4 Tips to Maximize Your Disability Benefits

By Scott Ruthstrom, FDA Services Chief Operating Officer

Dentists understand the importance of purchasing a quality disability income insurance policy, but are you ensuring you receive every dollar you’re eligible for? Not having enough disability income or saving a few bucks by passing on available options and riders can make a tremendous financial difference.  Should you fall victim to an accident or an extended illness, be sure you have your financial well-being fully protected.

1. Max out the total monthly amount you can financially qualify for.

Typically, disability insurance (DI) benefits are calculated as a percentage of your total gross income. One hundred percent of total gross income replacement is not available, so having the maximum benefit you are eligible for will help ensure that, in the event of a disability, you can maintain a lifestyle post-disability that is comparable to your pre-disability lifestyle. Even if you max out your benefits with one insurance company, you may be able to buy additional benefits through a second or even a third policy (depending on the amount of coverage in place already and your annual gross income).

2. Make sure your DI policy can grow with you.

Many carriers offer options/riders that allow you to increase your monthly benefit without having to retake medical exams or physicals; you only have to prove you qualify financially.

3. The fact is, one in three dentists will have a disability over the course of their career.

A dollar today is not what a dollar will be worth five, 10 or 20 years from now. A “cost-of-living adjustment” rider (COLA) is a great way to ensure your DI policy will be able to keep up with inflation. The COLA rider will adjust the monthly benefit each year while on a claim.

4. Since most disabilities are temporary in nature, purchasing a “residual disability” rider is vital.

This rider is designed to help offset the loss of income when returning to work following rehabilitation or recovery, as it could take months or even years to return to pre-disability income levels.


FDA Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Florida Dental Association (FDA). We strive to be the source for information about insurance for our member dentists. Revenue from insurance sales goes directly toward helping FDA programs and lobbying efforts that are important to members, and to keep dues at their lowest possible level.

Our experienced staff is ready to get to work for you — call or text 850.681.2996 or email insurance@fdaservices.com to connect to our agents today. Visit fdaservices.com/disability for more information.

Hurricane Practice Prep

We’ve all seen the dramatic effect hurricanes can have, both the initial wind and rain and the floods and devastation that follow. There are steps you can take to stay safe and reduce damage to your property in the event of a storm.

BEFORE A HURRICANE

  • Install storm shutters.
  • Remove yard debris, such as dead tree limbs, that could become flying missiles.
  • Make sure your practice communication plan is in place and ready to be put into effect.
  • Make sure you and/or employees know how to shut off utilities, including water main.
  • Look through your emergency kit to ensure it is fully stocked and up to date with necessities for preparing your practice.
  • Back up computer records and store them at least 50 miles off-site.
  • Gather important papers to take with you if you must evacuate, including inventory lists and insurance information.

DURING A HURRICANE

  • Know your community’s evacuation plan and, if asked to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Stay inside and away from windows, skylights and glass doors. Avoid elevators.
  • Avoid washed out and wet roads that can hide downed electrical lines or underlying currents that can carry your vehicle away.

AFTER A HURRICANE

  • Water is a major cause of damage after hurricanes. The longer your house is exposed to water, the more damage you’ll see to your roof, ceiling, walls and floors, as well as any personal belongings inside. After the storm has passed, it’s important to dry out anything water damaged.
  • Open windows and doors to allow air to circulate and speed up the drying process.
  • Clean up any broken glass and remove debris.
  • Board up broken windows and doors.
  • Cover roof damage with tarps or plywood.
  • Save receipts for any temporary repair expenses.
  • Move any wet items to a dry place.
  • If possible, place any damaged items in a safe, secure area where they can be inspected later.


Content provided by Safeco Insurance.

This article was originally published in FDA Services’ Hurricane Guide, “Storm Proof.” Be prepared for the 2021 hurricane season with articles about how to prepare, loss and damage, and making a claim. Visit fdaservices.com for more information.

Storm Proof: 2019 Practice Readiness Guide

Hurricane season begins tomorrow and every Floridian knows it’s time to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. This year’s updated issue will help you Storm Proof your practice with guides, resources and tools for any of your storm prep and post-storm problems.

Check it out at bit.ly/stormproof2019.

 

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4 Important Considerations for Succession Planning

By Stacey Prince-Troutman, Broad and Cassel Senior Counsel

​You have worked tenaciously for the past 40 years to build your business and reputation in the community. Your business is a success, but recently, your passion for being involved in the day-to-day operations of the business and meeting with patients has dwindled. Instead, you dream of traveling more and spending time with family. You trust your younger associates to run the business while you are traveling and would likely sell the business to them once you retire. If you are in this situation, then now is the ideal time to formulate a business succession plan.

Planning to transition your business to your associates should start now, not when you’re three weeks away from retirement. An effective business succession plan takes years to successfully execute and should consider the following:

  • Mentoring the next generation of leaders. Your associates should be given the opportunity to be “mentored” into transitioning from skilled practitioners to business owners. Cross-training is the key to ensuring a successful transition. Associates should be trained in managing staff, dealing with insurance companies, vendors, accounting practices and more.
  • Obtaining a business valuation. You should retain a qualified business appraiser and accountant to determine the fair market value of the business. Once a valuation is obtained, a schedule for your payout should be discussed so that the associates will have the funds needed — at the appointed time — to acquire your business.
  • Preparing an agreement. Once an agreement is reached, an experienced attorney should be retained to draft an agreement that provides for the transition of the business to the associates. In addition to including the basic deal points, a properly drafted agreement should include certain safeguards for breach, death and other contingencies.
  • Updating your estate planning documents. It’s not unusual for your business to be one of your most significant assets, if not the most significant asset. Accordingly, you should update your estate planning documents to consider the receipt of your remaining interest in the business (or outstanding payments under the agreement) by your heirs following your death in the event you die before fully transitioning the business to your associates.

A proper business succession plan is crucial to the viability of your business after your departure, and there is much that goes into a well-structured and thoughtful plan. A qualified business appraiser, accountant and attorney make up the team that is an invaluable asset in this process — ultimately assisting in formulating a plan and overseeing its successful execution. As we kick off the New Year and plan for the future, this might make for a good resolution.


Stacey Prince-Troutman is Senior Counsel in the Orlando office of Broad and Cassel. She is a member of the firm’s Estate Planning and Trusts Practice Group and can be reached at
sprince@broadandcassel.com or 407.839.4200.