Single-digit growth in long-term-care insurance sales, along with heightened interest in asset-based products, is forecast for 2015, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.
"We expect to see sales of traditional long term care insurance grow both in terms of policies and premium written," predicts Jesse Slome, executive director of the AALTCI. "The growth should be in the three to five percent range for policy sales and roughly eight to 10 percent for new premium overall for 2015."
The forecast should be welcome news to many of the nation's LTC insurers who have experienced double-digit sales decline in 2014. "Sales would be larger if more insurance professionals re-entered the long term care insurance marketplace," Slome admits. "I don't see that happening over the short term in 2015, but it is good to see some major insurers are investing heavily in trying to rebuild distribution for the product."
The association also forecast predicts continued growth of hybrid or asset-based LTCI products. "These products are much harder to track and report as more life insurance companies add a long term care benefits option to their life insurance contracts," Slome notes. "If adding a benefit like LTC gains traction for life insurance sales, then considering the number of life insurance agents, we expect many more Americans will have some form of long term care protection in place at the end of 2015."
In addition, Slome notes that issues facing the traditional LTCI industry continue to pose a threat to future growth. "We are seeing more consumers frustrated with the claims payment process who are turning to the media as part of the resolution-seeking process," Slome acknowledges. "Today, it only takes a few negative stories that go viral to impact any goodwill the industry has built up. That continues to be a worrisome condition."
The AALTCI is a national trade organization that strives to create heightened awareness and understanding of LTC planning. For more information, call 818-597-3227 or visit the association's website at www.aaltci.org.
By Ayo Mseka