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Long-term care insurance is fast becoming a sought-after worksite product, but we have barely touched the surface: fewer than 3% of all U.S. workers have LTC coverage.

The question for agents trying to sell the product is, how do you get employees to sign up?

One answer is persuading employers to share the cost of the coverage.

Although employers typically offer LTC insurance to employees on a voluntary basis, we are finding that employers are increasingly willing to pay a portion of the premiums. Progressive insurers have recognized this and have designed products and rate structures to encourage employer participation.

Another answer is developing a good worksite sales presentation.

No matter how you approach worksite marketing, you will soon find that there is not a lot of difference between working the individual market and working with companies, municipalities, affinity groups, and associations. You are simply changing your method of prospecting.

Although you will more often have a captive audience at the worksite, you are still going to have to make a presentation and meet one-on-one to close the sale.

Your employee presentation should resemble the one you use for individuals, but it may be shorter, perhaps 45 minutes long, plus a few minutes of extra time for questions and answers.

From our experience, we know that many employees are in denial: they believe that, if long-term care is ever needed, it will be needed by someone else, not by them or their parents.

To overcome this attitude and get things going, ask for a show of hands of those who know someone in need of long-term care. Ask some of the employees who raise their hands to talk about the situation. Also tell the workers that studies have shown that nearly one in two Americans will eventually need long-term care.

You should remind the employees that few of them, and few of their relatives, are covered for the expense of long-term care.

You should warn them that the need for long-term care can strike at any time, without warning, and that those who are not prepared could pay a huge price, financially and emotionally.

The employees need to know that they could lose thousands of dollars in income, and possibly have to leave their jobs, if they must become caregivers for their family members.

Thats bad news for them, and its also bad news for their employers.

Employees who act as caregivers cost their employers an average of more than $3,000 apiece in lost productivity, according to the Alzheimers Association, Chicago.

Nobody wants to see workers forced to give up their jobs to serve as caregivers. Not parents, not grandparents, and certainly not employers.

So, in effect, youll not only be selling LTC insurance to employees, youll also be passing on a strong message to employees that they should be educating their parents and grandparents about the need for LTC insurance.

It is also important to mention the high cost of long-term care. Explain that a year in a nursing home now costs an average of $51,000, and double that in major metropolitan areas.

Explain that the cost of home care can equal or exceed the cost for nursing home care.

And emphasize that these are current figures-which are projected to double, and perhaps triple, by 2030.

Keep in mind that some of the baby boomers in your audience may be retiring in the near future. They may have consulted a financial advisor and feel that they have done everything possible to assure a worry-free and pleasant retirement. But if their plan doesnt include LTC insurance, they could see their hard-earned savings quickly disappear.

As for the younger workers, tell them that LTC insurance isnt just for older peoplemore than 40% of the functionally disabled in this country are between the ages of 18 and 64.

Urge the younger workers to take action while they are young and healthy, because premiums can triple between the ages of 50 and 70. Some workers may develop health problems that will prevent them from buying LTC insurance at all.

John Wane is president of American Independent Marketing, Yakima, Wash. His e-mail address is info@goldencare.com. Lenny Anderson is president of American Independent Underwriters, Plymouth, Minn. His e-mail address is lga@goldencareusa.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, October 8, 2001. Copyright 2001 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.


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