Did you hear the one about selling long term care insurance? The punch line goes something like, “Better invite the whole family. No, really – everyone but the pets.”
We know what you might be thinking: The more people brought into the initial sales meeting, the more people you, have to convince, control or at least cajole when it comes to having a senior client purchase LTCI. But it’s not that black-and-white.
Actually, involving the family in a long term care policy purchase should increase the likelihood of a sale and bring your client’s family in on the ground level, so to speak, of helping to manage that care. If you and your clients like to benefit from proactive thinking, read on.
The reasons are many
When addressing the topic of long term care with your clients, a principal goal is to separate the knowns from the unknowns. And while many things are difficult to account for, you can rest assured that – in most cases – involving the family in the decision-making process will benefit you (not to mention your client) down the road.
For one, when the whole family is present, according to Ray Smith, principal for The Long Term Care Specialist in Denver, they really get their heads around the idea that long term care is a reality that will come to affect the whole family. That’s because when a family member reaches the point where he needs those services, it doesn’t happen in isolation. Those needs affect the sons, daughters, and in-laws and ripple out much farther than just the person needing help.
“If that insurance is in place, the daughter-in-law becomes the manager of the care instead of the caregiver. That’s a world of difference,” Smith notes. “And that’s not to mention [how that care affects what] is passed on to the next generation.”
For another, if trusted relatives are brought in at the beginning, you’re much more likely to get agreement on the actual policy design and you might sell a bigger policy because the adult children don’t want to deal with what may happen should the policy run out.
And, as Marilee Driscoll, founder of Long Term Planning Month notes, “You’re also preserving inheritance so once the adult children understand that this product insures their inheritance, they’re more likely to become your advocate.”
And lastly, according to Marge Elias, LTCI specialist with Genworth, you want family members to understand the consequences of long term care insurance (or the lack thereof) on their own lives.
“I ask them to think about what the consequences will be in their own relationships if they’re going to be taking care of their parents,” Elias says. “I really focus on what their lives are like now, with their jobs and social commitments, and try to get them to see how it will affect all of those relationships. Doesn’t it make more sense to have a plan in place that will allow them to live their own lives and provide the best care possible for that parent?”
Sending the invitations
It sounds like a solid idea, but does it sound odd to throw out, “Oh, and bring your family if you’d like?” Well, it could. But if you approach the topic of involving the family as a natural step in the process, you may find yourself arriving at it organically.
You’d like to know upfront who is going to be involved in the decision.
“So as part of the same fact-finding, [you] need to bring up the point that the agent is actually recommending that trusted loved ones be present at the initial appointment. It’s a really nice way to establish transparency and credibility,” Driscoll says.
Elias takes a similar tack, really trying to bring the children into the room (physically or figuratively) because it’s essential that the clients give a lot of thought to the kind of care they’re going to need and who is going to provide that care.