Prudential Financial has made its name as a company that helps individuals and businesses with their insurance and financial needs. Their online profile describes their product portfolio, highlighting their life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, and investment management.
This is a pretty rich product line, but what Prudential doesn’t emphasize is disability insurance. It’s never been a focus for them. They don’t offer an individual disability insurance policy, but they do provide both short-term and long-term group disability insurance as an employer benefit. Though it’s a bit challenging to find on their website, it’s available for employers to offer as an employee benefit.
Short-term disability insurance (STDI) is designed to provide partial income protection if an employee is unable to work due to an illness, injury, or the birth of a child. Short-term disability benefit periods (the length of time benefits are paid) will depend on what the employer decides to offer. The duration is typically 13-26 weeks, though it can be as long as a year. Benefits begin after an elimination period (waiting period) of 7-30 days, with 14 days being the most common.
Short-term disability insurance seems similar to worker’s compensation coverage, but there is a substantial difference. While short-term disability insurance covers an employee from illness or injuries suffered outside the workplace, workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage when the injury or illness occurred at work as a direct result of work activities. Generally, an employee is ineligible to receive benefits under both short-term disability insurance and workers’ compensation for the same incident at the same time.
Prudential emphasizes to employers that they are employee-friendly with STDI claims. The company highlights that they help employees focus on recovering and getting back to work, not fighting mountains of paperwork, and having claim managers make quick and accurate decisions.
Long-term disability insurance (LTDI) is designed to pick up where short-term disability ends. The elimination period is most often 90 days, though employees can choose a longer period to lower premiums. A 90-day short-term disability insurance benefit period coupled with a 90-day long-term benefit elimination period is one way employees can avoid a gap in benefits if they need to transition from STDI to LTDI benefits.
Prudential stresses that every claim is unique. They advertise that they stay on top of claims and try to get employees back to work as soon as possible, which also helps lower their claim losses. Their claim managers regularly assess “work capacity” and use the services of in-house clinical, behavioral, and vocation health resources to accelerate an employee’s return to work.
Prudential promises to help employers with “benefit challenges” through their LTDI and STDI plans. They claim:
- Employer notification on absence claims within 15 minutes
- 24/7 claims status availability
- Text/email of claim decisions
- 100% of approved long-term claims are put through a proprietary “predictive transition model”
- All LTDI claims receive a vocational and clinical review
- They help employees by having 97% of their LTDI claim reviews and decisions made before the date benefits are to begin
Prudential has the credentials to make employers and employees feel confident that their insurer has the financial means to pay any approved claim. They boast of being in business for 145 years and serving over 50 million customers in 40 countries. Also impressive: they have $1.5 trillion of assets under management.
Their salesforce is 3,000 advisors strong. The majority of them concentrate on the individual consumer, not the business market, which makes it all the more surprising that they don’t offer an individual disability insurance product.
Having grown up in upstate New York, Bob Phillips spent over 15 years in the financial services world and has been making freelance writing contributions to blogs and websites since 2007. He resides in North Texas with his wife and Doberman puppy.
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