In the 1980's and early 1990's, "own-occupation” insurance policies were presented to professionals in the medical industry as containing the absolute strongest total disability coverage. At that time, all insurance carriers who offered own-occupation disability policies maintained similar coverage, and defined total disability as being unable to perform the "substantial and material duties” of one’s regular occupation while under the care of a physician. The definition made it clear that if the professional could no longer do his or her job, he or she would be entitled to full benefits. "Regular occupation” referred to the one he or she was engaged in at the time of the disability, which meant the insurance holder could pursue a different profession and their benefits would not change.
Unfortunately, over the past twenty or so years, insurance companies across the board began reducing or eliminating benefits under these policies in order to cut costs and increase profits. This article describes what a policyholder should look for to ensure they still have a pure "own-occupation" insurance policy, and what to do if their insurance company is giving them the run around.
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