What would you consider a niche market? Is it short-term medical? Is it corporately owned life insurance? Well, I can’t help but to think that we’ve allowed Long-Term Care Insurance to become a niche market, however not in the way you’d expect. Niche relates to products, services, and interests that only appeal to a small, specialized section of the population and while I believe that LTCi provides a service that’s almost universally valuable I also think that, as agents, we have limited the market with our practices to the point that it neatly fits this description.
For several reasons only a small, specialized percent of agents regularly discuss Long-Term Care needs with their clients. In a 2017 study of both agents and clients produced by Versta Research in conjunction with Lincoln Financial, it was found that 90% of people believe advisors
LTC Marketing Manager
should discuss Long-Term Care needs with clients, but only about 14% of individuals have spoken with their advisor about paying for Long-Term Care in the event they need it ¹. There’s a clear disconnect here; all too often we put off talking about Long-Term Care planning with individuals until they ask about it. At that point, it’s probably too late for an uncomplicated discussion.
We should be more confident than ever to talk about all the different planning strategies that are out there. I work primarily with Property & Casualty agents, so I reinvent the wheel all day, every day. I understand that LTC isn’t what puts food on the table. It’s the gravy on the mashed potatoes. It’s the salt on your sirloin. It’s the tiramisu that you want to save room for. Once you get yourself comfortable with starting the conversation, you’ve already taken the hardest step.
I like to take time to get to know my agents and their natural selling style and their typical client. From there we can talk strategies. For instance, most P&C agencies like to have 60% of their business in commercial accounts and 40% in personal lines. That’s a strategy. Let’s look at the commercial accounts as your business owner LTC sales and talk to them as such. I’ll explain to the agent that as a business owner you have the opportunity of buying LTC coverage and deducting some or all the premiums and selecting on who the business buys for (legally of course). It just makes good business sense to use the company checkbook to buy, deduct and protect personal and
business assets with traditional Long-Term Care Insurance. Now the personal lines are a little more touchy-feely; you’ll need to modify your approach. There isn’t a business conversation to be had, but you’d be remiss to not ask these individuals if they have a Health Savings Account (HSA) tied to their health insurance; they could take the same age-based deduction through their HSA as a commercial line.
What I’m hoping to establish is that, with a shift in thought process, the long-term care industry could be brought back from its current designation as a niche. There are plenty of opportunities if you are willing to start the conversation. Just have the concepts in place for the different strategies out today, or you could work with an LTC professional if you don’t want to get in the weeds. You just need to be the opportunity expert, let someone else handles the solutions for you. You’ll be amazed to find that by just finding prospects and starting a conversation you’re planting the seed that will lead to a tree with many fruits!