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by Rick DiLaurenzo, ChFC, LTCP
Agent's Sales Journal, May/April 2003

Most financial professionals really care about their clients. They offer sound professional advice, and they work hard to fulfill their clients' needs and expectations. Their relationships are built on trust.

Yet, all too often, these well-meaning stockbrokers, accountants, financial planners, and insurance agents breach that trust because they fail to address their clients' long term care exposure. This oversight will cause a financial disaster someday for many families. They will eventually lose their savings and investments, and ultimately, their homes, trying to pay for long term care costs. It's because the cost of convalescent care is currently over $65,000 per year and escalating annually. By the time they need care, the costs could easily be $130,000 to $200,000 per person each year.

Many of your clients are unaware of their financial exposure. They may unwisely believe that serious medical problems will never happen in their family. Some people may wrongly think that their health insurance, Medicare, or HMO will pay these skyrocketing costs. Others may realize that they are unprotected, but will put off dealing with the issue until it is too late.

The Affordable Solution: Long Term Care Insurance

It is our responsibility as their trusted advisor and agent to help them deal with this problem. We must recommend long term care insurance(LTCI) while they are still young and health enough to qualify for coverage. LTCI is the only affordable solution specially designed to cover the costs of convalescent care at home, in an assisted living apartment, or if necessary, in a nursing home.

Your retired clients, as well as pre-retirees, should seriously consider purchasing this coverage. There are four important reasons: to protect their savings for each other, to be able to afford good quality care when needed, to assure financial independence (not burden the children), and to pass down assets to the future generations.

Choose a Strategy

Your clients' needs and desires regarding LTCI will vary greatly. Also, their health histories may be a factor in determining the best plan to recommend in each case. In addition, benefit levels must be chosen that address their financial profile as well as their affordability criteria.

If you are not well experienced with LTCI, there are two successful strategies to consider. You can partner with an LTCI specialist to work your client base (and split commissions), or you can work with an LTCI brokerage agency that represents many companies and provides the individual advice you need to the best job for each of your clients.

Financial professionals that choose to work with an LTCI brokerage agency should set up the following approach to working their client base. Since you are prospecting and qualifying your own clients, this procedure is simple yet very effective. Start by identifying your 59 to 75-year-old clients (do the other later). Set up a "review appointment" only - face to face - and review their existing file updating their information. Determine their financial situation and the extent of their retirement planning.

If appropriate, recommend LTCI as the missing piece of their retirement plan. For those who have interest in LTCI, ask about their health history, including any medications they are taking. Explain that you need this information to determine which company would offer them the most appropriate coverage at the lowest rates. Do not guess at a rate, or provide an "approximate" premium. Explain that you will answer their questions at your second appointment. Always set up the second appointment (seven to ten days) immediately.

Your LTCI brokerage agency can provide you with the advice and proposals you need for your second appointment. Ask them to include alternate benefit levels, so that you can adjust the plan for affordability.

For the second appointment, use the sales brochure as your selling tool. It will help you explain each benefit and how the plan will work in a time of need. Your clients must understand how the plan works before you present the cost to them. Then it is simple matter to adjust the benefits and take the application. You may be surprised that your clients thank you for caring about their future. I am always proud to tell them, "That's my job!"

 

Contact Long Term Care Insurance Planners today and join our team as an independent long term care insurance agent or long term care insurance broker. We are the long term care insurance specialists that can help you increase your long term care insurance sales!

 

 

 
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