The Standard Disability Insurance Review

Over the past few years Standard has been focused on improving their disability product and rates. The current product they are offering is called the Platinum Advantage. The contract is straightforward, easy to understand, and has attractive rates, however, Standard is not as generous with discount programs for physicians as some other carriers. Standard offers excellent discount programs for non-medical business owners and on their GSI programs. While financial ratings of the carrier are not as important as the details of the contract, it would be comforting to see the rating agencies improve their review.

  • Quality of contract 4/5
  • Rates4/5
  • Application Experience 4/5
  • Communication/Service 3/5
  • Total score 3.75/5
MassMutual ranks 93rd on Fortune magazine’s list of largest 500 corporations. (2018) and Fortune has named them one of the “World's Most Admired Companies”. Since 1851 Mass Mutual has been a mutual company with some of the strongest financial ratings in the industry.

2019 Financial Ratings:

  • Moody’s Investors Service - Aa2
  • A.M. Best Company – A++
  • Standard & Poor’s - AA+
  • Fitch – AA+
  • Comdex – 98/100
Total Disability: This benefit is key to determining your eligibility for benefits. Physicians tend to prefer a true own-occupation definition of disability which allows them to be employed in another occupation while continuing to receive full disability benefits.
  • Own Occupation Rider: : Standard’s Platinum advantage contract has a rider you can add called “Own Occupation Rider”. When added, it is a true own occupation definition with specialty language for physicians. This rider, as explained below, states you are totally disabled if due to injury or sickness you are unable to perform the substantial and material duties of your regular occupation.
    If you are a physician and have limited your regular occupation to the performance of the substantial and material duties of a single specialty, recognized by the American board of Medical Specialties, then the specialty will be deemed to be your regular occupation.

Partial Disability: Many disabilities allow physicians to continue working, but they may work less or earn less, because of an injury or illness. Therefore, the partial disability benefit is an extremely important clause in the contract.
  • Enhanced Residual Rider: The trigger to qualify under this rider is either a 20% loss of income, or loss of job duties, or a loss of time, due to an injury or illness. The rider pays a proportionate amount of your benefits equal to the percent of loss wages. For the first 12 months of a claim, the benefits paid would be at minimum 50% of the monthly benefit.
    Recovery benefits are included with an enhanced partial rider. The policy will pay benefits if a 20% or larger loss income remains as a result of a prior disability. The benefit is payable up to the maximum benefit period.
When signing up for your first policy, it is wise to include provisions that allow you to increase coverage in the future. Standard Platinum Advantage offers two options that allow you to increase coverage in the future without any new medical underwriting, allowing you to increase benefits to protect your income as it rises, regardless of changes in health. These options can be included in your policy at no extra cost.
  • Benefit Increase Rider:This rider allows you to increase coverage every 3rd policy anniversary up to age 50. The rider also allows for increases to be made in the event you had a least a 30% increase in earnings if your employer provider provided group disability was lost or reduced. For most medical occupations, if the benefit increases riders will allow you to increase coverage up to a 20,000 monthly benefit without future medical underwriting. The advantage of this rider is that it can be included at no cost, however to keep the rider on the policy, you are required to apply for additional coverage every 3 years and show/prove current income.
  • Future Benefit Increase: Standard will automatically adjust your monthly benefit amount every year for the first 6 years of the policy. The increase will be an 4% to your monthly benefit.
    Our analysis: It’s very attractive that Standard provides both these optional benefits at no cost. These riders are also nearly identical to Principal, however the maximum levels you can increase to are currently lower.
  • Guardian Renewable: Coverage is guaranteed renewable to the termination date as long as the premium is paid on time. No provision of the policy can be changed by The Standard, except for the premium, before the termination date.
    Our analysis: You can add a rider to make the policy Non-Cancelable Guaranteed Renewable.
  • Mental and/or Substance-related Disorders: This benefit includes claims that stem from, drugs, alcohol, stress, anxiety, depression, or burnout. Standard provides coverage without a limitation (maximum benefit period would be the same as your selected benefit period) for most medical occupations. Some medical occupations such as anesthesiologists and emergency room physicians require a 24-month limitation.
  • Presumptive Disability Benefit: This benefit provides coverage while the policy is in force, you suffer an injury or sickness that results in total and permanent loss of any of the following: speech, hearing in both ears not restorable by hearing aids, sight in both eyes after reasonable efforts are made to correct your vision using the most advanced medically acceptable procedures and devices available, or the use of both hands, both feet, or one hand and one foot.
  • Survivor Benefit: This rider provides a Survivor Benefit equal to three times the policy’s basic monthly benefit, if you die while disability benefits are payable.
  • Family Care Benefit: This Benefit pays you a monthly benefit if you are working at least 20% fewer hours and you have at least 20% less income while taking time away from work to care for a family member who has a serious health condition. A family member is a parent, child (including an adopted child and stepchild), spouse, domestic partner, and child of your domestic partner.
  • Rehabilitation Benefit: If you are disabled and want to pursue a rehab program to return to work, Standard may pay an extra benefit to help you with the cost.
  • Waiver of Premium: You do not pay for your coverage after you’re disabled for the elimination period. Standard will refund the premiums paid for coverage after the disability began and continue to waive all premiums that become due during your continuous disability.
  • Elimination periods available: 60-day, 90-day, 180-day, and 365-day elimination periods
  • Benefit periods available: 2-year, 5-year, 10-year, age 65, and age 67.
  • Noncancelable Policy Rider If you wish to ensure your premium rates cannot be changed before your policy’s termination date, the Noncancelable Policy Rider will allow you to do so as long as you pay your premiums in a timely manner.
  • Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA): This benefit is designed to increase your monthly benefits on an annual basis during a claim. You may select a 3% or 6% COLA compounded on an annual basis.
  • Catastrophic Rider (CAT): Pays a benefit in addiotnal to the base monthly benefit if the insured loses the ability to perform two or more activities of daily living without assistance; becomes cognitively impaired; or becomes presumptively disabled under the terms of the policy.
  • Student Loan Protection: Provides a reimbursement of student loan payments while insured is totally disabled. The rider is for a duration of either 10 or 15 years and will reimburse an addiotnal 100-1,500 per month toward student loan payments.
  • Multi Life Resident/Fellow: Standard offers a 10% discount for residents and fellows. The discount can be established at most medical centers.
  • Business Owner Discount: Business owners in certain occupations (mostly non-medical) can be eligible for a 10% discount.
  • Multi-Product Discount: Standard will give a 5% discount when the applicant also applies for and accepts coverage under Business Overhead Protector or Business Equity Protector.