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The Industry's Premiere Disability Policy from Berkshire / Guardian.

Exclusively for UAB Residents & Fellows.

For decades, UAB Residents/Fellows have worked with us.

Disability Fundamentals

GROUP insurance is generally given to you by your employer.  Like most “free” things in life it’s good. But, it could be better.

INDIVIDUAL insurance almost always has better definitions (are you disabled enough to receive money or aren’t you?), rate guarantees, can be taken with you if you change jobs, and can pay benefits while you’re working elsewhere.

We sell both, but we strongly recommend individual insurance.

Own occupation allows you to receive benefits if you can’t perform the material and substantial duties of your specific occupation (or AMA specialty), even if you’re working elsewhere.

High achievers (anyone with an advanced degree or a business owner) won’t be happy sitting at home watching Netflix all day; you’ll want to do something: teach, start an internet business, sell real estate, or something!  Only “Own Occ” will allow you to earn money elsewhere and receive full benefits while you’re disabled. 

Most companies (5 major ones) offer “own occupation” coverage, but there’s one heavily marketed brand that does not.  Be careful.

Also, be careful. Most companies have several different disability definitions which use the words “own” and “occupation” but aren’t exactly “own occupation.” Read carefully. 

Berkshire/Guardian is the top disability company for physicians. They have improved upon the Gold Standard of “own occupation” to make it even better: “Enhanced True Own Occupation” protects you even more.

We administer Guardian’s GSI plan for UAB residents and fellows.

There are a few “must-have” riders to get.

Own-occupation riders protect you in your specialty. “Own-occ” is described above (it’s that important!), so make sure you include it in your policy.

Residual benefits proivde for benefits while you’re not “totally disabled”. This protects you as you slowly become disabled or recover from a disability. This is essential.

Increase options allow you to increase your coverage later as your income increases without any medical considerations. 

Guaranteed renewable and non-cancelable policies guarantee the company can’t reduce your benefits or increase your premium.  

Other popular riders include the following:

Cost of Livings Adjustments (COLA) will increase the monthly benefits you receive if you’re disabled for more than a year. This is most beneficial for long-term disabilities which occur early in your career. For this reason, most clients start their policy with this rider then drop it mid-career.

Catastrophic riders will pay additional money each month if your disabilty is so severe you are unable to perform two of the six activities of daily living.

If your investments are generating enough income for your lifestyle, you are financially independent and do not need to work. For this reason, you don’t need disability insurance.  Everyone else needs it.

You can only buy it when you’re healthy (typically).

This Guardian GSI offer for UAB does NOT ask any medical questions. Since you can only get this while a resident/fellow, take advantage of this now. There is no guarantee this program will be available in future years.

TIP: you can generally buy a small policy that is increasable – without proof of good health – as your income increases.  It’s important to get some coverage in place while you can even as early as a first-year resident. Then, increase your policy as you graduate/complete.

GSI stands for “Guaranteed Standard Issue.” Insurance companies (like Berkshire/Guardian) will make a special offer to a large group (like UAB residents and fellows) where there is no medical underwriting. Companies will do this to get a large number of policyholders. 

The actual disability policy is the same disability policy you’d receive if you went through full underwriting. The only difference is that it’s easier to purchase; there’s no medical underwriting if you’re eligible for the program.

What is a "GSI policy"?

First, “GSI policies” are the insurance company’s best and most robust disability policy. The company waives all medical questions and then deeply discounts the premium (up to 30% discounts for medical residents and fellows at UAB).

  • It’s the same top-tier disability policy.
  • It’s the same benefits, definitions and riders.
  • It costs less. These policies are heavily discounted.
  • There is no medical underwriting. This means there are no exclusions; everything is covered.


What’s the catch? To be eligible for Guardian’s offer for UAB residents, you must be a resident or fellow within the last 90 days. Also, you must not have been declined, received an offer with exclusions, or received an offer with a rating from another insurance company.

So, how much would your GSI policy cost? You can run your own quote immediately without talking with an insurance broker; run your own quote here.

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Guardian’s website specifically for UAB quotes is:

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