Edward S. Hutman has found success speaking to people about a topic most of them do not like to consider.
As managing partner of Baygroup Insurance in Rockville, Hutman specializes in selling long-term care insurance to help people should they need assisted living or to move into a nursing home.
“In times of personal crisis, families do pull together. And I see families or friends who are dealing with this as an issue to watch the families and communities come together to find a solution. That inspires me,” Hutman said.
“When I see how well the policies work — they’re not perfect — but when I see the impact of a policy I sold years ago and the impact it has on families at a very difficult time, that inspires me greatly because it validates what I did.”
The long-term care insurance generally assumes care not covered by other insurance, Medicaid or Medicare. About 9 million policies are in effect, covering more than $1 billion in costs nationwide, Hutman said. Hutman declined to discuss revenues at his firm.
Hutman graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School and served a stint in the U.S. Army Reserves before returning to work for his father’s financial services company.
He also volunteered at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, which provides assisted living and nursing home care for the elderly in the region.
As a volunteer through his congregation, Har Shalom synagogue in Potomac at the Hebrew Home, he had seen the stress caused by people who had not planned for their long-term care.
As a family member, he also spent considerable time there visiting his great aunt, Rachel Paley, and one of his son’s first steps was at the Hebrew Home walking to her, Hutman said.
A new career
In 1990, he switched careers because the auto and equipment leasing business he managed had fallen off due to changes in leasing rules. He went to work for Bernie Berrie at Benefit Services.
“He said, ‘You know what? You should be doing this,’” Hutman recalled.
The change was not easy at first, however.
“First of all, I had not sold any type of insurance before, so I had to learn all of the aspects of an industry new to me,” Hutman said. “I rolled up my sleeves and found if I didn’t know the information I found who did and I learned.”
Long-term care insurance was something most people did not want to think about until the mid-1990s, when the companies began offering policies that also covered assistance in home care.
“People want to be able to stay in their homes,” Hutman said. “The people started to embrace it at the time because companies started to address home care support.”
Hutman said he did not know what impact the Affordable Care Act would have on the long-term insurance industry.
“We’re really so early in the process it remains to be seen,” he said.
Berrie’s business went through a series of acquisitions by ever-larger companies. Hutman decided to begin his company with business partner Melissa Barnickel, who previously had worked with him at Benefit Services as the chief financial officer. Their company, which employs two people besides themselves, is an independent insurance brokerage firm that specializes in long-term care insurance and other insurance products.
Joel Pitt, president of the Greater Washington Insurance Underwriters, said Hutman is “terrific” and the “consummate professional.”
Hutman organizes the group’s education seminars, Pitt said.
“He’s one of those guys who always go the extra mile for everybody,” Pitt said.
For the new venture, Hutman, 71, traded in his outside office for a home office. “Sometimes when I go out on the Beltway and see it is one giant parking lot, it reminds me I really made the right decision,” Hutman said.
With his smart phone he can access the information he needs and remain in contact with insurance companies and his clients.
“My clients don’t need me to be here in an office; they need me to be available to them,” Hutman said.
That leaves him free to travel to Blue Knob Ski Resort in Claysburg, Pa., where he has a getaway cabin that he has owned since his college days with friends and where he met his wife, Kandy.
“We need to get up there soon to shake the rust off,” he said.