Howard Rubin, President
"Sales engineering usually requires two levels of communication: a simple core benefit message to the end user and a more sophisticated multi-issue message to the gatekeeper. Ultimately the messages are packaged as structured selling system presentations that yield predictable results when meticulously followed. Like any other engineering effort, this is a science. Said another way, we perform hands-on verifications with prospects and make modifications to the process until the results become predictable.”

Thus far, Howard Rubin has created three new national sales organizations that were unique in their industries. They were all characterized by new product or service positioning, new communication methodologies, unusually high market penetration, and superior results and customer satisfaction. The industries are consumer deposit promotion for bank customers; Section 125 benefit plans; and LTCI sales to association members and employees.   He also evolved the basic concept for a fourth industry, long term care management services.

An example of Howard's sales engineering is his approach to Section 125 benefit plans. He was puzzled by the low participation rates in this valuable employee benefit, and dug into the underlying reasons. Uncovering real and perceived fears about how the employees' money might be handled, along with an under-appreciation for the bottom-line savings potential, Howard created a new approach to overcome those barriers.

By delivering a series of Section 125 seminars himself, he understood what people needed to hear and how they needed to hear it. Being a good listener, he developed key messages in easily-understood formats. Next, he hired the right people to bring the message to employers and then to their employees, providing them with tools that consistently and effectively delivered the message. As result, his approach saw twice the participation of the industry average, and within two years was serving more than 1,000 employers and 150,000 individuals.

This example illustrates Howard's approach to subsequent business ventures. He first seeks to understand things from the user's point of view and develops a platform story. By field-testing messages himself, he watches how the audience responds, checking to see whether or not they got it, and then builds from there. Being admittedly “not very technical”, he understands things in a simple way and is able to communicate that clear understanding to others.

Howard brought this approach to the long-term care industry more than two decades ago. Looking at it from a consumer's perspective, how do people begin to understand a complicated subject they don't even want to think about? He recognized that the widespread misunderstandings about LTCi, combined with the emotional issues and traditional "kitchen table" selling, created barriers that did not begin to address the true need.

He found there was much work to be done to break through the denial, ignorance and misinformation around long term care. One of his first realizations was this is not the “end of life” issue that most people assumed, but rather was an essential form of health insurance. Howard was the first to use the positioning of LTCI as a “gap in health insurance”, a description that continues to gain in acceptance and understanding.

Creating a new company founded on marketing LTCI through sponsored groups, Howard used his personal selling experience to create messages that members could understand; this information was delivered via media they were accustomed to accessing, including high-quality information seminars; personal follow-up was handled by specially-trained agents who connected via telephone, internet, and now via personal online screen-sharing seminars. This low-key, consumer-friendly, needs-based marketing has achieved penetration rates five times the industry standard.

Looking at it from a sponsor's/employer's perspective, how could one group possibly service an organization with 50,000 members in 50 states? By first customizing all communications with the sponsor's identity, Howard seamlessly integrated his processes into the sponsoring organization. He developed systems to reach all members efficiently, and software to support the agents working with members and the staff managing the process. Using current technology, these approaches tie people together wherever they are – in remote or multiple locations, individually or with spouses, with provisions for retirees and extended family members.

He found other barriers in the long term care industry itself, where the tendency is to follow the manufacturer mentality: "We built it, you figure out how to plug it into your life." Howard, on the other hand, begins from the client's perspective and builds upward to design an approach that fits into their lives. After developing a model that successfully communicated the need for LTCI, he found it was not enough for people to get the protection; once they had the coverage and then went on claim, where were they supposed to get the care they needed besides the traditional nursing home?

To respond to this need, Howard identified a forward-looking Geriatric RN working for a large health care provider. When they were unsuccessful in persuading the company to create a responsive care management service, they started their own agency based on the clients' perspective. The agency quickly grew and became Nation's CareLink, now one of the country's largest and most respected care management firms.

During this same time period, Howard foresaw the coming wave of public money that could be needed to fund the Baby Boom generation's long-term care. He campaigned at the state level to bring awareness about how private LTCI could positively impact state and federal budgets, and continues to work at the local level to encourage businesses to take responsibility for spreading the word, recognizing that public funding requirements will be looking to corporate and property taxes to handle the increasing Medicaid debt load.

After meeting Ben Oehler while he was CEO of Waycrosse, Howard realized there was a huge new market that was being under-served. He saw the opportunity to bring information about both the financial leverage and care options that are available to affluent families. Howard brings his user-focused perspective to the clients of LTC Risk Advisors, offering a depth of experience to find appropriate, effective ways to bring essential information to high net worth individuals and their trusted advisors.

Hersh Markusfeld, Advisor

This experienced team is uniquely positioned to integrate the funding of long-term care with access to preventive and quality home care. This consumer-oriented perspective will not only benefit the high net worth families served, but could well reduce the need for care and costs on a much broader basis.

Hersh Markusfeld is an Actuary, LTCi industry pioneer, product designer and former EVP of Fireman’s Fund American Life, now Genworth Financial)