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Timing Is Everything

Before heading home, one young man buys a DI policy, then puts it to quick use.

By Lucretia DiSanto Jones

There is definitely something to the old saying, “Timing is everything.”

On one hand, a young professional can miss a bus by a minute and arrive too late for her once-in-a-lifetime job interview. An eager stock market investor can sell his stock in that once hot new company an hour too late—and lose his shirt. A client can insist that he has to hold off buying the life, long-term care or disability income (DI) insurance policy he’s considering, only to regret his decision a week later.

“I only wish other young people had the willingness to learn about DI and the foresight to think about their future.”
—David Laing

On the other hand, timing can truly save someone’s dignity and future, as David Laing and his agency witnessed.

Laing is a 20-year industry veteran and a member of South Central Iowa AIFA. His agency, L&K Insurance in Chariton, Iowa, has a number of field agents who service grocery store employees. His realLIFEstory is about a young man who made a decision he didn’t regret.

One foot out the door
One day, an L&K agent visited a store to talk with employees about products available through the store’s elective benefits program. “One of the employees our agent met was Scott, a 23-year-old stocker who was just finishing his shift,” Laing recounts. Although he was ready to go home, Scott stayed to talk with the agent about (DI) insurance from Illinois Mutual.

“The agent explained that no matter what type of insurance Scott had, everything really depended on his ability to earn an income. He then told Scott how much the coverage would cost. Scott was surprised at how little would be taken from each paycheck. Recognizing the value and affordability of DI, Scott completed the Illinois Mutual DI application,” says Laing. “On his way home, he felt good knowing that he was taking a step toward securing his future and felt confident having Illinois Mutual behind his policy. Little did he know just how soon he would need this important income protection.”

Immediate protection
Laing says that right after the agent met with Scott, he received a phone call from Scott’s family telling him that Scott had been seriously hurt in a car accident. As a result of spinal cord injuries from the accident, Scott’s lower extremities were totally paralyzed. “It was hard to believe that the young man our agent had just met was now in such a situation,” says Laing.

Laing considered the timing. “We bind coverage on the spot. The agent met with Scott and bound the policy on a Thursday, and Scott had the accident that Saturday. Although devastated by the news,” says Laing, “I found relief in knowing that the DI policy one of our agents sold him would help him and his family through the tough times that lie ahead.”

When Illinois Mutual’s claims department first received Scott’s claim, naturally it looked twice at the facts. Although it is not unusual, it is not every day that someone’s case goes from application to claim in such a short time. But Laing says Illinois Mutual handled the process smoothly. “There was really nothing to it. We took the app, it was clean, and it was a guarantee issue. It was a car accident. This type of thing happens,” he adds.

Continued progress
Since issuing Scott’s first benefit check, his claims analyst at Illinois Mutual looks forward to receiving his continuance of disability forms—to see his progress. Over the months, the analyst has noticed how Scott’s updates have become more and more positive, and they show that he really wants to get on with his plans to go back to school.

Scott’s financial concerns have been eased, too. With the DI coverage, he knows his expenses will be covered, and he can focus on the rest of his life.

“I hate to think about how different Scott’s future would be if our agent hadn’t talked to him that day. I applaud his good judgment in wanting to protect his income. I only wish other young people had the willingness to learn about DI and the foresight to think about their future,” says Laing.

Small victories
Laing looks to these victories and is inspired. “It just reinforces the reason why we do what we do,” he says. It’s no surprise, though, that Laing feels a tug at his heart. DI insurance has touched his own life, too.

“The truth is, our agency was founded on DI. When my dad was 37, he had a car accident. He lost a leg, was in a body cast and was hospitalized for a year and a half,” says Laing.

A bank loaned his father money to live on while his health improved. That’s when his father realized the need for DI insurance. So he and a partner started a business, the L&K Insurance agency, which has been selling DI insurance since 1965.

This story was made possible with the help of LIFE. For more information on LIFE’s realLIFEstories program or to obtain a realLIFEstories application, visit or call 202-464-5000.

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