Honey Leveen with Dr. Marion, Gail Steingold and Sally Leimbach at the ILTCI Conference. (Photo courtesy of Honey Leveen)

I love conferences!

I’ve recently returned from the 2012 ILTCi Conference, or the Society of Actuaries (SOA) conference, as many still call it. This year’s conference was very meaningful in the many ways I described in last year’s conference column.

I will describe what I consider to be the single most exciting session I attended there this year, not only from this producer’s standpoint, but I believe from the LTCi industry’s and the country’s long-term care (LTC) planning standpoint, as well.

I’m referring to the 3in4 Association’s anniversary and information session.

I had a wait-and-see attitude towards www.3in4needmore.com after attending its debut press conference at the 2011 SOA Conference. Its concept and mission made huge sense, but many of us independent producers feared that campaign was simply a disguised marketing and recruiting vehicle for LTC Financial Partners (LTCFP), the original founding agency of the campaign.

The campaign was created by LTCFP’s chief marketing officer, Jonas Roeser, as an internal campaign to be used with their consumer and business to business outreach.

As Roeser puts it today, “The LTC industry continued to request a ‘Got Milk’ style campaign, and I knew the 3in4 had legs. That being said, LTCFP turned over the trademarks and the 3in4 Association, now a non-profit organization, was formed.”

Now, one year later, after attending its first anniversary press conference and in a subsequent meeting with Jonas Roeser, who serves as the 3in4 Association president, and Margie Barrie, the 3in4 vice president, I feel differently.

There is no doubt in my mind that everyone involved with 3in4 is giving their time to serve the greater good.

3in4needmore’s mission is to increase national awareness of the need for each citizen to develop a long-term care plan and to raise awareness of the various private and public products and services available to them that should be considered in plan design.

When you take a closer look at 3in4’s board, you will see that the LTCi industry is represented by a diverse array of our industry’s most powerful people, not just LTCFP people.

From its home page, you can get 3in4 news via Facebook and LinkedIn. As an LTCi zealot and foot soldier on the front lines, I would eventually like to have more updates on 3in4 current events, but I get the impression that 3in4 leadership is working as fast and passionately as they can. These are very exciting times for 3in4. No one working on the campaign gets paid, and much time and effort is being invested in it. I think eventually better updates are coming, because 3in4 does understand that producer involvement is essential for its success.

Initially, 3in4needmore was funded by LTCi carriers.

According to Jonas Roeser, during its first year, the campaign garnered the equivalent of $2.8 million of media value in print, online, TV, and radio form. 3in4’s publicity in New York City included a flash mob in Times Square, TV coverage, and a presence on Prudential’s world famous billboard.

The campaign’s spokesperson, Dr. Marion Somers, is to me the embodiment of everyone’s grandmother.

She is credible, wise, knowledgeable, articulate, and a passionate 3in4 advocate. Last year, Dr. Marion made a 9-week cross-country promotional tour for 3in4 in her retro-fitted, 3in4-wrapped, attention-getting 1965 Greyhound bus. This year, she will embark on an even longer cross-country tour starting on April 30, 2012, and ending on July 28, 2012.

The most telltale example of 3in4’s success this past year was learning that additional and more diverse sponsors have now joined the campaign. Genworth, the lone large carrier holdout, has now joined. Many of leading insurance agencies and brokers have joined, as well as LTCi-aligned businesses and publications. The most exciting new sponsors are NAHU, NAIFA, Emeritus and Interim.

By joining 3in4, NAHU and NAIFA acknowledge the dire need for their constituents to be better educated and confident with LTCi. Emeritus’s sponsorship in particularly exciting to me. As owners of 500+ assisted living facilities, Emeritus understands the correlation between their profitability and LTCi sales.

It looks like 3in4 is on track to garnering the notoriety it deserves. I hope one day soon it is as well known and ubiquitous as the famous “got milk” campaign. I encourage all readers to visit http://www.3in4needmore.com and register right now. Here are last year’s tour videos and the recorded sessions at the ILTCi conference. 

-ab