Robert J. “R.J.” Morgan, LUTCF, RHU, of R.J. Morgan and Associates in Memphis, Tenn., has a philosophy: “When adversity meets my clients face to face, I get a chance to fellowship with them on common ground.”
R.J., a member of NAIFA-Memphis, believes that everyone has troubles in their lives, and he is heartened to know that he can help his clients in need. His realLIFEstory begins more than 20 years ago when he met Dean, a dentist.
“We met through a referral from a mutual client friend. As his dental practice grew, so did our business relationship and friendship. In 1980, he purchased one of the first personal disability income (DI) protection policies that I ever sold through Paul Revere Life Insurance Company [now UnumProvident].”
Through consistent annual reviews and watching the growth of Dean’s practice, R.J. recognized the need for Dean to consider a business overhead expense policy. Dean agreed that it would be appropriate; R.J. placed it in 1988.
Quiet and pensive
Four years later, in October 2002, R.J. received a call from Dean. He wanted to meet and discuss benefits on the business overhead expense policy. “He had gotten a letter from the home office detailing his policy's benefit provisions,” says Morgan, “and he wanted me to explain the benefits in greater detail. During the meeting, I did most of the talking, while he wrote. As I concluded my talk, Dean’s behavior seemed very quiet, almost pensive. He then told me that he had lost hearing in both ears and could only communicate well by writing on a pad. He said that his hearing had been getting progressively worse for months. I was amazed and shocked.” What’s more, R. J. also realized that in Dean’s situation, the intricacies of the benefits of the DI insurance policy would become more important than the benefits of the business overhead expense policy.
“His hearing had been getting progressively worse for months. I was amazed and shocked.”
By this time in the meeting, says R. J., Dean had written two questions: How much will the DI policy pay, and what is presumptive disability?
R.J. explained to Dean that under the presumptive disability clause of his policy, benefits would be paid if sickness or injury caused total or irrevocable loss of speech, hearing in both ears, sight in both eyes or the use of both hands, both feet or one hand and one foot. In other words, because Dean had lost his hearing, he would be considered totally disabled even if he were able to work and were not under a physician’s care.
Of course, benefits would be paid after the elimination period had been satisfied; R.J. had designed the policy to pay benefits to age 65, with a 90-day elimination period. “I explained these benefits in real time and in plain language,” R.J. says. R.J also immediately knew that the paperwork had to begin, and that now was the time to explore and put into use the complex benefits of Dean’s business overhead expense and DI insurance policies. Using the substitute salary expense benefit of the business overhead policy, Dean was able to pay another doctor to be in the office during his disability.
Minimizing the wait
Putting the DI insurance policy into action, R.J. and his associate, Alice Powers, had to make sure they had all the documents they needed from his attending doctors, as well as proof of his expenses.
“I brought Alice in at that time. She hadn’t yet dealt with a claim and I wanted her to have the experience. Our priority was to have all the Is dotted and Ts crossed so Dean wouldn’t have to wait long,” says R.J.
Once the claim was approved, R. J. learned that the policy’s presumptive disability clause would mean that Dean would be paid for life, not just to age 65. “He was quite pleased,” says R.J. “I am now following up on other benefits that were designed into the DI policy.” For example, R.J. says the rehabilitation benefit in particular will help Dean retrain for a new occupation. Dean is now considering several vocational rehabilitation programs.
“In our last follow-up meeting,” says R.J, “he thanked Alice and me for all that we have done on his behalf. He also said that he would advise any professional to obtain personal DI insurance and business overhead expense coverage for themselves and their families. This double protection gave him more than he bargained for, and that makes him truly happy.
“The services that we provide for our clients give their lives second chances,” says R.J., “and it gives us the opportunity to uplift one another.”
This story was made possible with the cooperation of the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education. For more information on LIFE’s realLIFEstories program or to obtain a realLIFEstories application, visit www.LIFE-line.org or call 202-464-5000.