Many Professional Associations have negotiated arrangements with insurance companies to offer their members access to disability and life insurance products. These arrangements typically take the form of an exclusive endorsement of the insurer by the association. In exchange, the insurer provides a discounted rate to the membership and shares a portion of the revenues from sales with the association. The insurance company may also provide all administration and marketing of the plan. Association members can usually buy this coverage direct from the insurance company or with the assistance of a sales person.
As a rule, most association plans have similar advantages and disadvantages as an employer group insurance plan. The rates are usually very low; however, the benefit is more restrictive than an individual plan, not guaranteed, and may be cancelled if you are no longer a member of the association. Fortunately, there are some associations programs that are exceptions to this rule. These associations have successfully blended the best features of group and individual insurance programs into one offering.
One such exception is the insurance program offered through the Canadian Bar Insurance Association (CBIA). This program combines the extreme low cost of a group insurance plan with the superior benefits of an individual contract. Unlike the membership requirements of other association plans, lawyers are not required to be members of the Canadian Bar Association to qualify for this coverage and will not lose their coverage if they change their occupation.