Las Vegas, Nev.
Top executives of five designation programs in the long term care and senior insurance markets tackled the “confusion” issue head on at a meeting here.
Each executive appeared on a panel at the 3rd Annual Intercompany LTCI Conference sponsored by Society of Actuaries. The panel topic was LTC insurance training and designation programs. When the session opened to the floor for questions, an executive from AARP promptly stood up to voice concern about the meaning of the various designations.
For the past 15 years, AARP has been concerned about the knowledge and quality of people selling the LTC insurance product, said Van Ellet, health policy team leader in AARPs state legislation department.
But now that there are several professional designation programs addressing that issue, Ellet said he is becoming concerned about another issue. “How do you (the designation program executives) intend to address consumer confusion about the various designations? We want for you to be able to say, Were professional, were qualified and we know what were talking about.”
All of the programs are doing important work, said panel moderator Ron Hagelman Jr., when introducing the speakers. But he, too, said he has been confused about which does what. The vice president of special markets for State Life Insurance Company in New Braunfels, Texas, Hagelman said he is now taking the various designation programs himself just to find out. He has completed three already since last fall.
The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance is dealing with the issue by educating nonprofit aging groups, said Margie Barrie, who heads up marketing and sales for the Westlake Village, Calif.-based agent association. AALTCI confers the Long Term Care Professional (LTCP) designation in a joint effort with Health Insurance Association of America.
“Our focus is to get the word out about the importance of working with someone who has a designation,” said Barrie, who is also president of LTCI Consulting Group Inc., University Park, Fla. The emphasis is on a person with a designation, not a particular designation, she indicated.
Rolled out in late 2001, the LTCP program has over 1,200 candidates, most of them producers, according to Jesse Slome, the executive director.
At the Corporation for LTC Certification, “we look at who we train, and we also try to raise the level of comfort with those who already have recognition in the community,” said Harley Gordon.
An elder law attorney from Newton, Mass, Gordon is a founding partner of the corporation, which has been offering the Certified in Long-Term Care (CLTC) certification since 1999. Over 6,000 individuals now have the CLTC, which aims at professionals who want exposure to elder law concepts as well as LTC and other senior issues.