To Sell Through Banks, LTC Agents Must Build Trust
Until about 10 years ago, the banking industry had little appetite for selling any type of insurance product. It was around that time that some financial institutions saw the writing on the wall when their older customers began cashing in certificates of deposit to pay for nursing home care.
Soon, these banks and credit unions realized that by offering long term care insurance, they could accomplish a dual mission: meet a critical need for older customers and keep those deposits in-house.
That was when companies specializing in LTC insurance developed a plan to partner with financial institutions and provide their customers with access to this coverage.
Once the pipeline was built, some banks and credit unions decided they could market LTC insurance themselves. They tried, but most attempts failed.
Industry experts agree that LTC insurance is an emotion-laden product and hence much more complicated to understand than the more familiar lines like life and health insurance. For that reason, banks soon learned, its difficult to sell via direct mail and telephone hotlines. Studies show 80% of LTC policies are sold face-to-face.
As emotional as the LTC sale can be for the buyer, the agent must possess a passion for crafting a solution for individuals and families that will meet their expectations later on when care is required. This is very much a “listen and solve” business.
Financial institutions quickly realized they could spend enormous amounts of time and money training and hiring additional employees to make the difficult LTC sale, or they could contract with experts. In the latter approach, the financial institution becomes a resource through which customers learn more about the insurance. They then buy it from a bank-approved insurance marketer.
Allowing LTC experts to sell to the institutions customers presents a challenge, however: How could banks completely trust insurance agents? How could they hand over the precious, private information of members they had worked so diligently to obtain over years of relationships, especially their high net-worth customers? How could banks be assured that once LTC specialists met with customers, they wouldnt try to sell something else that the bank did not authorize or approve?
The leap of faith isnt easy, but it is crucial. The sale of LTC insurance solidifies the relationship between a bank and its customers. When customers purchase an LTC policy, it is a sign they trust the financial institution that put them in touch with the LTC insurance specialist. Moreover, having another bank-connected product strengthens the customers bond to the bank.