For Todd Stein, a difficult family experience led him to the field of long-term care planning. When he was 33, he watched his grandmother enter a nursing home with dementia. She would stay there for 13 years until age 102, surviving on Medicaid. When he was 40, he learned his father had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which would take his life just five years later. “I knew I could help families not go through what we went through,” says Stein.
So with a passion and desire to help families understand the importance of long-term care and asset protection, Stein began his career at LTC Partners & Insurance Services, LLC, a national organization of long-term care insurance professionals representing many of the major carriers, where he currently writes policies.
But what makes Stein so successful in a segment of the insurance market with a product that is notoriously hard to sell? According to the producer himself, it’s due to the fact that he doesn’t actually sell. Stein says those who struggle with selling LTCI are trying too hard to sell it. Sounds counterintuitive, but in his case, it works.
“I don’t think it is so hard to sell if you stop trying to sell it,” Stein says. “I look at it as helping people make the best decision for themselves and their families. Some will buy, some won’t, but they’ll make a well-educated choice when I’m done talking with them.”
Stein also realizes that LTCI isn’t right for everyone. His job is to sift through and connect his client with the best solution for them, “which may even mean advising them not to get coverage at all,” he says.
Stein says LTCI is a needs-based sale. He helps navigate the client through the world of LTCI, asking them the right questions and letting them know the consequences of not having coverage. After this, they realize they, like most of us, do need coverage.
“Before I ever get to quotes, I ask them if they see a long-term care need as a real possibility that they face,” he says. “I then get agreement that if that need arose, it could be devastating financially and take away their independence, and if the premium is affordable, they agree that they are better off having a policy than not.”
Stein then tells his clients what he recommends and why, and asks if the premium is comfortably affordable or if they are in sticker shock. Once Stein and his clients are in an affordable zone, he shows them other choices that he is not recommending and explains why, so they feel they’ve thoroughly shopped around for various LTCI products.
But Stein makes sure he sets the stage for a closed deal even before insurance options are presented to clients. “I’ve set the expectation in the beginning of the meeting that if they feel they are better off with a plan – and it’s affordable – that I’d be recommending they start the application process, so at the close they are not surprised,” he says.
Stein’s non-sales-sales-plan has made him one of the country’s top long-term care specialists. He topped the American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance’s (AALTCI) list of top producers based on individual premium in 2012, and currently has close to 1,000 policyholders throughout California.
His clients’ satisfaction is evidenced through a laundry list of testimonials on his website. His knowledge of the industry and products has made him a success in the field. Stein also credits his work ethic, which he says comes from his late father who always said, “Integrity is your most important asset.” But it’s his passion for what he sells that has truly made him a success.
“I would never let my family go a day without health insurance,” Stein says, “and yet so many of us who feel that way fail to think about the realities and likelihood of long-term care needs. We need to take responsibility for creating our own comprehensive plans and not expect the government to take care of us.”
Stein knows the consequences of not having LTCI and he frankly lets his clients know that those consequences are not acceptable. “It’s no different than why they have homeowners insurance, as it’s something we hope we never have to use,” Stein says. “The difference is, as I tell my clients, your house doesn’t have a three-in-four chance of falling or burning down, but you do have a three-in-four chance of needing long-term care at some point if you live past 65.”
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