DI Markets

White-collar workers aren’t the only ones who need disability insurance: anyone who depends on a paycheck will benefit from coverage. Many blue-, gray-, and pink-collar workers are prime candidates. If you’re looking for new DI markets, give these underserved groups your attention.

Disability Insurance for Blue-Collar Workers

Whereas white-collar workers typically work in offices, blue-collar workers perform a variety of manual labor. They include construction workers, factory workers, fishers, truckers, farmers, electricians, plumbers, nuclear power plant operators, and many other skilled and unskilled workers who perform physically-demanding jobs.

Many of these workers command impressive salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters earn a median of $61,550 a year, whereas electricians earn a median of $61,590 per year. Nuclear power reactor operators earn a median of $121,240 per year.

However, the physical nature of blue-collar work means an injury or illness may make it impossible for the person to continue working. If the disability is work-related, employees may qualify for workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, many disabilities are not work-related and therefore ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits. For workers who suffer from cancer, heart disease, and other non-work health issues, individual disability insurance provides an important financial safety net.

Furthermore, many skilled trade workers have their own businesses. Plumbers, electricians, pest controllers, and other blue-collar workers may own a business and employ others. If a disability prevents them from working, their business may suffer. Business overhead expense insurance and other disability insurance products provide important protection.

Tip: Although the phrase “blue collar” is common, Investopedia warns that some workers may find it offensive due to historical connotations with poorly-educated workers. Many blue-collar workers are highly skilled and well compensated.

Disability Insurance for Pink-Collar Workers

Pink-collar jobs are traditionally associated with women. These occupations often involve caregiving duties, such as nursing, dental hygiene and childcare, but may also include things like teaching and administrative jobs.

When selling disability insurance, agents often overlook these professions in favor of traditionally male-dominated occupations. For example, insurance agents may target doctors while ignoring nurses or may pitch coverage to executives while forgetting about the administrative support staff.

This is a huge oversight because many pink-collar workers earn good salaries and need disability insurance. For example, the BLS says registered nurses earn a median annual salary of $86,070. Certain types of nurses, such as travel nurses and nurse anesthetists, often earn much more. Executive administrative assistants also earn good wages, averaging nearly $80,000 a year according to Salary.com.

Since many women are now the breadwinners of their families, they need to protect their paychecks. In fact, Wells Fargo found that 32% of married or partnered women between the ages of 24 and 55 are the primary household breadwinner.

Tip: You can offer guaranteed standard issue disability insurance with a multi-life discount to groups of workers with the same employer. This a great way to insure people working in different positions, such as doctors, nurses, and administrators at a doctor’s office.

Disability Insurance for Gray-Collar Workers

Gray-collar workers perform jobs that require technical and physical skills. This includes many workers who don’t neatly fit into blue- or white-collar categories. Examples include chefs, firefighters, pilots and air traffic controllers.

This is a huge market for disability insurance. The highly-skilled and demanding nature of gray-collar work means salaries are often high. The BLS says airline and commercial pilots earn a median of $171,210 a year, whereas Chron says chefs typically earn up to $86,990 a year but celebrity chefs often command million-dollar salaries.

A disability may put those salaries at risk. For example, pilots have to meet extremely high physical and mental health standards and therefore need specialized disability insurance coverage. Chefs have notoriously demanding jobs and may be unable to work during a period of illness or injury.

Many of these occupations are also growing, creating new opportunities for insurance agents. Gray-collar occupations dominate the list of fastest-growing occupations from the BLS.

Tip: Different sources may use the above classifications in different ways – don’t let that confuse you! For example, some workers who are often classified as blue collar may also be considered gray collar due to the skill involved, such as electricians. Some pink-collar jobs, such as nurses, may also fall into the gray-collar category.

Do you need help finding new DI markets? Check out our markets organized by profession, demographic, and need.


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