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Disability Insurance for Surgeons

The average income of a surgeon in the United States is just over $382,000, and ranges from approximately $323,000 up to over $454,0001. For most surgeons, that income will be the most valuable thing they have, and it’s all dependent on their ability to perform highly technical procedures.

Enhanced True Own Occupation Disability Insurance

Until recently, the best disability insurance policy a surgeon could buy was a policy that had an own occupation definition of disability. The problem with a standard own occupation policy is that if a surgeon has both surgical and non-surgical duties, and is disabled from performing surgery, but still able to do the non-surgical aspects of their job, it’s possible that the disability would be paid as a partial claim rather than total.

Certain carriers now offer an enhanced true own occupation definition of disability. This new definition provides more ways for surgeons to get paid when disabled.

The definition starts with a true own occupation definition of total disability - If injury or sickness prevents you from performing your occupation you will be totally disabled. While totally disabled you’re able to receive your full disability benefits even if you’re gainfully employed in another occupation or capacity.

It then adds a second way to qualify for surgeons:

If Your Occupation is limited to a Medical Doctor or Doctor of Osteopathy and more than 50% of Income is earned from performing Surgical Procedures, We will consider You to be Totally Disabled even if You are Gainfully Employed in Your practice or another occupation so long as, solely due to Injury or Sickness, You are not able to perform Surgical Procedures.

With more ways to qualify for benefits, enhanced true own occupation coverage is some of the strongest, most flexible protection a surgeon can get.


Pre-disability sources of income
Post-disability capabilities
Under our enhanced true own-occupation considered

Surgeon
  • 60% from surgery
  • 40% from patient care and office visits

Persistent tremor in dominant hand

• Cannot perform surgery
• Able to diagnose and treat patients

Totally Disabled (full benefits) because more than 50% of income came from surgical procedures and he or she can no longer perform those due to disability.

Surgeon

How can we help you?

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Design Your Policy

When designing your disability policy, there are some important considerations for surgeons.

  • Benefit amount – Some companies will offer a very high limit, of up to $20,000 per month, for surgeons with qualifying income.
  • Retirement protection – Many surgeons max out qualified retirement plan contributions in excess of $50,000 per year. A retirement protection rider on your policy replaces these contributions into a trust so that you can continue saving for retirement after age 65.
  • Future increase options – Allow you to increase your disability coverage without going back through medical underwriting. Many surgeons max these out when designing their policy knowing that they will want to buy more coverage as their income increases.
  • Enhanced partial – Not all disabilities are total in nature. Many are partial disabilities, and require a partial benefit to be payable based on your loss of income. A surgeon with at least a 15% loss of income may qualify for partial disability.
  • Student loan rider – 38% of surgeons have over $200,000 in student loan debt2. These physicians should consider adding this rider to their policy to help them pay down this debt even if they suffer a disability.

Disability Insurance While in Residency

Many surgeons purchase their disability insurance while in training. There are several advantages to doing this.

  • Lock in lower rates when buying at a younger age, or use graded premiums to buy at a lower premium level.
  • Take advantage of any discounts available for residents/new physicians
  • Get underwritten while in residency and ensure ability to buy more after graduation through the use of the future increase option rider

We Know Surgeons

With almost 10,000 policies sold, we know disability insurance; and since surgeons are one of our most popular occupations, we know how to design their coverage. We keep an extensive list of discount programs nationwide to ensure your buying coverage at the best possible price.

1 https://www1.salary.com/Surgeon-Salary.html

2 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-surgeons-debt/young-surgeons-face-high-debt-financial-instability-idUSKBN1J7248

2019-75560 Exp. 3/21

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