Eileen P. Gillespie, CLU, CASL, CSA, has been selling long-term care insurance for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network for five years. A member of NAIFA-Southeast Wisconsin, Gillespie has incredible passion for what she does for good reason: Four members of her family required long-term care, but none had LTCI. Long-term care bills wiped out their life savings.
Gillespie, who had spent 28 years in the health-care field prior to joining Northwestern Mutual, was astonished. “It was a real eye opener for me after spending so much time in the health-care field. I didn’t think that there was any aspect of long-term care that I wouldn’t be prepared for. The financial aspect was the big surprise,” she says.
|GILLESPIE APPLIES A TEST TO EACH LTCI PLAN SHE DESIGNS.|
The power of experience
Gillespie uses her personal experiences to fuel her drive to sell this important coverage to Baby Boomer prospects and clients in the metro Milwaukee area.
She can quickly divide prospects into two categories. “There are those individuals who have had an experience with someone very close to them who needed long-term care services,” says Gillespie. “They are clearly influenced by the experience. They realize the need for information to help them make their own long-term care planning decision.” The second group is those who’ve had no experience with anyone close to them. “They’re aware of the issues, but they haven’t formed an opinion about whether or not this type of protection is relevant for them,” she says.
Gillespie describes the steps she takes to help these prospects make informed decisions about incorporating LTCI into their personal financial-protection plans. When they first meet, she learns what is important to them. Is it leaving an inheritance? Remaining independent? Ensuring a certain quality of life? “We talk about all of those things so we have a feel for how they see their future,” says Gillespie, who suggests an agenda for the meeting that prospects approve. She then presents information about long-term care and LTCI and the likelihood of having to access long-term care in the U.S.
A table of four
“I use a visual of a table of four people in a restaurant,” she explains. “The table is a subset of the U.S. population. One out of every two Americans—two out of four at the table—will have an experience with nursing-home care of a duration of 90 days or more one or more times in their lives.”
Gillespie gives prospects these statistics as a way to compare the likelihood of using LTCI to the likelihood of using other risk-management products consumers buy with almost no thought—like homeowner or auto insurance. “Most of us wouldn’t consider driving without insurance, but one in 47 will have a claim,” says Gillespie, who discusses the average costs of care in her area. She also explains how benefits are accessed so prospects understand important LTCI terms like the activities of daily living, beginning periods, reimbursement of expenses and waivers of premium. As a last step, she walks them through a basic, sample illustration.
A policy that fits
“Doing it in this order helps individuals understand the magnitude of the flexibility they have in designing a plan that meets their personal perspective in what they’d like to see, not only in coverage and protection, but also to meet their budget for the long term,” she says.
Clearly, properly designing an LTCI policy is crucial. “One, we want to design something that makes sense for the individual or the couple. Two, we want to design something that makes sense based on the prospect’s family history of health and longevity. And three, we want to design a protection plan where the premium is affordable,” Gillespie says.
Because a policy that fits the wallet of the LTCI prospect is crucial, Gillespie applies a test to each LTCI plan she designs: The premium should be no more than 7 percent of the prospect’s annual income. “This is to make sure that when a prospect has completed a plan, he’ll have a reasonable expectation that he’ll be able to maintain the premium,” explains Gillespie.