Affluent clients may be more receptive to long term care insurance when the economy is slumping, an expert says.

Claude Thau, president of Thau Inc., Overland Park, Kan., estimates sales for the LTC insurance industry as a whole are down 10% from what they might have been, had there been no economic downturn.

Many middle-income and moderately affluent people are putting off purchases they don’t think are urgent, including LTC insurance, Thau says.

Wealthy individuals, on the other hand, might be more interested in LTC insurance now than they were before the slump, Thau says.

Seeing the value of investment assets sag may have made the worth of LTC protection easier to appreciate, he says.

To emphasize value, Thau says, his firm has been highlighting combination products, particularly life insurance-LTC hybrids.

Hybrids are attractive to value-minded consumers because they provide returns even if the client is fortunate enough never to need long term care, Thau says.