When OneAmerica invited Ash Brokerage to collaborate on its long-term care consumer study, the Fort Wayne, Indiana, company welcomed the opportunity to participate. The results would prove valuable by arming financial professionals with insights to better serve their clients.
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“Unfortunately, nursing homes are filled with people who never thought that a long-term care event would happen to them,” said Nikki Parker, Ash Brokerage chief of staff.
That’s because topics such as the need for long-term care and end-of-life assistance aren’t easily broached by financial professionals or clients. Often, they’re avoided altogether when it comes to financial planning.
“For a lot of people, those are difficult possibilities to ponder. And advisors can feel uncomfortable bringing them up,” Nikki said. “But steering clear of these discussions can prove far worse for clients if the unexpected happens and they’re without long-term care coverage.”
To gain more understanding of public perspectives and perceptions on this oft-unspoken topic, OneAmerica commissioned Hanover Research to conduct the LTC Consumer Planning Study. Reaching out to a range of consumers and financial professionals, it collected insightful behavioral data, while also fulfilling a critical element of the OneAmerica mission: listening to and understanding customers.
We worked with Ash Brokerage and others to capture this latest input to compare with previous consumer data and determine where our views aligned and where they differed. That desire to serve reflects the 35-plus years of experience OneAmerica has in the asset-based long-term care business and our focus on building meaningful relationships.
Jeff Levin, vice president of distribution for Care Solutions at OneAmerica, was part of the team that commissioned the study. Jeff was eager to participate and learn more about the “courageous conversation,” as he calls it.
To better connect with survey recipients, the team reached out to some of those distribution partners, according to Jeff. As active writers in the long-term care and benefits space, Ash Brokerage accepted the invitation. They considered the collaboration an ideal opportunity to help OneAmerica while learning more about what their advisors were saying.
“It seemed like a natural extension of the relationship between us and OneAmerica,” Nikki said. “Over the years, we’ve formed a working comradery that we really value. After all, this is a people business, and we’re both people-first companies.”
Matt Clark, in his role as OneAmerica divisional vice president of brokerage, also values such relationships. The research effort only further strengthened his connections with those professionals.
“I want to clear paths to make it easier for them to support their customers,” Matt said. “And that’s exactly what this project did.”
He said when clients hear about the long-term care products OneAmerica offers, they take advantage of them, understanding the products’ value, and because they don’t want to later burden their family with their health care expenses and the potential need for extended care. Matt reiterates the value of educating advisors and encouraging them to talk to clients about the LTC products that can protect them and loved ones.
“Very few people want to think about the ‘what ifs.’ Instead, they think I’m happy and healthy, nothing’s going to happen to me — until it does,” he said. “But for those who have the peace of mind that comes with long-term care coverage, knowing such risks are accounted for empowers them to enjoy their retirement years more confidently.”
Ash Brokerage is not an affiliate of the companies of OneAmerica.