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The Standard Disability Insurance Review: Is It Worth It for Physicians?

Key Takeaways:

  • For our review of The Standard disability insurance, we focus on The Platinum Advantage product available to physicians and other high-income professions.
  • True own-occupation coverage is available with an optional policy rider that protects your medical or dental specialty income, while allowing you to work in another role.
  • The Standard offers an exclusive feature, the family care benefit, that allows you to collect disability benefits while caring for a family member with a serious health condition.

Standard Insurance Company, a subsidiary of StanCorp Financial Group, Inc., is a “Big 5” insurance carrier. This grouping of disability insurance companies is responsible for underwriting the majority of own-occupation disability insurance policies. This specialty-specific coverage is essential for doctors, dentists and other high-income professionals.

Let’s look at what The Standard has to offer in terms of built-in features, optional riders and other important policy decisions.

The Standard disability insurance review: Coverage details

Originally founded as Oregon Life Insurance Company in 1906, The Standard provides insurance, retirement and investment products and services. Its Platinum Advantage disability insurance product offers own-occupation income protection that can be combined with your existing group long-term disability insurance.

Monthly coverage (maximum)$30,000*
Benefit period2 years, 5 years, 10 years, To Age 65, To Age 67
Elimination period60 days, 90 days, 180 days, 365 days
Definition of disabilityTotal Disability and Not Working
(True Own-Occupation Rider Available)
Standard featuresGuaranteed Renewable, Family Care Benefit, Rehabilitation Benefit, Automatic Increase Benefit Rider, Benefit Increase Rider, Survivor Benefit, Waiver of Premium Benefit
Policy ridersOwn-Occupation Rider, Residual Disability Riders, Noncancelable Policy Rider, Indexed Cost of Living Benefit Rider, Catastrophic Disability Benefit Rider, Student Loan Rider
*Maximum issue limits vary by occupation class and issue age.

For a quick quote from SLP Insurance for own-occupation coverage from the “Big 5”, fill out the form below. Or keep reading for more details from our Standard disability insurance review.

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Built-in features and riders

  • Benefit for total disability. Provides income protection for total disability in your regular occupation as long as you’re not working in another job.
  • Residual disability coverage. If you’re disabled but still able to work, your policy will replace a portion of your lost income.
  • Guaranteed renewable. As long as you pay your premiums on time, your policy can’t be changed.
  • Family care benefit. Provides benefits if you lose at least 20% of income due to caring for a family member with a serious health condition.
  • Rehabilitation benefit. The Standard will pay for the cost of a rehabilitation program to help you return to work sooner.
  • Benefit increase rider (available to eligible applicants). Allows you to increase coverage once every three years without additional medical underwriting. Accelerated increase is available if your income increases by at least 30% or if you lose access to group long-term disability insurance.
  • Automatic increase benefit rider (available to eligible applicants). Provides basic monthly benefit increases of 4% each year for up to six consecutive years with the option to renew for another six-year period.
  • Survivor benefit. If you pass away while receiving disability benefits, your beneficiary will receive a payout equal to three times your policy’s base monthly benefit.
  • Waiver of premium benefit. Premiums are waived while collecting disability benefits.

Optional policy riders

  • Noncancelable policy rider. Allows you to lock in premiums and policy provisions for the duration of the policy.
  • Indexed cost of living benefit rider. This cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) rider increases your benefits up to 3% or 6% annually based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.
  • Catastrophic disability benefit rider. If you experience a severe disability that prevents you from performing daily living activities, the catastrophic disability rider will pay additional benefits to help offset the cost of care.
  • Student loan rider. If you’re totally disabled and unable to work, your policy will reimburse all or a portion of your student loan payments.

The Standard disability insurance: Pros and cons

When shopping around for long-term disability insurance, it’s best to explore each insurance carrier and its policy options. Here are a few pros and cons to consider for The Standard’s Platinum Advantage product.

Pro: You can choose a stronger definition of disability

The Platinum Advantage with The Standard offers an own-occupation definition of disability with every policy. However, this definition limits your options for earning additional income since it’s an “Own-Occupation and Not Working” definition — meaning you risk losing benefits if you choose to work in another job while disabled.

That said, you can choose to enhance your coverage by including a true own-occupation rider. With this more flexible definition of disability, your benefits are paid based on your inability to perform the substantial duties of your specialty, even if you choose to work in another occupation while collecting benefits.

Pro: You can collect benefits when caring for a family member

The family care benefit is unique to The Standard and comes as a standard policy feature. This provision provides benefits if you’re working 20% fewer hours and lose at least 20% income due to caring for a family member with a serious health condition.

Qualifying family members include parents, spouses, domestic partners and children. This includes caring for an adopted child, step child or child of a domestic partner.

Policyholders can receive the Family Care Benefit twice throughout the life of the policy.

Pro: You have multiple options for residual disability benefits

Depending on your profession and income level, you can choose one of the following residual disability riders to fit your needs:

  • Basic Residual Disability Rider. If your disability causes you to lose at least 20% of your income but you’re still able to work, you can receive a minimum of 50% of your base benefit for the first six months. After that time, the benefit amount is proportional to your loss of income.
  • Enhanced Residual Disability Rider. Allows you to satisfy the benefit waiting period if you have a loss of time, duties or income. This rider pays a minimum of 50% of your base benefit for the first 12 months. After a year, the benefit is proportional to your loss of income.
  • Short-Term Residual Disability Rider. Requires a loss of income of at least 20% and pays a benefit for a maximum of six months.

Pro: The Standard has high financial strength ratings

The Standard Insurance Company’s financial strength ratings as of February 2023 are as follows:

Rating agencyFinancial strengthRanking
A.M. BestA (Excellent)3rd of 13 ratings
Moody’s Investors ServiceA1 (Good)5th of 21 ratings
S&P GlobalA+ (Strong)5th of 20 ratings

Note that A.M. Best Company recognized Standard Insurance Company for maintaining a rating of “A” or higher each year since 1928.

Con: The family care benefit isn’t available in all states

The Standard’s exclusive offering, the family care benefit, isn’t available in California or New York.

Note that other policy features and options might be modified or limited by state residence or occupation.

Con: Individual disability policies can cost hundreds of dollars each month

An individual disability insurance policy is going to be more expensive than a group disability plan that is often little to no cost for employees. But group policies often have limited benefits and a weak definition of disability. So, it’s best to supplement your coverage with an individual policy tailored to your needs.

Generally speaking, you can expect to pay around 2% to 4% of your income for adequate own-occupation coverage.

Should you apply for disability insurance with The Standard?

The Standard has a long-standing history of having both a strong reputation and high financial standing ratings, making it a solid choice for disability insurance. It has built-in features and no-cost riders that might otherwise increase your premiums with other insurance carriers, such as its options for increasing coverage as your career progresses. Plus, it offers an exclusive family care benefit that you won’t find elsewhere.

But you’ll need to look at your existing coverage to identify gaps, and do some comparison shopping to find the right fit for your needs and budget.

Receive a custom quote from SLP Insurance by filling out the form below. We’ll look at options with the “Big 5”, as well as any opportunities for a guaranteed coverage policy through your residency or fellowship program. Our goal is to find you the best coverage at the most affordable rate, even if it means we don’t earn a commission.

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SLP Insurance will find you the best price on own occupation coverage, even if it's not with us. Fill out the form below for a quote with up to 30% discounts.

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