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On this episode of ShiftShapers, Tobe Gerard shares valuable insight into how she built a successful agency specializing in long-term care insurance. She had 20 years of experience in the insurance industry before starting her firm, and for the past 15 years, she’s built a highly efficient, effective and successful agency using a unique strategy.

Rather than finding prospects directly – as is the case with most practices – Tobe took a different route. Instead, she cultivates relationships with other professionals, including financial planners, life insurance brokers, accountants, and others. Her network continually refers clients to Tobe as a subject matter expert in long-term care insurance. Once the prospects began flowing, she developed a multi-part strategy to convert prospects into clients.

Join us to find out how Tobe was able to shape her successful referral-based, long-term care specialty practice and how it is doing in today’s environment. Learn which tools and techniques are most effective for working with long-term care clients and prospects, and why the current trend of using riders on life plans may not always be the best solution for your clients.

 

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • How Tobe was initially introduced to the insurance industry.
  • How she was able to build a referral-only practice.
  • How Tobe creates new sources of referrals for her agency.
  • Tools and techniques for working with long term clients.
  • What “Invisible Coverages” are.

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ShiftShapersCoverArtCommunication is a critical component of personal and corporate success. We may think of conversation and communication as an art, but it turns out that the keys to effective communication are firmly rooted in science.

On this episode of ShiftShapers we explore those connections with Rachael Bosch, Managing Director of Fringe Professional Development, a Washington D.C. firm that helps organizations, teams, and individuals reach their professional learning goals.

We spend the majority of our time in school on the core business skills needed to do our job. However, the soft skills – or professional skills – that help you develop and lead teams don’t receive as much attention.

When communicating with your team it’s important to think not only about the message you need to convey but also how that message will be received. Rachael provides helpful clues into how we can communicate more effectively based on research by top neuroscientists.

From Baby Boomers to Millennials, each birth cohort approaches career aspirations in a unique manner. Learning how to communicate generously and build community will positively impact an environment where the organization’s employees can remain engaged.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • Why professional skills are just as important as the core business skills.
  • The component of professional skills has the most room for improvement.
  • How different generations learn and approach professional skills in the workplace.
  • Why it is important to learn how Millennials use their drive and professional skills.
  • Four filters that can boost effective communication results.

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This week, we continue our conversation with a pioneer and disruptor in direct primary care (DPC): Samir Qamar, M.D. Dr. Qamar is the founder and CEO of  MedLion and MedWand. On this episode of Shiftshapers, Dr. Qamar shares his latest invention, which aims to take telemedicine to another level.

Telemedicine is a huge component of the direct primary care model. First generation telemedicine tools only allowed doctors to provide consultations because doctors weren’t able to examine patients. MedWand is a project that Dr. Qamar is working on that would launch telemedicine into the future. MedWand makes health care portable and interactive.

We talk about a brand new device that Dr. Qamar is bringing to market – a mouse-sized piece of technology that has the potential to revolutionize patients’ interactions with their physicians. This new technology will allow physicians to spend more appropriate time with clients. Tune into this insightful exploration of the new technologies being developed that will help extend our virtual interaction with our primary care providers.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • Whether direct pay will take primary care/family medicine back to the era of the family doctor.
  • The evolution of today’s telemedicine.
  • Why the first generation of telemedicine wasn’t helpful for more than consultations.
  • How accessible this technology is for consumers.
  • Why frequent claims are an insurance killer.
  • The other technology coming to market that will extend our electronic interaction with providers.

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On this episode, we’re honored to be speaking to a pioneer and disruptor in direct primary care (DPC): Samir Qamar, M.D. Dr. Qamar is the founder and CEO of two companies, MedLion and MedWand. DPC revisits a traditional business model that eliminates insurance for non-catastrophic health care needs.

In this first episode of our two-part interview, we asked Dr. Qamar to talk about the ins and outs of the direct primary care model and share his unique journey into that field. We also talk about how the direct primary care pioneers were able to get the DPC inserted into the ACA, and how DPC realigns incentives. We’ll explore how DPC might be a good fit for clients struggling with today’s increased personal responsibility amounts, and how they coordinate with and complement high deductible plans.

DPC offers an exciting alternative as insurance rates and health care costs continue to skyrocket. Dr. Qamar shares how health care costs can be dramatically reduced by taking a fresh look at how we price primary care services. The quality of care and access improves with this new approach. Benefit advisors will learn how to best position this service to assist their clients.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • What a direct primary care is and how it differs from fee-for-service.
  • How Dr. Qamar developed a direct primary care practice catering to the general public.
  • How a key change in PPACA made a big difference.
  • Whether DPC is an individual play, a group play, or both.
  • Why insurance is unnecessary in primary care.
  • Strategies that benefit advisors should know to help clients avoid penalties and adverse experiences with DPC.

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ShiftShapersCoverArtAfter a market contraction due to a low interest rate environment and its effects on reserves as well as challenges understanding the pricing on a relatively new product, Long Term Care is poised for a comeback.

In part two of two, Bill Dyess and I continue our conversation about the future of Long Term Care insurance. Bill is the President of Dyess Insurance Services and one of the country’s foremost experts on long-term care.

Bill and I talk about how hybrid policies, which combine life insurance or annuities with Long Term Care insurance, have added a new wrinkle to the insurance marketplace. We measure some of the pros and cons of hybrid plans and highlight the importance of the advisor’s role as consumer educator.

The caregiver side of the equation is also important to weigh in the discussion of Long Term Care insurance. LTC can be a useful tool for caregivers, who must care for their own lives as well as those of their loved ones. As the nature of caregiving changes – trending younger and toward parity in caregivers’ gender – it is even more likely that LTC insurance will become more popular.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • The likelihood of an illness or accident triggering a Long Term Care claim.
  • How hybrid policies and plans are designed, and how they may affect the resurgence of LTC.
  • The role of partnership plans in protecting the consumer’s assets in the marketplace.
  • The changing nature of caregivers, and why LTC insurance is a tool they can utilize to ensure their loved ones get the care they need.
  • How to get into the Long Term Care space as an advisor.

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ShiftShapersCoverArtAfter a market contraction due to a low interest rate environment and its effects on reserves as well as challenges understanding the pricing on a relatively new product, Long Term Care is poised for a comeback.

On this first of a two-part series on the ShiftShapers Podcast, we’ll investigate a resurging need for long-term care insurance. There is a 75% chance that those who reach the age of 65 will need long-term care at some point in their lives. Our guest, Bill Dyess, is President of Dyess Insurance Services. He is one of the country’s foremost experts on long-term care.

Getting hurt or becoming sick and needing long-term care as a result of a chronic condition can happen at any age. While long-term care is primarily associated with the needs of an aging population, though anyone at any age can face this challenge. Bill will help explain the differences and the need for disability vs. long-term insurance.

In the 1980s and 1990s, there was an explosion of long-term care products. As the costs associated with long-term care exploded, the availability of products disappeared. The population is aging and surviving previously fatal diseases at a higher rate which makes an interest in long-term care insurance a new opportunity. There is a resurgence in the number of carriers in the marketplace and today we discuss what this means for advisors.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • A history of the long-term care product and why there is a resurgence of product offerings in the marketplace.
  • Typical costs associated with various categories of long-term care assistance.
  • Strategies for minimizing the costs of premiums and what effect that has on out of pocket expenses.

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ShiftShapersCoverArtAccording to the CDC, over 29 million people in the US are diabetic. It costs more than $176 billion to treat diabetes – so how can employers and employees manage the treatment and complications of this lifelong disease?

Today Tom Milam of TrueLifeCare talks about just how big the diabetes problem has become in the workforce. He distinguishes between the two components contributing to the scope of the problem, which is affecting employees across age cohorts: costs associated with diagnosing and maintaining diabetes, and those associated with its complications. Tom also shares some staggering figures about how much employers pay for employees with diabetes compared to those without.

We then cover how advisors can find data about their clients’ employees to understand how diabetes is affecting their workforce. Tom talks about some of the tools advisors are using to discuss diabetes management with employers and strategies to minimize the disease’s costs. He also shares some research from the Northeast Business Group on Health describing why previous attempts to curb diabetes costs in employees haven’t been successful, and how to change tactics going forward.

Tom shares how much of a struggle it can be to keep employees engaged with the daily choices they must make to keep diabetes in check. While there is no single solution, incentives and other tools can help employers keep their employees healthy and save money for them both.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • How large the problem of diabetes has become in employee populations.
  • Why it’s important to consider complications of diabetes when calculating healthcare costs, not merely diagnosis and maintenance.
  • How much diabetes currently costs employers and employees, compared to average employee costs.
  • How advisors should discuss these challenges and potential solutions with prospects and clients.
  • Why it can be tricky to get employees engaged in counteracting diabetes.
  • The shift from tell-oriented to help-oriented disease management programs and their effect on employees with diabetes.

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Today’s advisors are being asked to do more . . . and often – with less. Can a CRM help increase your effectiveness along with your practice’s efficiency?
Commission compression, client expectations of broader and deeper service levels and an ever more complex industry have all put pressure on benefit advisors. In many practices, this has had a significant effect on profitability. On this episode of ShiftShapers we explore the wide world of CRM systems. With a little bit of work, the right system can help your practice stay focused while delivering better service.
Ryan Pinney, President of Insureio, joins us on this episode to talk about how new CRMs targeted specifically at insurance agents, advisors, and other professionals are changing the practice management landscape. A great CRM can save you from spending the bulk of your time managing client data rather than engaging with clients themselves.

Ryan talks about how some of the most successful agents have been adopting new technologies for the past decade, giving them a leg up. We discuss how the average age of agents in the insurance industry affects our willingness to integrate new technologies into our practices, and what to look for in a CRM if you’re new to the tech.

CRMs can help you maximize your sales time, keep up with clients, and prospect more effectively. Ryan describes several different CRMs and the rules-based software you can use to streamline your entire selling process. We also touch on why you must get a CRM that is explicitly secure enough for HIPAA guidelines.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • Why many salespeople only spend 40% of their time selling (when they should be spending 70-90%).
  • How operational change has been slower to effect the sales cycle than other aspects of the business.
  • How agents or advisors can begin putting their existing business onto a CRM.
  • The pros and cons of cloud-based CRMs and hardware-based CRMs.
  • The essential security questions you must ask before choosing a CRM to ensure that clients’ data is as secure as possible.

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As “wellness” evolves to “wellbeing” many savvy advisors are adding a financial component. The problem is pervasive and expensive for employees and employers, but new advisor-driven solutions are coming to market.
Jameson Fauver, Director of Business Development at Kashable, joins the ShiftShapers podcast this week to discuss why financial health is the big problem that nobody is talking about. We will learn how a seemingly simple issue faced by millions of employees can be helped by new services coming to the employee benefits space.

The problem with financial wellness is surprisingly large. Seventy-six percent of American workers live paycheck to paycheck. Over half of these workers have less than $1000 in savings. When emergencies hit, employees may have limited options because traditional banks do not offer unsecured loans to consumers. Employees generally turn to high-interest credit cards, loans against retirement plans, or payday lenders. None of those options provide good choices for employees and the financial stress that comes with them impacts both wellness and productivity.

Employers can offer low-cost, socially conscious solutions that solve a needed problem. Jameson provides several solutions that benefit advisors can package into their offerings for employers. There are three channels that advisors can explore when approaching the benefits of a financial wellness program. We dive into these simple, common sense solutions that advisors should definitely consider.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • An overview of the financial problem that employees are facing that no one is talking about.
  • How employees with low credit scores can be helped with financial wellness benefits.
  • Why payday loan programs are the worst options for employees in a financial emergency.
  • How financial wellness programs integrate with other employee benefits.
  • The best way for advisors to position these benefits when approaching clients.

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This week on the ShiftShapers podcast, we speak with John Park – Chief Strategy Officer at Alegeus. As the Trump administration transitions to power in Washington, there have already been serious signals in the consumer-directed marketplace. John shares his views of how consumerism in healthcare may change and how that will impact the future of healthcare services.

Incorporating and driving more individual responsibility in health care decision-making is at the heart of the consumerism movement. We explore two elements of modern healthcare consumerism and trends that are changing the marketplace.

We also discuss the existing tools that are changing to help the consumerism evolve. We learn that while tools are an important part of helping to build consumerism confidence, there are some challenges as well. We’ll talk about both areas and look at how current products, services, and software innovations are trying to address the concerns.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • An explanation of what consumerism in healthcare means.
  • Current trends and predictions regarding the future of HSAs and HRAs.
  • Healthcare tools that consumers are currently requesting.
  • The opportunities for advisors in the HSA environment.
  • Whether employees with high deductible plans forego needed care and the impact of that behavior on future healthcare costs.
  • How plans can incentives consumerism with employees once plan maximums have been exhausted.
  • The importance of data and benchmarking in assessing plan efficacy.

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