Advisor Spotlight: Raymond Lavine

Raymond Lavine an Extended Care Benefits Advisor at Lavine LTC Benefits – a respected extended benefits advisory firm for Long-Term Care and Life Insurance. Their expertise is knowledge of traditional long-term care insurance, short-term care benefits, and hybrid policies. They provide plans for people who are not eligible for regular plans. If they have assets not needed for retirement, they are reserved for caregiving. 

Raymond Lavine is knowledgeable in helping people with life insurance that has not lapsed to sell their policies to have money available for caregiving and is one of the nation’s most knowledgeable extended benefits advisors. He has an MBA and MA from Drucker School of Management and is competent and knowledgeable about the consequences of extended care benefits.

In this edition of Advisor Spotlight, we speak with Raymond to learn more about him and his approach to being an Extended Care Benefits Advisor.

What inspired you to become an advisor?

My career has involved financial services, mortgage banking, commercial banking, property management, and personal investing. I am now a competent, knowledgeable long-term care benefits advisor and have expertise in life insurance. My business is to inform and explain the ‘why’ in owning LTC benefits or Life Insurance planning. 

What do you feel is your competitive advantage?

My purpose is to explain and inform people about the ‘why’ of owning benefits that will be of value to those who own the plan and how it will help their families. 

People believe they understand how LTC or Life Insurance benefits work, and they know how to decide which plans to own. They don’t. 

They are not informed about the companies, the difference in plans, and which companies will provide the best benefits for their needs. 

When an event occurs, no person thinks about how to receive care at the least amount of money. They want the best care available and will spend no time shopping for the least cost. That is why owning LTC, and Life Insurance provides the income to pay for care services and expenses or create an estate when you die. That is valid for many items but owning insurance protects you and your family. 

What is the biggest misconception clients have about the process of getting insured?

It’s about money. People want quotes. My job is to ask questions and to learn about your health, financial suitability, and why you want to own benefits. Asking questions gives me an understanding of the motivations and transfers the risk to an insurance carrier. People do not make good decisions in a crisis. They and their family will make better decisions if money is taken out of the equation because there is sufficient money to pay for care or estate expenses. 

People believe they know what they want. They don’t know what they want. They tell me they are doing research. They may find articles that explain life insurance or long-term care benefits. 

In all situations, they don’t know that health assessment matters because all insurance carriers are allowed to decide on health assessment to whom they will offer plans. Just-in-time caregiving benefits or life insurance is not helpful to families. 

How do you think digitization will affect the future of the industry?

People have become comfortable finding insurance benefits on the internet. They are also satisfied with having screen share conversations about benefits where I may show them the computer plans and explanations about the benefits. 

Electronic applications are simplified. Forms may be completed online and submitted to the insurance carrier. Signatures and payment information are also conducted online. Application information is e-mailed to the applicant for their digital records.

How do you stay up to date with industry trends?

Every week I attend webinars to update me about insurance plans, changes in client profiles, and influencers who know the economy. 

I also read articles to keep me informed. People tell me they have been in some business for ‘how many years.” In my perspective, it isn’t how long you have been a benefits advisor; it is how informed you are now about benefits, questions to ask people, and which companies offer the right benefit at the right place and at the right time. 

What’s something about being an advisor you wish you knew earlier in your career?

When you enter any business, you don’t know what you don’t know. You have to be curious and begin at the beginning and incrementally add to your knowledge. 

Career experience is learned, and others from experience and perspective. If possible, have a mentor whom you trust and who has ideas to have conversations to give you perspective on your career progress. I have met people who are informed and helpful. 

Ask questions of experienced people. Some will be more helpful than others. 

What is the major takeaway you’d like to leave your clients with when choosing you for their insurance needs?

It is about ‘Why?” There are two thoughts which if they tell me: “Now I understand what this is about, or I never thought about it that way” I know I have asked questions to help people to help me to find benefits that will be of value to themselves and their family.

What are some personality traits that make for a great advisor?

  • Curiosity
  • People go into a profession to make money. They also are interested in their profession and want to learn. 
  • They become experienced with having conversations with lots of people. They read books, attend webinars, and talk to peers and mentors. They think about the future and evaluate what they have learned during their career, whether 1 year or 30 years ago. 
People contact me for ideas and advice from time to time. I’ll listen to their questions. I strive not to give cliché responses. I want to provide complete ideas and information that responds to their questions or concerns. 

What was one of the most meaningful moments of your career?

It is when a client calls and needs to use the benefit you have sold them. That is when they are at their most vulnerable and grateful. Especially when you may say, we will help you with care support and benefits to pay for your caregiving or death benefits. People aren’t thinking about the cost. They now consider what the plan will provide for them or their family. 

After WW 2, people worked for companies and were provided with all benefits, including pension plans. People retired at 65, lived into their 70’s, and then died. 

What challenges and opportunities do you foresee for yourself and the industry in the next 10 years?

In the 21st century, people are W-2 or W-9 employees. Companies will offer some benefits, but most often, the individual has to make benefit and financial decisions that are not knowledgeable. 

People live longer, but they are not always in good health. In addition, people are working beyond age 65 because insufficient benefits or retirement are available. Caregiving and death will occur. When it does, you want to have plans in place so that a care support system is in place when frailty, illness, or death occurs. Competent advisors and agents will be helpful to people who are agreeable to having the conversation to plan for issues that will happen.

With Raymond, clients get a seasoned professional who will ensure they have the best benefits for their needs. He continues to be one of the nation’s most knowledgeable extended-care benefits advisors through his interest in being up to date about insurance products.