SEAK faculty member who is lead Medical Director at a major disability insurer answers the question: What are the disability insurance companies looking for in physicians they hire for non-clinical medical director positions?

The number one thing they are looking for board certification. If you don’t have board certification, there’s a number of lower level certifications, such as, in terms of the time commitment, pain management certifications, sport medicine certifications, etc. that can in some way substitute for it, but board certification is the primary criteria besides clinical excellence.

They are looking for decisiveness; that you can look at a complex patient with multiple conditions and give a clear answer as to whether you feel they are disabled or not disabled, what the degree of disability is, if they are currently disabled, when they might get better or not, and support your answers with rational arguments. Particularly, if you disagree with the doctor saying that the patient is disabled. You need to articulate your answers. Those would be the big criteria: decisiveness, clinical excellence, board certification, and ability to write a reasonable argument, and to support your argument.