In April, Senior Market Advisor took its first foray into profiling a list of industry leaders when we named 10 to the Annuity Power List. Now we turn the spotlight on the LTCI market, where we have once again identified 10 individuals who are making a real difference in the industry.
The staff at SMA started by soliciting names of difference-makers from a wide variety of respected LTCI professionals, and through research and interviews with industry insiders on and off the list, we culled the candidates down to the final 10 based on who we thought has done the most to further the worthy cause of long term care insurance.
This list has a definite bent on those who offer sales training to agents and advisors. A major obstacle the LTCI industry needs to overcome to reach its rightful place in the portfolio of the average middle class to upper-middle class person is having enough qualified, motivated salespeople who know how to effectively sell the product to consumers.
Several people on this list are at the forefront of LTCI sales training. This will pay off in spades as baby boomers begin to really understand the need for LTCI and the protection it provides to their families as well as themselves. Most have written at least one book about LTCI, from either a consumer or a sales perspective, and just about all of them are frequent speakers on long term care-related topics at industry events.
As is the nature of such a list, surely there are plenty of deserving, well-qualified people who were omitted. But in reading the profiles on the following pages, we think you’ll agree the people we did pick are deserving of the honor.
- Brian Anderson, editor
Stephen A. Moses
Stephen Moses is so serious about promoting LTCI that he plans on essentially going on tour for a year to do so.
Moses is widely regarded as one of the most articulate spokespeople for privately financed LTC. He is the president of the Seattle-based Center for Long-Term Care Reform Inc., which promotes universal access to top-quality long term care by encouraging private financing as an alternative to Medicaid dependency for most Americans.
Starting Jan. 1 of 2008, Moses will embark on the “National Long-Term Care Consciousness Tour,” where he will live on the road for a year, focusing on six regions of the U.S. for two months each. He will work locally with LTCI producers and providers, financial planners, CPAs, lawyers and government officials to reinforce the importance of LTC planning.
Moses has directed numerous national and state-level studies, and specializes in problems associated with “Medicaid estate planning,” the practice of artificially impoverishing affluent people to qualify them for public assistance.
“My contribution to LTC has been to shore up Medicaid as a long term care safety net for the poor by promoting public policy that discourages ?? 1/2 Medicaid planning’ abuses and encourages responsible LTC planning,” Moses says. “In that regard, I’ve had an impact on passage of four national statutes: MCCA ’88, which made transfer of assets restrictions mandatory and solved spousal impoverishment; OBRA ’93, which made asset transfer restrictions longer and stronger and made estate recovery mandatory; BBA ’97, which came to be called the ?? 1/2 throw granny’s lawyer in jail law;’ and DRA ’05, which further lengthened and strengthened asset transfer rules and unleashed the LTC Partnership program.”
Moses has testified before Congress and two-thirds of the state legislatures in support of policies to discourage Medicaid abuse and encourage private LTC financing alternatives.
Phyllis Shelton created LTC Consultants with a simple goal: To empower financial service professionals to educate Americans on the need to plan ahead for long term care. “I knew that was the only way for me to deliver the LTCI message to the masses in our country,” Shelton says.
Shelton is the president of the Nashville-based training company, which she started in 1991 after several years of very successful personal LTCI production. Since 1991, more than 55,000 financial service professionals have attended one of her live classes or completed one of her online training courses, and she has had training contracts with 10 out of the top 15 LTCI carriers.
“I personally believe that the sale of long term care insurance is 80 percent education and 20 percent product,” Shelton says. “Yes, you have to have great LTCI products to offer, but if your prospect doesn’t understand the need and the consequences of not having a plan, then you don’t make the sale. Education is the answer to success in this industry.
“My gift is to take subject matter that others perceive to be complex and make it so easy a third-grader can understand it. I give insurance professionals a track to run on, and if they stay on that track they will be successful,” Shelton says.
Shelton is also a noted speaker and author on the subject, and says she has many industry “firsts” to her credit. Among them are being first to emphasize the following: that less than 15 percent of LTC occurs in a nursing home and LTCI could be the only thing to keep people out of a nursing home; that LTC can be needed at any age; and that Medicaid was the real competition and that producers has better understand it.
“My biggest personal contribution has been to develop comprehensive training that results in an effective, balanced sales presentation. By combining facts and emotion, it results in a closing ratio of better than 50 percent when used with qualified prospects (health and financial), along with a teaching method that allows it to be taught to the masses,” Shelton says. “I know how to sell long term care insurance ethically, and even more importantly, I know how to teach others to do the same.”
Claude Thau, FAS, MAAA, is well known as an industry insider and a vocal advocate for improving LTCI messaging to consumers.
He is president of Overland Park, Kan.-based Thau Inc., an LTCI consulting firm dedicated to helping build a sound LTCI industry by providing consulting services, wholesaling LTCI through brokers and training them, and performing pro bono work related to LTCI.
“I have implemented or pushed for more favorable policy provisions, more meaningful marketing with better disclosure where necessary, and sounder pricing through my efforts as the executive in charge of the LTCI business of a major carrier, as a consultant, as a wholesaler and through my industry surveys and presentations,” Thau says.
At the first annual LTC summit, Thau took issue with the Government Accountability Office report on LTC Partnerships, and debunked its negative arguments and conclusions one by one.
He serves on the board of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, and is also a frequent author and speaker who has conducted many Continuing Education seminars in various states. Thau also actively sells LTCI, unlike most consultants.
Before starting his consulting business in 2000, Thau was senior vice president at Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Co. and senior officer, LTCI, where he created strategies to develop the business and launched LTCI products with a variety of innovative concepts, resulting in dramatic sales increases.
Among the key issues Thau sees in the market today are assuring the design of coverage that will, when the client goes on claim, satisfy his original expectations. “In addition to claims payment practices, design features such as benefit increases are important in this regard,” Thau says.
Few people have as broad a background in the LTCI industry as Thau, making him a natural for this list.
In 1998, Jesse Slome founded the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, which is the leading national member organization exclusively dedicated to building the marketplace for long term care solutions.
Slome, the Westlake Village, Calif.-based organization’s executive director, is the motivator, educator and marketing leader for the Association’s nearly 3,000 active members. He and the Association’s achievements include the establishment of national Long-Term Care Awareness Week (which has resulted in Congressional and numerous statewide resolutions), the organization of seven National LTCI Producers Summits, the largest national conference focused solely on marketing LTCI products, and his authorship of numerous best-selling consumer guides to long term care insurance.
“The first step to achieving universal acceptance of the benefits of long term care planning is achieving acceptance by the mainstream media. The Association and our members will serve as the truthful and intelligent voice for this industry,” Slome says. “The growth of sales will be predicated on our ability to find ways to make long term care planning attractive to both younger and more middle-income individuals. Our focus in the years to come will be educating more consumers and producers equally about the benefits of planning and all the options available to them. Education comes first, followed by making available marketing material with messaging that will enable producers to open more doors and close more sales.”
Slome has an extensive marketing background, and got into the insurance industry in 1987 after being recruited by one of his clients. In 1991, he relocated from New York to Los Angeles to become the general manager of Aetna’s Southern California Pension Operation. Two years later, he became director of marketing for Transamerica’s annuity operations, where he volunteered his marketing skills to help the company’s fledgling LTC operation take wings. Slome created his own marketing and PR firm in 1995 before being approached about forming AALTCI three years later.
Debra C. Newman CLU, ChFC, LTCP, is the founder and leader of Newman Long Term Care, a Bloomington, Minn.-based brokerage agency specializing in LTCI.
She is a 28-year veteran of the financial services industry, the immediate past president of the Association of Health Insurance Advisors and currently serves as a director of the LIFE foundation. Newman has spoken at industry events across the country, including national conferences of MDRT, the Society of Financial Services Professionals and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.
She is recognized as a thought leader on long term care issues and advises government policy groups and insurance companies on strategies for the future. She may be best known for the tapes and CDs she has produced for consumers and professionals that have been distributed nationwide, helping agents sell LTCI and overcome objections by telling stories.
“I am proud to be one of the first to see and believe in the importance of long term care insurance as part of every person’s financial and retirement plan. This gave me the courage to be the founder of one of the first brokerage agencies dedicated entirely to long term care insurance,” Newman says. “As a speaker, I have passionately and enthusiastically brought the LTC planning message to the forefront of mainstream agent organizations in over 30 states. And I continue to sit side by side with my colleagues, helping them to communicate this story to their clients.”
Newman says she is an optimist who believes people will increasingly recognize that their LTC plan is their responsibility. “The development of new products will make it easier to help clients visualize how long term care planning fits into their investment portfolio,” Newman says. “We will also see wider acceptance of LTCI as an employer-sponsored plan. When this happens and the government continues to support positive tax advantages, the tide will rise for all of us.”