Long Term Care Agent: Are You Changing With The Times?
Many Long Term Care companies are getting out of the business; many of those that are staying are planning significant premium rate increases. Its not a question of whether these changes are going to upset old clients and make prospects uneasythe answer to that is an unqualified YES. The real question is whether you as an agent are willing to make the necessary changes to stay competitive in this market.
Those agents that continue to address the marketplace in the same old way with the same old presentations will be facing fewer and fewer sales and a corresponding decrease in income. On the other hand, those willing to redefine their prospecting, marketing and sales techniques will hear opportunity knocking at the door.
For years, many agents have assured prospects that they need not worry about future rate increases with this being a particularly strong point in their sales presentations. These claims were based on previous history, but in fact, had no basis in reality. There has never been any sound actuarial or statistical data indicating that long term care insurance policies were in any way immune to rate increases. To the contrary, anyone who cared enough to look into the matter even a little realized that increases had to come sooner or later.
So here we are like over-matched fighters facing a barrage of heavy punches:
BAM!!! 50% rate increases are being filed by companies and approved by state insurance departments.
BAM!!! Companies are getting out of the business altogether.
BAM!!! Those companies staying in the market are increasing renewal rates and new policy premiums.
The key to surviving is to stop getting hit! To do that, you need to change your tactics.
The day of the one-size-fits-all spreadsheet salesperson is over. Way too many presentations have been based on a standard daily benefit approach. The agent goes out and gets a number of quotes and then puts them on a spreadsheet that is subsequently put in front of a prospect. The theory, of course, is after seeing evidence of all the agents efforts, the prospect follows the agents advice and chooses the lowest premium.
Although this approach does eliminate a lot of competition, it tends to be a bit shy on realities. For one thing, it requires the assumption on the agents part that all the different LTCI needs can be met with the same standard benefit package. If we have learned anything about long term care services and patient needs, it is that they differ from place to place and person to person.
In the new long term care marketplace, benefits should be designed based on individual needs rather than a standard dollar amount. Now more than ever, the actual cost of LTC benefits needs to take into consideration the clients available income along with any insurance.
Addressing the new realities of the LTC marketplace will result in a more knowledgeable agent who, in turn, will provide better information to prospects and allow them to make more educated decisions.
Ideas for Change