Business owners are the last people who expect to become ill or unable to work because of an injury. They are generally disciplined individuals who demand a lot from themselves, expect to weather any setback in the short term and overcome most obstacles.
When they are disabled, through an injury or serious illness, the first response is usually to minimize their situation and keep going, often despite all evidence to the contrary. They cannot foresee stopping working, for fear that their business which they have built over time will go under.
Frankel & Newfield represents many business owners in the SME arena – small to medium sized enterprises. Business owners face different challenges than employees when their disability insurance claims are delayed or denied.
Here are some basics for SME business owners on disability insurance claims:
- If you are not yet disabled, you’ll want to have both disability insurance and business interruption insurance/business overhead insurance in place.
- Expect the disability insurance company to request a complete review of your business and personal financial records.
- Unlike a salaried employee, you may find yourself needing to document the amount of time that you work in your business. They may look to argue that your claim is at most a partial or residual disability, rather than a total disability. This is part of an overall strategy to undermine your claim.
- If your business requires a lot of travel, it will be easier to show how your ability to work is impacted. However, if your business is office-based and most of your meetings are online or by phone, expect the insurance company to challenge the severity and degree of your impairment.
- If you have a great team that is able to step up and keep your business going, congratulations. But your disability insurance company may see that as a reason not to pay your claim.
- Proving the inability to continue working in your occupation may have challenges, so ensuring that the support from your treating doctor(s) is critical to the success of your claim.
If you are a business owner who is considering filing a claim, or if you have filed a claim and are being asked to provide an overly burdensome amount of financial and business records, we strong suggest contacting this office to discuss your situation. You are in a unique category and it is likely that you will face substantial challenges to your claim. Call our office at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524) to discuss your case with a partner.