Genworth is changing the way we think about, plan for and talk about aging.

For millions of people across the US, Genworth provides financial security and protection through long term care funding solutions. Long term care can be expensive, and at least 70% of people over 65 will need long term care services and support at some point in their lives. Having a plan for long term care can help identify practical and affordable ways to help pay the high costs of long term care services. However, talking about big issues like aging, money, health and end-of-life care can be difficult. With the launch of their disruptive ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign, Genworth is changing the way we talk about long term care with loved ones and re-shaping the national narrative surrounding Aging.

The Genworth R70i Aging Experience uses state-of-the-art technology to help people step into their future selves and directly experience the physical effects associated with aging. The experience reinforces the importance of thinking about future long term care needs and talking to loved ones about how they would like to age.

We sat down with Tom McInerney, President & CEO of Genworth Financial to learn more about their disruptive ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign.

Why is Genworth participating in 2016? is about more than joining an important discussion with leading thinkers. We’re all used to hearing people say “talk is cheap” and “actions speak louder than words.” But when it comes to preparing for the health and financial challenges we’ll face as we age, talk is a key prerequisite to action.

At Genworth, we launched our “Let’s Talk” campaign because one of the most overlooked challenge that many of us will face as we age is also one of the most overlooked challenges our nation is facing as it ages: Confronting the reality that 70 percent of people over 65 will need long term care services and support at some point. When so many tens of millions of us will need help with everyday tasks like getting dressed or getting the house in order, we have to think collectively about how to to prepare to meet those needs – and the costs associated with them – well before they arise.

Tell us Genworth’s disruptive innovation story. What is Genworth working on that will change the game for healthcare and Aging Americans?

Genworth has been committed to offering and improving long term care insurance since the industry’s very beginnings, so our story is actually one of adaptation in the face of disruptive trends. We’ve been right there as the demand for long term care has grown and the cost of care has risen dramatically. At Genworth, we’re responding to these trends with disruptive solutions. In Washington, DC, and in state capitals across the country, we’ve been advocating for a new model where everyone with a stake in this shares some of the burden. With collaborative financing for long term care, public programs would cover only the most catastrophic cases, instead of most cases; private insurance would continue to market the products and underwrite the policies; and more middle class families would be able to afford and benefit from the risk protection insurance provides. Where the current model essentially says “you’re on your own,” collaborative financing reflects the fact that we’re all in this together.

What do you see as the single most untapped opportunity in healthcare today?

One of the most exciting things I’ve seen is the ability of our newest technologies to enhance our oldest values. One example is Genworth’s Aging Experience. The “aging experience” is exactly what you might have guessed: When you wear it, you experience the conditions and limitations that often accompany the aging process – thanks to some impressive technology.

The headphones simulate partial hearing loss, incessant ringing, and difficulty understanding a conversation partner. The augmented reality viewing screen gives you a sense of what it’s like to have glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. And that’s just the helmet. Other parts of the suit limit your range of motion, simulate muscle loss, and mimic the effects of arthritis. Andy Newman of the New York Times tried it on and, afterward, asked his father if reality was really that tough. The reply: “No. It’s much worse.” The Genworth Aging Experience did exactly what it was designed to do. It created room for empathy, and it started an important conversation.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle to improving healthcare for Aging Americans?

By far the biggest obstacle to keeping more Americans from securing a comfortable retirement is the outdated regulatory model for long term care insurance. A lot has changed since the 1970s; it’s time to update our regulatory framework to meet the needs of our time.

The original regulatory framework for long term care insurance basically had the same slogan as that infomercial rotisserie oven: “Set it, and forget it.” A better model would be: “Set it, then reassess it” to account for our ever-changing world. Many regulators are recognizing that the industry, the state, and consumers are all better off with more predictable and, ultimately, less severe rate increases that reflect changing risk factors.

Paint us a picture of the healthcare delivery system for Aging Americans 5 years from today?

Aging Americans are helping to lead a significant shift toward care that physically and figuratively meets them where they are. Rather than relying on assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals, people are embracing newer, more cost-effective models that empower them to age in their own homes, on their own terms. This trend will only be strengthened by the emerging technologies on display at that make aging and caregiving easier.

When it comes to empowering more Americans to secure a comfortable retirement, we have to disrupt the current models – not just the delivery model, but the regulatory and financing models, too. Each is a tough job. Each is essential to solving our retirement security crisis. And each is one that we can accomplish in five years, if we’re willing to start putting the pieces in place now.

Tom McInerney

[author name=”THOMAS J. McInerney” image=”” facebook=”” twitter=”” google=”” linkedin=”″ website=”” name_text_color=”#002842″ background=”#ffffff”]

Mr. McInerney joined Genworth in January 2013 from the Boston Consulting Group, where he had served as Senior Advisor since June 2011, providing consulting and advisory services to leading insurance and financial services companies in the United States and Canada. Prior to that, Mr. McInerney spent 30 years working with ING Groep NV and Aetna Inc. For many years, he has been active with the American Council of Life Insurers and the Financial Services Roundtable, serving on each association’s board and Chief Executive Officer Committee.


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