We understand that you may not always have the time to evaluate your financial health. The good news is, we’re here to help you.
With that said, meet Stephanie Byard of the AAFP Insurance Program Customer Development team. Stephanie spends a typical day helping family physicians explore their insurance options, determining which coverage best fits their needs, and addressing some of the main concerns family physicians have about signing up for life and disability insurance.
Helping you take control
Because family physicians are busy, they often don’t have time to think about their own financial health. Stephanie explains that, “It’s not uncommon to be asked questions like ‘what’s disability insurance?’ They’re starting from scratch so we begin by explaining certain definitions such as “own-occupation” and residual benefits. Some family physicians know what life insurance is, but don’t know or understand the various options available.” For example, the AAFP Insurance Program offers level premium term life insurance which can be purchased for a 10 or 20 year duration. “The premium doesn’t increase in that timeframe… you can lock it in when you’re young and healthy and get low rates.” Younger physicians are generally in good health which means they are low risk, resulting in lower premiums.
Insurance has its challenges
One of the biggest challenges family physicians face when choosing life or disability insurance is figuring out the benefit amounts. For disability insurance, the AAFP Insurance Program recommends 60% of gross annual income. However, life insurance is a different story. “As a rule of thumb we use six to ten times annual income.” A good place to start calculating more precisely how much life insurance you’ll need is to visit LifeHappens.org.
Family physicians of all ages and backgrounds call Stephanie about their insurance options. “We get members in their 20s and early 30s, and we walk them through the basics… It’s not a quick decision. Insurance takes time and patience, so there is no pressure when you call us. We get calls from physicians who are switching jobs, or whose office insurance didn’t stay with them. We also get calls from members in their 40s and 50s who may be adjusting their policy or signing up for an additional policy.”
The most challenging part about Stephanie’s job is explaining insurance to someone who has never been exposed to it – generally those in their 20s and early 30s. “It can be intensive, but at the end of the call they are a better informed consumer.”
The importance of having disability and life insurance
When it comes to insurance, Stephanie not only talks the talk, she also walks the walk. “I have life and disability insurance through my employer… I think it’s important to have these types of insurance because you will need to answer questions like how would your family get by, who’s going to care for them and what will they need when you’re gone? Some physicians realize they need DI when they see their own patients and what has caused them to be unable to work. Some members are shocked when they end up on disability. It’s a big scare.”
Stephanie has been working at the AAFP Insurance Program for over three years and offers a compassionate, empathetic voice to those family physicians struggling to understand how they can improve or secure their financial well-being. The best part about Stephanie’s day is guiding customers from the “I don’t get it” stage to the “now I understand it and I’m sending in an application” stage. “That’s what makes me look forward to coming into work every day… that’s what’s important to me.”
To learn more about the AAFP Insurance Program and how you can contact one of our knowledgeable staff members like Stephanie Byard, visit our “About Us” section.