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Rare Diseases Happen; Disability Insurance Can Help

by Emma Schmitz

Diana and Emma enjoying a sunny day together

Rare diseases are rare – until you know someone with one.

Some of you were lucky enough to work with my mom, Diana, when she was still at DI & LTC (now Yetworth) a handful of years ago. She was one of the industry’s best field underwriters; her spirited, unapologetic, and assertive personality suited the job position, especially within a male-dominated industry.

When she was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a “rare” disease, our agency went through a challenging transition. She couldn’t work anymore due to her illness. Does this story sound familiar? Has one of your clients been caught in a similar situation without a succession plan, and worse, without disability insurance coverage in place?

Fortunately, this well-played-out drama takes a few positive turns. First, as you might guess, the Schmitz family is adequately covered with disability insurance (practice what you preach!), and Diana was able to exit the business without leaving her completely destitute, due to a few different policies.

Second, the agency took the opportunity to reorganize and rebrand soon after and is now the Yetworth you know today (read our brand story here).

Third, and most importantly, my mom was the recipient of a lung transplant in May of 2020. Three times, a life-changing pivot was made (and some luck was definitely involved).

I briefly wrote a column documenting her transplant journey and what it was like to be a distant caregiver. Writing for that publication introduced me to people with all kinds of rare diseases, and I learned that February 28th is Rare Disease Day. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on how the introduction of a rare disease in our lives affected where Yetworth is today.

Some may see what happened as a setback, but I am grateful that we had the above opportunities to grow and learn from. We were prepared. We 1) planned and strategized, and 2) did the work –recognizing the good fortune and privilege we wanted to protect and maintain.

Are your clients prepared for a rare disease? How would they pivot?


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