San Antonio — Intercompany Long-Term Care Insurance Conference has attracted about 1,000 attendees here this week. The sky is sunny. The beef for the fajitas has been tender. Ernst & Young is giving away a drone.
But the conversation is more somber than it was a year ago, at the ILTCI conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., with news of MedAmerica’s departure from the long-term care insurance (LTCI) market still fresh.
Ross Bagshaw, a principal and consulting actuary at Wakely Actuarial, said he’s been very busy — with work on LTCI rate increases.
“I’d say the people here are long-term care true believers,” Bagshaw said. ‘It’s a tight-knit industry.”
Word that LTCI sales are down “is kind of weighing heavily on people,” he said.
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Shawn Britt, director of the advanced consulting group at Nationwide, which sells products that combine LTC benefits with universal life insurance or variable universal life insurance, said the sessions at the conference have been very valuable. “It doesn’t matter how much you think you know,” Britt said. “There’s always something to learn.”
But the tone of conversation at the conference “depends on which side of the industry you’re on,” Britt said.
Nationwide, for example, has just released an LTC benefits rider that goes together with a survivorship universal life policy.
During a conference session on annuity-LTC and life-LTC combo products, speakers noted that sellers of traditional LTCI have generally been skeptical of, or even hostile toward, the combo products.
Traditional LTCI pays off only when need people need long-term care (LTC) services, speakers said. It can turn a relatively small stream of premium dollars into a large stream of LTC benefits.
The combo products pay benefits whether the purchaser ever needs LTC services or not. That makes the products easier for consumers to understand, and easier for actuaries to analyze, but it also means that the amount of LTC benefits provided is relatively modest relative to the amount of cash put in.