CNA LTC, the long-term-care business unit of CNA Financial Corp. of Chicago, has come out with a product meant to increase its sales through banks by decreasing the hassles it usually involves.
Charles Bennett, manager of long-term-care distribution for CNA LTC, said CNA Long Term Advantage is designed to let banks and other financial institutions sell long-term-care insurance and spare them some time-consuming elements for instance, asking a litany of questions about things like peoples health and level of care they would want should they become incapacitated.
Banks have access to a clientele that insurance companies dont, Mr. Bennett said. If insurers want banks to include long-term-care products in the financial plans for these customers, they have an obligation to make the product easier for banks to sell.
CNA sells some long-term-care insurance through supervising general agents who work at banks but are not bank employees. It also sells annuities and life insurance through banks, both as a wholesaler and through the supervising general agents, but this is its first long-term-care offering created specifically to be sold through bank-employed agents. (Like most insurance companies, it does not divulge the revenue it generates through banks for long-term care.)
CNA developed the product with Long Term Preferred Care Inc., a Nashville insurance agency owned by FISI-Madison Financial, a provider of sales-support services to banks that sell insurance.
Robert Forman, a senior vice president of Long Term Preferred Care, said it will distribute the product through some of the more than 4,700 banking companies that have relationships with FISI-Madison including FleetBoston Financial Corp. and SunTrust Banks Inc. as well as through new bank customers.
Applications take 10 to 15 minutes and can be done at the branch with a licensed bank rep. A long-term-care specialist from CNA follows up with the client to complete the underwriting, collect additional information, and schedule medical exams. Bank employees handling the application must be licensed insurance agents but do not have to be long-term-care specialists.
The program offers three pre-packaged groups of benefits Essential, Enhanced, and Complete as well as a fourth, customizable option. The pricing on each package depends on the age and health of the customer buying it.
Mr. Bennett said CNA has no sales projections for CNA Long Term Advantage, which was launched Friday, but he said many banks are eager to sell a simplified form of long-term-care insurance.
Lance Gish, a senior vice president of Long Term Preferred Care, said the company is trying to take the pressure off the salesperson in the bank. Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, in Westlake, Calif., noted that long-term care is complex for the salesperson as well as for the buyer, and said simplified products like CNAs will become commonplace for that reason and others.
This is part of a natural evolution, a maturing process, of the long-term-care industry, a process that includes streamlined underwriting and more mass marketing, he said.