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Guardian Enhances Special Program Offering Disability Insurance to Young Professionals

{ts '2008-02-29 00:00:00.000'}

For media inquiries, contact:
Wendy Webster Coakley
Berkshire Life
Tel: 413.395.4467
Fax: 413.395.5986 wendy_coakley@berkshirelife.com
Anayo Afolabi
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
Tel: 212.919.8329
Fax: 212.919.2790 Anayo_Afolabi@glic.com

NEW YORK, N.Y., February 29, 2008 — An innovative program that enables advanced degree students, medical residents and those working in the first year of their profession to obtain top-level individual disability income (DI) insurance coverage based on their future earnings potential is now even more attractive to young professionals, thanks to a number of enhancements—including, for the first time, eligibility for pharmacy students.

The Special Limits for Young Professionals program—offered by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian) through its wholly owned stock subsidiary, Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America (Berkshire)—allows the following individuals to obtain protection for their future income without the historical earnings information that is typically required to obtain adequate levels of DI coverage:

First-Year Professionals
Students and Residents
Certified Nurse Practitioners
Certified Physician Assistants
Degreed Engineers
Students and Residents
Dental Residents
Final-Year MBA Students
Medical Residents/Fellows
Senior Dental Students
Senior Medical Students
Senior Veterinary Students
Third-Year Law School Students
NEW! Pharmacy Students

"Regardless of how much young people are earning right out of graduate school—which may not be much—they can now help safeguard not only the substantial investment made in their education but also their future ability to be paid if they are too sick or injured to work in their chosen profession," said Laura E. Hahn, Director of Core Segment Marketing.

Due to the more thorough underwriting required by a morbidity-based product like DI (as opposed to a more straightforward mortality-based product like life insurance), the typical, more established professional applying for coverage has to qualify financially, as well as medically, to obtain an individual DI policy.

However, brand-new professionals applying for DI coverage through Guardian's Special Limits program are only subject to medical underwriting. Depending on the profession, their monthly income protection benefit can range from up to $1,000 to up to $5,000.

New for 2008
This year, Berkshire has implemented a number of enhancements to Guardian's Special Limits program to make it even more appealing to young professionals, including:
  • Increased monthly income protection benefit for first-year optometrists and pharmacists, as well as for third-year law school students;
  • New special limit category for pharmacy students in their last two years of education, making them eligible for a monthly benefit of up to $1,500;
  • Higher catastrophic benefits for all professionals eligible for the Catastrophic Disability Benefit rider under the Special Limits program. This rider helps ensure that young professionals are even better protected against the extreme costs of a catastrophic disability2.

In addition, Guardian's Special Limits program remains one of the few that offers the Retirement Protection Plus program to specified first-year professionals, helping to protect retirement contributions in the event they are suspended or stopped permanently by a total disability.
Once insured through the Special Limits program, young professionals may apply to increase their monthly benefit level as their incomes grow if a Future Increase Option (FIO) rider3 is attached.
And, even if they have as little as one year of earnings history in their new professions, under the Special Limits program newly insured individuals may apply for additional DI coverage based on that history.
"That's an extraordinary opportunity for a young person, especially one who may be facing significant student loan debt," Berkshire's Hahn noted.
"Newly minted professionals may feel impoverished at that point in their lives; this Guardian program reminds them that, actually, they own an extremely valuable asset— their ability to earn substantial income in future years—and that it is never too early to protect that asset."
For additional information about the Special Limits for Young Professionals program, producers may go to www.GuardianLife.com/service_center/find_a_local_office.html to locate the Guardian agency nearest to them. Each agency is staffed with at least one Disability Income Specialist, who provides local sales support and service for disability income insurance cases.

About Guardian
Founded in 1860, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY (Guardian) is one of the largest mutual life insurance companies in the United States. As of December 31, 2006, Guardian and its subsidiaries had $39.5 billion in assets (on a consolidated statutory basis). With more than 5,000 employees and 3,000 financial representatives, as well as more than 80 agencies nationwide, Guardian and its subsidiaries protect individuals, businesses, and their employees with life, disability, health, long-term care, and dental insurance products, and offer 401(k), annuities and other financial products and trust services. More information about Guardian can be obtained at: www.GuardianLife.com.

About Berkshire
Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America, Pittsfield, Mass. (Berkshire), is a wholly owned stock subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, N.Y. Its key missions are to grow Guardian's disability income and long-term care lines of business and to research and develop new insurance products. More information about Berkshire can be obtained at www.BerkshireLife.com.

1 Open to pharmacy students in their last two years of education only.
2 An illness or injury that prevents the insured individual from performing two or more activities of daily living (such as bathing, dressing, eating and toileting), or causes cognitive impairment or an irrecoverable disability.
3 In order to obtain additional coverage through the FIO rider, insured individuals do not need to provide evidence of medical insurability, just evidence of their income, as well as other disability insurance in force, that which they are eligible to receive or for which they've applied.

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