Following a review of 2016 claims, Omega Financial Management learned that 16.66% of our Dentist clients became unwell and received an illness benefit to cover their lost income. Proportionately speaking, this rate is a lot higher than the GP/Consultant group average, of which 1 in 8 clients made a claim in 2016.
Dentists are our largest Day One Income Protection policy holder group. As a predominantly self-employed profession, most dentists are not entitled to state illness cover so there are no safety nets if faced with a few weeks, months or longer out of work. Income protection becomes the safeguard that ensures a replacement income. Many take it out as a precaution, assuming that they are unlikely to ever need it. Unfortunately our findings contradict this assumption.
What Did Dentists Claim For?
When we look at the breakdown of illnesses we can see that Dentists are using the full benefit of our Day One policy as intended – about half of all claims related to short term conditions such as infections, viruses and gastro illnesses. Ranging from one day to a few weeks, these types of claims can occur multiple times over the course of the year, particularly given the close proximity to patients over cold and flu season. Overall this can add up to a month or more in lost income.
Musculoskeletal conditions accounted for 21% of all claims, with back pain/issues forming the majority complaint in this category. In some circumstances these cases have resolved within a week or two however a number have been severe enough to keep dentists from work for a couple of months or more.
Accidents and broken limbs account for 10% of dental claims, with a variety of fractures keeping claimants out of work for up to three months.
Dental Claimant Profiles
59% of last year’s dental claimants were female, 41% male. We saw some female specific circumstances including pregnancy-related conditions. The average age of a dental claimant was 41, more or less in line with the total average age of 40.
100% of our Day One Income Protection claims were paid, as has been the case every year since the policy was introduced in Ireland. Claimants were paid on a weekly basis until since such time that they could return to work, all on the basis that they submitted a one page claims form.
The average claim duration to DG Mutual (across all professions) was 27 days, this does not include long term ongoing claims.
As a mutual society DG, (our Day One Income Protection underwriter) was originally established to serve the interests of its members and continues to do so today.