Surgeon wearing maskWhy is the Provider Choice Policy the Most Comprehensive Disability Insurance Policy for Surgeons?

Guardian1 has been a market leader with disability insurance for surgeons for over twenty years. In the 1990s Guardian was one of the last carriers offering true own-occupation benefits to physicians, and today about half of the business they sell is to physicians. Guardian understands the specific needs of a surgeon, and the Provider Choice policy was designed specifically with physicians in mind. The core of any DI policy is the definition of total disability, and Guardian has one made specifically for you that is not available from any other company.

The Most Comprehensive Own-Occupation Definition of Disability for Surgeons

The Enhanced True Own-Occupation protection just for physicians starts with the strong True Own-Occupation Definition of Total Disability. If totally disabled, you’re able to receive your full disability benefits even if you’re gainfully employed in another occupation or capacity. And, while totally disabled in your own occupation, there may be instances where you can even work in your own practice and still collect your full disability benefit.


disability insurance for surgeons claim scenarioPlus more ways to qualify for benefits

Then, they add a straightforward, easy-to-understand formula to qualify for benefits. It’s based on your source of earnings and provides more ways to qualify for benefits. They will consider you totally disabled if more than 50% of your income is from;

  • Hands-on patient care and, solely because of injury or illness, you can no longer perform hands-on patient care; or
  • Performing surgical procedures and, solely because of injury or illness, you can no longer perform surgical procedures.

That’s not all. If you don’t qualify for benefits under the source-of-earnings formula above, then they will look at your key duties, including those you were performing in your medical specialty at the time your disability began, to assess whether or not you qualify. Because they evaluate your situation from multiple perspectives, they give you more ways to qualify for total disability benefits.

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Special Programs for Surgeons in Residency & New Attendings

The company knows you are purchasing this policy not only to protect your income now but maybe even more to protect your lifetime earnings potential. They offer two special programs that give you the ability to secure a larger monthly benefit now without having to verify your current income. This allows you the ability to lock-in your ability to protect your larger future income at a younger age, thus paying less over the life of the policy.

  • Residency - You can select any amount up to $5,000 per month while still in residency. We typically set this policy up with a graded premium schedule to keep the costs way down now, and then you convert this to a level premium a couple of years after residency.
  • 1st-Year Limits - In your first year after training you can select any amount up to $7,500 per month without any financial verification. If your new income justifies a larger amount you can certainly obtain that larger amount instead.

Additional Options to Consider in a Disability Insurance Policy for a SurgeonSurgeons looking at xrays


  • Student Loan Rider - Many surgeons have significant student loans when they graduate. These are not always forgiven in the event of a disability. The student loan rider can be used to reimburse your student loan obligations in the event of a disability so that your monthly benefit goes to protecting your family.
  • Partial Disability Insurance RiderSometimes, you're not totally disabled from your occupation. Many claims are partial in nature where you work fewer hours or perform fewer surgeries. Under the Enhanced Partial Disability Benefit rider, if you have at least a 15% loss of income, you could receive a portion of your monthly disability benefit as long as you have included this optional rider on your policy.
  • Future Increase Option RiderThis is an important one for new surgeons in residency or fellowship. It allows you to buy more disability insurance as your income increases without having to go back through any medical questions or underwriting.
  • Serious Illness Supplemental Benefit Endorsement - This feature pays you an additional 50% of your monthly benefit for the first 12 months of a total disability claim if your disability is caused by cancer, stroke, or a heart attack.


1Individual disability income product is underwritten and issued by Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America (BLICOA), Pittsfield, MA. BLICOA is a wholly owned stock subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Product provisions and availability may vary by state.

2022-140682 Exp: 7/26/24