Women Seen Often Driving The LTC Insurance Sale

By

Among women in the “sandwich generation,” there certainly has been much more awareness about long term care insurance, says John W. Wheeler Jr., a certified financial planner with Country Insurance and Financial Services, Carol Stream, Ill.

“Traditionally women have been the caregivers, even though roles have changed,” he says. “Today, when push comes to shove, when it comes to providing care, a great portion of the time it comes down to the female.”

A recent study confirms that women are showing interest in LTC. In fact, women baby boomers are buying LTC insurance as a result of their experiences in caring for their elders, says “Long-Term Care Insurance: Consumer, Business Awareness Translating Into Action.” Published by American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, the report says that among this group, 37% “took specific actions to plan for their future as a result of their experience in caring for someone. Also, among these caregivers, 36% purchased additional life, health or LTC insurance.

Women who have experienced LTC firsthand tend to have a better understanding of the psychological and emotional toll needing LTC can take on both the patient and caregiver, Wheeler says. “Women tend to be more accepting of the fact that this could be something that could happen; men tend to think, if this is going to happen, it will happen to someone else, or I have plenty of time,” he says.

The caregiving aspect is one of the reasons women are more aware of the need for LTC insurance, Wheeler says. But also, women know they have a longer life expectancy than do men. “That doesnt necessarily mean the quality of care is what they hope for,” he says. “When compounded with the issue that they have had firsthand experience, they tend to be much more open to that discussion.”

Some agents are targeting this market specifically because of women boomers experiences. “Boomer women are very knowledgeable about this because they are living it, either having to put a parent in a facility or take care of a parent,” says Dan Slattery, regional director, Bankers Life and Casualty Company, Trumbull, Conn.

“LTC is a very emotional sale, once someones gone through that, they want to make sure their family isnt burdened with their care, and they want to maintain their independence.” In fact, Slattery says that, according to the Connecticut Partnership for LTC, a state government program based in Hartford, the average age in that state for people to buy LTC insurance is 59.

Women do tend to be the initiators when it comes to LTC insurance sales, says Bret Edensword, regional vice president, relationship manager for General Electric Capital Assurance Company, San Rafael, Calif. Edensword works through the companys Wealth and Income Management for LTC division out of the Richmond, Va., office. In his experience, women drive the sale three times for every single time a man does.

“The womans got the sweat equity in it,” he says of being a caregiver. “Theyve been in the trenches. Theyve seen what it can do, and they dont want to see it happen to their children.”

The safety the product offers appeals to many of Edenswords women clients. Not only do they want to protect their own children from having to look after their aging parents, they also have plans for their money that does not typically include spending it all on LTC.

“Women are definitely seeking the product,” agrees Brenda Joiner, a GE senior LTC rep out of Jasper, Ga.

But, she adds, “there are still a lot of women out there who have not yet taken care of it.”

This is largely because many assume, often mistakenly, that coverage is out of their financial grasp, she suggests, adding, “a properly designed LTC policy does not have to be outside their financial reach.”

This article first appeared in the May issue of LTC e-Wire, an online publication of National Underwriter Life & Health.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, May 12, 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.