LTC Insurance Is Attractive To Women For Many Reasons

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Women represent one of the most attractive markets for long term care insurance because they have a longer life span than men. On average, women live seven years longer than men, according to the Social Security Administration.

When you factor in that many women are undersaved for retirement, the financial risks associated with a potential long term care stay can be particularly great. Women make up almost 75% of the residents in a nursing home, according to The Elder Law Handbook by Peter J. Strauss & Nancy M. Lederman.

With the costs of nursing and in-home care rising rapidly, its important for everyone to consider the financial impact of such care. However, it should be particularly of concern to women.

There are several opportunities to position LTC insurance to women. First, it should be noted that women are often financially strained during their retirement years.

Since women generally earn less then men, and are more likely to have interrupted their careers to raise their families, their personal savings, pensions and Social Security benefits are generally lower than those of their male counterparts. And, given their longer life expectancy, they have to make those dollars last longer.

Many women are faced with making financial decisions alone for many years. So, it would be logical for financial advisors to incorporate the LTC message into the retirement planning discussions they have with women.

LTC insurance is one way women can help protect their retirement savings.

A second opportunity exists for marketing LTC insurance to women for their parents. Women historically have been the caregivers in their families. As more women establish careers, often in areas away from their parents, there is growing awareness that someone else will need to assume the caregiver role. Long term care insurance can be a solution here.

By buying a LTC policy for their parents, women can be confident that quality care will be available even if they cannot physically provide it.

Finally, there is an opportunity with women who own their own businesses. Effective Jan. 1, 2003, self-employed people, LLCs, S-Corporations and Partnerships may deduct a portion of premiums paid for a qualified long term care policy, and C-Corporations may deduct 100% of them.

In addition, there are no Employee Retirement Income Security Act restrictions on whom the policies cover. Many insurance companies now offer LTC policies that are structured with limited pay options so that the policy can be fully paid for prior to retirement. Thus, long term care insurance also can be positioned to women business owners as a discriminatory employee benefit.

So, how does a financial advisor get started? Start by identifying one or two top LTC insurers and familiarize yourself with their products.

You should also determine what LTC costs in your area. Contact two or three nursing homes or assisted living facilities and determine their costs and whether or not they take Medicaid patients. You can use this information to tee up the issues of cost and choice with your clients.

Then develop a written marketing plan. Establish a measurable sales goal, then determine what strategies youll employ to accomplish that goal. If youre serious about the womens market, you should include a strategy that will address each segment of the market.

For example, a strategy for addressing the individual womans need might be to incorporate a long term care message into all meetings you have with women clients.

Specific activities supporting this strategy might be to modify your fact-find to include a question about LTC insurance, to contact your preferred insurance vendors and obtain marketing materials targeted at women, or to host several women-only seminars or events where LTC would be the focus of the program.

You could also factor in the cost of a potential LTC stay when addressing the amount of money someone needs to save for retirement or making sure you discuss it when investing a rollover for a client.

Similarly, to address the parent market, your strategy might be to develop activities that raise the awareness of caregiving trends.

Ask your younger clients if they expect to be able to provide this care to their parents. As with the basic-needs strategy, you could integrate a question about LTC for a clients parents into your fact-find. Or, simply set a goal of explaining the costs of a LTC stay to younger clients so that they understand the financial risks facing their parents.

For women business owners, the strategy would be similar. There are a lot of womens business organizations. Contact them and see if you could speak at one of their next events. You could also identify your current clients who are small business owners and contact them about the new opportunity involving LTC which the tax law change has afforded them.

The final step to take is to keep a monthly record of your activities toward your goal. This will keep you focused on your activities and enable you to determine whats working and whats not.

Women need to take an active role in preparing for their own financial future. As the awareness for the need for LTC insurance grows, women will continue to be the drivers of the sale. Financial advisors should make sure their marketing efforts focus on this segment of the population.

is a principal, insurance marketing, Edward Jones, St. Louis, Mo. She can be reached at merry.mosbacher@edwardjones.com


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, January 13, 2003. Copyright 2003 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.