Disability Income Insurance

Is About Compassion and Protecting More Lives

A Netflix documentary produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions, Crip Camp, has been called “a moving tribute to the triumph of the human spirit” and “a feel-good story at a time we desperately need it.” This award-winning film is about the disability rights movement and focuses on the protests that ultimately lead to the Americans with Disabilities Act. It may also inspire a compassion to protect more financial lives.

Those of us who promote disability insurance know how a continuing income can provide choices for those who become disabled while covered by our policies. We also know that there are a great number of people who are not eligible to apply for individual income protection products due to their pre-existing disabilities. Some were born with a disability or were struck with a disabling sickness or injury at an early age, like the Crip Campers. Others have acquired pre-existing conditions along the road of life.

Then there are the “Waiters.” Seeing Waiters clearly

The Waiters are waiting until marriage and/or children, waiting for symptoms, waiting for the right plan at the right job, waiting until after vacation, waiting until after the next doctor’s appointment, waiting until after the next big bill is paid or the next big check comes in, waiting until the tax return is done, etc. Or maybe they’re just waiting to be asked to buy!

The Waiters are who we need to reach. When we don’t reach them, they are added to the list of those who potentially limit the amount of funding and benefits available to the those who were born with a disability or incurred a disability before their working years. The Waiters need to know that by waiting, they are inadvertently signing themselves up to share limited resources with those who cannot buy an income protection insurance plan. They are expecting GoFundMe to pay back medical bills instead of helping a new business get started (which GoFundMe was designed for). They are expecting to compete for limited charitable funds.

Contrarily, our customers have taken the personal responsibility of managing their risk of losing an income source during their working years. And if more Waiters buy DI, premiums could be lower for future customers.

Occasionally, however, a customer becomes disabled. And although they have DI policies, the reality is that some customers with disabilities still need to use services provided by the government and charitable agencies. This includes access to buildings, housing and places of employment. These customers benefit from the ADA and the work done by the disability rights activists.

Pros eliminate Waiters

Serious professionals have foresight. It is unconscionable and unprofessional for a person who calls him- or herself a financial planner, CFP or financial consultant to ignore income protection when developing a plan for a client who, if disabled, would not have a steady flow of income sufficient to pay the bills to maintain their lifestyle. Serious professionals make it their mission to eliminate Waiters.

Watching Crip Camp may stir a compassion within you for people with disabilities that will inspire you to make sure you have a plan and your clients have a plan, allowing more funding to be available for all persons with disabilities.

Please consider a donation to your local Center for Independent Living to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve their maximum level of sustainable independence as equal participants in your communities. And make it your mission to help more people become former Waiters.


Jack Schmitz, CLU, CHFC, CASL, has been a brokerage general agent with DI + LTC (formerly known at Bay Area Disability) for over 30 years. His expertise in long-term care developed the same time Congress was beginning to address this need in the early 1990s. He received his CLU, ChFC, and CASL from the American College over the course of his career and was the recipient of the International DI Society 2015 W. Harold Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award. He has led several local associations, to include the Marin chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and the North Bay Society of Financial Service Professionals. Schmitz is the Northern California representative and a past president of The Plus Group, America’s Premiere DI + LTC Marketing organization.