If you sell worksite long term care insurance, you’re undoubtedly looking for ways to sell more of it.

One way to do this is to look beyond the obvious to “think outside the spouse.” Remember, one of the neat things about LTC insurance is its broad eligibility. Voluntary LTC insurance can be offered not just to employees and spouses, but to their parents and in-laws. It’s a great, big target. The trick, of course, is hitting it.

So, how do you convince employers faced with spiraling costs and limited resources to offer LTC insurance? Assuming you succeed, how do you then persuade employees to buy it, not just for themselves but for their parents?

Selling the Employer

If you’re already marketing worksite LTC insurance, you undoubtedly know how to tout its advantages: it’s a no-cost voluntary enhancement, it can be offered as a carve-out, it’s tax deductible, etc.

But are you telling employers that LTC insurance can actually improve productivity? That it offers a solution to the growing problem of eldercare? Next time you make such a presentation, consider incorporating these compelling points:

? You might ask your HR contact if any employees have acted as family caregivers, and how it affected their work. (There’s a good chance you’ll strike a chord, because 1 in 4 families today is caring for a family member.)

? Familiarize yourself with the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2003 caregiver survey and quote it. In it, employers reported that caregiving workers are prone to excessive absenteeism, too-frequent phone calls, mental distractions, stress-related health problems, and high turnover.

? What if the employer objects on the basis of cost? I use this simple analogy: Buying LTC insurance is like buying a car. Not everyone needs a Mercedes; an economy sedan still gets you around. Promise to work closely with employees, helping them choose plans they can afford.

? What if your contact says she’s too busy? Promise turnkey installation. Be willing to provide roll-out notices and posters, conduct enrollment meetings, and follow up personally with employees.

? Finally, remind the employer that LTC insurance may be offered to retirees. Employers are increasingly forced to discontinue retiree benefits for economic reasons. LTC insurance gives employers the rare chance to offer a benefit, not take it away.

Selling The Employees

Face-to-face enrollment meetings are the most powerful tool in your tool box. In my book, it’s the only way to reach employees. Frankly, I’m amazed by marketers who conduct enrollments by mail and then wonder why participation is so poor!

Here are some strategies for conducting a successful enrollment:

Personalize your discussion. Ask how many employees worry about aging parents, or have friends who’ve experienced a caregiving crisis. Once heads are nodding, you’re on your way.

Clarify misconceptions. Many people still think long term care is covered under health insurance and Medicare. Set the record straight.

Position LTC insurance as anti-nursing home insurance. Employees who can’t think about “putting mom in a nursing home” let alone living in one themselves someday are very receptive to home care and adult day care choices.

Face the cost issue head-on. Again, I use my car analogy. Point out how group and family discounts further reduce premiums. Assure employees that both the coverage and discounts are portable.

Another cost solution: suggest siblings sharing the cost of mom or dad’s premiums. We have had great success with this idea.

Offer to speak directly to parents and in-laws, once the employee paves the way. This takes pressure off the employee and gives you the chance to sell face-to-face.

Still A One-On-One Sale

At the end of each enrollment meeting, we distribute a brief evaluation form. The purpose is twofold: it allows us to gauge how our presentation was received, so we can tailor it for future use. It also asks interested employees to provide contact information, so we can then do what we do best: follow up one-on-one.

Murray Gordon is president of MAGA, Ltd., Deerfield, Ill., an independent LTC insurance agency that is part of the National LTC Network. He can be reached at maga@magaltc.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, April 15, 2005. Copyright 2005 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.