Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance
Chairperson: LTCI panel discussion, Master the difficult sale, Thursday, Sept. 28
Senior Market Advisor: What can our Expo attendees expect to gain from your panel session?
Jesse Slome: This session will feature a panel of top LTCI sales pros who will share practical marketing and sales tips that help them generate a recurring stream of prospects and sales. This isn’t a theoretical session on how to sell. It will be a hands-on session loaded with ideas that you’ll be able to use immediately to build your business.
SMA: What are a couple secrets of the best LTCI producers?
JS: Consumers perceive long term care insurance as expensive, and cost is the No. 1 reason people hesitate to plan. Producers are successfully capitalizing on consumers’ misperceptions by marketing readily available ways to reduce the cost of protection. Other very successful producers are establishing alliances with financial planners and investment advisors. Planners have access to clients and their money, but they take a very different approach to LTC planning. The secret is knowing how planners think and how to work successfully with them. We’ll dig into that during the session.
SMA: Do you think having some recognition like Long Term Care Awareness Week will improve sales of LTCI?
JS: The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance projects that sales of LTCI will double within the next five years. Consider that for the first quarter of 2006, four LTCI companies reported 20 percent or higher sales increases compared to the prior year. Growth isn’t something to look forward to; it’s here for many. Long-Term Care Awareness Week, Nov. 5-11, is an annual event that will give the media another reason to share information with millions of American consumers. It’s an opportunity for producers to gain media exposure for themselves.
SMA: What are your thoughts on the industry’s future?
JS: In the 1980s, Americans started to realize they needed to take responsibility for their own retirement planning. Twenty years later, you have billions of dollars invested in 401(k) plans. The same is taking place today as Americans recognize that living a long life means you have to plan for the eventual need for long term care. Long term care insurance is certainly a most viable way to protect everything one’s worked for. Federal and state governments recognize the need for individuals to plan and are increasing their awareness campaigns. Products are changing to better address clients’ needs at different stages of life. More employers are offering group or voluntary long term care insurance plans to their employees. From where I sit, the future for the industry and those agents who market and sell LTCI is very positive.
Dean Zayed, president of Prizm Financial Advisors
Presenter: High-power secrets for attracting high-net-worth clients, Friday, Sept. 29
SMA: What is a big issue advisors are going to face as the boomer generation ages?
Dean Zayed: Advisors need to acquire the skills and expertise necessary to actively re-shape a client’s portfolio as the aging boomers’ needs and goals change. Boomers will move from an accumulation stage to a distribution stage and eventually to a preservation stage. A static portfolio will fail to successfully take a boomer through these stages. Advisors need to stay on the cutting edge of strategies and solutions to dynamically adjust a client’s portfolio. Many advisors are excellent at managing assets in one of the stages, such as the accumulation stage, but have very little experience in transitioning portfolios through the other phases of a client’s life cycle. As the saying goes, “The person who took you to the dance may not be the one who takes you home from the dance.” The successful advisor will need to add the expertise that will allow him to make constructive changes to a client’s portfolio as the client matures through the different phases. This will ensure that the relationship is sustainable and mutually beneficial.
SMA: How is the boutique model set up to meet the needs of clients best?
DZ: The boutique model is set up to delve deeply into a client’s life so the advisor may ultimately provide thoughtful solutions to all of the key issues affecting clients’ financial affairs. As an example, I have developed a proprietary process … that eliminates the fear, anxiety and hassle pertaining to our clients’ financial affairs. This process helps our clients see the tremendous value in working with a boutique, multidisciplinary practice. Most of our clients are facing a plethora of issues, such as asset protection, risk management, IRA distribution planning, investment counseling, tax planning and income planning – of course there are many more. Who better to counsel them on such diverse and sophisticated issues than a professional team comprised of attorneys and financial advisors who can coordinate the planning across all disciplines? Our ultimate goal is to provide superior, value-added advice that will positively impact their lifestyle and their peace of mind as they progress through their retired years.
SMA: What have you seen change in the area of practice management since you entered the industry?
DZ: The most important development in our practice has been in the area of data management and reporting. We utilize data aggregation software that allows us to consolidate all of a client’s accounts across multiple platforms and custodians onto one statement. As an example, this might include brokerage accounts, mutual fund accounts and annuities held with different institutions. We are able to do sophisticated performance reporting for all of these accounts and present it as a consolidated report. Clients love this tool, as they get a much better sense of what their portfolio is doing as a whole and how each account fits in the overall portfolio.
SMA: High-net-worth clients are the prime catch for most practices. What does the boutique model offer them that other business models don’t?
DZ: The boutique model allows the advisor to become the most important professional relationship for the client – a one-stop source built with highly specialized advisors who offer total customization and a personalized approach to the client. Therefore, the boutique model does not serve solely as an asset management firm or estate planning firm. It serves as the client’s strategic partner – as the client’s chief financial officer who will advise on all pertinent issues the client faces.
Gordon Williamson, executive director of the Institute of Business & Finance
Presenter: Fixed-rate asset allocation solutions, Thursday, Sept. 28
SMA: What is the main thing SMAX attendees will leave your presentation with?
Gordon Williamson: They will understand why advisors should strongly consider using fixed-rate annuities as part of the asset allocation solution.