ACLI: No Use Complaining

About Times LTC Story

To The Editor:

Regarding “Bad News” [The Editor's Edge, April 2], it does us little good to complain about not getting a fair shake from The New York Times in its recent story on long term care insurance. Our job now–the job of all involved in long term care insurance–is to demonstrate the industry’s commitment to its policyholders and to their financial well-being.

Statistics support this story: As an industry, we’re paying out billions annually in claims. Even the chart accompanying the New York Times article clearly demonstrates that claims-paying problems are not the industry norm, in many ways undermining the article’s validity. In fact, an updated study to be released soon by LifePlans Inc., sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, on policyholder attitudes is expected to show overwhelming satisfaction with their policies and insurance companies.

However, charts and statistics need to be buttressed by industry action to persuade lawmakers and regulators of our commitment. That’s why ACLI continues to actively support enactment of National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ model laws and regulations designed to ensure long term care insurance consumers are treated fairly.

These are the facts that the industry will work to bring to light in order to shift the focus to the vital role long term care insurance plays in American life today.

Frank Keating

President and CEO

American Council of Life Insurers

Washington, D.C.

NAIFA: Bobo Off The Mark

To The Editor:

I am writing in response to Jack Bobo’s March 12 column criticizing the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors’ strategic plan, and what he calls its “overemphasis” on advocacy. While I greatly admire and respect Jack for his leadership and dedication to NALU and NAIFA, his assessment is off the mark.

Legislative and regulatory advocacy has been at the core of NAIFA’s mission since its founding 117 years ago. That focus will continue because our members tell us this is what they want from their professional association: representation at the state and federal government levels to protect their business and what they do for their clients. The principles behind the strategic plan were not built on false premises but on focus groups and surveys of members, former members and prospective members conducted by Ketchum Inc., one of the world’s best research firms.

While an important part of NAIFA in the 21st century, advocacy is by no means the only focus of the strategic plan. In fact, the many member volunteers and staff involved in the planning process are excited about the programs being developed to meet our members’ needs in the areas of education, sales training and networking. The education and training component, in particular, envisions an industry-first Career Services and Resource Center comprised of people, products and technology to develop and/or deliver unique “on-demand” member benefits for agents and advisors in any stage of their careers. This, again, is what our members say they want: value delivered in a way that gives them ease and convenience of access.

Such programs will drive new members to NAIFA. Certainly, a focus on advocacy is important, as Jack asserts, but we’re under no illusions that our advocacy programs would be enough to sell a young insurance agent or financial advisor on NAIFA membership. In fact, our research tells us the more veteran member tends to appreciate our advocacy work more. We will “sell” membership by telling agents and advisors about our new emphasis on meeting their needs in a 21st century world, then delivering on that promise.

We hope that Jack will come to see the tremendous opportunity NAIFA’s strategic plan holds and embrace the fundamental change this association needs to meet the needs of its members and thrive in the 21st century.

John A. Davidson, LUTCF, FSS

President

NAIFA

Conseco: We Care

To The Editor:

In response to your April 2 column, please know that we at the Conseco insurance companies take our Core Values of Integrity and Customer Focus seriously. We are committed to the highest standards for ethics, fairness and accountability, and we pay all claims in accordance with policy contracts. We review all complaints, and we are continuously focused on enhancing service and resolving problems as they occur.

Conseco’s insurance companies have more than 600,000 long term care policies in force, and last year we paid nearly $650 million in long term care claims. The recent article in The New York Times was based on just 10 cases where policyholders disputed our claims handling, and 8 of these cases had been settled long before the article was published.

Jim Rosensteele

Conseco Corporate Communications