Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Last week, students in my Elder Law class at Dickinson Law had the benefit of a fascinating, detailed presentation by Pennsylvania's Deputy Commissioner of Insurance Joseph DiMemo about the history of insolvency for Penn Treaty American Network and American Independent Insurance Company as sellers of long-term care insurance policies. In 2009, the State took the reins as the receiver for the two companies' administration of more than 126,000 policies sold nationwide.
From the history, I would summarize reasons for failure of long term care insurance in its "traditional" form as including the following:
- Selling products with a promise or at least a strong expectation of level premiums, especially in the early years of the industry. While contract language permitted companies to seek rate increases, the companies often delayed asking for increases or were frustrated by states that refused to grant requested increases;
- Assumptions made about "lapse" rates for policyholders that proved to be inaccurate;
- Assumptions made about "interest" rates for invested premiums that proved to be inaccurate, even before the 2008-10 financial crisis;
- Assumptions made about lower morbidity and higher mortality that proved not to be accurate for policyholders overall;
- The continued use of invalid assumptions about future premium rate increases.
In light of this tour through history, I was interested to read about New York LIfe Insurance Company's description of its "new and innovative long-term care insurance product" in its press release dated September 5, 2018:
A new long-term care solution announced today by New York Life, NYL My Care, promises to make the purchase of long-term care insurance simpler and more affordable. The innovative product features design concepts familiar to purchasers of other types of insurance, including a deductible and co-insurance, and offers the benefit of a dividend, which can help offset future premiums. NYL My Care clients will also benefit from the peace of mind that comes from working with a mutual life insurance company with the highest available financial strength ratings.
“New York Life is committed to helping people plan for the future, which includes protecting themselves and their loved ones from the financial burden of an extended health care event,” said Aaron Ball, vice president, New York Life Long-Term Care. “NYL My Care’s simpler, first-of-its-kind product design will help more people understand, access and afford the protection they need against the potential cost of long-term care.”
NYL My Care covers a wide range of long-term care needs, including home care, community-based care and facility care, and offers four pre-designed plan levels ... bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
For more on so-called "hybrid" or "asset" based products that couple long-term care benefits to annuities or life insurance polices, read New Life Insurance Brings New Innovations to Long-Term Care Insurance Market from Forbes.