If Nothing Feels The Same, It’s Because It’s Not

The NAIFA IMPACT WEEK: LTC’s second day opened with a session moderated by a well-known broker/advisor who, along with our panelists, specifically designed the session to engage both long term care specialists and non-specialists in growing their business.

As we can all agree, many consumers are now very aware of quality of care issues. What can you do to increase your sales and customer satisfaction? What information do you need at your finger-tips for your current and future clients? Highlights of this rapid fire session include an overview of long term care planning solutions, resources that top insurers are creating to respond to heightened advisor/agent opportunities, and techniques and tools that respond to increased consumer awareness. The participants took a closer look at technology and how it affects:

  • expanded selling/buying opportunities
  • the agent/consumer experience
  • underwriting requirements and processes

What about the newest public sector initiative? Best interest considerations are also discussed including fiduciary duty and suitability. The session concluded with a focus on best practices for virtual sales and predictions for 2021 and beyond.

Moderator:
Steve Cain, Sales and Business Development Leader at LTCI Partners.

Panelists:
Ryan Bivens, National Sales Manager, Long Term Care, Pacific Life;

Tracy Edgar, Vice President of Sales, Care Solutions, OneAmerica;

Brandon Heskett, National Sales Vice President—SecureCare, Securian Financial;

Tony Massenelli, CLTC, MBA, CBC, Director Long Term Care Sales, Nationwide.

What is out there to help advisors become more educated? During this session, each panelist offers where and how to access suitable advisor/agent resources, including tips and practical advice developed in the field. Significantly, each insurer is creating more and more basic education targeted at today’s consumers…an educated consumer is your best prospect!

Marketplace update. What is changing and what is not? Listen for insights about the growth or lack of growth in various distribution channels. And with an eye to the future, where are the growth opportunities?

What did our panelists reveal about today’s underwriting process? With so much personal information generally searchable and available, which insurers are looking to technology not only to simplify the process but to speed things up—start to finish? Is there only pass or fail underwriting, can clients pivot, has technology and the lack of personal contact led to simplification of the actual process?

Another insightful discussion centered on how to engage younger clients. There are several good suggestions offered during the exchange. How about the “gap” approach? We also heard about how younger clients are approaching extended and long term care by using a “stacking” approach. Or, maybe you are interested in the “life-stage” approach. Another suggestion included using a “conversion” as a potential solution for the right client. One of the panelists suggested looking for opportunities where clients have maxed out their retirement contributions. Yet another panelist spoke about asset repositioning.

In many ways, LTC 1.0 provided a “painful” learning curve. However, we should not forget that the industry is delivering on promises made. Importantly, LTC 2.0 is based on new actuarial assumptions and has the advantage of historic customer data. As for another development in current extended and long term care solutions, there is the recent public Washington State LTC Trust. Basically, employees will have money taken out of their paychecks to fund a state long term care program. It is a complex issue. While the industry has always considered a public/private option for consumers, we will have to see how this state design plays out.

Meanwhile, the question remains as to what insurers are doing to assist advisors in this highly regulated space. As one of the participants remarked, taking money out of a portfolio to protect a portfolio should not engender a suitability challenge. In response to advisor and consumer middle-market demand, some insurers moved from only a single premium pay option to offering multiple premium payment periods.

The question so often heard, “What’s the Best Fit?” is tackled by the moderator and panelists. How will the advisor determine what is most suitable for a client? While all agree that suitability requires a focus on client needs, each participant suggests considerations that may contribute to the overall best fit. Among other suggestions, the participants call out: Age related life-stage issues, death benefit needs, long term care needs, leveraging of resources and/or assets, or legacy planning.

As Steve Cain points out, “We live in this ‘Amazon’ delivery world.” Which insurers were already fast tracking technology solutions pre-COVID and which ones have picked up the pace? The panelists discuss how their company is making the process a better experience for both the advisor and the buyer.

Some 2021 initiatives are revealed. Each insurer is focusing on what they perceive will help customers through the journey. Virtual engagement will continue. Which insurers are expanding education about extended and long term care into retirement planning, family and business protection, and which ones are expanding product innovation to reach more middle-market consumers?

Tony Massenelli points out that “COVID-19 has negatively impacted the occupancy of assisted living facilities, memory care facilities, etc.1 Meanwhile, demand for home health care has risen sharply.2 It’s more important than ever for insurance companies to provide long term care benefits that can be easily accessed for home care or other more secure alternatives including paid care from family members.”

As Steve Cain suggested, “Sometimes less is more.” To one degree or another, we are all experiencing webinar and Zoom fatigue. However, each panelist offered a forward-looking sales strategy that is enhanced by embracing technology. What are these top insurance companies and top producers and advisors doing?

Brandon Heskett from Securian said “Our emphasis is on continuing to evolve our product line to offer consumers more flexible solutions. Right now this means we’re laser-focused on the ability to process business as quickly as possible. Securian Financial developed a toolkit to help guide agents through a remote sales process–starting with a virtual client meeting, then submitting an eApp and finally delivering the policy via e-delivery in states where available. We also launched an online scheduling portal so consumers can proactively schedule their telephone interview instead of waiting to be contacted. And we’re creating more video content to help support and train agents.”

Tony Massenelli from Nationwide said, “We think it is important for advisors to embrace technology. Technology can increase the time advisors have to spend on engaging clients. Everyone is learning virtually—even our children.” Tony also mentioned that any advisor on the session can access Nationwide Retirement Institute where they can find an in-depth program around long term care planning. There is also a downloadable app available.

Tracey Edgar noted, “The need is not going away, it is amplified. At OneAmerica, we will continue to offer social media campaigns. Our initiative going forward is to continue to help advisors connect to consumers in an interactive way.” Tracey suggests, “Having the ‘right, meaningful conversation’ with clients during this especially opportune time. Video conferencing increases the personal touch while we are unable to physically be with clients during the pandemic. We encourage advisors to use ‘pre-underwriting inquiry forms’ and tools that are available. We encourage advisors to look for premium dollars by approaching client needs with a more holistic approach.”

Predictions for 2021 were shared and interestingly they are not all the same!
Steve Cain offered an analogy that many understand. “Whether in a doctor’s office or health care facility, we often see a pain scale or are asked on a scale of one to 10, where is your pain level. Encourage clients not to wait until their pain level is at an eight, nine, or 10!”

Our advice to advisors is much the same. Don’t wait until your pain level is at an eight, nine, or 10. For a more in-depth understanding of where these leading insurers are spending their energy to help you grow your business, go to lecp.naifa.org and click the pop-up ON DEMAND IMPACT WEEK: LONG TERM CARE under the Events tab. Access is free of charge.

References

  1. McKnights Senior Living – January 8, 2021, “Pandemic drives senior living occupancy to record lows”. Lois A. Bowers.
  2. Jesse Slome, American Association of Long Term Care Insurance Study, AALTCI—November 2020.

Carroll S. Golden, CLU, ChFC, LTCP, CASL, FLMI, CLTC, is the executive director of the NAIFA Limited and Extended Care Planning Center (LECP). Golden has an extensive background in business development, solutions selling, risk management and insurance distribution. She is recognized throughout the industry as one of the foremost thought leaders and subject matter experts on extended and long term care. Working with the LECP Founding Sponsors, Carroll and her team at NAIFA have put together the LECP Center to rethink extended and long term care.

Golden has held executive positions with both brokerage distribution and corporate carriers. She has been interviewed both on radio and television, has written numerous articles, and often presents at virtual meetings and various industry conferences. As a member of the Society of Financial Service Professionals (SFP), she served as chapter president and taught continuing education (CE) classes. She served as chairperson for both the Society of Actuaries Fifth LTC Conference and the Tenth Annual Intercompany Long Term Care Insurance (ILTCI) Conference. She currently participates on the board of directors of the ILTCI. Golden is listed on the International Retirement Resource Center’s Speakers Bureau and is currently working on publishing a book dealing with tomorrow’s multi-generational advisor/agent.

Golden can be reached via email at cgolden@naifa.org. Cell phone: 817-709-6859.