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The planner's perspective

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Patrick Dougherty, CFP and owner of financial planning firm Dougherty Financial Services in Dallas, Texas, routinely discusses LTCI with his clients, but he doesn’t sell LTCI. “I do the planning and asset management, and I bring in specialists for tax and estate planning, and risk management,” he says. That approach has led Dougherty to develop relationships with several LTCI agents. He’s very specific about his requirements from those providers before he will refer business to them. The first requirement focuses on the personal qualities of integrity and likeability. “I’ll ask people in the local FPA chapter if they’ve heard of them (the LTCI agents) and their reputation. Then I’ll spend maybe two or three social lunches to get to know them as people to be sure they’re someone my clients would like.” He also wants the agent to act as an educator and not a salesperson. The client has already made the decision to buy LTCI, Dougherty says, so the agent doesn’t have to sell them on the concept. Instead, he wants the agent to explain the different parts of the policies, what the providers have to offer, what makes them different and why one is better than the other. His final requirement is that the agent has a sense of how LTCI fits in the client’s overall plan, and he seeks credentials such as the CFP license as evidence of that understanding.