HomeLearnSelling Physician Group LTD: The Race to Zero…or 70
A practical guide

How sales specialists in the physician group LTD market close nearly 70% of cases at high margins — and their commercial group LTD colleagues barely crack 8% while racing toward profitability oblivion.


In many ways, sales is akin to an auto race: understand the course; tune and re-tune your high-performance machine; then skillfully guide it through challenges and obstacles to the purchase finish line. A veteran sales professional referred to the Race-To-Zero-info-graphiccurrent employee benefits insurance version of the race as ‘the race to zero.’

This race – all too familiar to insurance pros – goes something like this: Gather basic data (after clawing and scratching for the prospect in the first place); solicit quotes from a few different carriers; spreadsheet the quotes; highlight the best choice for the client – typically the lowest price quote. Continue negotiating until the client finally buys or there is zero profit margin left – hence the race to zero.

In the physician group LTD space, this approach has his- torically yielded sales closing ratios in the 8% range at low profit margins. And yet, there are sales specialists in this market who consistently close nearly 70% of their cases, most at a 20% – 30% price premium. How is this possible?


The secret is to flip the model on its head and complete- ly change the conversation from the onset. To avoid getting trapped in the race to zero, you start by com- paring your solution to a coverage type physicians are familiar with and already value: individual disability (IDI). Every physician comes out of medical school with an IDI policy that is rich in features and tailored to their specific needs. What they want is more of that; but carriers don’t offer it at any reasonable price.

So you reframe the conversation by positioning physi- cian group LTD as an IDI supplement, not an employee benefit product. There is nothing wrong with commercial group LTD – it’s a great product. It’s just not designed for the specialized needs of physicians. Specialized physi- cian group LTD really does approach IDI in features and coverage provisions, making it a natural extender to the policy they already have and trust.

A word of caution: this reframe requires that you offer a physician LTD product that actually is designed for the specialized needs of physicians. Most commercial LTD contracts aren’t. In fact, the majority contain provisions that hurt doctors at claim time, so be careful to reframe around coverage that can deliver on your promises.


From that differentiated starting point, you can begin to build value that is meaningful to physicians, and that is clearly demonstrated in the features and provisions they will be buying. These include:

  • Core ProvisRace-To-70-graphicions. Highlight the key foundational provisions of a good physician LTD policy, particularly the definitions of own occupation/ speciialty and part-time work. These are crucial for doctors and are not part of typical commercial LTD.
  • Not Included. Emphasize what they won’t be buying. Again, commercial LTD policies include provisions that adversely affect doctors at claim time that don’t impact the average worker. It’s important for doctors to understand that the policy you are offering doesn’t include these harmful provisions. (Again, make sure the policy you offer is true to this assertion).
  • Specialty Riders. Provide specialized riders built specifically for physicians to round out the value package. With their specialized work, physicians need coverage for things like infectious diseases, malpractice premium payments and business continuity that are unique to their profession


With this firm foundation of differentiated value behind them, sales professionals find themselves racing toward 70% close ratios with physician clients who are willing to pay a premium for the specialized value they perceive in an IDI supplement package. The fact that their employ- ees can receive group benefits is an added bonus.

Selling group LTD in the physician space can be highly profitable – both from a money and time invested stand- point. Reframing the conversation around products that deliver IDI-like value as a supplement will put you well down the road on the race to 70 and out of the nev- er-ending loop in the race to zero.

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Group disability insurance policies are underwritten by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Wellesley Hills, MA) in all states, except New York under policy form 93P-LH. In New York, group life and disability insurance policies are underwritten by Sun Life and Health Insurance Company (U.S.) (Windsor, CT) under policy form 13-GP-LH-01 and 13-LTD-C-01. Administration for physician products is provided by Medical Group Insurance Services, Inc. (MGIS), in all states, except as follows: in CA by MGIS Insurance Agency, Inc; in NY by MGIS Insurance Agency. Product offerings may not be available in all states and may vary depending on state laws and regulations. Sun Life Financial and the globe symbol are registered trademarks of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. Visit us at www.sunlife.com/us.


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