You keep hearing that long-term care insurance is an important offering for your clients, and the facts certainly seem to support that. With the aging of the workforce, the presenteeism challenges facing employers and employees and the startling statistic that seven in 10 people will need some form of care after age 65, it’s hard to argue against it. And if that’s not enough, there is the rising cost of this care. In 30 years, when most potential insured clients will need LTCI, the average claim is projected to be well over $1 million.

So, as you look at your firm’s resources and areas of focus, long-term care sounds good — but perhaps the bandwidth needed to take this on just isn’t part of your firm’s current environment. This might be the time to consider partnering with an LTC expert to address this issue.

To start, finding the right partner can make the difference between a good experience and a great experience. If done well, partnering with an LTC expert will add intrinsic value to your overall client experience because LTCI is a multi-tasking offer – it enhances key executive program options, complements the health care program, protects the retirement programs, augments the disability program and may address your employer’s resource deficits regarding the caregiving issues already affecting the workplace environment.

Meeting your match

There are many LTCI agents in the market looking to connect to the worksite. So what should you look for in a potential partner that will be working closely with you, your team and your valued clients? Here are some key considerations:

  • Experience: You need to know what worksite experience your potential partner has. Have they been actively involved in the employer market, or is this a new area for them? Do they understand your area of expertise? Would you hire them as an employee of your firm? Would you buy this product from them?
  • Results: A prospective partner should have solid results from past implementations and be able to reference actual client experiences that are representative of your client base.
  • Services: Ask what services this potential partner provides and how they integrate with your current client management process. How are those services delivered and by whom? Who delivers the client site enrollment and what is their expertise? Who handles the enrollments with key executives? How does this partner keep your team updated, educated and licensed?
  • Due diligence: What is the prospective partner’s due diligence process? They need to be transparent and able to represent the various carrier and program options, rather than favoring a few or perhaps just one carrier. It’s also beneficial to know how they maintain their carrier relationships.
  • Compensation: The compensation should be commensurate with the distribution of work, and those expectations need to be discussed and understood. Your potential partner should have a production track record that confirms their ability to deliver acceptable results.
  • E&O insurance: Your potential partner should carry this coverage, and the responsibilities of both parties should be clearly understood.
  • Industry expertise: Does your potential partner actively participate in the LTC industry forums? Do they maintain any industry designations, and are they viewed as an industry expert?
  • Strategic partnerships: The potential partner should demonstrate that they have the tools, resources and relationships to deliver the proposed programs to your valued clients. You should also know what their “back room” support looks like.

Realizing results

Finding the right LTCI partner is very important, but remember that it’s just the first step. Trusting this partner to work with your team to change the way LTC is introduced to your clients as a strategic benefit is where the real results are realized. Only once you truly engage the relationship as part of client stewardship, will you be able to effectively address this challenge for your clients.

Ruth Larkin is president of LifeCycle Benefits, an organization that addresses employer and employee needs surrounding longevity planning and LTCI options. She can be reached at rlarkin@lifecyclebenefits.com.

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

Past LTCI stories from ASJ:

12 Questions for 1 Successful LTCI Agent: Brigitte Bromberg

12 Questions for 1 Successful LTCI Agent: Gerard Goulet

The CLASS Act and LTCI: How to Prepare

Prediction: LTCI Sales Will Climb in 2011

Earth to Producers: To Sell LTCI, Own It Yourself