Agent Interview: Mark Goldberg & Sean Deveau, LTC Global Agency
“LTCi has evolved greatly over the years.”
This month’s feature puts the spotlight on two of the best leaders in the industry, Mark Goldberg and premier LTCi Solution Specialist Sean Deveau. Both have several years of hands-on experience, an in-depth understanding of how the LTCi business works and various lessons gained from both producer and client interactions.
Mark and Sean have proven that LTCi isn’t just a “product.” In fact, they’ve shown that this type of coverage is a “solution” for one to keep control of his or her life, especially during the later years. Let’s learn more on how they’ve excelled in the LTC industry and on how they view challenges ahead and help clients understand the “solution” below.
Please tell us about yourself.
Mark Goldberg (MG): “I have been in the LTC solution business since 1991 as a top agent, manager and president of one of the most successful career agencies the profession has ever known. We have thrived by always putting the needs of our producers first and helping them bring more profits to their practice. I am a proud member of NLTCN (National LTC Network) and have helped lead the “3-in-4 need more” branding campaign. I’ve sat on the advisory boards of most of the carriers throughout the years as well.”
Sean Deveau (SD): “I am now beginning my third decade as a long term care solution specialist. I have helped thousands of people and organizations understand the importance and the many options available for financing long term health care. I have been a national trainer, regional manager, frequent lecturer on long term care issues and developer of three companies dedicated to changing the way our nation finances long term health care. I have worked closely with attorneys, accountants, financial professional and local, state and national legislators to help protect the future for American citizens.
How did you get into the industry?
MG: “In the 80s, I did extensive focus groups and research into the baby boomer and senior markets. I discovered that more than dying, the single thing seniors feared most was outliving their life savings. And protecting themselves from the unexpected risk of LTC was paramount amongst their concerns.”
SD: “I had a successful business in NYC after my four years at Bucknell University. My mother, at age 49, got incredibly sick out of the blue. I sold my business and moved back to CT to care for her for the next 2 ½ years. I learned very quickly what a long term care event can do to people financially, but more devastating was the psychological effect it had when a 24-year old male is responsible for caring for his mom. The most tragic event was the loss of dignity of my mother, a fiercely independent woman, who was now completely reliant on someone else to do the daily activities that most of us take for granted. When my mother recovered enough to be semi-independent, a friend of mine who happened to be a head hunter for middle management positions suggested that I explore the LTCi industry. I interviewed with many major insurers but I could never see me working for someone else. I could never see me working in a corporate environment; I can only see myself working in the field. I saw the need – in fact, I lived the need. Shortly after that, I started my first company and have never looked back.”
Why is LTCi important?
MG: “LTCi has evolved throughout the years. Initially, it was a tool for asset protection or not being a burden to your other loved ones. It was mainly designed for the risk of institutional care, primarily at a nursing home. Today, policies address many different levels of care, especially at home, where most people prefer to stay if given the choice. LTCi has in many ways become nursing home avoidance protection because when you can private pay for your care, all kinds of options open up to you. Let’s face it. No one sits around saying, “I can’t wait to go to a nursing home.” We want to stay in control of our lives and with the growing technologies and the help of a flexible long term care plan, we can.”
In connection with Mark’s findings, a study conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research earlier this year showed that a majority of seniors in the country did prefer to receive care in the comfort of their homes.
SD: “When you think that 3 in 4 folks in the USA will need some form of long term care in their lifetime, how could this not be the greatest epidemic that our country is facing? LTCi has evolved greatly over the years. We have so many solutions to fit almost anyone’s situation. The policies can now allow people to age in place. We have beautiful assisted living facilities and continuing care retirement communities but all these are very expensive. I cannot even count the number of stories that I have heard where folks work their entire lives to save a nest egg and without planning, go through their entire retirement and end up as wards of the state. That is only one of hundreds of reasons why LTCi is so important.”
“The policies can now allow people to age in place.”
How do you motivate yourself to sell LTCI?
MG: “I know it truly helps my clients who apply for it. I see it in the care they receive when they need it and the peace of mind they have knowing this safety net is there for them when the time comes that they might make a claim.”
SD: “I feel so passionate about the LTC crisis that I cannot wait to visit people and solve one of the biggest problems that they may ever face.”
Can you share an incident/a client that made you realize you’ve given them excellent service? How?
MG: “Actually, some of the most memorable times have been when working with clients who after applying learned they could not qualify for it. One prospect had not seen a doctor in 20 years and as a result of applying had to go get a physical. When doing so, they discovered he had the early stages of prostate cancer and he credited me and the process for saving his life. Another example is the number of family members of many of my clients who thank me for introducing this to their loved ones. They may not have been in favor of mom or dad getting the protection initially, but see what a difference it makes when their loved one needs care.”
SD: “I can speak about a gentleman who signed an application and had a stroke three days later, but because he had signed a conditional insurance binder, he received all the benefits of the policy without ever spending a single premium dollar. Another is about the man who lost his wife after 60 years of marriage and due to a broken heart, became extremely depressed and that exacerbated his other medical issues. I worked with his daughter and now we have an aide that visits him five times a week and he has done a complete 180 degree turn. In general, I give all clients the same excellent service. Getting referral after referral confirms that to me. I have a system that works from the time I make my first phone call, through underwriting and MOST importantly at claim time. That is when you see the real value of being a long term care professional.”
“The biggest problem LTCi faces today is denial.”
What do you think is the main problem(s) that LTC currently faces? How will you help solve it (these)?
MG: “It’s the classic challenge of being able to bring a product to the market that can address the real concerns of the consumer, but still generate enough of a return to make it a viable business. Carriers adapt and respond as they gather their experience and they do change and make the corrections to build the bridge between those two objectives. The need is too great, and the risk impacts too many people for there not to be a solution other than self-insuring.”
There is a need and it’s growing – according to the Family Caregiver Alliance, approximately a fifth of the elderly population in the country is expected to spend more than $25,000 solely for lifetime out-of-pocket LTC costs. With decreased saving rates, minimal LTC education/awareness and lack of government programs to support LTC consumers, they may not have enough income and assets even to cover the basic LTC costs by the year 2030.
SD: “The biggest problem LTCi faces today is denial. I do many educational talks within the community and when I ask if they think that the participants will ever face a long term care event, maybe one or two hands go up. When I ask, “How many people in this room think that someone else in this room who will ever need long term care?” Every hand goes up. There is an attitude that it is always going to be the other person – but not me. The other major issue surrounding long term care is that “our leaders,” whether they are at the local, state or national level, refuse to even speak about long term care solutions. I truly feel that unless we as a nation address this issue, we are going to have an exponential problem over the next 10, 20, 30 years.”
How will you convince people to purchase LTCI?
MG: “A solution for how you will address your LTC risk remains as it has always been, an emotionally driven decision. I would argue that we don’t convince people or “sell” the product as much as remove the obstacles that allows people to apply. We do that with questions and listening to each client’s concerns and needs. We do it with real life stories and learning about their personal experiences. LTCI is a product you must apply for and be accepted. According to a recent study from an article in broker world magazine over 40% of those who apply don’t qualify. We ask extensive questions about their health and let them express why of all of their options (particularly, private insurance) makes the most sense for them.
SD: My goal is to find 6 to 8 people a week who want to have an intelligent conversation about LTC and LTC Solutions. I truly can say that I have never sold an LTCi policy in my life but I have let thousands of clients buy a policy. When I am in front of potential clients, I will come right out and tell them if I have to sell this to you than I am doing something wrong. LTCi both makes sense and is affordable or it isn’t.”
Sean highlighted a critical point here – LTCI is a product one applies for by learning what it’s all about. It’s a process that is best experienced firsthand to fully grasp its nature, much better with a specialist who understands the many choices that are offered and takes his or her time to see a client’s perspective and circumstances. Additionally, consumers may also want to check for online resources to further understand LTC and how it can help them (one step is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Eldercare Locator).
“Their leads and field service support program allow you to focus on what an agent does best, presenting the program and helping their clients take action.”
How did LTCGA help in your career?
MG: “LTCGA has addressed all of the fundamental challenges an agent faces building a practice as a specialist.”
SD: “Their leads and field service support program allow you to focus on what an agent does best, presenting the program and helping their clients take action.”
What are your thoughts on LTCGA’s commission purchase? Have you taken advantage of this feature?
MG: “I have, on more than one occasion, and frankly, it has made all the difference in the world. Not only have I found their offers to be the best on the market consistently; the ease of doing business with them has been a big plus. I have seen the funds quicker than I expected and it’s freed me to pursue making other investments (like building our agency) that I could not have considered without this option.”
SD: “I have never personally used LTCGA’s commission purchase. I do know many agents who have. They are without a doubt the best in the business.”
Would you recommend LTCGA to others?
MG: “Absolutely!! Their leadership and management teams are experienced in every aspect of the business. They have grown so quickly to become the dominant force in our business because of their broad perspective and commitment to the clients they serve.”
SD: “LTCGA is the best of the best. They are constantly on the leading edge of trying to make the agents better, whether it is through a robust direct mail and internet lead program, affinity and strategic associations, training and incentive trips. They allow agents to do what they do best, go out and help people.
Why do you think FPS is important (for you and your client/s)? (If applicable)
SD: “In the ever-changing profession that being an LTC solution specialist demands, you need a partner that keeps you ahead of the curve. An agency that understands your challenges, knows how to identify what’s working best and brings those skills to you is what you need to stay ahead of the competition. Our agents have a stake in the success of our company. That creates a culture of sharing best practices and having everyone get better as a result.”
Can you share the types of synergy FPS can provide?
MG: “FPS is made up of experienced specialists with proven track records. Many of our agents have millions of dollars of in-force business and have been active in the profession on average for over a dozen years. They have known the culture of success and they bring those experiences together to meld into a model that helps others succeed. At FPS, we lead by example and we are consistently working to make our profession better.”
How do you see LTCI 5 years from now?
MG: “LTCI will continue to evolve. The vast majority of baby boomers are moving into their 60s. If they haven’t done anything to protect themselves against this risk and if it’s too late for them to qualify for the traditional insurance product, they will be looking for alternatives. It’s up to us to bring them to their attention. How people receive care will continue to evolve with robotic care and in-home monitoring becoming more prevalent.”
SD: “What won’t change are the emotionally driven reasons why someone takes action. This won’t become a commodity that you simply buy like auto or homeowners insurance. It will continue to be something you need help from an experienced professional to design and meet the individual needs of each client. The future remains bright for the trained LTC Solution Specialist.”
Change is the only thing constant, which is why we at LTC Global Agency continue to invite experts like Mark Goldberg and Sean Deveau to share their expertise online. We agree that the future is bright for the trained LTC Solution Specialist – let us all work together to provide excellent and substantial services.
LTC specialists such as Sean and Mark help us remember that this industry is special – this coverage we aim to promote and give to people can be considered as an essential tool in providing a better (and deserving) lifestyle for all.
About the Agents
Mark Goldberg has an extensive background in long term care planning. He is a recognized long term care solutions expert and Safe Money strategist who specializes in helping people protect themselves from what could be the greatest risk to their life savings as they age.
Mark is principle at Future Planning Specialist (FPS), a national insurance agency, that aims to support an elite group of insurance agents by crafting specialized marketing campaigns that will generate quality leads, while also supply the industry’s top compensation plan. His experience and mentorship skills are sought after agents in the LTC industry.
You can contact Mark at:
FPS Insurance Agency LLC
Frisco TX, 75034
He is known for his straightforward approach helping thousands of individuals; companies and organizations understand the many options available for financing their long-term care needs. Sean is a national trainer and frequent lecturer on long-term care issues and works closely with attorneys, accountants, legislators and financial planners to support their client’s long term care education.
Sean is active in his community supporting his local Alzheimer’s Association’s and various charities. A graduate of Deerfield Academy & Bucknell University, Sean splits his time between Guilford, CT and Punta Gorda, Florida with his wife Magally and two sons.
You can contact Sean at: