No longer in its infancy, long term care insurance remains a dynamic, rapidly shifting industry. Little has remained unchanged in the past year, says Jonathan Black.
From a carrier standpoint theres been a significant amount of consolidation and looking over the books of business and re-evaluating them, says Black, a partner at Curtis-Black Insurance Associates, Danbury, Conn.
Most agents interviewed by National Underwriter said consolidation has been positive for the industry because it makes carriers stronger, which is ultimately better for the consumer. But, some feel widespread consolidation sets a negative precedent.
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It can hinder competition, which is necessary for the marketplace, says Anthony C. Stratidis, managing partner, LTC Advantage, Tampa, Fla.
But Stratidis feels that with more than 100 carriers selling an LTC product or products, consolidation is not really an issue. “The bigger issue is whos reinsuring (the merged carriers),” he says. “The more they spread the liability, the less volatility there is.”
Agents in the field have experienced the changes in the industry in the past year in a number of ways.
Stricter guidelines for underwriting are something that Nancy Simm, director of long term care for Highland Capital Brokerage, Avon, Conn., has noticed. This is likely because certain conditions in particular have many claims associated with them, such as stroke and diabetes, she says.
In fact, 20% of the applications Black submitted to carriers were declined this year for health reasons, “which really surprised me,” he says. “Were seeing pricing go up,” too.