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You never think _________ will happen to you?

Ask 100 business owners that question and I’m sure you’ll get 100 different responses – none of which are, “I’m going to become too sick or hurt to run my business.”

But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned working in the insurance industry, it’s that the unexpected does happen.

I recently learned about one of our claimants – James, an attorney in North Carolina, who was running his own law firm and was also an active sports agent. He was in the prime of his career with two children in college, when he suffered the unthinkable – a stroke that put him out of work. Suddenly his wife was taking on a new role as primary caretaker to help him get back on his feet and his colleagues were trying to keep the business operating without him. The good news was that James had worked with a financial advisor years earlier to get the insurance he needed to protect his family and his firm. Without the right coverage, this would be a different story entirely.

As a business owner, you have much more at stake than a typical worker if a disability strikes. Employees have to plan ahead for personal income replacement (which is critical and something that far too few individuals actually do).  You, as a business owner, have that plus you need to think about the future of your business and the well-being of your employees.

Few businesses could survive if an owner was no longer there to help drive revenue, build clientele and motivate employees. I’ve heard some owners say their business would be fine without them, but I wonder about that.  Most business owners I’ve met over the years have been committed entrepreneurs who love the work they do and want to work hard to succeed, so much so that sometimes they find it hard to take a vacation. If it’s tough to get away to relax on a beach for a week, how much harder would it be to leave the business for months or even years to deal with a serious illness or injury?

Now’s the time to plan ahead to protect your business and income. May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month.  It’s the perfect opportunity to set aside time to meet with your advisor and discover what your personal and/or business planning needs are – to help ensure you’re protected in the event of the unexpected. You, your family, your employees will be glad you did.

For educational information and tools on disability insurance, I suggest checking out www.disabilitycanhappen.org, run by the Council for Disability Awareness, a not-for-profit industry group.

Deanna Strable is Senior Vice President of U.S. Insurance Solutions at the Principal Financial Group®. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, sits on the board of directors of LIMRA/LOMA, and is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries.

Have an insurance-based or income protection question? I’d love to answer them in my blog – just leave me a comment below.

While this communication may be used to promote or market a transaction or an idea that is discussed in the publication, it is intended to provide general information about the subject matter covered and is provided with the understanding that none of the member companies of The Principal are rendering legal, accounting, or tax advice. It is not a marketed opinion and may not be used to avoid penalties under the Internal Revenue Code. You should consult with appropriate counsel or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, or accounting obligations and requirements.

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