LTC: Every client has a story to tell

By Nicolas Ritoux | October 15, 2010 | Last updated on October 15, 2010
3 min read

In today’s society, death and serious illness may be even more taboo than sex. So how can an advisor offer long term care (LTC) insurance when clients refuse to face their own frailty?

This was the question posed to a panel of three LTC experts at Munich Re’s LTC insurance conference in Montreal.

Their unanimous answer. Advisors must explain to clients that the greatest risk to their retirement savings are not poor investment returns, excessive spending or inflation. The greatest risk is health — the only variable that it is impossible to predict and control.

Then, simply let your client speak about life experiences. If they are anything like the panelists, the stories will be both inspiring and touching.

Inspiring life stories “When one of my best friends got sick, I felt obliged to take care of her. She was a brilliant woman and to see her deteriorate was very hard. I learned a lot,” said an emotional Patricia Vigna, field marketing specialist with Desjardins Financial Security.

“After her death, I was left with a debt of $28,000, and it took me a year and a half to rebuild my business. The insurance industry did not support this kind of need at the time,” she said. “I knew that I would buy LTC insurance when it came to Canada. When I tell this story, it helps to initiate the sale.”

“All women in this room will give care to someone at some point in their lives,” said Vigna. “Make sure everyone in your family understands what it means to support a loved one both financially and physically for five or six years.”

“I met my friend and future brother-in-law at camp when I was 13 years old,” said Lowen Rosenthal, a life insurance and living benefit advisor, and founder of the Rosenthal Life Group. “At the time, I thought my family was well-off, until I saw his house which was located in a wealthy neighborhood, run by a governess with a spanking new ’61 Eldorado parked outside.”

“His father ended up suffering a serious illness, similar to Lou Gehrig’s for 15 years. Meanwhile, our mother was suffering from dementia. The life of my friend and my sister were spoiled for years, and their inheritance was only a fraction of the fortune of the past.”

Fewer numbers, more empathy “No need to use statistics to sell LTC insurance,” said Olivier Giroux, an LTC specialist with Sun Life Financial. “Everyone has a story to tell about a relative, an uncle or aunt, a colleague who had a stroke, etc. I try to let my clients talk about their own experiences.”

“I used to be a physiotherapist and I opted for my current job because I think a lot, and my clients realize it,” says Giroux. “I do not see myself as a salesman, but as an information officer.”

“This is an emotional sale, it is far from the numbers,” said Rosenthal. “I saw my mother not knowing who she was. You’ve probably seen those seniors who watch TV, but do not see it. We all know these situations; it is enough to broach the subject with honesty and realism.”


Nicolas Ritoux

Nicolas Ritoux is an independent journalist who has written for since 2009.