San Antonio — The organizers of the Intercompany Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) Conference brought in Ken Schmidt, a former Harley-Davidson marketing executive, to talk about how to stop thinking in terms of selling to customers and how to start thinking in terms of winning the undying love of disciples.

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It wasn’t clear whether Schmidt understood how different selling medically underwritten long-term care insurance (LTCI) is from selling a motorcycle. He seemed to assume, as a given, that insurers would love to sell more LTCI policies. Of course, whether that’s true depends on the issuers and if they have enough capital to support the extra business, and if the new customers are good risks.

The last thing LTCI issuers want is to get the business, for example, of a woman who loves LTCI issuers because of how faithfully the issuers have paid LTCI benefits to her parents, her grandparents, her aunts, her uncles and her pet parakeet, in each case for 10 years or more. 

But another thought is that selling the “LTCI lifestyle” is much more difficult than selling the “Harley-Davidson lifestyle.” This is due in part because nursing homes, assisted living facility managers, and other LTC services providers tend to do everything they can to make anything associated with long-term care seem calm, classy and quiet.

Harley-Davidson riders get to wear aged leather and denim, and make their engines rumble. They get to be extreme.

People who are planning for long-term care needs are, actually, being tough enough to think about topics that are much scarier than going “vroom vroom” on a Harley-Davidson. But they tend to end up thinking about long-term care services in dull, bloodless terms.

The question for the future is: How can we put the blood back into old age planning and make it more extreme?

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