Broker Words—August 2020

Seems like you can’t swing a dead possum without hitting a COVID-19 article these days. The pandemic is still dominating our industry’s communications and driving a host of changes to the way business gets done while hopefully reinforcing and redoubling efforts to meet consumers’ needs. Both mortality and morbidity have been stabbed into our Nation’s consciousness more virulently than at any time since perhaps September 11. It is much harder now to vaguely compartmentalize the risk of becoming perilously ill…or severely injured…or dead.

This is particularly poignant in light of the governors of New York, New Jersey, Michigan and others deliberately sending COVID-19 patients back into nursing homes, effectively turning them into some twisted geriatric version of the Carousel in Logan’s Run (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1976). “There is no Sanctuary…

There is cast, in my mind at least, an even darker than normal spectre on institutional care, and while COVID-forced office closures provided the opportunity for many to work from home, as well as make their best effort to police remote learning for their “sticky people” (according to Hope, an online tongue-in-cheek projected cat reference to children), only a relative few who weren’t state government insiders were fortunate enough to rescue their aging loved ones before lockdowns turned many nursing homes into abattoirs.

Much has been researched and written about preserving choice, both in facility care and the ability to fund qualified care in one’s home for as long as possible. And the need has been tasered into the consciousness of those with even a modicum of conscience as never before. Our industry has a wealth of solutions to offer to those still able to medically qualify as many of them struggle to find alternative solutions for their loved ones already past that crossroad. We must find ways to circumnavigate reluctance, resistance and refusal to plan for long term care risk both in the agent force and the buying public. The silver lining to the mainstream media’s incessant fear mongering to discredit the President is that it should help you greatly in your efforts to sell these solutions.

To further aid you—our industry’s front line workers—Oliver Wyman actuarial consulting, in cooperation with Ice Floe Consulting (yes, Ron Hagelman and Barry Fisher) are conducting a new National Advisor Survey this September. A link to the survey will appear in next month’s issue as well as Also aiding in the endeavor are NAILBA, NAIFA and at least 12 prominent insurance carriers actively engaged in alleviating the financial risk of long term care. Preserving choice. Per Hagelman:

“We must remember that there are three parts to understanding what happened during the buying process. First, what are the buying predispositions? In other words, what do consumers say their preferences are in order to be willing to buy? Existing surveys do help identify a perceived wish list. Second, we do have good data telling us what consumers say were their rationalizations for buying. But, ultimately, the critical missing piece of the puzzle is what actually happened between these two perceptions. We need to determine what actually happened to convince them to buy.”

“This answer must come from those successful advisors in the trenches, on the front lines, making it happen. We need precise laser analysis to understand the motivational forces that are actually moving us forward.”

We want your help to take a hard look at what is changing in this market. This crucial advisor-focused analysis will provide timely current actionable intelligence to better understand best sales practices across the full spectrum of product from traditional to combo, hybrid and linked options. All those who participate will be provided with a first look at the final Survey report when released.

Please watch for the link and help us all give more families more choice in maintaining the dignity, comfort and, yes, safety for aging loved ones from this harrowing point in our history forward.[SPH]