At age 46, Jerry Sullivan was diagnosed with a tumor on his optic nerve. The surgery that followed revealed an aneurysm and set off a chain of complications that ended his working life and left him feeling as if he was in a dream, unable to wake up.
When he returned home from the hospital he had to relearn ordinary activities that most people take for granted, such as shaving and feeding himself. Though outwardly he appears healthy and is able to maintain his 20-mile-a-week jogging regimen, simple tasks may take him hours to accomplish. Doctors say Jerry will never be able to return to his old business selling electronic components, which required extensive travel and customer visits.
Fortunately, Jerry and his former business partner had the foresight to purchase disability insurance. The policy replaced a portion of Jerry's lost income, and a buy-sell provision guaranteed that Jerry's partner could buy out his share of the business at a fair price. "We looked at it and said, 'It's a cost, but it's very important to have it,' " Jerry recalls.
Indeed, the insurance has allowed Jerry and his family to maintain the lifestyle they enjoyed before his disability struck. Jerry's wife, Barbara, had already taken a part-time job as a secretary at an elementary school before Jerry's medical problems surfaced. The disability insurance "means life goes on for Jerry and he gets a paycheck," says Shirley Howard, LUTCF, their insurance agent. The Sullivans still live in their same Webster, N.Y., home, and two of their three children attend college.
When Jerry and his partner took out the disability policy it was one of hundreds of business decisions they made, but one he still vividly remembers. "It has just been a ‘ I want to say, a gift, but I can't thank myself enough," he says. "I'll never forget signing that thing and how phenomenal it has been."