Riemer Hess has handled the long term disability needs for clients with sales positions, particularly at banking and other financial institutions. Examples of common disability issues that our firm has handled for our clients include: musculoskeletal injuries to the cervical/lumbar spine and lower extremities precluding the ability to stand/walk or drive for prolonged periods; injuries to the upper extremities limiting the ability to lift and carry objects; speech deficits limiting the ability to communicate with others effectively; cognitive deficits, fatigue, and systemic pain due to autoimmune diseases limiting the ability to maintain attention/concentration, process information efficiently, or work an 8-hour workday; and mental illnesses that limit the ability to interact with others.
Occupational Duties of Sales Positions
The occupation of a Salesperson or Sales Agent/Representative is identified as a light occupation by the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (4th ed.) (“DOT”) published by the U.S. Department of Labor under codes 279.357-054 and 250.257-010, which requires a significant amount of standing/walking.
The DOT further details the occupational requirements for Salesperson or Sales Agent/Representatives, including: sell variety of products such as goods, retail products, insurance, etc.; may demonstrate the use of merchandise; compile lists of prospective clients; contact prospective clients and explain product offered; in the case of an insurance agent, calculate and collect premiums. Alternate DOT codes are available depending on the type of product sold.
The Occupational Information Network (“O*NET”), an on-line database developed under the sponsorship of the DOL, identifies the occupation of Salesperson or Sales Agent/Representative under 41-4012.00. O*NET details additional important attributes relevant to the occupation of Salesperson or Sales Agent/Representative, including: communicate with others verbally and in writing to convey information; persuade others to change their minds or behavior; adjust their actions in relation to others’ actions; use logic and reasoning to identify strengths and weaknesses of different approaches.
Disability Challenges of the Occupation
Insurers focus heavily on the physicality of a Salesperson or Sales Agent/Representative’s occupation, particularly the stand/walk requirement. While standing/walking are certainly significant requirements, focusing only on those requirements does not fully assess other significant requirements that could prevent you from working.
The insurer, therefore, needs to be educated regarding the critical occupational requirements that are commonly overlooked, such as the significant amount of driving or traveling necessary to complete the job, the stress involved in meeting sales quotas, the need to lift/carry/push/pull sample products, and the need to give presentations.
For example, Salespersons or Sales Agents/Representatives frequently drive from perspective client to perspective client in an attempt to sell their product(s). Salespersons or Sales Agents/Representatives often carry a lap top or samples of their products so that they can give presentations demonstrating the effectiveness or necessity of a product.