Pets and long-term care insurance — It's not just a dog's life

By Matt McCann

Normally Matt McCann's article would not be written by a dog, but this is an exception. My name is Sophie, and I am part Jack Russell terrier and part Chihuahua.

Most humans find me very cute. Dogs like me and other pet friends have a lot to say. We can help you develop need and urgency when you sell long-term care insurance. That's right; we pets can be your best friend when you meet with your prospects. I know you just want to toss me a treat so I get out of your way, but if you did that, then you would be making a big mistake. You see, many pet owners like us as much as their own children. This means we earn a level of love that is different than the love of your prospect's own children.

OK, so how can you use us to help you help our human friends? First, understand the psychology of the pet owner. Ask questions about their pets. Act like you are interested in us. If you do, you will score big points. If you are doing a webinar, there might be signals that there's a dog in the house (we sometimes bark). My cat friends are more mysterious. Simply ask about pets when asking about family. If you discover the prospect has a pet, then ask about us and seem interested.

Another question you can ask is, "Who will take care of your pet if you are unable to do it yourself?" Many times, you will hear concern in their voice. You can use this concern to help them and us pets, too.

A number of carriers have benefits that can help your clients' pets and address this concern. For example, with Transamerica, the insured can choose to take a monthly lump sum equal to one-third of the monthly benefit in lieu of all other benefits. The cash benefit is paid directly to the insured and may be used in any way he or she sees fit, with no receipts required. This is part of the standard plan and has no additional cost. This money can be used, in part, to pay for someone to walk the pet, take the pet to the vet, etc.

MedAmerica is cash, and cash is as good as money, so I hear. The policyholder receives the full amount each month when he or she qualifies for benefits. No care is required, there are no bills — they just get the money. Again, some of this money can be used to help us, your clients' pets.

John Hancock has an affordable cash rider which provides 15 percent of the monthly benefit in cash (on top of any reimbursement) to the policyholder. Again, this money can be positioned for your clients to help us pets.

It's amazing the things you can learn when you ask the right questions. Once you ask the right questions and learn the answers, you can use some of these "dog tricks" to help you and your prospect. OK, I need to go for a walk now. Good luck!