On the first day of Christmas, Santa gave to me, sales lessons absolutely free.
If there’s one salesman who understands his customers, it’s the jolly fellow in red. From a young age, children are taught to believe in Santa Claus, a man who flies around the world in one night to deliver presents and joy to the good boys and girls. And they believe in him. They trust him to follow through on his word, regardless of how impossibly hard his job might seem. They have faith that on Christmas morning, sitting under their tree, the presents they asked for will be waiting for them. Children of the world know that Santa Claus doesn’t just make promises, he delivers—year after year. And they’re rarely disappointed.
Take a lesson from Santa. Help your clients believe in you the way children believe in Santa Claus.
Insurance sales lessons to be learned from Santa:
1. Close Strong – Though Christmas is but one day a year, Santa spends the whole year preparing. He and his elves don’t wait until the month of December to start making toys. The North Pole is bustling year round so when Christmas Eve comes, he’s ready and able to deliver on his promises. He works his hardest at the end of the year so that his clients can relax and be merry.
2. Don’t Discriminate – Santa doesn’t target just one particular group of children. He brings gifts to children of all ages around the world. The more children he can provide gifts to, the more children will sing his praises. And through word of mouth, he can reach more children each year, increasing his business.
3. Value Input – When Santa delivers toys, he’s not just taking a stab in the dark at what he thinks children want. He asks them to write letters for a reason. Santa knows his clients will be happier if he asks for their input before delivering presents, ensuring his gifts are happily received.
4. Be Dependable – Santa promises he’ll deliver toys by Christmas morning, and that’s exactly what he does. Children can have high expectations, so they need someone reliable. If Santa promises to deliver gifts by Christmas morning, then children are guaranteed to be opening his gifts first thing on Dec. 25th. He makes promises he knows he can keep.
Tis the season to close more disability insurance and long-term care insurance sales. Take a lesson from Santa Claus, and don’t sell your clients (or yourself) short this holiday season.
Want more insightful insurance sales tips? Make sure to subscribe to this blog in the top right corner of this page. And don’t forget … long-term care and disability insurance quotes are just a few clicks away with our online quoting engine.
As a disability insurance broker, you’ve done a great job of protecting your clients with income protection during their working years. But what about after retirement? Have you talked to them about how to protect their assets beyond the working years?
With changing demographics and a booming elderly population, the need for long-term care services is at an all-time high. For most clients the need for long-term care isn’t a question of IF, but WHEN.
That’s why your clients need financial protection beyond age 62.
Most people understand the importance of sound financial planning. And that’s a good place to start in making the case for both disability insurance and long-term care insurance as crucial ingredients of a smart financial strategy.
- DI for the working years to protect the paycheck: The consequences of becoming disabled and unable to work should be obvious. The ability to earn a living is each person’s most valuable asset. Without that ability, all other assets (houses, vehicles, retirement and education) can slip out of reach.
Going without paycheck protection can cost your clients – and possibly their family members – everything in the event of a disabling injury or illness. Those who secure income protection have better self-esteem as family providers, less stress, and better chance of recovery if and when illness strikes because they can focus on health instead of finances.
- LTCI for the retirement years to protect savings from the drain of LTC costs: When your clients reach the end of their working lives, the last thing they need is to see their entire nest egg drained away on long-term care costs. But the chances of that happening are increasing all the time, with long-term care costs on the rise and the volatility of the economy. If you’ve seen a cost of care calculator, you know that the cost of long-term care is rising fast – and will be as high as $20,000 a month in 20 years, when many of your clients are elderly.
Clients with long-term care insurance can enjoy their retirement years with confidence, knowing they’ve taken wise steps to protect their assets. This relieves the all-too-common worry of outliving one’s savings. For more affluent clients, it helps ensure they can pass down wealth to the next generation – a legacy many strive to achieve.
And so, with these goals in mind, it’s up to you to make the case. Make sure your clients understand that both the cost of disability and long-term care can wipe out savings – fast!
The solution? Offer DI + LTCI for complete life cycle protection. So why not offer them the peace of mind that comes with knowing their finances are protected for life?
Request a disability insurance quote or long-term care insurance quote from DIS today, and give your clients the entire life cycle protection they need. Also, for assistance with presenting this “total life protection” concept, download our all new client handout “Insurance for Every Life Phase.”
Most people who require long-term care would much rather get that care in their own home or community than in a nursing home or other institution. Unfortunately, it hasn’t always been easy for them to do.
In the past, individuals who needed long-term care were usually placed in nursing homes, even if they were perfectly capable of living safely in their homes or a less institutional setting with the appropriate services and supports. But in 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this arrangement was a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act and began requiring states to provide citizens with better access to long-term care in a less restrictive setting.
But it’s still been an uphill battle.
State Medicaid programs are required to cover nursing home care, but not home- and community-based care. And although all state Medicaid programs cover some of this care, coverage is often limited and there are often long waiting lists for services.
Affordable Care Act offers new support
Under the new healthcare law, the dream of receiving long-term care at home instead of in an institution can finally become reality for millions of Americans. With financial incentives made possible by programs created or funded by the ACA, states can now access federal funds for people who need long-term care but want to avoid being placed in a nursing home, giving them access to services in a home or community setting.
The Community First Choice Option (CFCO) is just one example of the options available under the ACA. This program gives participating states greater access to the federal portion of the federal-state Medicaid funding partnership for home and community-based attendant services.
Another option is the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program, which enables those who need long-term care to move out of institutions and into their own homes or other community-based settings.
Some other options include:
- Home and Community-Based Services State Plan Option
- State Balancing Incentive Payments Program
- Demonstration Grant for Testing Experience and Functional Assessment Tools (TEFT)
What does this mean for your customers?
In short, it means greater freedom and affordability for long-term care. Unfortunately, most people don’t have insurance that covers long-term care, so they end up having to pay for it out of pocket. Although home and community based care can be less expensive than nursing home care, it’s still costly and can quickly eat up a person’s savings.
With the new flexibility offered by the Affordable Care Act, now is a good time to educate your prospects and customers about their expanded options – and stress to them how vital it is to include long-term care insurance in their overall financial planning.
No one likes to think about needing long-term care. But for most of us, it’s not a matter of if, but WHEN. The Affordable Care Act makes it easier for people to get the care they need in the settings they prefer. And you can help them make it even easier to afford that care with LTC insurance.
When you’re ready to help your clients prepare for the inevitable need for LTC, request a long-term care insurance quote from the experts at DIS.
When I went to college, I chose to study at a small, private Christian school, complete with smaller class sizes and a tiny campus with a big view. But with a private school education came a large tuition fee, causing me to take out student loans.
A whopping $76,000 in student loan debt knocked at my door just six months after I took my last final. I had barely started my first job when I had to begin making $700 monthly payments.
Luckily, I now work for a company that offers both short and long term disability insurance, giving me (and my husband) piece of mind that if I become sick or injured, my disability benefit will help with more than just our rent and groceries—it will help pay my loans.
But despite my husband’s assistance, if I become disabled, it won’t be my husband’s name or credit on the line for my loans. The burden would fall beyond my credit, onto my cosigner, who dutifully signed his name to my mountain of debt—my dad.
At the age of 18, I wasn’t able to take out student loans without a cosigner. My dad, assuming I would work hard to pay off my debt as quickly as possible, signed his name next to mine, no questions asked. And lucky for him, if I become disabled, I have the income protection I need to continue making my payments.
But not every worker with student loans has disability insurance.
According to Fidelity, the average debt of a graduating student in 2013 is $35,000. And because most college students need a cosigner for student loans, the average parent or guardian of a graduating student has most likely cosigned a student loan or two.
If that graduate were to become disabled without having disability insurance, the parent or guardian would be responsible for those loan payments. Seeing as how 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year olds will suffer a disability at some point in their working careers, cosigners would be doing themselves a disservice by not advocating for their children to secure disability insurance protection.
Even if a graduate is able to defer the loan payments, the cosigner’s borrowing potential and interest rates on other loans will continue to be affected until the debt is paid off.
And, according to disabilitydischarge.com, filing total and permanent disability, which can eliminate all of one’s debt, can’t happen until the disability has lasted for a continuous period of at least 60 months or can be expected to last for a continuous period of more than 60 months. That’s potentially five years worth of payments that still have to be made.
Ask your clients if they’ve cosigned any of their children’s loans. Remind them that their child’s sickness or injury would not only affect their child’s finances, but their own credit, too. You might be surprised how many of your clients’ children will soon be making appointments to discuss DI, and requesting disability insurance quotes—for their financial protection and their parents’.
Need help with cross-selling? Download our all new client handout, “Insurance for Every Life Phase.”
With long term care increasingly making news headlines and being discussed on social media, awareness of this growing crisis is increasing. So now might be a good time to take advantage of the groundswell and give your prospects and clients even more reasons to consider long term care insurance coverage. And one way to do that is by educating them about the flexibility and benefits of a shared care plan.
What is a shared care LTCI plan?
Shared care insurance is a type of long-term care coverage that allows married couples and domestic partners to purchase separate plans with an option for each partner to become a "rider" on the other partner's plan. If one partner needs care and they’ve exhausted the benefits on their own policy, they can draw funds from their partner’s policy.
Here’s a hypothetical scenario…
Dan and Paula are an older married couple with identical long-term care insurance policies, but they didn’t get the Shared Care Benefit Rider. Both policies have a maximum monthly benefit of $6,000 x 60 months, for a maximum available benefit of $360,000.
Dan has some medical issues and has been using his $6,000 maximum monthly benefit for several years, and now has just $2,000 left in his total benefit pool. Paula remains healthy and hasn’t had to use any benefits from her pool – but again, they didn’t get the shared care benefit rider. So once Dan’s remaining $2,000 is used up, he and Paula will be forced to pay for the rest of his care from other sources such as any current income, savings, or other assets.
That could be a real hardship for a lot of couples. If Dan and Paula had purchased the shared care benefit rider, Dan’s ongoing care needs could be funded with Paula’s benefits.
The two big selling points for Shared Care LTCI Plans
First, a shared care plan essentially doubles the lifetime maximum for either partner if one should have a prolonged need for care. In Dan and Paula’s case, rather than each of them having a maximum available benefit of $360,000, they would each have access to a maximum benefit of $720,000.
Second, it’s a money saver. If each partner buys a three-year plan with a shared care rider, they both have the potential to access six years of coverage without each of them having to buy a higher priced six-year plan. In other words, Dan and Paula would pay less for a three-year, shared care option than they would if each of them bought a separate six-year plan for themselves.
Another advantage of share care plans is that when one partner dies, the other partner can generally access any remaining benefits their deceased partner had in their plan.
Who’s the ideal candidate for a shared care plan?
Shared care plans are especially suited to couples who have insurable assets and just want a basic plan that can help them pay for a few years’ worth of care without wiping out their savings and other assets. For couples who can’t afford, or don’t want to pay for, more costly traditional long-term care insurance plans, but who still want to have coverage, a shared care plan can be the ideal option.
With the need for long-term care on the rise, now’s the time to sell your prospects on the benefits of LTC insurance. To find out more about adding Shared Care Benefit Plans to your DI sales toolkit, email me.
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Selling long-term care insurance can be an uphill battle in this tough economy. It’s true more and more people are becoming aware of the growing need for long-term care as a serious public health issue. But with family budgets already stretched thin, LTC insurance too often takes a back seat to other priorities. It’s easy for people to rationalize by believing that “bad things only happen to other people,” and simply put it off for another day.
That’s why you need every tool at your disposal to get your prospects motivated about long-term care planning. And right now is a great time to ramp up those efforts. Why? Because November is officially Long-Term Care Awareness Month. And since LTCI can be a tough sell, you’ll welcome the marketing initiatives available from organizations such as the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) and the 3in4 Need More Campaign.
What are LTC Awareness Month and the 3in4 Need More Campaign?
Long Term Care Awareness Month is a national campaign to raise awareness of the need to have a long-term care plan in place to protect yourself and your loved ones from financial burden later in life. Congress established LTC Awareness Month in 2007 to meet a growing need to make people aware of the risks and costs associated with long-term care. Since that time, groups like AALTCI and the 3in4 Need More Campaign have carried on a tireless campaign to educate consumers.
The campaign has four objectives:
- Spread the word among the public that "3in4 Need More" than health insurance
- Support incentives like tax deductions or credits to help people better afford LTC products
- Bring the LTC industry together to educate the public by joining the 3in4 Need More Campaign and using the logo and visuals to spread the word
- Educate the public on private programs and federal entitlement options
Who better to promote this vital message than agents and financial advisors … like you?
Since you’re already in the business of selling the benefits of LTC insurance, Long-Term Care Awareness Month is right up your alley. And getting involved definitely has its benefits.
A leg up for those who sell LTC insurance
For individual agents, brokers, and producers, the 3in4 Need More campaign provides a host of excellent marketing tools to help you reach out to your clients and prospects. With three levels of membership, you can choose your own level of involvement. Depending on which level you choose, you can get access to booklets, public service announcements, iPhone apps, lead generation programs, email campaigns, personalized website and blog, point-of-sale displays, and other materials. Joining the campaign gives you:
- Powerful tools to help you drive home your message and boost sales
- Access to a wide network of people and organizations dedicated to the survival of the long-term care industry, including other producers, agencies, carriers, associations (NAIFA and NAHU), federal and state government representatives, and others
- Valuable exposure and recognition as a trusted source for LTCI information, products, and services
Help spread the word
Your prospects may not realize they need LTC insurance. But one thing they know they need is sound financial advice. Long Term Care Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity for you to join forces with others in the LTC industry, help spread the word, and make a difference.
See these additional resources for more information:
This weekend my husband and I received a piece of mail from our insurance agent. My husband took the envelope and read aloud the large red text written beneath our address: “WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU BECAME DISABLED?”
Without a second glance, he took the letter to the kitchen and tossed it in the trash. He didn’t even open the envelope.
On behalf of insurance agents everywhere, I was appalled. As a disability insurance advocate, I was disgusted. And as a marketing team member of an insurance company, I was crushed. Is this how everyday consumers like my husband react to insurance marketing pieces?
The letter wasn’t even your everyday junk mail—it came from our insurance agent of many years. The same agent who at one point stayed late so we could meet after normal working hours. The same agent who did his agent voo doo to get us a better car insurance rate. The same agent who sent me a lovely “Thank you” email two years ago when we first switched our insurance to his agency.
And that’s when it hit me. That piece of mail was the first correspondence we’d had with our agent since his email two years ago.
Now, I know my interest on the disability insurance letter was piqued mostly because of my position working at a disability insurance wholesaler. But I had to ask myself, “Is that the only reason I would have opened that letter?”
The answer? Yes. And here’s why.
In our experience, we’re nothing but an afterthought to our agent. We’re a couple he sold business to more than two years ago. We’re not his friends, coworkers or connected via social media. He hasn’t done anything to foster a relationship with my husband and me since we signed the dotted line. And after two years of silence, he sent us a prospecting letter. And it ended up in our trash.
But you know what came in the mail earlier that week and made it to our fridge? An offer for a free cleaning from our dentist. And we both hate going to the dentist.
Can you guess what our dentist does that our insurance agent doesn’t? He gives out free toothbrushes.
It sounds trivial, but who doesn’t love free stuff? We also receive monthly emails with dental health tips and articles. Every few months we’re sent offers for extra services like teeth whitening and gum care. And every year on our birthdays we get a card and an email sending us best wishes.
In the insurance industry, we’re quick to make a sale, seal the deal and move on to our next prospect. But in reality, we should be nurturing our current clients just as much as we cater to prospective clients. We’ve all heard the statistics on how it’s cheaper to sell to an existing client than to market new customers. But what are we doing for our existing clients in between the time of our first sale to the moment we have another product to offer? For most of us, not much.
Take a tip from my dentist and stay in touch with your clients. Whether it’s sending out a quick email to make sure your clients are happy with their existing policies, or adding your clients on LinkedIn, there are several ways to keep your clients feeling appreciated. Something as simple as a quarterly email or newsletter will keep your name and business in the forefront of your client’s mind.
You might not have toothbrushes to give out, but I bet you have some company pens laying around with your business name and number on them. And while you don’t need to add your clients on your personal Facebook, consider creating a business page or a company Twitter account so you can give your clients tips, articles and maybe even the occasional birthday shout out.
If you like making a sale as much as my husband and I (and most of you!) like free stuff and attention, then I encourage you to keep in contact with your clients, show them some love, and then send your prospecting letter. Need a new insurance marketing letter? Download our free fall sales letters here!
Despite the technical glitches with the new government healthcare website and uncertainties surrounding the rollout of the new healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is moving forward slowly but surely. Thousands have already accessed the website to review their options and begin the enrollment process.
But many doctors still have reservations about the new law.
According to new research from the Medical Group Management Association, two in five physician practices are unsure about whether they will participate in the government-sponsored exchanges. Nearly 30 percent of physicians responding to the MGMA survey said they plan to participate in the exchanges, another 14 percent said they would not, and 16 percent haven’t decided. The MGMA research included responses from more than 1,000 medical groups in which more than 47,500 physicians participate.
In short, physician practices are taking a cautious approach to the exchanges. It’s still not clear how many people will sign up for the exchanges in their area, or if practices will contract to provide care under new exchange insurance products. And more than 80 percent of doctors responding to the MGMA survey are concerned about what they’ll be paid through the plans participating on the exchanges.
But despite these reservations, physician practices still want to provide care to the uninsured and a medically underserved population, and remain competitive in their local markets. 51 percent of survey respondents said that the new law is an “opportunity to replace current charity care as our uninsured patients obtain coverage.”
And despite the sluggish economy, the ranks of private physicians are still growing, adding over 36,000 jobs over the past year. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, by 2020 we’ll need 91,500 more doctors than we’re projected to have in this country, 45,000 in primary care and 46,500 surgeons and specialists.
That means disability insurance for doctors is still a market with high potential.
So why are doctors especially good candidates for DI coverage?
- They have more to lose: Physicians can easily come out of medical school with $150,000 - $200,000 in debt, so they naturally want to protect their substantial investment in their profession. If they become disabled, that debt doesn’t just vanish. And with a typical earning potential of $200,000 a year or more, they could earn $6 million over a 30-year career, so they have a lot of incentive to protect their income and lifestyle.
- Doctors know the risks intimately: Doctors see patients becoming disabled due to an unexpected illness or injury all the time, so they know first-hand that the risks are very real. And that kind of ongoing contact with the disabled no doubt keeps the possibility of a disability happening to them top of mind.
- Doctors want value more than low rates. Physicians are usually more concerned about the value of their benefits than the cost, especially when you point out to them that low rates generally translate into fewer and more restrictive benefits, unclear definitions, and hidden loopholes that might come back to haunt them in a claim.
This is a tumultuous time for the healthcare and health insurance industries. But despite the challenges, it’s indisputable that there will soon be millions more insured consumers seeking healthcare, and the need for quality physicians will continue to rise. And with or without the ACA, those physicians still have a high income potential and a real need to protect their income.
To find out more about how to sell disability insurance for doctors, download our free report, “The Best Way to Break Into Lucrative Professional Markets.”
With Halloween just around the corner, everyone’s busy decorating with carved pumpkins, dancing skeletons, witches, ghosts, and goblins. Of course, most people don’t believe in ghosts and goblins. But unfortunately, many also don’t believe in this real life bogeyman: the possibility of a long-term care event that could wipe out their retirement nest egg.
They could be setting themselves up for a frightening retirement nightmare.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 70 percent of people over age 65 will require some form of long-term-care services at some point in their lives. Even the most perfectly planned and diversified investment portfolio won’t ward off the spine-chilling risk of a long-term care event.
Consider these scary odds from MotleyFool.com:
- Odds of your home burning to the ground (total loss): 1 in 16,000
- Probability of totaling your car: 1 in 100
- Odds of meeting a $2,500 medical insurance deductible annually: 1 in 25
- Probability of needing long-term care at some point in your lifetime: 1 in 2 for women; 1 in 3 for men
The costs are spooky too.
While advances in medicine have allowed us to conquer many ghoulish illnesses and live longer, they've also increased our need for care when we're old. And that increase has driven up the cost of long-term care 4 to 6 percent annually over the past five years. If you want to know what care facilities will cost when your client is ready to retire, visit our Cost of Care page to access some hair-raising cost of care calculators.
When it comes to long-term care planning, your prospects have a few options …
- Spend their own assets
- Rely on family
- Go on Medicaid
- Purchase long-term care insurance
Obviously the first two options are only viable if the resources are there. Medicaid has its limitations and its future is uncertain. LTC insurance can ease the burden on families, protect assets, and ward off the frightening threat of losing everything.
While people have traditionally relied on family members for long-term-care assistance, times are changing. Many seniors hate the thought of burdening their loved one or facing limited options. With longer life spans, market volatility, skyrocketing medical costs, the elimination of corporate retiree health plans, and the uncertainty in the future of Medicare and Medicaid, LTC insurance makes a lot of sense.
To learn more about adding LTCI to your bag of tricks, download our LTCI Broker Kit today.
Count the Costs
What are the costs of being disabled?
With protection in hand, pennies on the dollar!
Depending on how much premium was paid and how long the disability lasts,
this is almost always the case.
Some benefits are worth more than money!
How can you estimate the value of peace of mind during recovery?
That same disability suffered by the same person would cost far more by liquidating assets or relying on family for living expenses.
1). Each dollar spent during the disability would have required an actual dollar of earnings.
2). Asset liquidation can often be at a loss from original purchase price, especially in times of economic uncertainty.
3). Financial difficulty is one of the highest contributors to stress and anxiety, which in turn has negative health consequences resulting in potentially more recovery time and costs.
So if disability protection is considered prohibitively expensive, my answer is:
“Let’s Count the Costs!”