Genworth Financial Inc. has contributed $7.5 million to the Alzheimer’s Association to support its research and education efforts.[@@]

Genworth, Richmond, Va., says the donation is part of a strategic relationship it has established with the Alzheimer’s Association, Chicago, to increase awareness and support efforts to eliminate the cognitive disease.

Genworth agents also have backed the association’s annual Memory Walk, raising more than $3 million over the past 5 years.

“Half of the long term care insurance claims we get today are typically associated with Alzheimer’s,” says Buck Stinson, president of Genworth’s long term care insurance unit.

Genworth estimates it has paid out a total of more $1 billion in Alzheimer’s claims in the 30 years it has been selling LTC insurance. Those costs have gone up significantly in recent years as Americans’ longevity has increased. Finding a cure, Stinson says, “could significantly cut the cost of long term care for everyone.”

Finding a cure also could dramatically reduce overall U.S. health care costs, Stinson adds.