Ask any long term care insurance policyholder why they purchased a policy, and you’ll most commonly hear, “To protect my loved ones or children.”
And sure – the coverage will protect retirement assets and provide options for care. However, the underlying reason people buy LTCI is because they love somebody.
Any seasoned LTCI veteran will tell you that selling this particular product means making an extremely emotional sale. To successfully sell LTCI, we as agents and advisors must ask our clients difficult questions when discussing extended health care. It’s imperative that you get your clients talking about their experiences with long term care and caregiving. Only after you’ve learned about these experiences should you bring up the topic of insurance.
When it becomes time to discuss funding options for long term care arises, start at the back end of LTCI. For instance, many agents and advisors begin talking about LTCI using such terms as “daily benefit” and “inflation rider”; however, after the thought-provoking and emotional conversation you just had with your client, these types of insurance terms can derail the sales process.
Instead, transition the conversation by first talking about the intangible benefits of LTCI – and one of the product’s biggest benefits is care coordination, or caregiver support services, provided to family members.
What is care coordination?
A care coordinator – often a nurse or social worker – acts as an intermediary for the family and an advocate for the insured. This person is a neutral voice that can help a family interpret the benefits of their policy, establish a plan of care, and locate a network of quality care providers.
For any family in crisis, this is a true benefit that’s intangible at application time, and which becomes quite tangible at claim time. Even though a family may be able to rely on insurance policy proceeds to pay the costs of long term care, long term care situations often create an extremely challenging and confusing time for families. Children may have different opinions of how to help their parents and may be concerned about whether their loved ones will receive care from reputable individuals or agencies. It can be a full-time job just to locate care providers and coordinate the care, and caregiver support services can alleviate a lot of this pressure and afford the family members the opportunity to supervise care – not coordinate and provide it.
Care coordination and caregiver support services are a true LTCI benefit, yet agents and advisors hardly talk about them when first discussing the LTCI option. Use it at the time of application to help put more coverage in force; if your client does make a claim on their policy, the support service will become a true value.
Brian M. Johnson is the director of business development at New York — National Long-Term Care Brokers Ltd. in Clifton Park, NY. He can be reached at [email protected] or 518-371-5522, ext. 154.