Despite a decline in the overall sales of traditional long-term-care insurance policies, there is a bit of silver lining in this space. According to one industry association, six insurance companies saw sales growth of some 62% last year.

The winners have a few things in common.

“The top six have been in the business for a number of years,” says Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. “They have large distribution channels, which could be contributing to their sales leadership, and they launch new products, which is a result of 20 years of effort in terms of building awareness and distribution.”

The six winners are Northwestern Mutual, Mutual of Omaha, Genworth Financial, Transamerica Long Term Care, John Hancock and New York Life.

“Several mutual companies ranked among the top six because they have large, captive distribution forces,” says Slome.

There are other factors that are helping the winners in long-term care, say industry participants.

“These leading carriers have made and are continuing to spend the time and energy to position themselves for long-term sustainability in the marketplace,” says Valerie Clark, president of Clark & Associates Insurance Services, an insurance brokerage firm. “Most of this is done by proper benefit structure and pricing.”

An increasing number of Americans are expected to need long-term-care insurance coverage as they age, and the national long-term-care loss rate is expected to grow by 5% annually—with claim frequency driving the increase at an expected 3% growth rate, according to Aon Risk Solutions in a long-term-care analysis.

“Consolidation in the health-care industry, uncertainty around health-care reform and increasingly effective solicitation campaigns from plaintiffs’ attorneys are all factors impacting the long-term-care sector,” says Barry Weiner, managing director of Aon’s health-care practice.

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance recently announced that long-term-care insurers paid $8.15 billion in claim benefits in 2015, a 4% increase over the prior year, and that the number of new policies sold in 2015 was down some 20%.

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