and training of a successor. (Source: Wikipedia)

Martha Stewart is the founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. In 2004 Stewart was convicted of charges related to the ImClone insider trading affair. When Stewart was indicted, she stepped down as CEO and Chairwoman of MSLO. Following her release from prison in March 2005, Stewart launched a much-publicized comeback. Some huge corporations have the luxury of having a key person to take charge during a severe but non-threatening illness, such as a non-fatal heart attack. When Roger Deromedi, CEO of Kraft Foods was hospitalised for a severe viral infection, the company’s chairman, Louis Camilleri took temporary charge, with no adverse effects to the company. Robert Robins, a professor emeritus at Tulane University said that a determining factor in planning for key personnel disability issues is the CEO’s personality and work style: is he willing to work with the board and senior management on a transition basis, even if an illness is not terminal but merely prevents him from performing his duties. The end of a career is the same as the end of life to some company leaders. Capitulation will be resisted in every way possible. When a CEO has a hands-on rather than a delegatory style, the situation is much worse. Founder and CEO of Intel, Andy Grove was able to carry on during treatment for life-threatening prostate cancer. He left the company at a time that was suitable to him and the corporation. He was later diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

At SouthWest Airlines, shareholders’ questions about 69 year old Herbert Kelleher’s prostate cancer resulted in his relinquishing his interim presidency and CEO position in 2001, although he retained his chairmanship of the board. In today’s competitive business environment, protecting the value of a star executive is critical. Using markets once reserved for elite athletes and entertainers, carriers such as Lloyds of London have developed products designed to protect a company’s most critical assets. These carriers have the ability to deliver disability benefits up to $100 million for the loss of an individual whose vision, knowledge and experience are critical to a company’s operation and future. Why do so many risk managers ignore this exposure? The due diligence needed to secure life and disability coverage is not part of a risk manager’s culture. They may feel awkward going to the boss and telling him that he may be putting the company at risk because of his lifestyle or his health. It involves personal information and health issues and has the added risk of opening secret doors and having unpleasant news revealed. Fewer than 35% of the corporations that secure key person life insurance, secure the corresponding key person disability coverage.

Obviously there are daredevils like Richard Branson and risk managers are aware of his activities. It is far more likely a key person will succumb to a stroke or cancer or hit by a car, than is that they will be disabled or killed while sky-diving over the Pyrenees. International travel can be hazardous though. In a recent situation, a private equity firm made a significant investment in a defence contractor. Shortly after the investment closed, the company named a new CEO. With hundred of millions of dollars at stake, the private equity firm sought to hedge their investment by acquiring $50 million key person life and disability insurance. As of the day of the request, the insurance adviser had eight business days to secure the insurance before the CEO departed for the middle east, with stops in hotspots such as Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result of the abbreviated time frame, traditional life and disability insurance was not an option. The adviser needed to turn to a speciality underwriter that deals with exceptionally large and complex risks. Within 72 hours, a policy was issued that covered the private equity firm’s loss of the CEO due to an accidental death or disability, as well as a result of acts of war or terrorism. The premium was for $50 million insurance and cost $62,500, covering a 2 week period. Sickness cover was included for certain elements of the insurance policy. Few domestic life and disability insurance carriers possess the ability to underwrite high risk exposures to the world’s hot zones. Unfortunately, many times, risk managers and their insurance advisors do not look beyond traditional channels to secure the needed key person disability coverage for their clients, partly because the cost of key person disability coverage is far greater than the cost of term life coverage. However, the risk is proportionally greater . The impact top CEOs and corporate leaders have on the success of their businesses is almost unfathomable. If you think about how many companies are dependent on one or two individuals, risk managers may need to re-examine how they insure human capital risk.