LTCI and Climate Change!

Every year, I truly enjoy the alumni reunions at Stanford University.   Not only do I personally connect with the University, but I have the pleasure of listening to panel discussions by all-star casts of academics and non-academics on subjects of current interest.

This year’s main Roundtable discussion was attended by about four thousand alumni and was entitled, “The Climate Conversation You Haven’t Heard.” Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes” moderated, and panelists included Former Secretary of State George Schultz, Farallon Hedge Fund’s Tom Steyer and Tesla’s JB Straubel.

Among other things, they talked about fossil fuels, Greenland, the potential flooding of a third of Florida, California’s dry Central Valley, the social, economic and political effects of a lack of water on the planet, and some of the more successful ways that we have combated climate change thus far.

The essence of their conclusions was that climate change is real and increasing faster than we have previously realized, that although the problems are daunting, we can solve the problem, and that we can solve it soon at relatively low cost. The group was cautiously optimistic.

Secretary Schultz and Mr. Steyer believed that combating climate change was essentially taking out an insurance policy (How’s about that!) to prevent what would be a catastrophic event if climate change were to grow unchecked. They claimed that there is virtually no certainty in a subject of this magnitude, and that immediate steps are needed, both in the public and private sectors. They claimed that if there is a 95% certainty that the scientists are correct in their analysis, why gamble on a 5% chance that they are wrong? Insure the risk. This made a great deal of sense to me.

Their greatest concern was that people tend to place a low priority on an event that could occur far into the future and to even deny its existence. Ms. Stahl even quoted a current U.S. Senator who denied that there has been any climate change at all in the last fifty years. (He must be living on a different planet.) In the eyes of the panel, the largest problem is the ability to galvanize the public to understand the need for action and to take action now.

Is this starting to sound familiar to a long term care specialist? You bet. We have also found that people tend to place a low priority on an event that could occur far into the future. People even deny the existence of a long term care need. We also need to overcome the relative lack of concern about a scenario which normally will occur in a person’s last years. For both climate change and long term care insurance, the public needs to be galvanized. Will truth overcome natural procrastination and denial?

At Northstar Network Insurance Agency, we have created a new consumer website entitled, “Long Term Care Now.” The message is that NOW is the time to protect yourself and your family. The younger you are, the easier it is to get strong affordable coverage. Therefore, you need to plan NOW. This website is intended to create urgency in relatively young people to take immediate action. I believe this is the correct message to increase the impression that long term care insurance is a priority, not to be put off, but to be considered and acted upon.

A very famous man used to state that history is full of situations where people realized that a calamitous event was going to occur, but didn’t do anything to That man was Sir Winston Churchill. He was speaking in the late 1930’s, referring to Adolph Hitler and his threat to conquer Europe.

You know the rest…the world was in denial and failed to stop Hitler until it was too late, and some thirty million people lost their lives. Can we learn from history’s lessons? What role can you play in educating people to understand the long term care risk and execute a plan?


Louis H. Brownstone is the Chairman of Northstar Network Insurance Agency, Inc. and a certified in 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. Read More…