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Denise Gott and Steve Cain, at the ILTCI Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo: Margie Barrie/ALM)

Time Is on Group Long-Term Care Insurance Sellers' Side

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What You Need to Know

  • Many workers are now caregivers.
  • They are hungry for ideas about how to pay for their own care.
  • Text messaging is the new email.

One important thing I learned from the Intercompany Long-Term Care Insurance Company Conference: Long-term care insurance veterans are optimistic about the group long-term care insurance market.

ILTCI had a great session here, in Raleigh, North Carolina, on the group LTCI resurgence.

My friend Steve Cain, a director at LTCI Partners, moderated a panel that featured three more friends: Adam Ruder, a vice president at J. Manning & Associates; Kevin Sypniewski, CEO of the AGIS Network elder care resources business; and Denise Gott, the CEO of ACSIA Partners, a major LTCI specialty agency. (I have been an agent affiliated with ACSIA for more than eight years.)

We all know that the LTCI market has gone through hard times.

But the panel participants agreed: interest in employer-sponsored long-term care benefits is heating up.

Employers could provide those benefits through employer-paid group plans.

Employers could deliver the benefits through voluntary, employee-paid group plans, or through individual policies sold through the worksite.

They could offer stand-alone LTCI coverage, or long-term care benefits built into life-LTC hybrid policies.

But, whatever form the benefits take, the interest is there, because the typical age of the typical participant a U.S. benefit plan is now over 45.

Many of those employees are now dealing with caregiving.

Strong Demand

Adam said he tells benefits brokers, “This is not as much work as you think it’s going to be. You don’t have to sell everybody this product. Just come back, year after year.”

Only about 12% to 20% of the participants in a typical group will sign up for the LTC benefits plan, but, once someone in an employee’s family needs long-term care, that employee will sign up for LTC benefits, Ruder said.

Denise said she sees an untapped opportunity in the market for LTC solutions for groups with 1,000 or fewer lives.

Steve said the LTC benefits market is one where the obstacle is a product supply issue, not weak demand.

Retirement Plan Insurance

One source of strong employee demand for LTC benefits is employer financial education programs.

Efforts to promote retirement readiness get employees thinking about how they will insure their 401(k) plan accounts and other retirement savings arrangements against LTC bills.

Sales Tips

The panelists also talked about practical ways to increase LTC benefits take-up rates.

Here are some of the ideas that came up:

  • Schedule an LTC benefits enrollment period at a different time than the major medical and retirement enrollment period, to give employees time to learn about a complex, unfamiliar product.
  • Focus on providing educational resources.
  • Avoid a hard-sell approach. LTC plans are bought, not sold.
  • Organize webinars. They are very effective in the LTC benefits market.
  • Record the webinars and send links to the employees.
  • Get permission to communicate through text messages. Denise said her results are three times better when she sends text messages than when she sends emails.

Margie BarrieMargie Barrie, an agent with ACSIA, has been writing the LTCI Insider column since 2000. She is blogging about long-term care planning with Chris Petillo, and preparing to launch an LTC podcast series, at Faegre Drinker’s LTCi Summit website.

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Pictured: Denise Gott and Steve Cain, at the ILTCI Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo: Margie Barrie/ALM)