What changes are in store for the long term care insurance market in 2010? Two leading experts share their outlook in Part 1 of a preview to ASJ’s complete insurance market outlook, which will appear in our upcoming January 2010 national print edition. To read part 2, click here.
The LTCI industry has been bruised and bloodied in the last year, following several years of stagnant or negative growth. To reverse those double-digit sales declines, let’s look at some of the unique opportunities ahead in 2010. Agents who bring themselves up to speed on the Pension Protection Act (effective Jan. 1) will be rewarded, because a Section 1035 exchange is always an easier sale than asking a client to write a check against current income. Get up to speed with linked benefit products (an LTC benefit attached to either an annuity or a life insurance policy); these are poised to take off.
In light of Congress’ concern about rate increases, and the perennial resurfacing of a C.L.A.S.S.-type program, it’s clear that agents must align themselves with a GA or BGA who will feed them relevant information and provide sales ideas, materials, and support as the selling environment changes. LTCI agents are in a unique position to partner with other agents and advisors who do not want to complete the increasingly burdensome training requirements now required in many states to sell LTCI. Some carriers will allow commission splits with agents not partnership or LTCI certified, making marketing to referral sources easier and smarter than ever.
Lastly, as issue ages drop and employers grapple with caregiving issues, health insurance agents/benefit brokers are increasingly being asked about LTC insurance. Agents who understand and are visible in this world will do well.
Marilee Kern Driscoll, speaker, columnist, consultant, founder LTC Planning Month
Optimism is a wonderful sentiment. “Yes, we can,” was a powerful enough motto to win the presidential – but not enough to effect major and immediate change on the American landscape.