The relationship George Braddock II developed with an expert in the burgeoning field of Long Term Care insurance created an opportunity for both of them recently. When Seattle-based LTC think-tank president Stephen Moses planned to pass through Florida on vacation, he contacted Braddock who quickly set up a lunch meeting, found a sponsor in his local Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), and created a great hook to attract professionals involved in any aspect of financial advising to attend. Offering a discussion of the CLASS Act provided the base for the two to reach out to Florida professionals to share valuable information and build Braddock's client base at the same time.
PPR FORUM: How did you develop a list of contacts to invite to this event?
GB: I searched the websites of the professional associations whose members I want to partner with. I also picked from among my stacks of business cards accumulated from years of networking.
PPR FORUM: What was your ideal target audience?
GB: Basically, anybody with a fiduciary responsibility to protect client wealth. That includes CPA's, attorneys (especially estate planners), and wealth managers such as bank trust officers and financial planners. I also invited owners of homecare agencies, some group benefit brokers and the local branch of the Alzheimer's Association.
PPR FORUM: What were your methods of promoting the event?
GB: Emailing flyers and oral invitations.
PPR FORUM: What resources did you utilize for promoting the event that were the most useful?
GB: Frankly, word of mouth. The response to my beautiful flyer alone was minimal. If I didn't invite them personally, they probably didn't come. But I'm still glad I had a top-quality flyer to share.
PPR FORUM: How did you first meet Stephen Moses?
GB: I met Steve many years ago when he was a featured speaker at the LTC Forum, an industry convention. Since then, I brought him to Miami twice as the paid keynote speaker for the Long-term Care Extraordinaire, which I chaired.
PPR FORUM: What is his unique expertise?
GB: Due to his background as a former senior government analyst, nobody knows LTC public policy like Stephen Moses. After determining that Medicaid was on a sure path to insolvency and that the powers within were unwilling/incapable of reforming it, he left a comfortable federal government career to co-found a think tank whose mission is to save Medicaid.
As we all know, Medicaid is the primary payer of formal long-term care and the LTC services it provides are a colossal budget buster. The problem is largely self-inflicted (and therefore curable) due to noble government intentions combined with lax enforcement of eligibility.
As president of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform (www.centerltc.com) Moses is a high profile advocate of sound social policy which promotes a return to personal responsibility over continued government dependence and resultant taxpayer abuse.
Obviously, LTC insurance fits in with that mission, so Steve is an ardent supporter of our cause. Over many years he's been an expert witness to Congress and most of the state legislatures and is credited as one of the key architects for passage of the Deficit Reform Act, which led to national expansion of the LTC Partnership Program. Through his Long-Term Care Consciousness Tour, Steve has crossed the nation attracting unparalleled media attention urging Americans a la Paul Revere to prepare for the challenge ahead. That is, of course, to be able to pay for the services likely needed for extended personal care.
Just some of the reasons why every long-term care professional (every American, really) is indebted to his good works. And why I urge anyone who wants access to the latest developments on all things LTC to subscribe to the Center's almost-daily reports. I’m proud to say that my firm, LTC Financial Partners, provides financial support to the Center for its educational outreach.
PPR FORUM: What did you think would draw professionals to this talk, and how did you design the event to pull them in?
GB: The headline of my flyer said it all by reminding invitees of their fiduciary responsibility to specifically address the LTC risk with their clients. For those who may have thought they already were informed on LTC, I promoted their need to learn about the CLASS Act, something few knew anything about. Also, I figured a free meal at a swanky LTC facility that their clients might ask their opinion of, wouldn't hurt either.
PPR FORUM: If you could hold a luncheon meeting on a regular basis, how often do you think would be most effective? Would you always have a guest speaker?
GB: Once every 6-8 weeks, probably. You really want to allow extra time to promote turnout. A guest speaker is nice but not entirely necessary. Especially if you can capably explain enough of the CLASS Act to satisfy the needs of your professional audience. A guest speaker adds a nice dimension if that person is considered an expert, though not necessarily a seller of LTC. A third-party endorsement is powerful. A local CPA or wealth manager who does public speaking might jump at an invitation to preach the virtues of personal preparedness.
Whether you are the featured speaker or not, I do recommend that you have a speaking role beyond simply introducing another. The good will generated by the guest speaker will transfer to you more if you demonstrate some expertise of your own. At the very least, remind your audience that you can educate their business-owner clients to the little-known tax advantages afforded them, as well as your availability to educate them on their responsibilities regarding implementation of the CLASS Act.
PPR FORUM: Did you gain ideas for changes to the way you would plan another similar event?
GB: As for things I will do differently next time, I'll invite even more people and with more time to prepare than I had following Steve Moses' unexpected offer, I'd hope to at least double the turnout.
PPR FORUM: Were there any surprises or extra benefits from the meeting that you
GB: I was pleasantly surprised to learn in the first place, that a CCRC wouldn't necessarily look at LTC agents as their competitors. Also, my contact at the facility, who has hosted a previous luncheon for me with the LTC Guild, has arranged for me to meet with a group of interested staffers.
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George Braddock II is a Partner with Long Term Care Financial Partners, LLC.