WASHINGTON, May 1 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Paralympian April Holmes knows a thing or two about being competitive out on the track. In September, she will travel to Beijing to compete in the world's Paralympic Games, where she is favored to medal in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Since a life-changing accident seven years ago, she also knows well what working Americans need to do to keep their finances "on track." During Disability Insurance Awareness Month (DIAM) this May, she will team up with the nonprofit LIFE Foundation to encourage working Americans to insure their greatest asset-their ability to earn an income.
Holmes will serve as the national spokesperson for the month-long campaign being launched today by the LIFE Foundation, along with more than 40 leading insurance organizations. As the campaign's spokesperson, Holmes will share her story and describe how disability insurance enabled her to keep her life together financially following a disabling accident.
April Holmes' Story
In 2001, Holmes was involved in a rush-hour train accident in Philadelphia. After several hours of emergency surgery, she woke to the news that her left leg was amputated below the knee.
The trauma left the former collegiate track and field standout not only thinking about how her life would change, but if she could make ends meet financially. Fortunately, Holmes had group disability insurance coverage through her employer which replaced a significant part of her income while she was out of work for nine months. In addition to a lump-sum payment through the company's accidental death and dismemberment policy, Holmes received a short- term disability benefit that replaced most of her salary for three months as well as a long-term disability benefit that paid out half of her compensation for the remainder of the time she was unable to work.
"Like most people who are young and healthy, I never anticipated that something so unexpected would happen to me and have such a dramatic impact on my life," said Holmes. "I didn't fully understand or appreciate the disability insurance benefits I had through my employer until I needed it, but I was fortunate to have it in place so that I could focus on my recovery and eventually think about new pursuits as a disabled athlete. If you have a job, make sure you're covered so that you'd be able to pay your bills if you were suddenly unable to work for an extended period of time."
Holmes will get this important message out through public appearances and interviews with newspapers and magazines, and radio and television stations across the country. Starting May 1, a video message from Holmes will also be featured on LIFE's website at www.lifehappens.org.
"April's story is a sobering example of how life can change in an instant. The odds of experiencing an injury or illness that prevents someone from working are much greater than most people realize, yet disability insurance continues to be the most overlooked and misunderstood type of insurance today," said Marvin Feldman, LIFE's CEO and president. "With April's help, we hope the Disability Insurance Awareness Month campaign will move Americans to consider disability insurance and get the coverage they need."
LIFE's other awareness-building plans include advertising, radio public service announcements, and new disability insurance content on its website and blog. LIFE experts, including those specializing in Hispanic and Chinese- American markets, will also participate in media interviews throughout the campaign to educate Americans about the basics of disability insurance and to offer tips on how to obtain coverage.
Leading insurance companies and associations are also planning a wide range of marketing communications efforts in support of the campaign to ensure that information about disability insurance is hard to miss this May. Some of the companies participating include Principal Financial Group, MassMutual Financial Group, Guardian Life Insurance Company, Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America, Illinois Mutual, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Prudential Insurance Company of America, Union Central Life Insurance Company, The Hartford, Assurity Life Insurance Company, Anthem Life, Anthem Blue Cross, Greater Georgia Life, UniCare Life and Health, American Fidelity Assurance Company, Harleysville Life Insurance, Standard Insurance Company, National Mutual Benefit and Equitable Reserve Association.
Other industry organizations supporting the campaign include America's Health Insurance Plans, Association of Health Insurance Advisors, Council for Disability Awareness, Custom Disability Solutions, Disability RMS, Integrity Services and Solutions LLC, International DI Society, JHA, LIMRA International, Million Dollar Round Table, National Association of Health Underwriters, National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Petersen International Underwriters, and Society of Financial Services Professionals.
For more information on DIAM or to set up a time to speak with April Holmes, please contact Tai Green at 212-445-8239 or [email protected] Additional information is also available at www.lifehappens.org/diam.
About Disability Insurance Awareness Month
Disability Insurance Awareness Month (DIAM) was created to get American workers to think more about the need to protect their greatest asset -- their ability to earn an income. Held in May, DIAM is an industry-wide effort that is coordinated by the nonprofit Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE).
The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) was founded in 1994 in response to the public's growing need for information and education on life, health, disability and long-term care insurance. LIFE also seeks to remind people of the important role insurance professionals perform in helping families, businesses and individuals find the insurance products that best fit their needs. To learn more about these topics, please visit www.lifehappens.org.
SOURCE LIFE Foundation