I began my insurance career in 1981, selling Nursing Home Insurance. It was not called “Long Term Care” as we call it today, but I felt that anyone over the age of 65 needed it to protect themselves against the high cost of a nursing home. At that time facilities were running around $1,200 per month.
My business partner, John Hockaday, had to see his father stay in a facility this past year and the cost was about $10,000 per month! The numbers show us that the financial burden of long term care is still significant, and potentially more financially devastating than ever.
In 1992, we staked the future of our retail agency, Sams/Hockaday, on LTC insurance. We believed that long term care was the most devastating financial burden a retired person could experience.
Why did we shift our focus away from LTC?
The reality of insurance carriers raising rates by 50% or more, or jumping out of the market completely, left a bad taste in our mouths. Seeing CNA, Unum, TransAmerica, Time and dozens of other good companies exit left us unsure of what our clients should do about this huge exposure on their finances.
Strains on patients and family caregivers
For a parent or loved one needing care, the inability to control bodily functions, and the accidents and messes that someone has to clean up is embarrassing. No one ever believes they will be in this situation. My own Father is currently in very poor health, and if not for my Mother, he would be in a facility. I never thought Dad would be unable to walk without being held onto. I never imagined not being able to carry on a good conversation with him. It makes me sick to think about it, and yet I see it everyday.
The mental and physical strain on the caregiver is unbelievable. Caregiving almost always falls to the females in a family, and it takes a huge toll on their own health. In a way, LTCi is really for the caregiver.
What we’re doing to get back
My eyes are now wide open - we are rethinking our position and making it a priority to be in the LTCi market. Insurance companies like Mutual of Omaha are targeting the 55-64 market, which will allow them a chance to get people covered while they’re younger and healthier, and insured for a longer period of time. This will allow for the carrier to earn some profit before the claims start hitting. I believe they have figured this market out and now it’s time once again to make a push for this insurance product.
We need to be in the market of selling LTCi to people entering the last quarter of life. We are going to start educating and promoting this and helping our customers recognize this crisis before they experience it firsthand and unprepared.
When you’re meeting with your clients who are roughly 70 and older, ask about their children - who are likely in their 50’s. No matter a person’s age, we all like to talk about our kids. Set up meetings with those kids, and tell them how much you enjoy their parents, and let them know now is the time to protect their family from the financial risk of long term care expenses. There is no doubt in my mind that anyone who has watched their parents go down the road of aging can see that good care does not come cheap.
Please join us
Let us help you get more familiar with LTC if you have not sold this previously. If you have never sold it we want to help you get into the market, and it will be one of the most important products you have ever sold. We want to earn your business and we’d love for you to sell LTC insurance with New Horizons, but if not through us, please do it with someone, because your clients need your help with this coverage.