Vague Generalities

Begin by imagining the soulful cords of The Streets of Laredo performed by Marty Robbins or Pete Seegar. It’s not exactly a dirge, merely an acknowledgement of a tragic passing too soon. Cliches and glittering generalities describing the status of the continuing battle to give meaning to the necessity and preference of personal control of our own claims destiny is dominated by a chorus of time worn platitudes.

  • All that glitters is not gold.
  • The calm before the storm.
  • The writing on the wall.
  • What goes around comes around.
  • It’s just a matter of time.

Instead let’s begin by meticulously avoiding America’s most overused buzzword “transparency.” Even though I might humbly suggest the past ills and future promise of significantly supporting and improving acute, sub-acute and custodial care is now in the hands of those with the most experience in managing the quality of care, I am only a salesperson. I do not need to know the frequency, duration or efficaciousness of care administration whether public or private. What I do need to know is that there is absolutely nothing more important than the quality of that claim management.

What I must begin with is the sure and certain knowledge that someone will pay this claim. I know that the balance between private and public sources of paying these claims is becoming more equitable. I know that over 250 million Chinese are already over the age 65. I know that the struggle to leverage a known and measurable risk globally will eventually dominate internal and international political and cultural environments. I know that more folks are passing than being born. I know that we now have substantial and definitive claims experience yet the battle to liberate discretionary funds to blunt that risk remains as elusive as ever.

I know that 20 years ago twice as many consumers actually bought a policy as we are reporting today. I know that combo sales are 20 percent of all life sales but the majority of those did not require a current additional premium. We are doing a better job shifting the risk and yet fewer professional advisors than ever are intentionally focusing their attention on some approach to chronic illness risk mitigation.

I know we continue to chase the wrong industry old wives tales. The romantic and strongly held belief that moving as many claims as possible back into the home will save money is the most popular reflection of erroneous conclusions yet it continues to act as a backdrop for public and private care decisions. There is little evidence that the actual hard dollar cost will be impacted. What I also know is that it doesn’t really matter to me at all.

What I must hold onto is the sole purpose of the exercise. What can I do to help assure the best quality of the care that my customers, friends and loved ones do receive? What I cannot forget is that this problem will not take care of itself. What I must remember is that for rationalizations or denials beyond my control, I may only be able to shift a portion of this risk burden. However, anything I can do to improve the quality and decision making control concerning the efficiency of delivery and the opportunity for personal choice is a job well done.

Interestingly there is a growing hope for our cowboy “All dressed in white linen.” In truth a new Sheriff has slipped into town. Ove 500 Medicare Advantage plans now include some initial long term care managed components from home modification to respite care. This consumer driven predisposition to acknowledge the potential claim provides fertile ground to expand the sale for added protection.

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: