Due to its complexity, LTCI is often seen as a product for specialists. Consequently, distribution was built around national marketing organizations that specialize in LTCI, says Lane Kent, LTCP, president of Univita Insurance Administration Services in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Although insurers attempted to get life agents and other financial services producers to sell the products, the distribution pattern remained relatively fixed. That’s changing, though, Kent maintains. “The carriers that are sort of ascending to the top right now are finally getting some meaningful penetration from career agents,” he says. “Carriers like Northwestern Mutual and New York Life, just in the last couple of years, are making impressive strides in getting some of their more seasoned and expert life insurance agents to devote some time and energy to selling long term care insurance. (With) group products, I think one of the trends is there is a little more success in getting some of the big employee benefit shops to represent long term care product as a normal part of their process when they are consulting with their large employers. I believe that trend is going to continue.”