In a recent appearance on “That Annuity Show,” Tom Beauregard, Founder and CEO of HCG Secure highlights the need for surrounding support services in insurance products, specifically those products paying for extended care and retirement needs. Here, we’ll review some of the key points discussed during this podcast and the much-needed work being done by HCG Secure.
HCG Secure develops insurance products geared toward middle-income Americans retiring without long-term care insurance. Tom advocates for a problem-centered approach in product development; highlighting the importance of understanding the population a product is designed to address and the unique challenges that population faces throughout life. From this knowledge, HCG Secure works to pinpoint moments of potential intervention where insurance and financial planning can make meaningful outcome changes for the population at hand. Members of this middle-income population often enter retirement without fully understanding their likely need for long-term care (LTC) and associated costs. This is an issue which bankrupts individuals and creates immense emotional and financial disruption within families.
Tom saw this financial and emotional turmoil both during his time as an executive at UnitedHealth Group and through personal experience with his parents. Despite a long career in insurance, Tom was lost in the complexities and barriers to access within the elder care space and feels he did not have the objective support needed to make the best decisions for his parents at their time of need.
When should people buy?
HCG Secure’s products are available to individuals starting at age 18 but, reasonably, those between 50-70 years old are most likely to be planning for these needs as they are starting to think more seriously about retirement and long-term care needs. For those with the financial means to do so, buying younger is a cost-saver due to less expensive premiums.
How do HCG Secure’s products differ from other insurance options in the elder care category?
This is a new category. For a higher price, hybrid plans are somewhat comparable but they usually have higher face values and corresponding premiums. Plus, HCG Secure’s products are not medically underwritten, as Hybrid and LTC plans typically are, and are experiencing acceptance rates in the 80-85% range. Another key element for these products is the support services. These are designed to help individuals with advance care planning, will and estate planning, care coordination counseling, and other family-centered support needs.
How do you engage customers and how are individuals buying these products?
HCG Secure communicates with members regularly to remind them of the non-insurance benefits they have access to. Most sales are occurring through insurance agents and it’s clear consumers appreciate a conversation about such difficult topics, like aging. This is a topic people are wary to discuss, even with family members and those closest to them, so having a personal relationship with an agent and an open conversation about care needs, including both insurance and non-insurance supports, can make aging and retirement easier and aligned with an individual’s wishes.
How have you built the service model?
So much of this is about personal experience. Those who have seen the weak spots in our health and elder care systems, like Tom, have a much easier time identifying what services are needed and what to look for when vetting a vendor to make sure policyholders are experiencing high quality support throughout their time of need.
How does social isolation play a role?
Elderly individuals who are living at home are frequently isolated, and this is even more true following the COVID-19 pandemic. HCG Secure’s partner, ElliQ, has done intensive research and trial work to develop their incredible AI technology which can be invaluable in combatting this isolation. Their model allows the family to load the device with data so family members can feel engaged with their aging loved ones and make sure they’re taking care of themselves. While the AI is great for combatting social isolation, it needs to be used in conjunction with human care. It’s such a valuable supplement to home care as this technology can help address the mental health needs of our aging population and can help detect any emergency needs between home or custodial care visits.
Who is the target market?
It’s the individuals who have about $1M to $2.5M in total assets, including the value of their home. These individuals feel confident moving into retirement; yet, they often have a massive blind spot in terms of care costs with age. Caregivers and those who have experience of this issue are often those buying as they’ve seen a parent or grandparent go through the chaos, but have not yet had a serious health event themselves requiring long-term care support services.
It’s clear this new category of insurance – combining financial planning with family-centered supports – is long overdue. More insurance product development needs to take this problem-centered approach in order to expand beyond basic financial considerations and to make aging with security and dignity more accessible to middle-income Americans.