(Springfield, MA) – While the number of African-Americans in the U.S. continues to show tremendous growth in spending power, they also continue to face a stark reality, as they work towards their versions of the American Dream: the possibility of becoming disabled and unable to support their families or operate their businesses.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) recently launched a series of new options to its disability income insurance product portfolio to broaden the company’s robust suite of financial protection offerings to help provide African-American families with more choices and flexibility in protecting their loved ones.
The possibility of an African-American professional becoming disabled is more than 22 percent, higher than any other group including the general population, which is 18 percent. Add to this the fact that a recent claims review reveals that more than 1 in 4 new long-term disability claims in the U.S. were from people under the age of 40.** Based on this and the U.S. Census data, young African-American professionals may be underestimating their risk of becoming hurt or ill and being unable to work.
MassMutual’s new product options are designed to help young African-Americans professionals and their families set a strong foundation for financial security. They include a new rate structure for certain disability income insurance policies to help those with entry-level salaries add this key protection to their foundation, as well as an option to purchase permanent life insurance over time without medical tests. (See PDF for details.)
“MassMutual is committed to helping African-American financially prepare for life’s possibilities and opportunities to be well-positioned for long-term success,” said Mike Fanning, Executive Vice President, U.S. Insurance Group, MassMutual. “Providing the option to lock in insurability at a young age alongside disability income insurance protection is a natural pairing for a strong financial foundation.”
Key new features+ of MassMutual’s disability income insurance product suite include:
• MassMutual’s new Graded Premium option, available with Radius® disability income policies, is an alternative premium structure under which initial premium payments are less than the traditional or “fixed” level premiums in the early years of the policy. These premiums gradually increase each year until they become level at age 50 for the duration of the policy. The graded premiums are designed to make disability income insurance more affordable for younger, entry-level earners, who stand to lose the most over the course of their careers, if their earning potential is diminished early on by a disabling illness or injury.
• MassMutual’s Guaranteed Insurability Option allows Radius disability income insurance policyowners to purchase additional increments of permanent life insurance—without the need for a medical exam or providing medical information++—every three years until they turn 46. At each three year interval, policyowners have the option to buy $25,000 of permanent life insurance.
Seventy-two percent of African-American respondents to LIMRA’s 2012 Insurance Barometer indicated that they believe most people need disability insurance. Yet only 46 percent indicated they themselves need disability insurance. But there may be other options.
MassMutual has also introduced an enhanced Extended Partial Disability Benefits Rider (EPR), potentially increasing disability income insurance payments to those unable to maintain full work schedules or occupational duties as a result of illness or injury, and an enhanced Future Insurability Option (FIO) rider, providing policyowners the option to increase their income protection in the future.
*U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 American Community Survey. Americans With Disabilities: 2010: Household Economic Studies (June–Sept. 2005 and May–Sept. 2010).
**2012 CDA Long Term Disability Claims Review2012, Council for Disability Awareness (2007 to 2011).
+Options and riders are available only in approved states. Riders are available at an additional cost.
++The insured cannot be disabled.
Founded in 1851, MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. The company has a long history of financial strength and strong performance, and although dividends are not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid dividends to eligible participating policyowners consistently since the 1860s. With whole life insurance as its foundation, MassMutual provides products to help meet the financial needs of clients, such as life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, retirement/401(k) plan services, and annuities. In addition, the company’s strong and growing network of financial professionals helps clients make good financial decisions for the long-term.
MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives. MassMutual is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts and its major affiliates include: Babson Capital Management LLC; Baring Asset Management Limited; Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC; The First Mercantile Trust Company; MassMutual International LLC; MML Investors Services, LLC, Member FINRA and SIPC; OppenheimerFunds, Inc.; and The MassMutual Trust Company, FSB.
Radius [Policy Form XL-IS-92 and XL-IS-92(NC) in North Carolina] is issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield, MA 01111-0001. Policies have exclusions and limitations. For costs and complete details, call your agent or MassMutual at 1-800-272-2216 for a referral to an agent.