Hughes began her insurance career selling property and casualty insurance, but found her true calling in educating agents, advisors, and consumers about long-term care (LTC) planning. “No day is ever the same,” she says, and she thrives on sorting through the complexities of the LTC world to find solutions for her clients.
After more than two decades in the industry, Hughes has found that collaborating with other agents and advisors is key. "I think that's one of the strengths of NAIFA,” she says, "knowing that you're really good at something and knowing you have somebody that's really good at something else.”
While she loves her work, Hughes has found that talking with clients about their long-term care needs can be tricky. “Nobody wants to realize someday that they're going to need somebody to help them,” she says. However, the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought long-term care planning to the forefront, as people are beginning to consider when and where they want to receive care.
Hughes still works with clients directly, but her main focus is working collaboratively with agents and clients to figure out how long-term care fits into their overall plan. She finds that she can be the expert in the room, offering recommendations based on their unique needs.
One of the most fulfilling aspects of her career, Hughes says, is hearing the stories of people whose long-term care policy allowed them to continue their lives, even when unforeseen circumstances arise. She talks about one such experience, over 10 years ago, when an elderly woman came into her office to express her gratitude. Hughes wasn’t the agent who wrote the policy, but she was the one who got to hear the woman’s story. The woman’s husband had recently moved to a nursing home and his modest LTC policy allowed her to stay in their home and paid for half of his nursing home care. Stories like these are what motivates Hughes. “We all know that really there's more bad press than there is good press,” she begins. “We, as insurance agents, should be very proud of the work that we do.”
At the beginning of 2021, Hughes launched an LTC-focused podcast, appropriately titled “The Long-Term”. Each month, she sits down with an industry expert to discuss how long-term care intersects with other aspects of financial planning, such as tax planning and legacy gifting. The episodes are short, between 20-30 minutes, designed to fit the lifestyle of the busy professional. She keeps the conversations light, incorporating humor, which she says is essential in the LTC world. All of the episodes are available on demand on her website. The January 2022 episode, she says, will feature a discussion on the connection between LTC and annuities.
In her free time, Hughes loves camping with her husband. Their daughter graduated from dental hygienist school in 2021 and they are enjoying their mostly-empty nest. (Their Maltese, Russell, is still a proud member of the household.) Hughes also helps out with the children’s ministry at her church. Kids are fun to work with, she says. “They keep you quick on your feet. They can ask the goofiest questions, but it comes from a completely innocent heart.”
Hughes is active in legislative working groups with NAIFA-KS, NAIFA National's LECP, and the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU). They are currently paying close attention to the Washington Cares Fund and similar proposed legislative changes in other states. To those who would like to become involved in political advocacy, she recommends starting local. Working with NAIFA at the local level has given her an opportunity to connect with other insurance professionals and become a resource for them in their own practices.
Hughes says that NAIFA membership is important because it allows you to be part of the bigger picture. “It's one thing to work daily and provide bread for yourself and your family; it's another thing to know that you're participating in something at a much bigger level,” she begins. “Not just your local level, not just your state level. The voice that NAIFA actually carries at the national level is amazing, and they do great things.”
Thank you, Angie, for your service to our industry and association. We’re #NAIFAproud to call you one of our own.