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LTCI Watch: Halloween

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I’m a member of Generation X, with a child who’s a member of “Generation Z,” or the “iGeneration,” or whatever you want to call the people born after 2000.

Baby boomer managers still seem to set the tone for many of the financial services marketing campaigns aimed at me and my kid, and those folks tend to love the sugar. They often focus on positive, heartwarming scenes with, possibly, a small touch of concern about what the future might hold. Nothing that would upset anyone too much.

Meanwhile, my kid watches…zombie shows. And Japanese cartoons that usually seem to involve imminent threats of cataclysmic earthquakes, tsunamis, cannibalism, and problems with Japanese government health insurance cost-sharing provisions.

And I truly think that any financial services provider that wants a good shot at selling my kid any relatively high-premium product later needs to be marketing to her now.

Issuers of life, health, disability and long-term insurance products seem to think of consumers in their 30s as nice young prospects. They seem to think of consumers in their 20s as unicorns, who would be wonderful to draw in but must be difficult to convert.

But the consumers with relatively stable full-time jobs who make the most obvious financial services prospects because they are starting to make the choices that will lock in their personal protection and investment allocations, and their standard-of-living expectations, while they are starting to think vague thoughts about getting their first full-time jobs. 

It’s easy for sales consultants to tell agents and brokers, “Just tell prospects to live in a smaller house, and use the savings to protect their lifestyle and their families,” or “Just tell the prospects to use their coffee money to protect their families from catastrophe.”

But, once even 20-something consumers start to think of having a four-bedroom stand-alone house with a yard as a necessity, or a morning latte as a necessity, then getting them to cut back and “just send the insurance company that money” will always be difficult. You’ll always be taking away something basic, not filling a budget slot the prospects “always” knew about.

We’re about to enter the final weeks of the Halloween sales season. Halloween is a great holiday for highlighting life insurance insureds who’ve passed on to the stage of being the subject of death claims. Every ghost who extends a creepy, bony hand from a haunted house crypt is giving children a bit of an education about why people buy life insurance.

It seems as if Halloween could also be a great, grim chance to educate children about why they might want to build having long-term care insurance (LTCI) into their life plans.

The thought of having a grandparents’, or parents’, ghost in the attic is scary.

See also: LTCI Watch: Boxy boomers

The thought of having a living, loving, incapacitated parent in what used to be the spare bedroom, and not having the resources to care for that parent, could be much scarier.

Maybe it would be good if LTCI issuers could move away from campaigns full of heartwarming vignettes about holiday dinner tables and plant terror in the hearts of children with tales of poverty and misery in spare bedrooms. 


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