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Make your mark by serving associations

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Q: I’m hearing that marketing to associations really works. Can you provide some suggestions to be successful in this market?

A: For practical advice in this area, I turned to Brian Johnson, director of business development at National Long-Term Care Brokers in Albany, N.Y.

According to Johnson, when an association or professional society sponsors or endorses a benefit, the members immediately trust the source, as it’s already pre-screened. Since association members are typically “planners” by nature, in that they see the value of investing in membership dues to further their personal or professional development, this is the type of client that purchases LTCI.

The joy of the group discount
If the group has bylaws and the members pay dues, most insurance companies will extend a 5 percent to 10 percent premium discount. The opportunities are endless–in 2004, it was estimated that there were 1.8 million associations in our country. And, if members are business owners and/or executives, this is a great door-opener to multi-life cases.

In working with the executive director or the person who handles member benefits, what key points should you be emphasizing? Johnson suggests highlighting that offering an LTCI plan would:

  • Bring ancillary benefits to the table that their members want in order to stay competitive
  • Help them attract and retain members by offering a discount on a benefit that is perceived as an expense
  • Zero the cost to offer a discounted plan
  • Require minimal administration
  • Demonstrate that the group cares about their members and their families
  • Set them apart from those that do not offer this benefit
  • Save members time

Your marketing efforts should piggyback the current communication methods that the association uses, such as e-mail, hard copy newsletters and direct mail. You should have a presence across all communication channels. Do newsletter articles and a separate mailing on the benefit (have your mailing approved by the association). Offer to speak at conferences. It’s important to co-brand yourself with the association.

The best place to find associations and societies is from your current clients. Ask what they belong to and the contact information. This way, you can call the executive director and explain that one of their members is your client and you would like to discuss how the association can offer a discounted long term care insurance benefit at no cost.