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Jeff Beligotti. (Photo: New York Life)

Life Health > Long-Term Care Planning

Warn Clients About Long-Term Care Costs Early: Jeff Beligotti

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What You Need to Know

  • Beligotti sees inflation increasing the cost of caregiving.
  • He thinks fee-based advisors can play an important role in educating clients about LTC risk.
  • He doubts federal or state efforts will eliminate the need for private arrangements in the near future.

Jeff Beligotti works for a healthy insurer that can still offer your clients stand-alone long-term care insurance.

Beligotti is the head of long-term care solutions at New York Life, a New York-based, policyholder-owned life insurer.

The company ended 2021 with $760 billion in assets under management and the highest insurer financial strength ratings currently awarded by AM Best, Fitch, Moody’s and S&P Global Ratings.

The company provides long-term care benefits packaged together with life insurance policies as well as stand-alone LTCI and traditional life and annuity products.

The company has been providing AARP’s long-term care planning options since 2015.

New York Life has managed to stay in the LTCI market during a period when low returns on investment portfolios, soft sales, and problems with forecasting policyholder behavior have chased many competitors away.

Beligotti joined New York Life around the same time it formed the AARP relationship. He has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell and a master’s degree in business from MIT.

We asked him how he sees the long-term care insurance and long-term care planning sectors now, after all of the years of upheaval.

1. How do you think the current interest rate environment might affect blocks of LTCI business?

Although interest rates are still historically low, they have been rising recently, which may alleviate some pressure on in-force blocks of LTCI business.

At the same time interest rates are rising, we are also seeing increased inflation, which has resulted in higher costs for everyday necessities, as well for caregiving.

The good news is: New York Life has a long history of being there when we’re needed most.

2. How would you describe the apparent risk level of your LTCI insureds before the COVID-19 pandemic started? How has COVID-19 affected those LTCI insureds?

While COVID-19 certainly impacted all of us across the industry, and personally, New York Life’s strategy ensures that no one piece of the business experiences a disproportionate impact.

More important is how COVID-19 impacted our policy owners.

We saw a greater preference for receiving care outside of a traditional long-term care setting and were able to accommodate those preferences, while raising awareness of the flexible options available as to how and where to receive care as part of customers’ long-term care policies.

3. Is long-term care planning on a separate track from sales of stand-alone LTCI? If so, could you talk about how the market for LTC planning is doing.

At New York Life, our financial professionals are at the center of our client relationships and offer holistic advice and guidance across a broad spectrum of customers, all with unique financial goals.

Underpinning this approach is a suite of protection and accumulation-oriented solutions that are designed to address financial needs throughout all phases of life.

With this in mind, we don’t think about long-term care insurance sales as separate from long-term care planning conversations.

Our financial professionals are equipped to both address insurance needs through a range of solutions, including stand-alone LTCI, as well as to connect customers with resources through our online Long-Term Care Center.

4.  Could you compare and contrast how investment advisors, retirement planners, and life and annuity agents approach LTC planning?

While New York Life financial professionals can offer both LTC planning expertise and product solutions, we do continue to see some distinctions among different types of financial professionals.

That said, when it comes to LTC planning, the goal for investment advisors, retirement planners, and life and annuity agents is the same, which is to provide education and resources focused on offering valuable protection against the financial impact of a potential long-term care event.

What continues to differ is the approach these financial professionals may take to fund the plan of care.

5. What role can pure fee-based advisors play in LTC planning?

Those individuals can engage in LTC planning in two ways.

First, by providing educational resources to their clients that encourage them to think about addressing long-term care needs early in their retirement planning process.

Second, they can establish partnerships with financial professionals who do offer product solutions from financially superior carriers that address long-term care needs.

In fact, we see these sorts of partnerships becoming increasingly common and an important source of leads for our financial professionals.

6. What are your thoughts about recent federal and state-level efforts to address long-term care needs?

As your readers are probably aware, someone 65 or older has an almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care service or support in their remaining years and will spend over $107,000 during the course of their care.

While I’m pleased to see increased national and state-level attention on the importance of long-term care planning and creating a strategy to address these needs early, I don’t believe federal and state-level LTCI programs will be designed to fully address the need for long-term care financing.

This disparity indicates there will continue to be an important role for private insurance solutions to address this need.

7. What does the future look like for LTC?

This is an exciting time to be in the long-term care space.

There is a large, unmet need for LTC financing, and this gap will continue to grow as the population ages.

We’re constantly evaluating our suite of LTC solutions, as well as how we train new financial professionals, to better address this critical need.

We’re also closely tracking macro trends with respect to how aging is evolving in America.

The pandemic has brought to light changes in how and where individuals want to receive care — as well as who is providing that care.

To stay abreast of this evolution, we partner with New York Life Ventures to identify, test and when it is appropriate, implement new technologies that will have a positive impact on our policy owners.

Jeff Beligotti. (Photo: New York Life)