Doctors and dentists nationwide clearly understand the importance of having disability insurance that effectively protects their income and practice in the event they become disabled. Yet, research reveals misconceptions among these professionals when it comes to their expectations about how their policies work.

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For this reason, Northwestern Mutual has introduced an exclusive new feature that offers medical professionals greater clarity and flexibility in protecting their time and money in the event they become fully or partially disabled.

"Northwestern Mutual's new medical occupation definition is the only one in the industry that was designed specifically for - and with input from - the physicians and dentists it impacts," said Steve Frankl at Northwestern Mutual. "Our research identified a dramatic disconnect between what medical professionals believe will happen at the time of a disability claim versus what actually happens. This new definition aims to eliminate confusion so that physicians and dentists can better protect their most important duties."

Based on medical market research that Northwestern Mutual conducted with Harris Interactive, the new definition allows insured physicians and dentists - in certain situations - the flexibility to choose between continuing to work and receiving a partial benefit, or not working at all and receiving full benefits. This differs from typical "own-occupation" disability insurance, which does not offer a choice at the time of claim.

DI-Checkup for Physicians and Dentists

In conjunction with the new definition, Northwestern Mutual has also launched an online interactive tool that allows physicians and dentists to compare how Northwestern Mutual's definition compares with other definitions of total disability at the time of claim.

The easy-to-use DI-Checkup allows physicians and dentists to explore different disability scenarios, and see how the flexibility of Northwestern Mutual's new definition helps them protect their most important duties - flexibility that just isn't available with typical "own-occupation" definitions. The tool asks users to adjust sliders to reflect the duties and revenue of their current practice, or explore future scenarios, and select from three different types of disabilities. Side-by-side outcomes illustrate when Northwestern Mutual's definition and typical own-occupation definitions differ, as well as situations in which the outcome is the same.

"Although the prospect of having to rely on any type of disability insurance is something that no medical professional likes to think about, it's also one that they know they have to prepare for," said Frankl. "The DI-Checkup takes the guesswork out of the process by demonstrating in practical, simple terms how Northwestern Mutual's medical occupation definition could apply to physicians' and dentists' own practices."

Consumers can view a short video to better understand Northwestern Mutual's medical occupation definition and how to use the DI-Checkup.

About the Research

Conducted in partnership with Northwestern Mutual, the Harris Interactive research involved focus-group discussions in four major metropolitan areas in the Spring of 2008. Nearly 80 physicians participated, with specialties ranging from surgery, obstetrics, urology, neurology, cardiology, internal medicine, pediatrics, et al.

Researchers shared facts about disability insurance claims administration and actual "own occupation" definitions of disability, and walked through scenarios showing how the definitions were applied in various disability situations. The participating physicians then shared their impressions in light of those facts.

About Northwestern Mutual

The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company - Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual) has helped clients achieve financial security for more than 150 years. As a mutual company with over $1 trillion of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual seeks to share its gains with policyowners and deliver consistent and dependable value to clients over time.

Northwestern Mutual is an industry leader in total individual life insurance and disability insurance dividends paid to participating policyowners. Though dividends are not guaranteed, are reviewed annually and are subject to change, the company has paid life insurance dividends every year since 1872.

Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a holistic approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long term care insurance, disability insurance, annuities, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, limited purpose federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company; and Russell Investment Group.

  Further information can be found at http://www.northwesternmutual.com/.

  Related Links:
  Northwestern Mutual Disability Insurance
  DI-Checkup for Physicians & Dentists

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SOURCE: Northwestern Mutual

CONTACT: Jean Towell, Northwestern Mutual, 1-800-323-7033,
mediarelations@northwesternmutual.com

Web Site: http://www.northwesternmutual.com/