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The only difference between selling long term care insurance to a baby boomer and anyone else is that with a boomer a producer can make two sales–one to boomer clients, the other to their parents.

This is how Jim Pittman, agent with Compensation Systems Northwest, Portland, Ore., generally approaches sales to boomers.

Pittman, chair of the media task force for Million Dollar Round Table, Park Ridge, Ill., says, “a boomer is just like anyone else, so we want to go through the same sales process as with anyone else.

“The only unique aspect of this marketplace is that there are two sales to the boomer–them and their parents.”

Celeste Cobb, vice president, Long-Term Care Group, MetLife, Westport, Conn., agrees that boomers bring with them a unique dynamic.

“Theyre at the right age where theyre experiencing long term care for their parents, but they may live far from them, so they struggle with how to stay involved with their long term care.

“It makes them think, when Im in this situation, what will I do, so this creates awareness.”

Pittman suggests discussing with the boomer client why it is advantageous to buy a policy while they are in their 40s or 50s and presumably can afford it.

“And secondly, a producer can ask, what are you going to do about your parents, should we be meeting with them, is this something youre going to finance?”

Pittman also suggests using the dynamic of seeing ones parents struggle with paying for care by asking the client to look at his or her own situation in terms of a cost-benefit analysis.

A producer can ask a client, “Would you rather pay the premium or the cost for care,” he says.

“The way average cost trend-lining has been, the figure for care will go up dramatically,” by the time a boomer might use it.

So, selling LTC coverage to a boomer client becomes a matter of showing what the current premium is vs. what the cost of care likely will be when she would be most likely to use it.

“You switch an unknown cost for a predictable premium today,” Pittman says.

A producer has “to have a good prospect, a good discussion for solving their problem, then solve the problem and help the client find the money to pay for it,” Pittman says.

“Setting the scene” is how Georgia Rasmussen, a long term care insurance agent with General Electric Capital Assurance Company, Seattle, approaches boomers.

“Because they had their children at a later age, many are still raising their own children while helping their aging parents, thus the term sandwich generation.

“This often makes them realize they need a plan to provide for their own care as they age,” Rasmussen says.

Cobb says instead of speaking in statistics and facts, she builds an emotional context. She does this in part by asking how the client would want her children to be involved if she were to need long term care.

“As opposed to saying these are the odds, these are the costs, its not as real or contextual as when you talk about whats going on in their lives,” she says.

Still, facts are an important way to “jar” boomers into seeing the need, Rasmussen suggests.

One of the facts she presents to help boomers understand the value of long term care insurance is that the younger they are at time of purchase, the greater the likelihood they will be able to health qualify.

And, if they, like so many other boomers, waited longer to have children than their parents did and have had fewer children than their parents, “that means fewer people to help if they need long term care in the future,” she says.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, August 25, 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.