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Spreading the word: agents who share information about long-term-care insurance with prospects and their families create benefits for everyone involved. (Life/Health: Long-Term Care).

Despite the enormous amount of publicity about long-term care and the absolute need to obtain insurance to cover that care, many consumers remain uneducated and misinformed. And, unfortunately, so do many agents and brokers who, because they are uneducated, not only fail to provide much-needed information to their clients and prospects, but also miss out on a handsome flow of commission and renewal income.

Granted, there are only so many hours in each day, and most agents and brokers spend many of them filling other needs of clients, prospecting and handling a myriad of administrative responsibilities and details. There's often little time left, especially for those in smaller operations, to learn about long-term-care insurance, the product of the 21st century.

But that's missing a major marketing point. Those agents and brokers who are up to their proverbial elbows should still find the time to reach out to others who can help them better their bottom line. Fortunately, they won't have to look far.

If the budget allows, they should consider adding LTC specialists to their staffs. Another approach is to develop a cooperative marketing arrangement with a nearby agency that has expertise in promoting and selling long-term-care insurance.

In addition, if staff members can allot the time to become educated in LTG insurance, they could establish business relationships with certified public accountants and financial services consultants/organizations, many of whom have clients in need of LTC insurance.

Whatever the routes chosen, the agents will not only be adding to earnings, but helping many people of various ages prevent what could be dire economic and highly emotional consequences in the future.

A Family Affair

Contrary to many myths about LTC insurance, the purchasing of the coverage doesn't merely protect the individual with the wisdom to become an LTC policyowner. It also protects, in an emotional way, the loved ones of the insured.

In two decades of making presentations to thousands of prospective LTC insureds, what we have constantly found at or near the top of the list of concerns is their fear--and their family members' fear--of one of them suddenly becoming dependent on another due to an illness or accident.

Yet, such unexpected happenings occur every day throughout the country and, when they do, not only is the person in need of long-term care further victimized if he or she doesn't have adequate LTC insurance, but, so too, in countless situations, are family members.

According to the findings of a study, "Long Term Care Partners Survey of American Parents and Adult Children," only 23% of adult children would advise their parents to purchase LTC insurance, and only 12% of parents polled said they have purchased the coverage for themselves.

The survey, conducted by Zogby International, Utica, N.Y., was commissioned by Long Term Care Partners L.L.C., a partnership between John Hancock Financial Services, Boston, and MetLife, New York. Two polls were conducted last year, one of 603 adults between the ages of 34 and 65 with at least one living parent; the other of 603 adults with children ages 34 and older. Both polls were nationwide.

What the study finding should tell both current and prospective LTG insurance marketers is that much thought hasn't been given to what's ahead not only for those in need of long-term care without the needed coverage, but also for one or more family members and, in some situations, friends. What's ahead is one or more persons becoming a caregiver.

What's ahead is not only one or more persons suddenly becoming full-or part-time caregivers, but often being forced to give up careers and jobs at a time when such financial sacrifices will hurt the most. Also, the person in need of long-term care will see his or her lifetime savings quickly disappear, spent on medical necessities.

This alarming scenario--which turns into reality every clay for countless individuals and their families throughout the country--can only be avoided in one way And that's by purchasing LTC insurance. Waiting to do so until an illness or accident strikes will be too late, since those individuals will be denied coverage. Similarly, individuals should purchase LTC insurance as soon as possible because premiums can triple between ages 50 and 70.

Reaching Everyone

These facts should lead to the realization of another truism: while seniors and baby boomers (tomorrow's seniors) are the top candidates for LTC insurance, whether they do or don't buy it can have either a positive or devastating effect on their family members.

And all this, in turn, should lead current and soon-to-be LTC insurance marketers to the realization that the product demands prime-time presentations not only to seniors and baby boomers, but to their grown children, in several ways:

* Personalized presentations. If there is a spouse, he or she should be present, since most insurance/financial decisions are rarely made by one family member.

* Seminars for both seniors and baby boomers. Seminars for seniors should be held during the day, and get-togethers for boomers, most of whom work during the day, should be in the evening or on Saturday

* Work-site marketing. This approach enables agents to reach those nearing or already planning retirement, plus the often unthought-of group of younger employees who should be encouraging their parents to purchase LTC insurance or considering purchasing it for their parents and themselves.

To this day, many people continue to believe they're covered for long-term care by their individual or group health insurance policy They're not. And, to this day, many people believe that Medicare or Medicare supplements will take care of their long-term care requirements. They won't.

Medicaid? Yes, it will cover some long-term care expense, but it's a welfare program; it only covers the poor with few, if any, assets. Many people don't know that. Nor do some agents and brokers.

Sales Preparation

Information is available on LTC insurance from the more than 100 carriers offering the product; from news stories and feature articles in consumer and trade publications; and through LTC books, seminars, and videos advertised in many insurance and financial services publications.

Training also is available through industry organizations for agency/brokerage principals and members of their staff who can schedule the needed time to attend courses. And, in the process, they will become not only thoroughly educated about LTC insurance, but be given workable marketing and sales pointers by instructors who have successfully employed them.

Time has a way of passing those who can't somehow seize the moment and grab waiting opportunities. It is time for many more agents and brokers to learn and spread the word on the need for LTC coverage to an ever-growing audience. If they don't, others will-leading their competitors, often much faster than anticipated, to bottom lines that consistently improve.

RELATED ARTICLE: Families and Long-Term Care

According to a survey conducted in 2002, adult children and their parents are not thinking the same thing when it comes to planning for how parents will be cared for as they get older or how their care will be financed.

* 64% of parents with children over age 34 would not want to move in with their children in later years if they needed care.

* 44% of adult children believed their parents would want to move in with them if they needed care.

* 32% of parents believed they will need financial assistance from their children for Ion g-term-care needs.

* 44% of adult children expect to help their parents financially with long-term care.

* 23% of adult children would advise their parents to purchase long-term-care insurance.

* 12% of parents have purchased long-term-care insurance for themselves.

Source: "Long Term care Partners Survey of American Parents and Adult children," conducted by Zogby International. Utica. N.Y. Two polls were conducted, one of 603 adults between the ages of 34 and 65 with at least one living parent; the other of 603 adults with children ages 34 and older. Both polls were nationwide.

John Wane is president of American Independent Marketing, Yakima, Wash. Lenny Anderson is president of GoldenCare USA Inc., Plymouth, Minn.
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Article Details
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Author:Anderson, Lenny
Publication:Best's Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2003
Previous Article:The right sale: insurers address suitability concerns as sales of long-term-care products grow. (Life/Health: Long-Term Care).
Next Article:The latest model: life insurers can now reap the benefits of catastrophe modeling. (Life/Health: Catastrophe Modeling).

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