In spite of challenging conditions, some insurers increased long-term care insurance sales, the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance says. (Photo: Thinkstock)

U.S. consumers may be more confident about the odds that insurers will pay valid long-term care insurance claims now than they were back in 1990.

Susan Coronel, a long-term care insurance specialist at the Washington, D.C.-based America’s Health Insurance Plans, included survey data supporting that possibility in a new slidedeck

The Long Term Care Innovation Subgroup, part of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, put the slidedeck in the packet for a public hearing on long-term care innovation it has scheduled for the NAIC’s summer meeting. The NAIC plans to start the hearing at 10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time Thursday, in the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.

AHIP, a group that represents issuers of long-term care insurance and disability insurance as well as issuers of major medical coverage, worked with LifePlans, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based consulting firm, to survey both long-term care insurance buyers and nonbuyers in 2015. LifePlans has conducted similar consumer surveys in the past.

Related: LifePlans finds high LTCI claimant satisfaction levels [video]

In both 1990 and 2015, the survey team asked the non-buyers to react to several possible reasons for not buying long-term care insurance.

The percentage of participants who agreed that “don’t believe insurers will pay” is a very important reason to avoid long-term care insurance dropped to 13 percent in 2015, from 36 percent in 1990.

In both years, the top consumer objecting to buying long-term care insurance was cost, but the percentage who cited cost as a very important obstacle fell to 51 percent, from 58 percent.

About 17 percent of the 2015 non-buyers said they were waiting for a better. That could be a sign that many non-buyers are window shopping for long-term care insurance.

The survey team found some evidence of an increase in consumer interest in owning long-term care insurance. The percentage of working-age participants who said they want to buy long-term care insurance around or after retirement increased to 26 percent in 2015, from 13 percent in 2005. The percentage who said they had made a firm decision to avoid long-term care insurance held steady at 31 percent.

In other long-term care insurance marketing news:

    • John Hancock, a Boston-based unit of Manulife Financial Corp., says agent interest in its Performance LTC stand-alone long-term care insurance policy has been so strong that it has scheduled extra in-person roadshow meeting. Strong performance of an interest-linked “Flex Credit” mechanism can reduce the amount policyholders end up paying for coverage. John Hancock added that feature to protect itself against the effects of today’s very low interest rates while giving consumers a chance to benefit if interest rates rise significantly after they buy long-term care insurance coverage.
    • Agent Review, the Bellevue, Washington-based company that runs the agentreview.net review website, says Lenny Anderson, the chief executive officer of Golden Care USA, a Plymouth, Minnesota-based long-term care insurance distributor, has invested in the company. Agent Review did not disclose the size of the investment. Jonas Roeser, the co-founder of the review site, has been active in organizing the 3in4 Need More long-term care planning awareness campaigns.
    • The Westlake Village, California-based American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance says that it believes half of the 12 insurers still in the individual long-term care insurance market increased their sales in the first half, in spite of the difficulties the market is facing. Jesse Slome, says AALTCI is getting more inquiries about long-term care insurance from consumers. That increase may be a sign of continuing consumer interest in private long-term care insurance, Slome says.

Related:

John Hancock seeks LTCI growth

HIAA Figures Suggest LTC Sales Are Flat

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