The pandemic may seem over; yet, its impacts will continue to be felt on our finances — and our worldview — for years to come. LIMRA’s Fourth Quarter U.S. Retail Life Insurance Sales Survey indicated that total life insurance’s new annualized premium grew 20% in 2021, representing the highest annual growth since 1983. It’s true that the insurance industry saw an uptick in those interested in life insurance post-pandemic. So, one might assume that this would also trickle down to those seeking a long-term care (LTC) plan, including purchasing LTC insurance. In fact, the data gathered in a recent survey from OneAmerica® might surprise you.
Well under a quarter of consumers (15%) say the pandemic has been highly influential on their perceptions of their need for an LTC plan. The respected 2022 Milliman Long Term Care Insurance Survey noted that outside of Washington state, the number of new insureds in 2022 dropped 9.4% based on the insurers that reported sales.
Nevertheless, the pandemic has proven more influential on broader health-related perceptions. Nearly two-thirds agree that the pandemic has made them more aware of their health’s potential impact on their financial security (65%), that they are more worried about family members’ health and wellness (64%), and that they feel a greater need to prepare for the unexpected (63%).
The same survey illustrated that only a little more than a quarter (29%) of consumers have researched LTC options LTC planning, and even fewer have worked with a financial professional on such strategies (18%) or implemented an actual plan (16%). It seems COVID has made consumers more mindful of the problems that exist, but ultimately this awareness didn’t result in action that could relieve those concerns and help them prepare for the unexpected.
The delay in action could be due to recent market factors. Whatever the reason, it’s a great time to leverage this newly identified consciousness and concern as a starting point for conversation. We can lean into this interest in preparedness and help empower families as they create plans on how to pay for long-term care support — defined as help with some of the basic activities of daily living: bathing, dressing, eating and even using the restroom. There are many elements to a long-term care plan, but you can’t begin to address all the elements if they aren’t discussed.
“Helping families create a plan so they have the support they need isn’t just a responsibility — it’s an honor,” says Jeff Levin, vice president and head of Care Solutions at OneAmerica. “Our top sellers and distributors are genuinely caring individuals who take pride in being able to initiate compassionate conversations about long-term care needs.”
As we work to connect the dots for our clients, it’s important for all of us to recognize that individuals are more aware of their health’s potential impact on their financial security, their worry for their family’s health and their need to prepare for the unexpected. In part, because of the effect that COVID has had on our worldview and psyche, your customers are likely eager to learn how you can help them. In fact, behind trusting their family (73%), consumers most likely will to turn to their financial services professionals (40%) — that’s you! — to have a conversation about their long-term care options.
For additional resources and the full consumer research survey about long-term care, please visit https://bit.ly/LTCINN.
OneAmerica® is the marketing name for the companies of OneAmerica.