Long term care insurance has confused many people for decades. What type of care is considered long term? Will I need it? Who can provide it? Are nursing homes always involved? The general public has been subjected to conflicting information and is unsure where to turn for answers.
Today, there are many signs the awareness tide is shifting. This is an opportunity for knowledgeable producers to provide much-needed information and education.
Federal officials are helping our cause by becoming more vocal in encouraging consumers to buy LTC insurance and by providing tools to make the purchase decision easier. The Long Term Care Partnership program is expanding from its initial base of 4 states. In addition–beginning in 2010 when Section 844 of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 becomes effective–consumers will be able to purchase tax-favored riders on their annuity and life insurance contracts to help fund their LTC needs.
We’re also seeing positive changes in ownership statistics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for instance, today 11% of U.S. workers have LTC coverage, up from 2% in 1991-92.
These trends and changes are pointing to better potential for sales of LTC insurance at the worksite. Until now, the LTC insurance worksite opportunity has been considered limited, primarily for executive carve-outs. Many agents and brokers have never tried to sell here, worried that the product is too complicated to roll out to a wide base of employees.
Not anymore. Employers in small businesses with fewer than 100 employees are realizing from first-hand experience how LTC needs, if left unmet, can adversely affect a business, its workers and employees. As an added plus for selling LTC in the worksite, many of these same business owners have been able to make the connection between a successful retirement plan and LTC insurance. Because of these growing influences, we’ve seen a broader interest in offering LTC insurance in a multi-life setting.
Certainly, bringing about a mindset change regarding worksite LTC insurance will be slow. Fortunately, those who pioneered worksite sales have created opportunities for future success. Adding this new frontier to your book of business may be easier than you think. From prospecting to employer buy-in, think of the following ways to open new sales in the group arena:
o Find employers who can walk the walk. Making the effort to find an employer who truly believes in the benefits of LTC insurance and has a favorable attitude is vital. The best gauge is to ask employers’ top executives if they own a policy themselves. Typically, employers who have their own plans or expect to buy one through your offering see the reason to support your marketing plan and to encourage employees to review the offering.