NorthStar Network Insurance Agency, Inc. http://nsninsurance.com License #0E39099 Tue, 17 May 2016 20:56:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.11 Why A Standalone Long-Term Care Insurance Policy? http://nsninsurance.com/why-a-standalone-long-term-care-insurance-policy/ http://nsninsurance.com/why-a-standalone-long-term-care-insurance-policy/#comments Sat, 05 Dec 2015 09:43:40 +0000 http://nsninsurance.com/?p=469 You have all seen a great deal of conversation about hybrid or linked life or annuity/long term care policies.  There are an increasing number of options available.  They appear to offer two solutions for the price of one.  But in most cases, their compromises water down either one or both of the client’s objectives.  Having […]

The post Why A Standalone Long-Term Care Insurance Policy? appeared first on NorthStar Network Insurance Agency, Inc..

]]>
Standalone LTCI policyYou have all seen a great deal of conversation about hybrid or linked life or annuity/long term care policies.  There are an increasing number of options available.  They appear to offer two solutions for the price of one.  But in most cases, their compromises water down either one or both of the client’s objectives.  Having a standalone long term care insurance policy can completely eliminate this situation.

If your client purchased life insurance, they of course did so with the intent that a certain death benefit be paid to their beneficiary or beneficiaries.  Using the long term care rider will lower or in some cases completely use up their death benefit, so that the objective of a death benefit to their heirs would be partially or completely unrealized.

There are basically two types of plans.  The hybrid product normally has a set death benefit, but a continuation of benefits rider can be bought which increases the normally strong  long term care benefit over time.  If there is a claim for long term care services, the benefits are first pulled out of the death benefit and then out of the continuation of benefits rider.  This structure emphasizes the long term care benefit over the death benefit, and the long term care benefit can be a robust one.

The linked product normally has either a robust or increasing death benefit, and long term care benefits are an acceleration of the death benefit.  This structure emphasizes the death benefit over the long term care benefit.  If the death benefit is substantial, say $ 500,000 or more, the accelerated long term care benefit can also be a robust one.  However, the long term care benefit is normally static, so if the death benefit does not become a substantial one, the long term care benefit could well fail to cover the cost of care in a long scenario.  Here, the death benefit can essentially disappear as well.

In the case of an annuity/long term care policy, the long term care benefit is normally two or three times the value of the annuity, and like a life/linked product, the long term care benefit can be a substantial one if the value of the annuity is large.  However, as in the case of the life products, long term care benefits are first deducted from the value of the annuity.  If the original purpose of the annuity was either to provide a lifelong stream of income or a death benefit, a substantial long term care scenario can eliminate either original purpose.

Of course, one cannot foresee what combination of benefits will be utilized in the future.  I am convinced that many uninformed agents will sell small combo products in the future and claim that their client’s long term care needs will be fully met, when they will only be met in part.  The average life insurance policy sold today only has a death benefit of $ 130,000, whereas the average annuity policy has an even lower value.  I urge you to avoid future lawsuits by telling your prospects exactly what they are buying when they buy these combo products.  Better to lose a sale that to get sued in a case where the odds would be against you.

The traditional long term care policy has the one big drawback of the use it or lose it feature, and in this era of frequent rate increases, this creates uncertainty as to the true value of these policies.  But I believe that rates are now so high that the need for future rate increases has been minimized.  The traditional long term care policy still represents a terrific value for the client…as the carriers well know because of all the claims they are paying.  LTCI should be sold about 90 % of the time in my opinion.

————————

Louis H. Brownstone is the Chairman of Northstar Network Insurance Agency, Inc. and is a certified Long Term Care specialist. Louis is recognized as an industry leader, with articles appearing frequently in California Broker Magazine and other industry publications and events.

The post Why A Standalone Long-Term Care Insurance Policy? appeared first on NorthStar Network Insurance Agency, Inc..

]]>
http://nsninsurance.com/why-a-standalone-long-term-care-insurance-policy/feed/ 0
Converting a Long Term Care Lead to an Application, How Times Have Changed. http://nsninsurance.com/converting-long-term-care-lead-to-application/ http://nsninsurance.com/converting-long-term-care-lead-to-application/#comments Fri, 20 Nov 2015 09:09:07 +0000 http://nsninsurance.com/?p=463 It used to be true that when an agent received a Long-Term Care insurance lead, it could be converted into an application in a fairly short period of time.  I recall that we had a career agent, a very high producer, who believed that a lead had a life cycle of about ten days.  If […]

The post Converting a Long Term Care Lead to an Application, How Times Have Changed. appeared first on NorthStar Network Insurance Agency, Inc..

]]>
lead-conversion-oct 2015It used to be true that when an agent received a Long-Term Care insurance lead, it could be converted into an application in a fairly short period of time.  I recall that we had a career agent, a very high producer, who believed that a lead had a life cycle of about ten days.  If he could not get a hold of the prospect within ten days, he considered the lead to be of no value and ready to discard.

Like many other aspects of long term care insurance marketing and sales, times have changed.  We know now that the life cycle of a lead is far longer than it used to be.  But we had no idea of how much longer, so we attempted to measure the time of the lead cycle.

We obtained a group of 159 California Long Term Care career applications taken during a part of 2015 and were able to ascertain the date that the lead was either mailed or received over the internet.  There were still a few unknowns in the sample.  For instance, we could assume that it took about two weeks for us to receive the direct mail lead response, give or take a few days.  But we could not measure when the agent was allocated the lead after we received it.  That period was usually just a few days, but it could have been longer in some cases.

In addition, we assumed that with our speedy system, an internet lead was allocated to an agent the minute it was received by us, but we are human, and there could have been times where there was a delay of a few hours or days.  So the results of our measurements are subject to at least some error factor.  Nevertheless, we were very surprised by the results.

We found that our direct mail leads took an average of 142 days from the date of mailing to convert to an application, or 4.7 months.  This meant that the prospects must have had multiple contacts…phone calls, emails, drip marketing, and so forth, before they were persuaded to apply.   What a long process, even without the carrier underwriting!  And what a long time it takes in these instances for an agent or us to get paid.

But what about our internet leads?  These leads only took an average of 46 days from the date of receipt of the lead to it resulting in an application.  What a difference!  Not only was the internet lead converted three times faster, but it often resulted in an E-application, saving even more time in converting the lead into a policy.

As we expected, a higher percentage of internet leads converted into applications than direct mail leads.  Part of the reason is that these internet leads are mostly our leads, created from our Google marketing and from our websites.  This decreases the probability of competition from other lead sources.  Furthermore, the internet leads are currently costing us less than direct mail leads.

Do you think that we like our internet leads?  You bet.  We will allocate more of our lead budget to internet leads in 2016, and this alone should give us an increase in sales.  These facts should encourage you to create your own viable website and to market with internet leads.  We can help you get started if you have not yet adapted to this type of marketing.

————————

Louis H. Brownstone is the Chairman of Northstar Network Insurance Agency, Inc. and is a certified Long Term Care specialist. Louis is recognized as an industry leader, with articles appearing frequently in California Broker Magazine and other industry publications and events.

The post Converting a Long Term Care Lead to an Application, How Times Have Changed. appeared first on NorthStar Network Insurance Agency, Inc..

]]>
http://nsninsurance.com/converting-long-term-care-lead-to-application/feed/ 0
November is Long Term Care Awareness Month – Time To Reflect! http://nsninsurance.com/november-is-long-term-care-awareness-month-time-to-reflect/ http://nsninsurance.com/november-is-long-term-care-awareness-month-time-to-reflect/#comments Sun, 01 Nov 2015 09:00:29 +0000 http://nsninsurance.com/?p=456 As we approach yet another November Long Term Care Awareness Month, it’s time to reflect on how we can do a better job as insurance agents and financial advisors. The U.S. Congress declared this annual campaign to urge people to recognize and plan for the potential risks and costs associated with long term care.  The […]

The post November is Long Term Care Awareness Month – Time To Reflect! appeared first on NorthStar Network Insurance Agency, Inc..

]]>
LTC Month November-reflection- 2015As we approach yet another November Long Term Care Awareness Month, it’s time to reflect on how we can do a better job as insurance agents and financial advisors. The U.S. Congress declared this annual campaign to urge people to recognize and plan for the potential risks and costs associated with long term care.  The Congress wanted to encourage citizens, insurance agents, and financial advisors to discuss the subject.  The main motivation was to get citizens to insure against this huge risk and save Medicare and Medicaid billions of dollars in the future.

But has this initiative been successful? Not very. Only a small minority of consumers have discussed long term care with their financial professional, and even far less have purchased a policy.  This is despite the fact that we all know how great the need for protection is.

Shame on us!  We’re not doing a very good job.  Long term care insurance should be one of the five core products in anyone’s planning.  These products are:  life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, a retirement plan, and a long term care plan.  Yet it still seems that a family has to experience a significant long term care scenario in order to understand the need to protect themselves.  Far better if we move them to action before a loved one gets sick.

So what can we do?  We can get the word out.  The carriers have plenty of marketing materials for us to utilize.  We can feature long term care in all our internet communications, including a blast email to our clients.  We can use testimonials of our clients, 100 % of whom will tell you at claim time, “Thank God you sold me that long term care insurance policy.”  We can rededicate ourselves to the marketing of the product.

But most important, we can take a moment to realize what a great value we are selling, even with rates becoming as high as they now are.  We can find ways to be even more appreciative of the worth and value of what we do for a living.  We can give ourselves a shot of confidence.  We all need to get newly motivated from time to time.  Isn’t Long Term Care Awareness Month a perfect time to do this?

We know how great a risk long term care is to one’s savings and retirement plan.  .  Many of us have seen how severely a long term care scenario can affect entire families.  Our plans help to mitigate this trauma.  We know that a plan can make a long term care scenario tolerable for the client and for the client’s family

What are we really talking about here?  We’re talking about how people are going to die.  Are they going to die without assets in a facility where they feel neglected, or are they going to die in the comfort of their own home, surrounded by family and friends that may even still love them despite their current condition?  How do YOU want to die?  Do you believe that it’s important to help others in this time of need?  It sure is.  Together, we can have a very positive affect on many people at this most critical period in their lives.

So sell with conviction.  Be fulfilled from understanding the value of what you do.  Have fun with Long Term Care Awareness Month!

————————

Louis H. Brownstone is the Chairman of Northstar Network Insurance Agency, Inc. and is a certified Long Term Care specialist. Louis is recognized as an industry leader, with articles appearing frequently in California Broker Magazine and other industry publications and events.

The post November is Long Term Care Awareness Month – Time To Reflect! appeared first on NorthStar Network Insurance Agency, Inc..

]]>
http://nsninsurance.com/november-is-long-term-care-awareness-month-time-to-reflect/feed/ 0
We Support These Non-Profit Organizations http://nsninsurance.com/we-support-these-non-profit-organizations/ http://nsninsurance.com/we-support-these-non-profit-organizations/#comments Wed, 07 Oct 2015 08:55:34 +0000 http://nsninsurance.com/?p=450 We, at Northstar, run a passionate and ethical brokerage. One of the hidden values in affiliating with us is that we actively support groups that protect and advance goals that help your business as well as ours.  We not only support them as a brokerage, but as representatives of the hundreds of agents who put […]

The post We Support These Non-Profit Organizations appeared first on NorthStar Network Insurance Agency, Inc..

]]>
Support Non-ProfitsWe, at Northstar, run a passionate and ethical brokerage. One of the hidden values in affiliating with us is that we actively support groups that protect and advance goals that help your business as well as ours.  We not only support them as a brokerage, but as representatives of the hundreds of agents who put their trust in us. We want to take this opportunity to tell you about the organizations we support.

  1. NAIFA…The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors: This 125-year old association is the nation’s leading advocate in our industry. Its focus is to help protect our business, help agents and brokers grow their business, and the promote ethical business conduct. We are active members, and I have been on the SF-Peninsula Board for several years. I have also arranged meetings with legislators in our district, attended meetings in Sacramento, and lobbied members of Congress in Washington, DC. I take seriously the fact that I am representing all of you when I participate in NAIFA. If there is any one association in which you should become an active member, it’s NAIFA, and I encourage you to do so.
  2. NAHU…The National Association of Health Underwriters…This organization is somewhat similar to NAIFA but mainly represents the health care industry. We are involved to a lesser extent than NAIFA, but the two organizations often advocate jointly. Of course, NAHU has been a great resource to try to understand all the complexities of the Affordable Care Act.
  3. The Center for Long Term Care Reform…This small non-profit is headed by Steve Moses, a passionate supporter of private long term care insurance. Steve is an expert on the many ways people take advantage of the Government to pay for their long term care costs. He believes that legal manipulations by elder law attorneys, far too generous exempt assets in Medicaid qualification law, and general public hiding of assets has cost Medicaid billions, and has done many studies to prove this. Steve also believes that these practices have severely depressed sales of long term care insurance. We strongly support Steve’s efforts,.
  4. The 3in4 Need More Campaign…Headed by Jonas Roeser, Mark Goldberg and Margie Barrie, this public awareness campaign created in 2010 has made the general public more aware of the need for long term care planning. It is based on the fact that 3in4 Americans ages 30 to 65 think they should know more about long term care insurance. We are among the original members, and I am on the Advisory Board. Of course, Mark Goldberg has been instrumental in making this campaign a success.
  5. The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance…Headed by Jesse Slome, this organization has in many ways been the largest advocate of long term care insurance. We have been members for years and have attended all of the AALTCI conventions, a great source of knowledge for LTCI agents. Jesse is a marketing master, and spreads great PR for long term care planning. I’m sure that you have seen many of his quotes in major newspapers and periodicals, heard him on radio, and seen him on TV.
  6. The Better Business Bureau…We are members of the Bay Area Better Business Bureau. This means that we are accredited by the Bureau, and contractually have agreed to adhere to the highest standards of fair and honest behavior. We have agreed to tell the whole truth, keep our promises and be responsive to any complaints. We proudly exhibit the BBB logo on our websites.
  7. The Alzheimer’s Association…We donate to the Alzheimer’s Association and participate in their memory walks. I imagine that like me, you have had family members that have contracted this terrible disease. Because we are living longer, we are becoming more at risk of becoming Alzheimer’s patients ourselves. We support the research that hopefully will one day find a cure, or at least retard the onset of Alzheimer’s.
  8. The National Alliance of Insurance Agencies…This new alliance headed by Bill Jones is our main resource for non-LTCI solutions. We are one of the founding members, and I am on the Executive Committee. We are on the ground floor for understanding new and innovative products which solve long term care needs. Watch these solutions grow and become a increasing part of our portfolios.
  9. The National LTC Network…Last, but far from least, the twenty-one year old National LTC Network has achieved a leading role in our industry,. It strives to share ideas among its twenty-eight members, provide industry leadership, and negotiate top compensation and bonus contracts. It enables us to pay you top commissions and provide state of the art back office support. I am a past Chairman of this organization and am currently on its Executive Committee. With Terry Truesdell as its Executive Director, The National LTC Network is a constant source of learning for us.

We are proud of all of these affiliations, and hope that you can see the value for you as a result of our participation.

————————

Louis H. Brownstone is the Chairman of Northstar Network Insurance Agency, Inc. and is a certified Long Term Care specialist. Louis is recognized as an industry leader, with articles appearing frequently in California Broker Magazine and other industry publications and events.

The post We Support These Non-Profit Organizations appeared first on NorthStar Network Insurance Agency, Inc..

]]>
http://nsninsurance.com/we-support-these-non-profit-organizations/feed/ 0
When Will The California Partnership For Long-Term Care Change? http://nsninsurance.com/california-partnership-for-long-term-care/ http://nsninsurance.com/california-partnership-for-long-term-care/#comments Thu, 24 Sep 2015 08:30:48 +0000 http://nsninsurance.com/?p=440 The California Partnership for Long-Term Care appears about to die, but change is on the way. The question is, when?  It’s no secret that the Partnership has had a huge decrease in the number of policies placed, actually a whopping 95 % decrease from its peak. The Partnership statistics for the last fiscal year available, […]

The post When Will The California Partnership For Long-Term Care Change? appeared first on NorthStar Network Insurance Agency, Inc..

]]>
California Partnership for long-term careThe California Partnership for Long-Term Care appears about to die, but change is on the way. The question is, when?  It’s no secret that the Partnership has had a huge decrease in the number of policies placed, actually a whopping 95 % decrease from its peak. The Partnership statistics for the last fiscal year available, the four quarters ending in the second quarter of 2014, show that a mere 614 policies were placed.

Until now, the Partnership has mandated a 5 % compound inflation rider for those under age 70 with a current daily minimum of $ 180/day. This has made its policies unaffordable for those it is trying to help, people with moderate income and assets. This will be even truer in the light of Genworth’s rate refresh effective September 14th, which makes their 5 % compound inflation structure unsaleable to virtually anyone because it is such a bad value for the prospective buyer.

What is not widely known is that Raul Moreno, the Partnership’s Research Director, has proposed four new options, all with a choice of a 3 % compound inflation in the structure, as follows:

  • Age based inflation beginning at 5 % compound and reducing as one ages to 3 % compound by age 70;
  • A choice of 3 %, 4 % or 5 % compound inflation at any age;
  • A hybrid-linked life insurance policy with a choice or 3 % or 5 % compound inflation;
  • A reduced daily minimum of 50 % of the daily private pay rate, currently $ 260, with a choice of 3 % or 5 % compound inflation but without covering nursing facilities.

I believe that Department of Health Care Services approval of these proposals would be a very important first step towards reviving the Partnership, and strongly support them. Far more needs to be done, however, including bringing more carriers into the Partnership and increasing educational outreach to California’s citizens. I believe that Raul’s proposals will be adopted, but DHCS is a huge bureaucracy, and lord knows how long the approval and then the implementation process is going to take…it could easily take several years.

I have spoken and met with Raul and with Brenda Bufford, the Partnership Director. I also requested and finally obtained a meeting with their superiors in Sacramento, Joseph Billingsley, Rebecca Schupp, and Hannah Katch. They listened to me very briefly, but have since been unwilling to engage in further conversations. My next step is to engage with key legislators in order to goad the DHCS into action.

Almost every other state has adopted the flexibility of the Deficit Reduction Act, which permits most any type of inflation clause in a Partnership product. The state of Minnesota is about to approve a 1 % compound inflation rate, as my friend Debra Newman has successfully argued that home health care is inflating at only 1 %. Even now, 78 % of policies sold in Minnesota are Partnership policies; about 25 % in the other three original Partnership states, but less than 5 % in California.

What’s at stake? Hundreds of millions of dollars of Medi-Cal expense over the next twenty-five years, maybe even billions, if DHCS fail to install a viable long term care insurance program.

I would welcome any of you California agents who want to join me in an effort to give Californians a plan that would help them and also help the State. Please give me a call, and together, maybe we can make things happen. Together, we can help revive the California Partnership for Long Term Care.

————————

Louis H. Brownstone is the Chairman of Northstar Network Insurance Agency, Inc. and is a certified Long Term Care specialist. Louis is recognized as an industry leader, with articles appearing frequently in California Broker Magazine and other industry publications and events.

The post When Will The California Partnership For Long-Term Care Change? appeared first on NorthStar Network Insurance Agency, Inc..

]]>
http://nsninsurance.com/california-partnership-for-long-term-care/feed/ 0