Sue Cook used to sell long-term care insurance (LTCI) and other insurance products at a bank in Kokomo, Ind.
Now, she provides the long-term care (LTC) services.
Cook has been the president and owner of the Homewatch CareGivers of Summerlin franchise in Las Vegas since 2009.
See also: 4 things to know: Continuing care at home.
She grew up on a farm in Greentown, Ind., in a house next to an aunt and uncle who had no children. She watched her grandmother take care of a great-grandmother who lived to be 95. She later took care of the aunt for 15 years. “It gets to the point where you’re there three times a day,” Cook said.
When Cook’s aunt moved into an assisted living facility and Cook visited, she began to take an interest in helping other older people.
Many of the people who now use her services once worked for the federal government, or were relatives who worked for the federal government, and more than half of the clients have private LTCI.
Her experience makes her one of the rare people who have seen both the world of LTCI and the world of the LTC provider from the inside.
To learn more about her thoughts for the colleagues still working as LTCI agents, read on.
1. Producers who become providers need to be passionate about taking care of older people.
“Most people go into home care because of personal experience taking care of an elder loved one,” Cook said. “That’s why I got into the business, and oftentimes that’s how people are first introduced to this industry. It helped my learning curve to have the background, but the greater meaning of taking care of our aging population is what really drew me to this work.”
Agents and brokers who are thinking of possibly becoming providers themselves should genuinely like people and enjoy taking care of them, Cook said.
“There has to be a certain passion about the job itself to do it well,” she said.
Image: AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle.
See also: The noblest profession.
2. Like good LTCI agents, good LTC providers need to know what to do in a crisis.
Agents often get urgent calls from desperate adult children of LTCI policyholders — or possible LTCI policyholders — who are trying to figure out how — or whether — parents made any LTC funding arrangements.
Cook gets calls, sometimes from adult children, who know they have to do something, immediately, but have only a vague idea of what happens to older people who can no longer live at home alone.