Reno, Nev.

Retirement plan assets could fuel long term care insurance industry growth over the next decade, according to some Society of Actuaries meeting attendees.

The attendees participated in flash polls conducted here at a session of the SOA’s Intercompany Long Term Care Insurance Conference.

Session speakers asked audience members to give their views through an electronic polling system.

About 32% of the survey participants said they believe 401(k) plan assets and individual retirement account assets may be a major factor in LTC insurance industry growth over the next 5 to 10 years.

Another 28% of the participants predicted that combination products, such as those blending annuities and LTC insurance, could be a major factor.

About 25% of the participated cited LTC Partnership policies; 15%, basic government-funded coverage; and 3%, public coverage supplemented by private coverage.

In addition to asking about nontraditional sources of LTC funding, speakers asked about topics such as regulatory changes and the evolution of employer-sponsored LTC benefits.

The regulatory question gave participants a choice between predicting that, within the next 5 years, LTC insurance will become subject to federal regulation as well as state regulation with; that at least 20 states will require independent reviews of rejected claims; or that there will be a significant increase in the capital requirements for LTC carriers.

About 33% of the participants picked each prediction.

When responding to a question about a 5-year forecast for LTC benefits, 74% of the participants predicted faster growth than for individual sales, 14% predicted slower growth, and 13% predicted roughly comparable growth.

Only 9% of the participants said they expect chief executive officers of LTC insurance operations to want to give up on the operations in the next 5 to 10 years, and 52% said they expect LTC unit CEOs to believe the units have excellent prospects for profitable growth.

Only 6% of the participants predicted government-run LTC social insurance programs would crowd out private insurers.

The panelists who asked the questions were Malcolm Cheung, a vice president at Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J.; Paul Forte, chief executive officer of Long Term Care Partners L.L.C., Portsmouth, N.H.; Gary Jacobs, a senior vice president at Universal American Financial Corp., Rye Brook, N.Y.; and Ray Welnicki, the principal at RPW Solutions L.L.C., Manchester, Conn.