NAIC Releases 2021 Strategic Priorities

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is out this week with its strategic priorities for 2021, including a renewed commitment to long-term care insurance (LTCi).

NAIC says “state insurance regulators will continue on-going efforts to improve the consistency around LTCi rate review processes; examine insurer reserve adequacy; facilitate innovative product offerings; engage with federal policymakers on LTCi policy; and educate consumers on LTCi products and alternative benefit options.” NAIC’s LTCi (EX) Task Force is expected to deliver its proposal to the organization’s Executive Committee by the 2021 Summer National Meeting.

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LTC Providers Significantly Impacted by COVID-19

In a recent article for LTCi Insider, Margie Barrie, an insurance agent with ACSIA Partners, helps contextualize COVID-19’s especially significant impact on long-term care providers, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities and carriers. Based on her own survey as well as data from the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), Ms. Barrie explains that nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been hit particularly hard, and she outlines several contributing factors.

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California Insurance Commissioner Appoints Long Term Care Insurance Task Force

On January 26, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced six appointments to the state’s new Long Term Care Insurance Task Force. The Task Force was established after the passage of AB 567 and is tasked with, among others, exploring the feasibility of developing and implementing a culturally competent statewide public insurance program for long-term care services and support. More information on the Task Force can be found here.  California’s efforts appear to follow a recent trend of policymakers exploring or implementing public programs aimed at long-term care services, including Washington State’s Long Term Care Trust Act and some of the ideas recently discussed at the Federal level, including by U.S. Rep. Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY).

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Genworth and China Oceanwide Transaction Update

Genworth and China Oceanwide Holdings Group recently announced that they have not extended a December 31, 2020 “end date” to finalize a proposed merger agreement.  Genworth also held an investors call on January 5, 2021 that addressed, in part, the status of the China Oceanwide Holdings Group merger. While the merger agreement remains in effect, Genworth is shifting its focus toward a contingency plan.

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NAIC Committee Leadership Updates

On January 11, the NAIC picked its “letter committee” leadership for 2021 – Chairs and Vice-chairs of the broad committees in charge of policy-making for sub-sectors of the industry or particular areas of regulation. Among the new assignments, North Dakota’s Jon Godfread will now chair the health-focused “B” committee, Oklahoma’s Glen Mulready will vice-chair the life and annuity-focused “A” committee, and Colorado’s Michael Conway will vice-chair the “E” committee, focused on financial regulation. A list of all the NAIC letter committee leadership assignments is linked here.

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Long-Term Care Insurance Market Updates

We write on a few articles from the past week that we found interesting.

A recent article from Susan K. Neely, President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers, “Helping Older Americans Stay in Their Homes,” looks at challenges facing the long-term care insurance market as COVID-19 concerns continue and more and more people consider long-term care their greatest financial concern behind retirement savings. She also discusses how lawmakers are looking for ways to help more people get long-term care insurance.

Read the full ACLI IMPACT article.


In addition, we want to bring your attention to a new Best’s Market Segment Report, “U.S. Long-Term Care Product Performance Pressures Continue.” According to the report, from credit reporting agency AM Best, loss ratios in the LTCi market continue to climb and “poor performance from inadequate pricing is a significant issue for LTC insurers, owing to low interest rates, lapse rates, improving mortality, rising morbidity and policyholder utilization assumptions.”

The Report also looks more closely at certain factors driving rate increases nationwide, the evolution of combo products to meet growing coverage demand and efforts of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to stabilize the LTCi market. Although, “AM Best views this as a very difficult task given the state-by-state insurance regulatory structures in place, and expects continued use of closed blocks to separate the legacy liabilities from the new ones in order to increase transparency to outside users of financial statements. AM Best also expects LTC insurers to trend toward simplified policy design and fewer assumptions embedded in their policies. Along with carriers slowing down on offering lifetime benefits coverage and inflation-adjusted features, insurers may also soon begin to disregard lapse rates as an underlying assumption for product pricing.”

Read Best’s Market Segment Report. (Subscription Required).


Finally, in “How low interest rates are changing LTC Insurance products,” Tom Rieske, Jr., Managing Director of LTCi Partners, discusses historical trends in LTCi sales (i.e., the trend toward sales of hybrid life and LTC insurance products) and recent reactions to the persisting low-interest rate environment (e.g., development of a hybrid IUL policy with LTC coverage).

Read the full LTCi Partners article.

Long-Term Care Insurance Fraud, Waste, and Abuse: A discussion with Karen Smyth and Jeff Ferrand

Industry stalwarts Karen Smyth (Vice President of Long Term Care Operations at Wilton Re) and Jeff Ferrand (Vice President of Fraud Services at LTCG) have significant experience developing and implementing anti-fraud, waste, and abuse programs at the carrier and TPA level.

Please listen to the below podcast with Chris Petillo and Jessica Loesing as they discuss Karen’s and Jeff’s views on, among other questions, how fraud, waste, and abuse manifest in the LTCi space, and potential efforts carriers and TPAs can use to prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse. Karen also shares her experience as a witness in a criminal trial involving LTCi insurance fraud and Jeff shares his past experience as outside counsel prosecuting insurance fraud cases. Finally, stick around to hear some of the creative and industrious ways Karen and Jeff have been passing the time with their families (at home) during the pandemic.

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