Optimism. It permeated the 500 producers and marketing organizations at the American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance’s 2011 Summit. Chalk it up perhaps to the industry’s new “3 in 4″ campaign, or to the fact that, after a turbulent last year, companies and products seem stable and ready for prime time. Some might attribute this optimism to the simple fact that those in attendance were the survivors. And yet, I don’t think the word “optimistic” quite captures the spirit of the event. In fact, what was present was an emotion that hasn’t been witnessed for nearly a decade. Could it have been exuberance?

Acknowledging one person can’t cover a conference of this size in one column, four Summit presentations are touched upon below.

Presentation 1: “3 in 4 Need More”

One of the first events was the “3 in 4 Need More” campaign, a media event open to all program attendees. The campaign has broad support among industry insurers and distributors. Its goal is a “got milk?” -like campaign to inform Americans that health insurance isn’t enough. A highlight of the session was meeting campaign spokesperson Dr. Marion Somers, a long-term care planning advocate. Although millions of people need more than just health insurance, “The awareness gap is huge,” says Peter S. Gelbwaks, Advisory Board member of the 3in4 Association, promoter of the “3 in 4 Need More” campaign.

Presentation 2: Sales achievement

Since AALTCI is the industry’s trade organization, and its National LTCI Summit is the largest conference focused exclusively on selling and marketing long-term care insurance, one of the highlights of the event is always the sales awards, which this year included not only individuals, but also marketing organizations.

2011 Long-Term Care Insurance Agency Achievement Awards (for 2010 LTCI sales growth)

Category

Company

Increase (%)

Sales Under $500,000

Capitol Metro Financial Services, Columbia, Md.

93% increase

Sales $1 Million-$2.5 Million

LTC Benefits Group, Inc.,
Omaha, Neb.

55% increase

Sales $2.5 Million-$5 Million

Individual Commercial Brokerage Inc., Rockaway, N.J.

34% increase

Sales $5 Million-$ 10 Million

MasterCare Solutions, Inc., Portland, Ore.

26% increase

Sales Over $10 Million

LTCI Partners, LLC,
Lake Forest, Ill.

32.5% increase

2010 individual sales

No. 1: Tony Stratidis, managing partner with MS Consulting Group, Westport, Conn.

No. 2: Steve Elliott, Capstone Long-Term Care Consulting, San Diego, Calif.

No. 3: Chris Rew, Capstone Long-Term Care Consulting, Bailey, Colo.

2010 multi-life sales

No. 1: Tony Stratidis, managing partner with MS Consulting Group, Westport, Conn.

No. 2: Michael Van Greve, Affinity LTC, Lemoyne, Pa.

Presentation 3: Agents ask actuaries

In this session, actuary Dawn Helwig of Milliman answered such questions as, Why are lapse rates so important?” Answer: If pricing assumes a 4 percent per year lapse rate, after 10 years, 66 percent of those issued are expected to be in force. If rate is actually 1 percent, after 10 years, 90 percent are in force. Twenty years out: a 4 percent lapse assumes 44 percent in force. A 1 percent lapse will result in 82 percent being in force — which means that about 85 percent more people will be around after 20 years with the lower assumption.

Another question Dawn posed: “What percentage of policyholders will actually qualify for a claim?” Answer: Remember, the only policyholders who will qualify are those who pass LTC underwriting and whose services are reimbursed by an LTC policy. At age 65, based on Milliman LTC Guidelines and moderate underwriting, the estimated lifetime probability of needing care for married men is 30 percent; for single females it’s 56 percent. The average across all genders and life situations is 45 percent.

Presentation 4: Selling over the phone and internet

Here, producer Scott Olsen shared how he sells policies without ever leaving his home. Through voicemails, emails and the services of USPS and FedEx, he aims to be, “everywhere the prospect looks.” Key insights of the session included: there is no such thing as an exclusive internet lead (he buys the cheapest); his initial email drives everyone to his site to complete a health questionnaire before he does anything; he uses www.Salesforce.com integrated with his website to populate prospect data right into his database; he prints out brochures on his laser printer (he couldn’t possibly warehouse copies for the 44 states in which he’s licensed) and he sends prospects company illustrations, not summaries.

The takeaway

One final note about the feeling of exuberance at the 2011 Summit: the road-weary, sales-hardened agents of LTCI attested that the feeling wasn’t irrational. The next chapter in the biography of LTCI is being written by these foot soldiers of LTCI, and they are the most hard-working and optimistic bunch of businesspeople an industry could hope for.

Marilee Driscoll has 20 years of experience in the LTCi business as a licensed agent, author, consultant to national distributors and founder of the Driscoll Drip referral marketing program. She writes the monthly “12 Questions for One Successful LTCi Agent” column, and is a quarterly contributor to our Prospecting Corner Column.

For more exclusive LTCI coverage, visit ASJ’s LTCI Resource Center.

Past LTCI stories from ASJ:

Earth to Producers: To Sell LTCI, Own It Yourself

12 Questions for 1 Successful LTCI Agent: Gerard Goulet

The Class Act and LTCI: How to Prepare

12 Questions for 1 Successful LTCI Agent: Brigitte Bromberg

Prediction: LTCI Sales Will Climb in 2011