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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Is there a better way to position wellness programs with employers and what do advisors need to know about the evolution of those programs?

This week on the ShiftShapers podcast, we delve into strategies that advisors can use to position wellness programs and help employers improve employee engagement in those programs. Andreas Deptolla, the Cofounder and COO of Thrivepass, walks us through how first-generation wellness differs from what’s available in the marketplace today.

Companies used to view their wellness programs through a lens of return on investment. In recent years, there has been a shift from the quantitative focus on wellness to a more holistic approach some refer to as “wellbeing”. Andreas provides an expert take on how advisors can help employers determine the real-world value of wellness programs since tradition ROI metrics are difficult to calculate.

The key to the success of any wellness program lies in the rate of employee engagement. Today’s programs are much more expansive and encompassing than merely suggesting people skip the elevator and instead take the stairs. Andreas shares why the older approach is ineffective and offers tips for advisors to help their clients improve engagement. He also shares talking points for advisors to use in discussions with C-level executives so they can help prospects and clients understand the broader benefits to employees and the effect that has on their companies.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • The difference between wellness and wellbeing and how programs are transforming in the workplace.
  • Whether any wellness program can provide a reliable ROI.
  • How advisors can position wellness programs to show value for employers.
  • The importance that flexibility in wellness programs has on driving engagement.
  • What a universal benefit fund is and how will it drive the future of wellness programs.

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This week on the ShiftShapers podcast, we revisit an interview with Rick Bauman, head coach of Intellectual Capital Coaching Corporation, to discuss the importance and role of culture in our businesses. He’ll explain why culture defines your organization and is the biggest differentiator in an age where differentiation is a huge challenge for many organizations.

In many practices, the laser focus on strategy overshadows culture – a critically important component of business. Rick discusses how organizational culture develops and why it’s critically important to individual practices and organizations alike. This episode will help you understand, define and sharpen your culture to deliver superior results.

At the end of the interview, learn how to get a free copy of Rick’s Cultural Engagement Assessment Tool which will help you create a starting point for improving your culture. This is a special exclusive offer for ShiftShapers listeners.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • A precise definition of culture as it relates to operating your business.
  • How culture is created within organizations.
  • Whether culture can be measured in order to track its effectiveness.
  • The correlation between engagement and profitability.
  • The importance of giving feedback to your employees.

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Commission compression is causing advisors to rethink their business model – especially looking a few years out. One option is to shift to a more consultative fee-based motif. Our guests, Mike Grinnell and Kirsten Tudman of CPI-HR, are among the handful of advisors at the forefront of this shift.

They join us today to discuss the impetus for the change as well as some lessons learned along the way. They also take us through what the employer conversation sounds like and what kind of questions and objections advisors can expect. We also explore some of the current state regulatory barriers and how those might change. Listen in to learn more and to kickstart the fee-based discussion in your practice or agency.

All of us at ShiftShapers thank you for you continued support. We hope you enjoy holidays with family, friends, great food, and this encore episode:

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • Mike and Kristen’s background as traditional commission-based producers.
  • Their “Aha!” moment.
  • How ACA affected their practice.
  • Their typical client.
  • Whether the shift to fees work with all clients.
  • How the state statutes and regulations play in the process.
  • Whether they have a written agreement and what is included.

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This week on ShiftShapers, we wrap up our two-part discussion with Brooks Goodison, President of Diversified Group.  Last week, Brooks helped us sort through the changes underway that target groups that want to move away from fully-insured plans. This week, he highlights strategies that employer groups are using to fight the rising cost of health care as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

Health care expenses can easily become one of the largest expenses for families and the rising costs have a direct impact on a consumer’s ability to plan for their financial future. Given this reality, employers are actively looking for ways to control health care costs. Brooks points out the pros and cons of reference-based pricing and provides case studies on how these programs compare to traditional PPO contacts.

He also clarifies whether allowing consumers to purchase health care across state lines will produce tangible savings. Is this just an election year talking point or can this strategy actually bring down costs without sacrificing health care quality?

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • An introduction to reference-based pricing.
  • How widespread reference-based pricing is today and whether it will gain traction.
  • Whether reference-based pricing could fundamentally change our notion of “networks”.
  • Why politicians keep talking about selling across state lines.
  • The new techniques and challenges with employee engagement.

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