Agents Weigh In On Having An Only LTC Specialty
Selling only long term care insurance might seem like a risky prospect to agents who sell many different products. But some agents wouldnt have it any other way.
Take Gary Reppen, for instance. Selling only LTC insurance is “very lucrative,” says the sales manager at Signator, Morris Plains, N.J. “The commissions are very large.”
But selling at a high volume involves constant marketing, he points out, noting that Signator does this via telemarketers, direct mail, and workshops for affinity groups. “Its a constant balance. One week, direct mail is great, the next week its lousy. You kind of have to have your finger on all of it to be successful, because at different times of year different things work better.”
The most effective tool is referrals, Reppen says. He attributes the high number of referrals the company gets to sensitivity to clients needs and a refusal to rush them into buying a policy. “We show concern and take the time to listen,” he says.
James Carrier recruits and trains agents to sell primarily LTC insurance for Accordia, West Virginia. He agrees its not difficult to earn a living selling mostly, if not only, LTC insurance. Its “not tough when you figure out why people buy it,” he says.
Carrier says he became involved with LTC insurance after he saw his grandmother, who had saved her money all along since 1948, spend every nickel she had (on care). “I thought theres got to be a better way,” Carrier says.
In the early- and mid-1990s, about 90% of Carriers clients were over age 60. Today, it isnt unusual to sell to people in their 40s and 50s, he says. He attributes this to insurance companies creating products that are attractive to younger people.
One of the biggest problems people have selling LTC insurance, he says, is convincing the public the government will not pay the bill. “The public has been preconditioned to think someone else will pay the bill for them. Until that goes away, it will continue to be a product that does not meet the expectations of the (insurance) companies,” he says.
“Also, there are too many agents who dont understand what theyre selling. They need better training.” Too many agents approach selling LTC insurance as a moneymaking venture, he contends, adding that is a mistake. “We should not approach the marketplace from a profit motive. We have to want to do whats best for the client and ask what they want done,” he says.