There has always been an abundance of optimism in this column. More importantly, there is a small army of dedicated LTC insurance enthusiasts who share the faith expressed.
We are right past, present and future to believe in our ultimate success.
• Sales in 2012 have been solid.
• Sales are steady across all established markets: affluent individuals, worksite multi-life and asset-based combo.
• Chronic illness accelerated death benefit riders are proliferating on every carrier street corner.
• Company defection and retreats appear to have abated.
• Even rates have begun to stabilize.
• Best of all, the prevailing winds from our nation’s capital are blowing in our direction for a change. The recent fiscal cliff legislation provided for the final and decisive death of the CLASS Act. A new 15-member committee was created to determine an alternate course forward. I can absolutely guarantee you that our collective views as to what is needed to move forward will at least be heard. Unfortunately, there continues to be concern in our ranks about the security of future sales activity. I am willing to make an iron clad promise that the insurance industry will never walk away from an expanding multi-billion dollar new premium resource when sales are clearly growing, pricing has stabilized and Washington, DC, has left the playing field for now.
We have all come to understand that LTC risk abatement does not take place in a vacuum. All insurance decisions are intimately related. This is particularly true of LTC insurance, which, in my humble opinion, shares DNA with all life and health markets.
The truth is that regardless of your politics, ultimately it is all only a matter of seating at the stadium. We all agree where to place the goal posts on either end of the field: There are those who have the ability and responsibility to pay for their care, and there are those who will need government help to subsidize their care. All that remains to be determined is where and under what circumstances do we draw the line for personal responsibility versus government dependence—hopefully somewhere near midfield.
There are many informed and opinionated voices in the wide world of LTC risk abrogation. We cannot now be drowned out by our own prejudices. Now is the time to close ranks around those most sacred principals from which our experience has indicated consensus. I have a vision of Martin Luther nailing his most fervent and sacred principals to the Health and Human Services’ front door! Here is my initial attempt at that list:
• There will always be a place for supplemental private insurance. We can help.
• All life and health agents must be committed to help.
• Every American must clearly understand what it means to “go bare”!
• Help those in need with quality of care rather than warehoused care.
• There must be smaller, more flexible policies.
• Regulation obstacles need to be removed.
• Qualified dollars must be able to be accessed.
• There must be greater cooperation and strategic planning with state and federal efforts. Recognize us for who we are: We are a complement and firewall to Medicaid.
• A more flexible and economical Partnership Plan must be promoted.
The hard work and hardheadedness of so many passionate LTC insurance soldiers is paying off—at last. This is the corner we have been looking to turn. This is the first year in many we can say, “Full speed ahead! Business as usual! Pass the applications!”
Other than that, I have no opinions on the subject.
Ronald R. Hagelman Jr., CLTC, CSA, LTCP
Hagelman 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 and Society of Actuaries LTCI committees and is past president of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, as well as a master trainer for the LTCP professional designation. He is president of Republic Marketing Group and a principal in the agent sales training company Hagelman-Barrie Sales Training Solutions. Hagelman can be reached at Hagelman Consulting, PO Box 310707, New Braunfels, TX 78131. Telephone: 830-620-4066. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.iltcicentral.com.com.