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5 views from the LTCI bleachers

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The organizers of the recent Intercompany Long Term Care Insurance (ILTCI) Conference attracted the insurers that have hung on through thick and thin, and thinner.

They also attracted a number of exhibitors from outside the ranks of long-term care insurance (LTCI) insurers, distributors and consumer-side producers.

Many of the booths were set up by sellers of long-term care (LTC) services, home care products, business support services, information services, data analysis services, nonprofit groups and several private investigators.

Jonas Roeser of the 3in4 Association, an LTC planning awareness group, was there to make the case that insurers can get a lot more bang for the promotional buck when they back a nonprofit awareness campaign than when they try to promote for-profit products on their own. He pointed out that the last awareness campaign lasted 12 weeks, got slots on 33 morning shows and generated media coverage with a value of about $6.3 million. 

Sandy Hampel, a director at ACORD, was at the conference to look for opportunities to help LTCI issuers and distributors by establishing new LTCI data standards. Typically, LTCI issuers have used life industry standards. LTCI issuers and actuaries have complained repeatedly about the difficulty of getting good experience data. Developing better LTCI-specific data standards might be one way to improve the experience data, Hampel said.

For a look at what other exhibitors from outside the ranks of LTCI issuers and distributors were saying, read on.

 Padlock for data

5. Some LTCI producers need better liability insurance.

Scott Reid was at the show to promote the National Association of Professional Agents (NAPA), and to persuade LTCI agents to beef up their own coverage.

Most LTCI agents have errors and omissions (E&O) coverage, but about 20 percent are going bare, and as many as 80 percent may need data breach and cyber liability protection, Reid said.

Many agents think their E&O coverage will protect them against data breach problems, but the typical E&O policy does not, Reid added.

Most LTCI agents understand that they are “business associates” for purposes of complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) health information privacy and data security provisions, but many are hazy on just how to protect themselves, Reid said.

Agents “know how to sell insurance, but they’re sometimes reluctant to buy it for themselves,” Reid said.

See also: Anthem hack: Who (other than the hackers) could benefit?

Girl with a lemonade stand

4. Business challenges can create opportunities.

TriPlus Services Inc. is an example of a company that has found a way to zig when others zag.

The company is an offshoot of a company that was formed to buy blocks of LTCI business that wanted to get out of the LTCI market. 

TriPlus itself assumes no LTCI risk. It simply provides services for LTCI blocks that involve no insurance risk.

One of the company’s specialties happens to be knowing how to increase LTCI rates. There’s an art to rate increase support, and TriPlus has it down cold. 

“The right outcomes are achieved through planning and coordination of actuarial justification preparation, rate increase structure and design, state filing and negotiation, customized policyholder communications, call center specialization, policy modification counseling, and thorough documentation of policyholder actions,” the company says in a brochure.

See also: Connecticut posts LTCI rate filings

 Silhouette of a shopper, from behind

3. LTCI issuers should think about the possibility of fraud.

Michael Clarke, the chief executive officer of Archangel Investigations & Protection Inc., was one of several exhibitors marketing LTCI investigation services.

No one likes to think of consumers trying to defraud LTCI issuers, but, occasionally, Clarke said, consumers may commit the same kinds of fraud against LTCI issuers that policyholders have been known to commit against disability insurers.

In some cases, he said, able-bodied insureds who lead active lives may use LTCI home care benefits to pay for household help, or more get cash out of a policy by pretending to need or pay for long-term care.

For an investigator, one common step is to track the comings and goings of any paid caregivers, Clarke said.

“Are they actually showing to provide the care?” Clarke asked.

See also: AALTCI posts LTCI claim data

 Home wheelchair ramp

2. Some of the same strategies that help insurers manage health or disability claim risk may help them manage LTCI claim risk.

Typical private LTCI claim investigators have worked on disability insurance claim investigations before getting into the LTCI market.

Some of the other service providers at the ILTCI Conference had followed a similar path, from the disability market into the ILTCI market.

One example is Amramp, a company that makes wheelchair ramps and other products that help people in wheelchairs get into buildings, and to get around inside buildings. In addition to ramps, its products include stair lifts, pool lifts and roll-in showers.

The booth managers said Amramp has exhibited at disability insurance and workers’ compensation events for years. Insurers in those markets see helping insureds get ramps as a way keep people off claim and improve the quality of life for insureds who are on claim.

The managers said it seemed logical to think LTCI issuers might be interested in ramps for similar reasons: to spend a little bit of money on ramps to reduce the risk that an insured will collect full benefits.

See also: Aging in Place: A Little Help Can Go a Long Way

Hand clasping another hand

1. LTCI can make the beneficiaries’ lives better.

Representatives from LTC service providers such as AccentCare and Comfort Keepers show talked about how much they like to see consumers coming in with private LTCI coverage.

Burt Stovall, a manager at CK Franchising Inc., a company that oversees the national Comfort Keepers home care franchise network, said trends in consumer use of private LTCI have been inconsistent.

“Some offices report an increased usage,” he said. “Others have noticed a decline. You might expect this inconsistency would manifest between franchises in different states, but we also see this inconsistency among franchises in the same state.”

The company has found that consumers’ overall level of satisfaction with LTCI issuers is good, whether the families are filing the claims or the Comfort Keepers offices are filing for reimbursement directly, Stovall said.

“The one thing we do find to be consistent is the relief by the clients and their families when they know their investment in LTCI is helping to provide the care needed for a better quality of life,’ Stovall said.

See also: 5 ideas from an LTCI agent who became a provider 


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