Looking Beyond Doctors and Dentists

by Maxwell Schmitz I did a fun experiment today. I ran the following questions through the Google machine: • How many doctors are there in the US? • How many dentists are there in the US? Survey says! Doctors: 1 million Dentists: 195,722 This is who everyone is fighting for in the traditional Disability Insurance marketplace. Hundreds of thousands of insurance and financial advisors. 1.2 million clients. I loved the immediate availability of this information, so I got overzealous/hyper-curious and ran the next couple inquiries: • How many attorneys are there in the US? • How many accountants are there in the US? • How many programmers are there in the US? • How many business owners are there in the US? This is where things get interesting. Survey says! Attorneys: 1.3 million Accountants: 1.3 million Programmers: 3.6 million Small businesses: 27.9 million Wow. A few things to think about here. 1) Doctors and dentists have a highly disproportionate habit of buying disability insurance compared to their more abundant counterparts. Why is that? Well, I've heard theories that it's due to the logical fact that they see disabilities up close and personally. But really? The plastic surgeon and dentist are seeing disabled people on the regular? Doubtful. I've also heard it's because doctors and dentists spend years of school training to be specialists in their field. So you're saying JDs, CPAs, and computer scientists are not specialized workers who have endured years of education, training and real world experience to advance themselves to get where they are today? I should hope not. Based on what I know from my 8 years in this business, we write doctors and dentists for one simple reason: because advisors are calling doctors and dentists. That's it. If we called attorneys, accountants, programmers, and small business owners to the same extent, then we would probably sell a lot more DI to them, too. But we don't. 2) There are twice as many attorneys and accountants as there are doctors and dentists. I graduated college in spring of 2009, amidst the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. Most of my friends, discouraged by the job market, looked to more school. That landed them in law school, CPA curricula, and MBA programs that allowed them to wait out a terrible period in our nation's economic history. Most are now young, successful professionals in their respective fields. Many are starting families and discovering that their financial obligations are accruing at a rate that would leave them with no choice but to sacrifice something if they lost a portion of their income. These people are the target market for DI. 3) There are just as many programmers as there are doctors, dentists, attorneys, and accountants combined. This was astonishing to me. This is probably the biggest and most important occupational demographic in the Bay Area, if not California, if not the country, if not the world. People are finding a living solving all kinds of problems with technology, and yet we are not seeking them out for their income protection needs. Sure, engineers/developers/programmers may be more analytical than the doctor/dentist prototype, but that is more of an excuse that we tell ourselves when we've failed to answer all the client's questions. The beauty of working with analytical minds in today's world is that they can be very independent. That means it's easier than ever to simply hand over all the information you have on a product--through sample policies, brochures, illustrations, etc.--and allow them to come up with their own answers. 4) There is a ridiculous amount of small businesses in the US and, by my estimation, there is probably an executive at half of those companies who would be eligible for the top occupation class. Remarkable. For the amount of insurance advisors who actively write DI, we would never be able to reach all these people in our lifetime. And if you're looking at these numbers thinking that the sheer abundance is overwhelming, just remember that people are looking for local specialists more than ever before. Start with your community business owners. No matter who you decide to target in your practice, be confident that you are able to provide your clients and prospects with a multitude of disability solutions to meet any of their planning problems.