Identifying Clients for Long-term Care
When you believe in something, you talk about it. To everyone. Some clients seem to embrace it. Others seem to blow it off. That can be hard, but it seems to be the nature of our business.
For us, that conversation is long-term care planning. Sometimes it’s hard for clients to grasp the importance of a plan. You may have brought up the topic with your clients and gotten mixed results.
We believe it’s a conversation that should be had with everyone. But rather than blindly bringing up the need for an LTC plan to anyone who will listen, it makes sense to start with the clients who will be most receptive to what you have to say.
Knowing what to say is important. But knowing who to talk to is equally important.
Although you won’t always know which clients are ready to talk LTC, there are definite characteristics to watch for when identifying who to start with. Start by looking at their ages and determining which stage of life they are in. In each group, your most likely prospects will share some of the same characteristics.
Let’s break it down by demographic, with tips and resources to help you change the conversation for each specific group.
Clients in their 40s
Relatively younger clients who are working with a financial advisor are likely to be intrinsic planners. They are actively accumulating assets for retirement. Maybe they already have life insurance, potentially with high cash values.
They also are likely to have a lot going on in life. Parents may have kids starting college and be re-evaluating existing financial priorities. Many may also be helping parents or grandparents through the challenges of getting older — these clients are most likely to seek you out to discuss long-term care.
Don’t count this age group out. See if their experience with a loved one is motivating the need to create a plan.
Even if they aren’t ready now, they may be soon.
This is the healthiest — and the youngest — your clients will ever be. Remind them that if they have the financial means to protect their future, the price of insurance, and hurdles in underwriting, will never be lower.
Clients in their 50s
Your most likely candidates for long-term care insurance have substantial assets they don’t want to risk losing. Clients in their 50s are the sweet spot for this conversation.
They’ve saved and planned. They’re at the top of their income scale and are more focused on protecting their retirement funds. They are more likely to know someone close to them who has experienced a long-term care event, so they are more open to the topic.
These clients are likely to be proactive planners with a fair amount of assets. Many are empty nesters with kids who are financially independent.
Your clients need to know that you are available to help them create an LTC plan — before they go elsewhere.
When approaching these clients, talk about the need to be proactive. Underwriting should still be relatively smooth, but it’s important to lock in pricing before their health starts to change. Plan to have more than one appointment with them and use a strategic approach.
Clients in their 60s
Being in your 60s brings a different mindset, usually focused on retirement income and leaving a legacy.
Start by talking to clients that have enough assets to fund a long-term care plan without invading their retirement income. These higher-net-worth clients have acquired assets that might be sitting on the sidelines, and their needs have shifted from income protection to the need for a long-term care plan.
Look for clients who are relatively healthy and who have idle assets earmarked for an “emergency.”
Long-term care is already on their minds, as they have almost certainly experienced an event first-hand. Talk to them about repositioning their assets to cover a potential need. The conversation is about how they are protecting their family, not about nuances between plans.
It’s also about getting them to act before they need extended care. Let them know you can help reposition idle assets to cover a possible long-term care need and possibly leave a legacy for their grandchildren.
A note on self-funding
In each of these age groups, you’ll find high-net-worth clients — clients who are considering self-funding a long-term care event. But just because they can pay for the cost of care, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the best strategy. Don’t just assume that self-funding is the way to go. Instead, ask them if they’re open to creating tax-free leverage so they don’t have to pay full price for an extended healthcare event.
Try focusing on the emotional aspect of the sale — family, relationships and avoiding the burden of being a caregiver. It’s much more than a financial decision.
We’re seeing more and more employers incorporate long-term care coverage as part of an employee retention strategy. Employees are looking for LTC information and education, while employers can benefit from the potential tax deductions a group long-term care plan can provide. Focus on employers that consider their employees as members of a family and are dedicated to helping them provide for their futures.
There are a few specifics we need to work through, depending on how the business is set up, but our team can guide you to a solution.
The common thread
At any age, your strongest prospects are those that have seen first-hand a loved one experience a long-term event. They’re planners. They believe in insurance products and the protection they offer. And they can afford to purchase those products.
When you’re ready to talk long-term care, you need clients who are ready to listen. And you need to have a message that resonates with the stage of life your client is in now. We have tools available to help you increase the likelihood of success.
LTC Preview Tool
Underwriting is one of the biggest obstacles to gaining long-term care. With the LTC PreView tool, your clients can complete an underwriting overview through a secure link, allowing you have an idea of any health concerns before you start an application.
LTC Conversation Guide
Don’t shy away from talking about long-term care with your clients. Use our guide for different ideas on starting the conversation and overcoming objections.
LTC Guide to Identifying Clients
Get a more in-depth look at the demographics we covered here.
Your Ash Team
As always, your best resource is your Ash LTC team. Reach out and let us help you look through your book of business to identify the best clients to talk to. We’ll help you prepare for the conversation, and if you’d like, help present options to your clients.
Whatever the question, whatever the need, Ash Answers.