The Advisor's View of Long-Term Care Planning

How to use survey tools to help clients plan for long-term care

Posted by Tom Riekse Jr | May 28, 2015 2:48:56 PM


Many advisors use a fact finding process when recommending long-term care to a client or prospect. Typical fact finders ask for information such as health, age and location.  Advisors (often with the help of a partner brokerage general agency) then use that information to prepare a spreadsheet rate comparison and full carrier compliant illustration.

This approach has served clients of LTC well over the past several years, but there are several shortcomings as well. 

One result of this approach is that It might end up simply preparing a quote based on the cost of care for the state the client is in and recommending the lowest priced product based on initial premium.

However, the lowest priced product might not be the best fit. Someone may be more interested in things such as guaranteed premiums (think Life/LTC plans) or choosing a company with the strong financial ratings. The flexibility of cash benefits might be very important as well.

Of course, as an advisor you can schedule a phone conversation and ask these questions.  That's a great idea, but if people are too busy for a phone call another idea might be to ask a prospect to complete a quick and simple online survey.  These tools from companies such as Survey Monkey allow you to gather important information to tailor a recommendation.

It should be emphasized -  it is really easy to create surveys using these types of tools. Most of them are either free or available at a very low monthly cost.  

What types of questions will help you provide a better recommendation?  Here's a link to a sample fact finder survey below - check it out (it will launch is a separate window):

You'll notice this sample survey includes some of the following characteristics:

  1. It's quick - It includes just a few questions.  If a survey is too long, it won't get completed.  One idea is to create a follow up survey for those prospects that complete the initial survey - it could include questions not covered here.  
  2. It doesn't include health questions - They might be best handled through a HIPAA compliant tool.  Some survey tools (like Survey Monkey) do offer a HIPAA compliant version.
  3. Offers forced ranking - Everybody would love a comprehensive plan at the lowest premium, but there are inevitable trade offs that need to be decided upon when planning. The survey forces prospects to choose between items such as low first year premium and guaranteed premiums.
  4. Asks for budget number - The biggest objection to buying long-term care insurance is price. So knowing the budget upfront allows to you customize their plan in a range you know they'll be able to afford. 
  5. Asks how far they are in the buying process: This does two things: 1) You'll be able to tailor your discussions to their interest level. For example, if they said they were just exploring their options you could provide an informational brochure like this one. 2) It helps you to identify and prioritize the most serious potential buyers.

So next time you are interested in engaging a group of clients or prospects in LTC planning try asking a few questions first!  

Have you used surveys in the past?  Share your experience below....


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Topics: For financial professionals, Advice articles about planning, Sales Tips

Written by Tom Riekse Jr

Tom Riekse, ChFC, CLU, CEBS is the Managing Director of LTCI Partners, one of the largest national distributors focused on long term-care planning. LTCI Partners works with financial advisors, benefit brokers, associations and anyone else interested in helping protect people against the devastating financial impact of a long-term care event.

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