Introduction to Life Settlement Investment - Investment

You may have already heard of this newer aspect of the life insurance industry called a life insurance settlement that has recently come about. A life insurance settlement is the sale of the legal ownership rights to another life insurance policy. These rights go from the insured to a third party for an amount that is more than the surrender value but less than the total death benefit. This is good for the seller if they are cash strapped, and nice for the buyer because it makes a good investment. Essentially, the seller of the rights gets quick funds, and the buyer of the insurance policy will get an even larger amount on the death of the insured.

To get a better understanding for life settlements, you have to take a deeper look into the life insurance settlement history. The life settlement industry is actually cousin to the viatical settlement industry which came about in the 1980's during the AIDS epidemic. In order to pay for medical treatment, many AIDS patients used all of their cash reserves, and then some. The only thing many patients had left worth anything was the life insurance policy that they held. During this time of need, a small group of investors understood that it made practical investment sense to purchase these insurance policies. As an example, if someone had a $600,000 policy they wanted to sell for $300,000 and their life expectancy was a year, this makes for a smart investment for anyone with to money to buy it. The investor which purchases the rights would realize a pre tax gain of $300,000 (100%), subtracting any fees necessary to keep the insurance policy up. The industry quickly exploded to a multi-billion dollar industry practically over night. Fortunately, technological advancements increased the life expectancy of AIDS patients from one year to 20 years. Because of this, instead of %100+ yearly returns on the investment, investors were typically seeing a %5 yearly return. The industry quickly vanished as quick as it came.

The only person who loses with life settlements are the insurance companies. The companies hope that the policy lapses. This is when the insured quits paying premiums, and as a consequence the company won't pay any death benefit. The insurance company profits in a big way when this happens.

Life insurance settlements also make good investments for investors. However, as with any investment, investing in life settlements should be done carefully.

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