From the July 2007 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Reviewing the Situation

The National associAtIon of Insurance Commissioners is taking other actions with regard to the reports of LTC insurance abuses. While NAIC President-Elect Sandy Praeger, insurance commissioner of Kansas, says, "I think for the most part the industry's very responsible." She notes that the NAIC is making sure it doublechecks and has protections in place for consumers. For instance, this year Kansas has passed a law to require prompt payment of claims for LTC insurance policies. The claims issue mentioned in recent newspaper reports was one of the reasons cited for the need for such a law. And Praeger adds, "I think more states will add protections like that."

The NAIC has recommended additional training for people who want to sell LTC insurance. Praeger also recommends another action for both policyholders and their advisors, and that is to examine what a client expects from LTC insurance. "There are so many things to think about," she says, "from a personal standpoint, your financial situation, and what you want to accomplish." She warns that clients shouldn't expect a policy to be, like hospitalization insurance, the only means of payment for long-term care. They should think of it more as asset protection, which makes a difference in how they approach it. "What do you need to protect in terms of assets?" she asks.

She recommends examining one's family health history to try to plan more intelligently, and cites her own family as an example. Her husband's relatives, she says, have fairly short lifespans, while hers live to their 90s. Her husband's LTC policy is a two-year one, since she expects to be able to assist with his care if needed, whereas her own policy is unlimited.

And last, she encourages people to call their state insurance department and ask questions before they buy--about the company and its complaint ratio and financial solvency, and about the product.

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