Real Estate Broker

By Gregory Dell and Rachel Alters

As a real estate broker or salesperson, the first step in preparing your long-term disability insurance benefits claim is clearly defining your occupational duties.

Realtors have a vast array of occupational duties. Some of them may be sedentary, such as sitting at a computer desk researching homes or putting up listings. However, a lot of the occupational duties of a realtor or broker include travel, driving, inspecting houses, making phone calls, prepping houses for showings, client meetings, and so on. It also depends on whether the realtor is selling residential homes or commercial real estate; it can involve home inspections, walking up and down stairs, sitting, walking, and lifting things – in essence, a realtor’s job can be very complex and demanding. In fact, it could even be argued it’s a medium to heavy-duty job because staging homes may involve a lot of physical work. For some realtors, this is a crucial part of their job: since they work on commission, getting the sale depends on how good the house looks. Brokers constantly need to supervise their realtors and always be available for them.

Finally, clients expect realtors to always be available and provide immediate responses. If the broker or the salesperson isn’t available because they’re sick or experience bad days continuously due to their medical condition, they risk losing business.

However, disability insurance carriers often try to simplify the occupational duties of a realtor and assume that the job is mainly sedentary. This is why it’s extremely important to clearly show the disability insurance carrier exactly what your occupational duties are in as much detail as possible.

If you have an employer-provided group insurance policy, you will need to show that you are unable to do the material substantial duties for your job as a realtor. The insurance carrier will look at the definition of “realtor” based on the National Economy standard, determine what the duties of the job are based on it, and determine whether your medical condition prevents you from being able to do those duties. This is often unhelpful, so it’s best to provide a detailed list of all the duties you do as a realtor or broker. The insurance carrier may want to go by the occupation definition based on the National Economy, Department of Occupational Titles, or ONET; in either case, however, you will need to show that you are limited in being able to lift heavy objects, sit for long periods at a time, or sit in your car and drive, as an example. Depending on what your medical condition is, you’re going to have to prove that your condition prevents you from doing those.

Broker vs Salesperson: Understanding Insurance Policies and Partial vs Total Disability

In addition to clearly defining your occupation, you may want to consider the scenario of keeping the brokerage side of things while letting go of being an active salesperson if you are a broker.

In real estate, the broker runs the business while the salespeople work underneath the broker. However, you may be a broker who also acts as the salesperson – go out, sell homes, stage houses, create listings, and so on – and, due to your medical condition, are no longer able to do the sales work, drive, or be available to clients on a consistent basis, yet you may want to keep the brokerage and have the salespeople work under you. In this case, you may want to only do the administrative and managerial work. You may be able to cut back your duties and be considered totally disabled.

real estate broker disability insurance benefits denial

This is tricky and depends on the language of the disability insurance policy. In some cases, it may work. However, typically, the insurance carrier will want to see an income loss as a result of your medical condition that’s impacting your ability to work. If you aren’t physically doing the sales work any longer but you haven’t lost income, they are unlikely to approve your claim. However if you have a total disability policy then they should approve your claim.

If you have lost a significant amount of income and you are only able to do some of the duties of your job, you may be able to get qualified under the residual portion of your insurance policy.

It’s important to understand the different types of disability policies out there: some policies will only provide benefits if you’re unable to work in your specific occupation, while others will grant benefits if you’re unable to work in any occupation. Additionally, some policies will offer benefits for partial disabilities, whereas others will only cover total disabilities.

For brokers, the type of policy you have will play a big role in whether or not you can qualify for benefits. If you’re a broker who is no longer able to perform the sales aspect of your job, but can still manage your brokerage, you may be able to qualify for benefits under the residual portion of your policy. However, if you’re still able to work as the broker and haven’t lost any income, you probably won’t be approved for benefits.

Another factor that plays into whether or not a broker can qualify for disability benefits is their job duties before becoming disabled. If the broker was more hands-on and acted as both a broker and a salesperson, they may have a harder time proving that they’re unable to work in their occupation. However, if they were strictly a broker and didn’t engage in sales, they may have an easier time qualifying for benefits.

Regardless of the policy language and job duties, it’s important to note that many group (employer provided) disability policies will deduct any income related to the occupation from the monthly disability benefits. This means that even if a broker is able to qualify for benefits, their benefits will likely be reduced by any income they receive from their brokerage.

It’s important for brokers to review their policies carefully and understand what the policy language means for their specific situation. In order to qualify for benefits, brokers may need to prove that their disability prevents them from performing their job duties and that they’re not able to earn income from their occupation in any capacity.

The Importance of Medical Records and Support

For realtors seeking disability insurance claim approval, medical support and documentation are crucial factors. Without adequate medical records to support the disability and inability to work, insurance carriers will likely deny the claim.

To increase the chances of a successful claim, it’s recommended to seek the support and guidance of disability insurance lawyers who can review existing medical records and determine if they are sufficient. 

Often, doctors may not know how to document medical records in a way that is beneficial for a disability claim: doctors are trained to treat patients rather than prepare documentation for insurance claims. An experienced disability lawyer will review the existing medical records and, if they don’t seem sufficient, may suggest receiving further testing or treatment to ensure that all necessary information is documented, such as pain levels or the ability to sit and stand for long periods. It may also be beneficial to see a specialist who can provide more detailed medical information on the disability, such as MRI and lab testing. This is to ensure that the medical record is comprehensive and provides the necessary evidence for a sound disability insurance claim.

As a realtor, you need to ensure that your disability insurance claim has strong medical support and documentation to increase your chances of getting your claim approved. The assistance of professional disability attorneys who are experienced and skilled in reviewing medical records and can advise and provide further guidance will increase the probability of a successful claim.

How Will The Disability Company Investigate  My Work Activity? 

It’s important to remember that these days, everything is online –, Zillow, MLS listings – and insurance carriers may hire real estate experts to look up your listings, your sales, even your social media profiles to gauge the activity you are doing as a realtor or a broker. These experts or vocational consultants might then say: based on this number of listings and sales in the last twelve months, this is how much work you were likely doing, and this is how much time you would have had to put into your duties. A lot of realtors don’t take this into account, but insurance carriers do investigate claimants thoroughly – which is why it’s crucial to beat them to it and present everything in as much detail as possible and provide as much medical information and proof as you can.

real estate broker occupation - disability insurance benefits denial claim

Finally, as all realtors know, there is an unseen side of their job that’s as important as the number of sales or listings: networking and marketing. Real estate is a people business; as a real estate broker or salesperson, you need to have a lot of connections and market yourself so that you’re hired for that personal service. The time and effort required to build relationships, travel, and entertain clients is just as important. While sales and listings take up a portion of the realtor’s time, the rest is spent on networking and self-promotion, and it’s important to recognize that these tasks can be just as time-consuming and important as the actual process of selling a property.

However, the insurance carrier, looking at your listings, might say that those should only take 20 hours a week, as an example, while you’re actually working three times as much.

This aspect should always be shown in the disability insurance claim to represent a clear picture of the full job duties and responsibilities of a real estate broker or salesperson.

When to Involve a Disability Attorney

Navigating the long-term disability insurance benefits claim process as a realtor or broker can be a complicated task, and reaching out to an experienced disability lawyer can help. 

We recommend browsing this site for more information on your specific disabling condition, insurance carrier, or occupation and using our resources to educate yourself on how to best prepare your claim. We have summarized hundreds of lawsuits, client reviews, and specific questions you may have to help you arm yourself with the best tools possible. We offer useful information about every stage of the claim process, including how to apply, appeal, and file a lawsuit if necessary. We also have reviews and comments from clients who have gone through similar experiences.

Alternatively, reach out for an initial free phone consultation. One of our experienced disability insurance attorneys will evaluate your case and let you know what we think of your claim and how we can best help you maximize the benefits under your policy. We serve clients all over the country, and we will do our best to get your benefits paid.

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Disability Company Reviews
Showing 8 of 642 Reviews

AT&T Was Great and Sedgwick Horrible

Reviewed by From a great job to a complete nightmare on March 20th 2024   Verified Policyholder | March 2024 date of disability
My Physician recommended that I take some time from a toxic environment after several deaths in my family coupled with AT&T trying to run tenured employees out of the door... read more >
New York Life

Keeps claiming they will not approve claim for pre existing conditions but my illness is not preexisting

Reviewed by M.T. on February 15th 2024   Verified Policyholder | May 2023 date of disability
I have been appealing a claim for LTD for 8 months! New York Life keeps claiming they will not approve claim for pre existing conditions but my illness is not preexisting ... read more >
Reliance Standard

Staff Lie

Reviewed by Tanya on February 12th 2024   Verified Policyholder | August 2021 date of disability
I had my disability cut off the day I was scheduled to find out whether I should have surgery. The claims examiner was aware that I had an appointment on that date and sai... read more >
Sent on February 12th 2024 by Attorney Gregory Dell

I am sorry to hear about your experience. It’s crazy that Reliance Standard would deny your disability benefits when you are suffering so badly that you need surgery.... read more >


Former Hartford employee has had life insurance and accidental death policy's revoked for one late premium payment

Reviewed by Becky H. THOMAS on February 12th 2024   Verified Policyholder | February 2024 date of disability
Dislike how they are constantly interrupting the lives of their disabled EE's whom are entitled to benefit which they paid into out of there pay check every pay period onl... read more >
Sent on February 12th 2024 by Attorney Gregory Dell

Thank you for your review of Hartford and we appreciate you sharing.  It’s sad they don’t take care of their own employees.

Lincoln Financial

Never received benefits my entire leave - or help with them

Reviewed by Anna on December 19th 2023   Verified Policyholder | November 2023 date of disability
I used my short term disability insurance for maternity leave and started the process beforehand knowing when I would be out (scheduled induction.) It took a little over a... read more >
Sun Life

Unscrupulous Tactics

Reviewed by Misseekayy on December 19th 2023   Verified Policyholder | May 2023 date of disability
Sunlife uses unscrupulous tactics in order to prevent payment of claims. They wait until it is close to the 30 day mark and then they ask for another form of information o... read more >


Reviewed by Dennis T. on December 11th 2023   Verified Policyholder | March 2022 date of disability
My experience with Sedgwick and personell is as follows: Unhelpful, unprofessional and an overall unpleasant experience.

Low payments

Reviewed by Dorothy on November 30th 2023   Verified Policyholder | November 2023 date of disability
I was injured at work. I did house keeping in a hospital. I tore just about everything imaginable in my knee. I was let go from my job, because I was no longer able to do ... read more >
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Preparing a strong disability appeal package is an art that requires you to understand how the courts interpret your disability policy language, ERISA regulations / laws, and how to strategically present evidence in support of your definition of "disability". We encourage you to contact any of our lawyers for a free immediate review of your disability denial.

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We are disability insurance lawyers that know how to get your short or long term disability benefits paid. As a nationwide law firm we have helped thousands of disability insurance claimants throughout the United States to collect hundreds of millions of dollars of disability insurance benefits from every major disability insurance company.

In more than 98% of our cases, our lawyers have been able to either get our clients paid monthly disability benefits or obtain a one-time lump-sum settlement. Our lawyers have seen it all when it comes to disability insurance claims and we know exactly what it takes for your disability claim to be approved.

We welcome you to contact any of our attorneys for a free immediate review of your disability claim. We also invite you to visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel where we have more than 700 videos and regularly provide tips to help protect your disability benefits.

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Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a long term disability insurance policy from an insurance company or obtained short or long term disability insurance coverage as a benefit from their employer. We have helped individuals in almost every type of occupation with monthly disability benefit payments ranging from $1,500 to $50,000.

Our clients include all types of employees ranging from retail associates, sales representatives, government employees, police officers, teachers, janitors, nurses, pilots, truck drivers, financial advisors, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, consultants, IT professionals, engineers, professional athletes, business owners, and high level executives.

A strong understanding and presentation of the duties of your occupation is essential for securing disability insurance benefits.

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Since we represent disability insurance claimants at different stages of a disability insurance claim we offer a variety of different fee options. We understand that claimants living on disability insurance benefits have a limited source of income; therefore we always try to work with the claimant to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible.

The three available fee options are a contingency fee agreement (no attorney fee or cost unless we make a recovery), hourly fee or fixed flat rate.

In every case we provide each client with a written fee agreement detailing the terms and conditions. We always offer a free initial phone consultation and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining payment of your disability insurance benefits.

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No. For purposes of efficiency and to reduce expenses for our clients we have found that 99% of our clients prefer to communicate via phone, email, fax, GoToMeeting sessions, or Skype. If you prefer an initial in-person meeting please let us know. A disability company will never require you to come to their office and similarly we are set up so that we handle your entire claim without the need for you to come to our office.

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When you call us during normal business hours you will immediately speak with a disability attorney. We can be reached at 800-698-9159 or by email. Lawyers and staff must return all client calls same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.