Most insurance products have changed a lot over the years, and long-term care insurance is no exception. Today’s LTCI products bear little resemblance to the simple insurance policy that was introduced some three decades ago, and that’s all the better for those selling, or considering selling, the coverage. No longer can LTCI be considered a product limited to seniors. As the coverage begins to mature, savvy agents and LTCI companies have recognized that Baby Boomers are also prime candidates for their products.
Today, younger working adults are discovering that LTCI is important for them, too. Many of them have witnessed the financial difficulties their parents and grandparents face because they didn’t have adequate long-term care protection. They have seen their peers, stricken by a catastrophic accident or serious illness, become unable to work and overcome by the expense of their care. Also, few people realize it, but 40 percent of those needing long-term care in this country are between the ages of 18 and 64. That is something you should tell every young adult prospect that you meet.
Today, the LTCI market—made up of well over 100 million seniors, Boomers and young working adults—is perhaps the largest insurance target market of all time. Many of these people will need long-term care someday. It’s up to us to see that they can afford it when they need it.
Better products for a wide range of needs
Today, the many carriers offering LTCI products have been working diligently to develop innovative plans with benefits and features unheard of just a few years ago.
Recent improvements include more competitive premiums and allowing more clients to have an LTCI policy tailored to fit their individual needs within their budget. Many plans now include more inflation-protection alternatives, new rate guarantees 10-pay, 20-pay, and pay-to-65 limited pay options, and a benefit that can be shared between spouses. Also, more companies are offering creative home-care features and options such as cash benefits, double benefits for injury prior to age 65 and waiver of elimination for home care.
As those who have been selling LTCI for awhile can attest, people of all ages are now much more interested in coverage for home care, care in an assisted-living facility and care at an adult day care center than they are in care in a nursing home. Because care at home can be as expensive, if not more so, than nursing-home care, many LTCI companies are developing cost-effective and innovative applications that include riders covering those particular options.
Prospects are everywhere
Even though there are many more choices in LTCI, most of the millions of prospects for LTCI coverage have never been approached for an interview—which means that the potential of this market, though now nearly 30 years old, has barely been touched.
Most people believe they’re covered for long-term care by Medicare, Medicare supplements, or their individual or group health insurance. But they’re wrong. Those types of coverage are not designed to pay for long-term care expenses. And most of your clients and prospects will never qualify for long-term care under Medicaid. So they need to be informed as quickly as possible that the only way most of them can adequately protect themselves and their families from possible financial and emotional ruin is by having adequate LTCI.
How to reach them
With all these prospects, you might be wondering why they aren’t beating down your door for LTCI. We’ve been selling LTCI for well over two decades, and during that time we have learned that though people are concerned, they are also in denial. They will admit that the possible need for long-term care is a real risk but don’t think it will happen to them. Here are five ways you can connect with this growing marketplace.
1. Worksite marketing. LTCI is showing increased sales growth in the worksite-marketing environment, and that’s a great place to reach young adults.
2. Seminars. We have realized closure rates of as high as 60 percent from our LTCI seminars for seniors and Boomers. However, we hold them for each group separately because their needs vary.
3. Show off your wares. Agents will also find it beneficial to promote their LTCI products on their websites, advertise them in targeted publications and use an approach that is often overlooked or ignored—publicize them by sending news releases to nearby media that can announce both the insurance offering and forthcoming long-term care seminars.
4. Learn about the product and the prospects. Those who are interested in selling LTCI will need to find out as much as they can about the coverage, the market and the people they will serve before going into the field. Most carriers offering the product have ample information available, as do such industry organizations as the Association of Health Insurance Advisors, the National Association of Health Underwriters and the Health Insurance Association of America.
5. Get a specialist. Does this sound like something you would like to do but you don’t have the time or staff to devote to it? Don’t let that stop you. Consider adding an LTCI specialist to your staff or working out a shared commission arrangement with a nearby agency or financial services organization that has expertise in marketing and selling LTCI.
If you are not already selling LTCI, we believe you would be wise to give it serious consideration. Today’s products are the best they have ever been, and they are getting better all the time. Most of the people you will talk to either have someone in the family that needs long-term care, or they know someone who does. These people are motivated, and they want to know more. And to top it off, you will be hard-pressed to find a better commission/renewal income arrangement anywhere.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
John Wane is president of American Independent Marketing in Yakima, Wash., and can be reached at info@AIMforLTC.com. Lenny Anderson is president of GoldenCare USA, Inc., in Plymouth, Minn., and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their organizations have conducted more than 1,000 LTCI seminars in the past seven years. Online training is available at http://goldencareusa.webex.com.