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Exceptional Student-Athlete Disability Insurance Program

In October 1990, a disability insurance program was initiated for exceptional student-athletes at NCAA institutions in the sports of football and men’s basketball. In April 1991, the program was expanded to include exceptional student-athletes in the sport of baseball. In June 1993, exceptional student-athletes in men’s ice hockey became eligible for the program. Coverage became available for exceptional student-athletes in the sport of women’s basketball in August 1998.

The program enables qualifying student-athletes, as approved by the program administrator, to purchase a disability insurance contract with preapproved financing, if necessary. This program will provide the student-athlete with the opportunity to protect against future loss of earnings as a professional athlete due to a disabling injury or sickness that may occur during the collegiate career.

Eligible student-athletes

Student-athletes are eligible for this program if they have remaining athletics eligibility at NCAA institutions in the sports of intercollegiate football, men’s or women’s basketball, baseball, or men’s ice hockey and have demonstrated they have professional potential to be selected in the first two rounds of the upcoming National Football League or National Hockey League draft or the first round of the upcoming draft of the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball or Women’s National Basketball Association. Exceptional student-athletes in other sports not listed above who have demonstrated a strong likelihood of a professional career in their sport may be eligible for coverage under the Exceptional Student-Athlete Disability Insurance (ESDI) Program.  Such cases can be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the program administrator, Tokio Marine HCC – Specialty Group. 

Application process

Only inquiries received directly from student-athletes, parents or legal guardians of student-athletes, or institutional representatives will be processed by the administrator under this program.

To obtain a quote, an application form must be completed in full and returned to the administrator. If approved, a premium quote will be prepared and returned, along with financing information and additional health-related questionnaire forms. In order to accept a quote and for coverage to become effective the application and health forms must be fully completed accurately and truthfully and returned to the administrator and the promissory note must be signed and returned to the bank. For further information, please contact the program administrator, Tokio Marine HCC – Specialty Group, 401 Edgewater Place, Suite 400, Wakefield, MA 01880; telephone: 800-927-6306; fax: 781-994-6001; email:

Premium financing

Student-athletes approved for this program are automatically eligible for a loan, if necessary, through Pinnacle Financial Partners, Music Sport Entertainment Group, in Nashville, Tennessee. The interest rate is very competitive, and a co-signer is not required if the student-athlete is of age eighteen or older. The student-athlete is obligated to repay the loan in full when any of the following occurs: the student-athlete signs a professional contract, the disability benefits becomes available due to a covered injury or sickness, or the coverage is no longer in effect and the loan note matures.

Available coverage

The Exceptional Student-Athlete Disability (ESDI) Program offers a permanent total disability policy. A 24-month maximum policy term is available for any underclassman eligible for the program. The policy provides 24-hour accident and sickness coverage, which includes playing and practicing in the student-athlete’s respective sport. 

Permanent total disability form

The permanent total disability policy would provide a lump-sum payment after the elimination period has expired. The elimination period for the permanent total disability option is 12 consecutive months from the date total disability has been determined. To be eligible for benefits, it must be medically determined, at the end of the elimination period and before the benefit is paid, that the insured student-athlete will never be able to participate in the applicable sporting activity at the professional level.

Elimination period

An elimination period is an interval of time during which no benefits are payable to the insured student-athlete in order to determine the nature of the disability. The elimination period commences from the date the injury or sickness resulted in total disability.

Presumptive disability benefit

The permanent total disability policy includes presumptive disability coverage. Presumptive disability means that the insured student-athlete’s disability has been medically determined to be the result of entire and irrecoverable loss of sight of both eyes or hearing in both ears; total and irrecoverable loss of use of one hand or one foot; quadriplegia; or paraplegia and that the disability is thus preventing the student-athlete from ever participating in the applicable sporting activity at the professional level. After the expiration of a 90-consecutive-calendar-day elimination period (from the first day of total disability), at the option of the insured student-athlete and with the approval of the company, outstanding benefits may be commuted to present value lump sum at a rate agreed upon by the company and the insured student-athlete.

Maximum coverage limits and premiums

The program administrator determines the amount of coverage available for each student-athlete based upon the student-athlete’s prospective status in the upcoming draft. Rates per thousand dollars of coverage will be based on the market at the time individual applications are reviewed by the program administrator. Applicants will receive notification of the amount of coverage offered with a statement of prevailing rates for sport and position and calculations of maximum annual premium. Maximum coverages available under the program*:

Men’s basketball: $10 million

Football: $10 million

Baseball: $5 million

Men’s ice hockey: $3 million

Women’s basketball: $250,000

*Exceptional student-athletes in other sports not listed above who have demonstrated a strong likelihood of a professional career in their sport may be eligible for coverage under the Exceptional Student-Athlete Disability Insurance Program and can be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.                       

In addition, an accidental death only benefit is included with the permanent total disability coverage. The accidental death benefit will match the amount of the premium on the coverage. Additional accidental death coverage is available up to the maximum permanent total disability amount, for an additional premium.

Definition of disability 

The condition of disability can be determined when the following criteria have been met:

  1. The student-athlete’s disability results from an injury or sickness.
  2. The student-athlete’s injury or sickness occurs while the policy is in force.
  3. The student-athlete is under the regular care of a qualified physician.
  4. The student-athlete is unable to engage in sporting activity at the professional level.
  5. The applicable elimination period has elapsed.
  6. The student-athlete’s total disability prevents the signing of any employment contract with any professional team as a professional athlete in the applicable sporting activity.

Eligibility of benefits

If an insured student-athlete is disabled due to injury or sickness or suffers accidental loss of life, written notice of the claim should be submitted to the program administrator (Tokio Marine HCC – Specialty Group) within 90 days of the occurrence of the injury, sickness or accidental loss of life. Under the policy, a student-athlete’s disability cannot be determined until the elimination period has elapsed. Once the elimination period has been satisfied, and a qualified physician has determined that the condition of continuous total disability exists, then, benefits are payable in accordance with the policy provisions.


A master policy has been filed and approved by the appropriate insurance departments. All student-athletes enrolled and accepted under the program will be issued a certificate of insurance outlining the coverage and conditions. Specimen certificates are available through the program administrator by calling 800-927-6306 or emailing

Insurance company

Three subsidiaries of Tokio Marine HCC are the insurers of this program and are responsible for the investigation and settlement of claims. HCC Life Insurance Co., U.S. Specialty Insurance Co. or Avemco Insurance Co. will underwrite coverage, depending upon the state of issue. All companies have a rating of A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best for financial strength and operating performance. Additional company profile and financial strength can be found at

Program administrator

Tokio Marine HCC — Specialty Group, specializing in the development and management of sports-related disability insurance programs, serves as the program administrator.

The descriptions above are general summaries of the benefits provided by the Exceptional Student-Athlete Disability Insurance Program. They are not meant to be a complete explanation of all the provisions of the policy or the specific benefits. No coverage is extended and no representations are made except by the policy.

If you have questions regarding the NCAA Exceptional Student-Athlete Disability Insurance (ESDI) Program, please contact the program administrator at or Brad Robinson, associate director of insurance and financial risk management, at