• Irving Safrin, CLTC, C.A.P., Safrin Associates, Pomona, N.Y. 
  • Terrence Sloane, CLU, Sloane Agency, Harrison, N.Y.

What key changes have you seen in the LTC marketplace over the last year?

Safrin: “We keep our clients and potential clients aware that good LTC coverage is getting harder to obtain. Radical changes in the past 12 months have included the elimination of lifetime/unlimited options and the withdrawal of important carriers from the LTC marketplace.”

Sloane: “The change is simple: clients understand the need and importance in their financial/retirement plan for Long Term Care Coverage. With investment returns at record lows, a long-term care claim will create havoc to a retirement plan – possibly even bankruptcy.”

What’s driving widening awareness of LTC?

Safrin: “There are several factors: The introduction of alternative products on a more contributory or participation basis; premium issues, especially for the unemployed or partially employed; the reluctance of employers to embark on new programs in view of the current uncertain economics; and the withdrawal of the LTC feature from the Obama health plan. Also, there’s a growing shortage of nursing and care facilities.”

Sloane: “Every year the baby boomers age, they experience firsthand through friends and families the need for long term care coverage. Also the Internet, news, magazines, special TV health programs, our government…the list goes on – the media are our strongest ally in promoting the need for coverage.”

How do you convey the importance of LTC coverage to clients?

Safrin: “One of the most effective approaches is relating an emotional story about my own Mom. She was wheelchair-bound for seven and a half years, and my sister was the primary caregiver. They added a handicapped apartment to their home and were on call day and night. Because we were not nearby, the burden totally fell on my sister.  I make a point of letting people know that LTC is a family issue. I tell them, ‘It’s not a question of who will take care of you. Your family will because they love you. Instead it’s a question of how they will take care of you and the impact it could have on them.’ LTC insurance allows your family to keep the promise they made to take care of you by providing the funds to help them do it better and longer.”

Sloane: “Letting your existing Life, Health and Casualty clients know that you represent many LTC carriers is key. Remind your clients at least four times a year of the importance of having LTC and changes in the industry.  Referrals are key to writing business. Market it and they will come!”

Any other words of advice?

Safrin: “It makes a lot of sense to plan ahead and obtain coverage while you are younger and healthy.”

Sloane: “Once I receive a recommendation I always start off my discussion asking what occurred that triggered this discussion. Ninety-nine percent of the time it is a great awakening of watching a friend or family member experience the hardships and financial burden of a long term care claim. Once I am comfortable that the discussion has covered what a long term care claim is and the effects on the family I focus on the importance of preserving and protecting the financial and retirement plan. Then I discuss various provisions offered in LTC policies. I do not talk carrier or price. Once I understand which benefits are important to the client and get a feel for their budget I create a plan and recommend a carrier.”


Read more from the LTC In Focus eNewsletter:

Industry Outlook  |  First Person  |  3-Minute Interview