Most U.S. residents who own private long-term care insurance (LTCI) say they learned about the product from live human beings rather than from advertisements.
Analysts at Mutual of Omaha, Omaha, Neb., have reported that finding in a summary of results from a recent study on U.S. LTCI buyers.
The company commissioned a telephone survey of 403 Mutual of Omaha LTCI policyholders and 385 holders of LTCI policies from other companies.
The company also commissioned LIMRA, Windsor, Conn., to conduct a series of 6 focus groups, with half of the groups consisting of actual LTCI buyers and half of consumers who seemed to be likely LTCI buyers. The focus groups were conducted in Atlanta, Omaha and Phoenix.
The company found, for example, that the typical LTCI buyer appears to be a women between the ages of 55 and 64 who is married, has adult children, and already owns life insurance and other financial products.
That woman says she first heard about LTCI while talking to another human being.
About 6% learned about LTCI from television advertising, about 6% from insurance company brochures, and 5.5% from magazine advertising.
Another 18% said they first heard about LTCI from insurance agents, insurance brokers or financial advisors.
Employers informed about 18% about the existence of LTCI.
A plurality of the buyers -- 35% -- said they knew about the product because of talking to family and friends.
"The first step in the buying process is most often a discussion about long-term are insurance among family members or friends," the analysts write in a discussion of the results. "From there, people educate themselves by reading, brochures, newspapers and magazines."
About 55% of the LTCI buyers who used an agent or broker reported that they were the ones who called the agent, rather than the other way around, the analysts say.
When LIMRA focus group leaders talked to consumers who have thought about LTCI but not yet bought any, they found that one of the questions the non-buyers were thinking about was, "Why has no one approached me about it?"