For Part I of this article, see “How to Get Your Long Term Care Insurance Client Approved: The Basics”
You’ve been referred to a couple as prospective long term care insurance buyers, and because of family experience, they are highly motivated to buy policies. As you speak to the clients over the phone, you discover that one spouse was diagnosed with diabetes more than 10 years ago. How you handle it from here will go a long way toward determining whether you get the policies approved or even place them.
No one wants to enter into an exercise in futility by submitting applications to a company that won’t even consider your applicant. Just as important, it’s crucial that agents who are presenting LTCI understand they often become the face of the industry for many prospective applicants. Handling the presentation and applications with sensitivity and care can result in a win/win for you and the client and enhance the overall image of LTCI.
Preparing for the meeting
Preparing for a meeting with your LTCI prospect requires you to have as much information as possible based on the prospect’s medical history and other considerations. Before the meeting, you will want to narrow down the company or companies that should match well with your clients.
- Putting together the proposals. Assess the affordable range. It is a waste of time to create proposals that are outside the affordable realm for your prospect. Ask enough questions in your initial meeting to understand what the client can afford regarding policy design and premium cost consideration. Too many choices can overwhelm the client. Instead, work up three good options with basic, intermediate, and high-level choices.
- Putting together the proposals. Detail the options. Some insurance carriers’ proposal systems actually have tools that do just that and thus can make your job a little easier. Create a detailed proposal for at least one plan design. Insurance company illustration systems typically allow you to present more specific information about a specific plan design choice. Details available include a benefits grid showing various benefits periods and elimination period choices with associated premiums, a break-even analysis, cost of waiting to purchase at a later age, and an alternate method of privately paying for long term care costs using an uninsured investment comparison. These illustrations can help you address some of the many questions and objections that your prospect might raise during the meeting.
- Get the rate class right. Be sure to use an accurate rate class available to that client. It’s not helpful to illustrate a preferred offer if the client has little chance of obtaining that result after an underwriting review. Many agents will use standard or select rates as the starting point if they’re not certain the client will get a preferred offer. You’ll look like a hero if the result comes back as preferred, and you’ll do the LTCI industry a favor by looking more professional by not overselling. If the client comes back as standard or select, they will have bought what they expected to be offered.
Before the prospect meeting
Gather together the brochures and presentation pieces that might best help you describe what long term care is and why insurance can be a good option to help clients pay for such care. Again, don’t overwhelm the client with too many pieces; instead, bring everything along so that you’re better prepared and can pull each piece out depending on your prospect’s level of understanding of long term care. Consider using a PowerPoint presentation if you think that might help you present more fully and hold your client’s attention while you address the fundamentals. Be sure to bring along some third-party articles from such well-known sources as Kiplinger’s, the Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Sun-Times.
These types of marketing pieces can really help boost your credibility by underscoring what the press is reporting about the importance of long term care planning using LTCI. Kiplinger’s and some of the leading LTCI companies offer excellent brochures that provide general overviews of long term care in the United States and the cost of care is in various parts of the country.
Prep for underwriting information
Of course, you’ll want to have a brochure that is specific to the product you’ll be presenting so that you can talk through its particular features and benefits and narrow down the choices that are important to your client. Another helpful brochure, if the insurance company provides it, is an overview of the insurance company’s underwriting approach. This is really especially helpful if you’ve completed applications and you’re preparing to tell the client what to expect after you submit their application for review. This way, they’ll have a reference piece to review before the phone interview or their meeting with the nurse representing the insurance company.
You’ll also want to bring some helpful resource tools, such as producer product manuals, in case you need to look up policy details that aren’t covered in the consumer brochure. You might also find the annual American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance Sourcebook useful; it has a wealth of information about industry trends and statistics about claims, insurance company sales rankings, and the like. This information can help you formulate a better understanding of the industry as a whole and can come in handy in a pinch.
You’ll improve your chances of completing the sale of a LTCI policy if you do your homework before you even meet the client. This includes a solid presentation package that will help you comfortably guide the client through the complexities of long term care. Remind yourself that most people don’t possess much in-depth knowledge about long term care, how it’s provided in this country, or what LTCI is all about. Your clients will sense your professionalism if you walk through the door armed with the very best tools of your trade.
Stuart H. Armstrong is a John Hancock Life Insurance Company agent with Centinel Financial Group. He can be reached at 617-424-0005 or [email protected].