Compensatory Education

Intelligent, disciplined, optimistic and committed—the standing definition for any bright and shiny new school teacher. It was only when the reality of the pay set in that they often became “prime” candidates for a tangential career serving others but at a level to sustain the future education and careers of their own children. Many of us share a background in “teaching.” Teaching is, after all, the mandatory primary base line for sales. Let’s add one additional curriculum and instruction concept. Teaching concepts require constant revision. Frequently our initial understandings must be revised and refreshed. We need help. It’s OK. More importantly this truth falls across all participants in the sales equation, novice and veteran!

Therefore, cognizant of an alternate long term care planning reality concerning combo life sales, where should we focus future training? In no particular order of significance may I humbly offer my own views as to where training continue.

  • The official entry to financial planning political correctness heaven is an acceptance of the validity of the custodial care risk. If you cannot accept long term care planning as a component of your fiduciary practice—education and therefore enlightenment is already beyond your purview.
  • How do we best take advantage of what may best be described as a cosmic coincidence? The age and therefore concerns of advisors, and those of the potential buyers of protection are aligned—age, education, and income—perfectly coincidental. We are them and they is us. There is no need to project an interest, we are truly floating in the same boat: Butcher, baker and candlestick maker.
  • Choosing sides in the traditional vs. combo debate is bad. Providing consumer knowledge about all the good and all the bad of all the choices is the only honest position.
  • It would be nice if we could at least pause and come to some consensus as to what to call this market dominant symbiotic accommodation. LIMRA believes the most inclusive macro “tent” is combo life, however the nuances do require some training and understanding. As an example, cross breeding in genetics results in heterosis meaning the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Asset-based product offerings could claim that the necessary interbreeding of two separate species is the only true hybrid. Putting that concept in perspective with adequate explanation of the marketing and regulatory history should be a component of sales training.
  • There remains substantial confusion in the mainstream ADBR market. Is it a health appendage or a chronic illness life rider disguised as a health look alike? What to look for, where, and why, requires training.
  • Each sale requires drawing a line in the sand as to where the majority of risk should fall the heaviest: The insurance company or as additional support for existing assets and income. Clearly this belongs in the planning conversation but where or when in that process will it be the most helpful or successful?
  • The great and vast majority of chronic illness sales are sold with rear end load ADBRs collecting for the risk at the time of claim. Even if that is not bad, only differently expeditious and cost effective, clear and open training/education are mandatory.
  • Consumers like the bells and whistles the market has added for sales sizzle. They like comparative shopping and the awareness of issues of inflation, institutional care shortcomings, and a now forever understanding that all planning roads should lead to managed care at home. Although these crucial conversations should be getting easier to initiate they also require more training.
  • Policy review! Policy review! Policy review is a tried and true frontal attack on maintaining future viable policy performance. The lack of a long term care planning option may potentially open many new sales doors. Appearing on the front line of this battle plan should require adequate product/rider training to successfully compete in this perpetual combat.
  • The two most historically entrenched obstacles to new sales, difficult underwriting and rate increases, have to some extent fallen off to the side. It may require intense education to get beyond these past impediments.

Teachers ultimately have limited innate natural resources with which to work. Innate curiosity is the primary well spring and source of learning energy. In our world it appears to be simply a hidden catalyst. We pride ourselves on our perpetual quest for expertise. Ours does remain a helping profession based on best practices. It is indeed concerning that to some extent we may have let our education and training support not receive the emphasis that it deserves. Teaching works in our world. We taught corporate premium deductions and sales rose. We taught streamlined underwriting for small groups and sales rose. We taught asset leveraging with a long term care kicker and sales rose. Teach more now!

Other than that I have no opinion on the subject.

Ronald R. Hagelman, CLTC, CSA, LTCP, has been a teacher, cattle rancher, agent, brokerage general agent, corporate consultant and home office executive. As a consultant he has created numerous individual and group insurance products.

A nationally recognized motivational speaker, Hagelman has served on the LIMRA, Society of Actuaries, and ILTCI committees. He is past president of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance and continues to work with LTCI company advisory boards. He remains a contributing “friend” of the SOA LTCI Section Council and the SOA Future of LTCI committee. Hagelman and his partner Barry J. Fisher are principles of Ice Floe Consulting, providing consulting services for Chronic Illness/LTC product development and brokerage distribution strategies.

Hagelman can be reached at Ice Floe Consulting, 156 N. Solms Rd., New Braunfels, TX 78132 Telephone: 830-620-4066. Email: