Phil Grossman is president and chief executive officer of LTC Options Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz.
He has a $1.5 million book of in-force long-term care insurance (LTCI) business, and he was recognized by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) in May for ranking 15th in the nation in terms of LTCI sales.
1. How many phone calls do you make a week to set appointments?
Less than five a week. I’m with MetLife, and although they don’t sell LTCI anymore, I have access to 200 advisors, CFP, life and annuity specialists.
Ninety-five percent of my business comes from financial planners, as well as the radio commercials I do.
My challenge over the last nine years has been to educate the planners and change their thinking that everyone’s healthy now and no one needs LTCI.
2. How old were you when you bought your own LTCI?
3. What’s YOUR LTC plan? (Plan, not insurance.)
My first preference is to stay at home.
I do not want to move in with my children, or have them end up living with me, because I want control of my life. I would prefer to move to independent living or an assisted living facility.
So, I do believe long-term care will be something that happens to me. In fact, I pray for LTC instead of passing away.
4. What LTCI policy do you sell the most these days and why?
First of all, I’ve been in the business for 17 years, and although I have securities licenses, I only sell LTCI. I have more than 1,000 clients. I like three companies: Mutual of Omaha, Genworth, and MedAmerica for cash.
With a single person , you can’t beat Transamerica in Arizona for a single person.
I use Stratecision showing three or four or five companies, and I explain to them why I’m recommending what I’m recommending. I try to explain that decisions about LTCI can’t be made by shopping around…customers need to understand that no one can offer them a better price than what I’m offering.
5. How many claims have you seen?
Quite a bit. I’ve attempted to keep track of this. In 17 years, I’ve seen maybe 50 to 100 claims, and two people run out of benefits. I’ve seen people die before they run out of benefits, or die before they meet the elimination period.
I would challenge you to find anyone who has more passion for this business than me. I’ve heard many stories from clients, and they are so thankful they have it. I also have personal experience from people in my own life…one that had insurance, and one that didn’t.
6. Think back to when you graduated. What did you plan to be then?
An attorney, but I got married instead. I’ve been in sales my entire life. I was in the retail business for 17 years with Sears selling aluminum siding.
One of the guys working there went to Amex, and I followed him into the business. I am employed by MetLife (through Enterprise General Agency) as the LTCI specialist for Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.
More agents aren’t successful in this business because they don’t have passion and enthusiasm and don’t know their products.
I wrote $28,000 in my first week after Genworth training. I haven’t had a withdrawal or “not taken” in the past 10 years. You have to approach this sale differently. The prospect has to tell you they need the product.
7. What hobby do you most enjoy or would you like to try next?
I enjoy golf, sporting events, going to games… I’m single, and there’s not enough hours in the day. Long-term care is my biggest hobby. I’m not a handy fix-it man, you don’t want me to touch anything that needs repair…. If I do, when the handyman shows up, he’ll say, “I never saw anything like this before.”
I spend hours at my computer, keeping spreadsheets, keeping up-to-date with people and sending birthdays and holiday cards. I spend a lot of time… I don’t delegate anything.
8. What’s your favorite drink?
Coke. Original. I do not drink alcohol by choice. The last time I had alcohol to my lips was at my bris.
9. What makes you happy?
I love what I do. I’m not faced with getting out of bed and being forced to work. I’ve been asked (when I split cases with other agents), ”What did we make?” I don’t know. I don’t pay attention to it. It’s not part of my computation.
I believe everyone should have an LTCI policy, if it’s not taking bread off the table, and if they’re health-qualified.
So, my occupation makes me happy. If I’m fortunate enough to be seeing someone whose company I enjoy, that makes me happy. Not having health issues makes me happy. My friends make me happy.
10. Can you share a resource, service, program, software, etc. that has been critical to your success?
Stratecision. There’s no way I could function without it. Also, although I haven’t been using it as much, I like Phil Sullivan’s risk presentation and agent presentation.
11. IPhone, Blackberry or other?
12. How many more years do you see yourself doing this?
As long as the passion is there and I’m physically able, I will always be involved at some level. I made a promise to my clients that they can reach me any time, and they all have my number. The most important thing I can do is to help them.
Sometimes they call me, and they’re in their 80s. T hey’re so stressed out. They’re alone.
Anyone can simply write a policy, but I’m there to help them.