Gene Cutler is a founding partner and board member at LTC Financial Partners.
The long-term care insurance (LTCi) specialist places about $350,000 to $400,000 in premium per year. He has been acknowledged as a leading LTCi producer for many carriers, including Amex, GE, John Hancock, MedAmerica and Mutual of Omaha.
Cutler is a sales leader at LTC Financial Partners for the New York region, and he still actively recruits and mentors agents.
1. How many phone calls do you make a week to set appointments?
Unfortunately, unlike I advise others to do, I really don’t track. My work days are Monday to Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. I take a dinner break. I’m either on the phone or in appointments. I’ve been doing LTCi since 1994, and I have number of lead and referral sources. My last appointment is at 7 p.m. I try to schedule 10 to 12 appointments per week, and I do a lot of double-booking.
I find that no one ever gives me a problem when I call to delay or reschedule an appointment pertaining to nursing home insurance. I’m a busy person – my approach is I’m a busy guy. I make that apparent. If there are any conflicts on my behalf, I’m sure you’ll give me the courtesy of a call to reschedule. And I’ll do the same. Overbooking never gets me in to a problem. I have 5 to 8 appointments a week.
2. How old were you when you bought your own LTCi?
At age 46, bought in December 1996. What motivated me is Superman fell off a horse. I was driving 40,000 miles a year in my car (selling for GE). That got me thinking about what an accident would mean for me.
3. What’s YOUR LTC plan? (Plan, not insurance.)
Clearly I want to stay at home. (I have house on Long Island and a place in Manhattan at Gramercy Park). I’d like to write a little bit. My wife and I are very comfortable in the house on Long Island, which we bought at age 50… Maybe we’ll retire in the city.
4. What LTCi policy do you sell the most these days and why?
New York state is unique; we have unlimited asset protection with Partnership. I’m doing quite a bit with two plans:
New York state partnership MedAmerica – They are the best bang for buck, with 5% compound. For age 55 or less they are less than 4% compound with other carriers. Another aspect of MedAmerica is they are the only reimbursement plan that has worldwide coverage.
The other plan I do a lot with is Mutual Of Omaha. I like the nature of their cash coverage (50% or 40%). I like all the inflation options for those who are price sensitive. It’s easy to explain.
5. How many claims have you seen?
I’ve seen at least 300. The way I tell the story, is “I see the lucky clients once, Miss (prospect). I see the unlucky ones a second time…to help them and their family at claim time.” Often when I meet with people they ask “Gene, how easy is this to collect on” and I say that’s not the problem. At claim time, I often find myself asking the wife of the husband who needs help, “Why didn’t you call me 6 months ago? She’ll look at her husband and say, ‘He wouldn’t let me.’”
6. Think back to when you graduated. What did you plan to be then?
My original major was creative writing. That might be part of my plan down the road. I enjoy what I do, and run a lot of the conference calls for LTC Financial Partners. I have a master’s in creative writing. Then I went back for my MBA.
7. What hobby do you most enjoy or would you like to try next?
Gardening, woodworking. Anything that has my hands occupied. “When my hand’s in the mud, it can’t be on a cell phone.” Bicycling, working out at the small gym in the house. At one time, I was growing 3 different types of tomatoes… Now it’s more landscaping.
8. What’s your favorite drink?
A good Macallan single malt. Craft-brewed beers (Dogfish, Ithaca). I have about 20 out-of-state insurance licenses. Many times when I’m asked to split a case, I ask them to send me a bottle of single-malt.
9. What makes you happy?
Turning off all my devices and traveling with my wife. As of this past October, I have a grandson who lives in Brooklyn, and that’s added another dimension to my life.
10. Can you share a resource, service, program, software, etc. or two that has been critical to your success?
Well, I came from Amex and GE. I’m one of the founding partners of Financial Partners. When I got a hold of Stratecision, I became one dangerous sales person.
With the buyer age falling, when you think how do these people buy things – they compare. I became the LTCi supermarket. That proprietary software is updated every 48 to 72 hours, giving us the lowest premiums available at any time. My job is to narrow it down to the two to three plans for the person to make the decision. It’s the right way to buy this, and right way to sell this.
I get a lot of mileage from the screen-sharing program www.join.me. When people come to this topic, they want to dip their toe from 20 feet away. Sixty percent of the time I call them, they’re on a computer. I ask them, “Go to Google, type in my name…then go to website. It says Click on Gene’s mustache.” They can put comments there.
11. IPhone, Blackberry or other?
I never went for all that stuff – it’s a LG – probably a smart phone that I’m pretending is dumb. I answer texts as needed. Not fanatical.
12. How many more years do you see yourself doing this?
I’ve thought about this. As long as I enjoy doing this — the opportunity to meet with people. I’m a people person. Every day is different. I get a lot of gratification from being persistent. I get a lot of satisfaction knowing I’m seen as an expert. You don’t take a car that’s been running at 60 mph and park it in the driveway dead. I’m still figuring out how to define retirement. Still figuring it out. I’ve met, in this biz, many people who have been around the block many more times that I. I love what I do.
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