This issue of LTC e-Wire includes several statistics worth chewing on. They range from the ages of group long term care insurance buyers to how much LTC is paid out of pocket to the rejection rates for LTC applicants.
But the eye-popper is this one: In 2008, the number of new individual LTC insurance buyers fell 9%, to 277,000–about the same number as in the early 1990s. That is according to the year-end results provided by LIMRA International, Windsor, Conn. (See the results here )
Every time startling figures like that come out, bi-polar prognosticating begins. That is, certain market observers predict that the probable demise of the LTC insurance industry is at hand, while others predict that LTC sales will soar from today’s lows as baby boomers approach the shores of retirement.
This is maddening, because it doesn’t solve the problem facing each and every LTC insurance professional when the bad numbers roll in. That problem is, what should I do now? Specifically, if the business is really taking a nosedive, should I (or my company) move on to something else? Or, if a LTC insurance boom is really just ahead, how can I (or my company) wait it out until the big bounce comes?
The bi-polar prognosticating is all the more frustrating given that the current recession has cast a pall over everything financial. The downturn has made it hard for LTC professionals to see clearly, even to decide whether to do active marketing of their products and services.
Compounding matters are various theories about the business. These go round and round. For instance: If we simplify the product, more people will buy. If we get our government to curb Medicaid sharply, more people will buy. If we get LTC rate stability, more people will buy. If we target certain markets (Generation X, worksite, young pre-retirees, etc.), we will do better. This list is endless.
That’s not bi-polar. That’s multi-polar. No wonder industry professionals feel overwhelmed by their own industry buzz.