Top 10 Most Asked Questions for Life Settlements in 2020

Do you have Questions about Life Settlements? Get the Answers to your Frequently Asked Questions with Bridge!

top 10 life settlement questions for 2020

Maybe you’ve heard some information about Life Settlements from friends and family but what exactly are Life Settlements anyway & how does it work within the world of Life Insurance? We consolidated & simplified all the important frequently asked questions to help save you time and energy!

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Last Updated: 11/18/2019

1. What is a Life Settlement?

A Life Settlement (not to be confused with a Viatical Settlement) is considered a “living benefit” which gives seniors (over 65 years) a legal option to sell (for cash) their active, Life Insurance policy(s) (both in-part or full amount) for “any reason” to a third-party (Institutional Investment Group) for anywhere between 50% to 80% of the policy(s) Face/Cash Value (ie: Death Benefit) which is typically greater than the policy’s cash surrender value. By offering a price above surrender value, this makes Life Settlements a viable option for many seniors who need the money and no longer need their policy. There is no restriction on how the funds are spent however, the proceeds could be subject to taxation and/or creditors. Sellers may also not be able to purchase another life insurance policy but may be able to purchase a final expense policy (burial insurance). Types of policies that can be sold include; Term, Whole Life and Universal Life Insurance Policies. We hope this answers some basic questions about Life Settlements but for more detailed information see below.

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2. Who qualifies for a Life Settlement?

Typically those who qualify for a Life Settlement (opposed to a Viatical Settlement) are seniors (over 65 years) who;

  • Have an active Life Insurance policy (normally over $150k in death benefit) AND
  • Are over the age of 65 years (70yrs+ highly-qualify) AND
    • NOTE: Those with Critical Illnesses “of any age” may qualify!
  • Medically qualify (good or poor health may qualify).

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3. What are the benefits of a Life Settlement?

Why consider a Life Settlement? There are many benefits and/or reasons why a Life Settlement is a viable option for seniors who have an active, Life Insurance policy. Some common responses we often get include;

  • Avoiding premiums or increases from an active life insurance policy
  • Convert unneeded policy to cash (financial peace)
  • Convert to an Annuity (stretch retirement income)
  • Pay off debts & creditors (be debt free)
  • Enjoy retirement or final days (travel & leisure)
  • Reinvest it

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4. What types of life insurance policies qualify for a Life Settlement?

Most types of Life Insurance policies may qualify for a Life Settlement benefit which include, but are not limited to;

  • Term Life Insurance
  • Whole Life Insurance
    • Universal Life Insurance
    • Variable Life Insurance
    • Variable Universal Life Insurance
    • Indexed Whole Life Insurance
  • *Group & Survivorship Life Insurance don’t qualify as easy.

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5. How do Life Settlements work?

How a Life Settlement works is like comparing the sale of a home to buying Health Insurance. On one hand, you’re selling “real property” (ie: your life insurance policy) while on the other hand, you’re undergoing Medical underwriting to determine life expectancy for the Life Settlement buyers. Both activities involve weighing all the available information to determine if a Life Settlement is a good option for you. Let’s review the details of what’s involved in the sale process of a life settlement and how life settlements work. *NOTE: The timelines below reflect conservative estimates and is a modified version of LISA sales process

People involved in a Life Settlement

First, let’s understand who is generally involved in a life settlement transaction. A life settlement may include (but are not limited to) the following people, professioanls and organizations;

  • The Policyowner(s)
  • Life Settlement Providers and/or Life Settlement Brokers
  • CPA and/or Attorney of Estate (optional)
  • Family members (optional)

Pre-qualification Discussion (1-2 days)

If you think you may qualify for a Life Settlement, a simple, phone call to answer a few standardized questions about your life insurance policy & health status is all we would need to pre-qualify a Life Settlement application. Typically this can take up to one (1) business day depending on your situation.

Application (1-4 weeks)

Upon pre-approval, a Life Settlement then moves to the application process which includes a more in-depth review of your life insurance policy and health verification. Some key areas of the application process include;

  • Life insurance policy details
  • Phone Health Review
  • HIPPA Medical Record Consent
  • In-force Policy Illustration
  • Physician Consent

Review & Underwriting(1-2 weeks)

After the full application has been completed, it is then submitted to multiple life settlement providers who may or may not make an offer for the policy. At Bridge, we submit your offer to the best life settlement providers to get you the best offers!

Offer (1-2 week)

When all the Life Settlement offers are made, the policy may go into further negotiations for counter offers and final offer status. We get to work on getting you highest offer for your life insurance policy. Upon Bridge Insurance providing the best available Life Settlement offers, the client still has the choice to accept or deny the offer.

Purchase & Sale Agreement (1 month)

After accepting an offer, the application then goes into finalizing the Life Settlement transaction. This process varies by each state and is an intensive process that requires additional documentation and signatures which include but are not limited to; Change of Ownership & Beneficiary, Letter of Competency, Verification of Coverage & Life Expectancy Reports. The purchasing provider will then review the docs, finalize due diligence and then countersign the package. The funds for the life settlement transaction will then be placed in a secured escrow account.

Transfer of Funds (1 week)

After the life insurance policy has been successfully verified and transferred to new ownership. The seller’s funds are deposited from the escrow account. Once funds have been received, the Life Settlement contract will be successfully completed. The insurance carrier is notified of the change of policy ownership and beneficiary to the new owner, the life settlement provider.

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6. What happens to my Life Insurance policy after a Life Settlement?

After a life insurance policy has been sold to a provider (ie: institutional investor), the policy is then the official property of the provider and the previous owner and/or beneficiaries no longer hold claim to the policy’s future benefits. Once the previous owner passes away, the death benefit is rewarded to the new policy owner (ie: The provider). After selling a life insurance policy, the option to repurchase a new life policy may not be available.

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7. What is the difference between a Life Settlement & Viatical Settlement?

The main difference between a Life Settlement and a Viatical Settlement comes down to eligibility. Both types of settlements are essentially the same thing, “the sale of a life insurance policy”. However, a Life Settlement as we described is the sale of a policy from seniors over the age of 65 yrs. who no longer need or want the policy. A Life Settlement is triggered when a change of health occurs or if investors are interested. A Viatical Settlement is the sale of a life insurance policy for anyone at any age who has been diagnosed with a critical illness for the purposes of paying for medical expenses or enjoying their final days. In the page titled, “Viatical Settlements” we go into more detail about eligibility requirements.

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8. Are Life Settlements legal or illegal?

Life Settlements are not illegal. It is “legal” to sell your life insurance policy. However, not all states regulate the sale of a Life Insurance policy. For states that do regulate the sale of a life insurance policy, it is facilitated through a state’s Department of Financial Services and governing by-laws.

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9. What are the risks of a Life Settlement?

Since Life Settlements are both legal & regulated by most states, that doesn’t mean there are no risks to be aware of. Due to much controversy in the past and lobbying from Life Insurance companies, the life settlement market is generally regulated by a state’s Department of Financial Services and governing by-laws. For example, a life settlement company or seller must have a valid life insurance license while the investors must have an investor/Viatical buyer license per the state of origination of the policy in question. It’s important to ask for proof to avoid any form of scam/fraud. It should also be noted that working with a licensed broker (like Bridge) can be to your benefit beyond getting the best price but also as legally obligated to be your fiduciary unlike (some independent financial fund managers) who may not have your best interest and could offer a below market value for your policy. because a life insurance policy is just like any other real property, it can be sold or given at will. The proceeds of a life settlement may be taxable and could also be subject to the claims of creditors. However, if the seller is within two (2) years of death, tax-free proceeds may apply.

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10. How much can I sell my life insurance policy for?

There is no clear cut answer for this question because it varies depending on health, age and policy type. The average estimate that life settlement companies buy policies for is somewhere between 60% and 80% of the death benefit. If you have an active policy and are considering the option of selling, talk with Bridge first!

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HOW WE EARN MONEY

Bridge is a licensed, Life Settlement Broker. We only get paid a commission if we can find you the best offer to sell your life insurance policy. We work with all the top providers to help save you time, money, and energy!

Page Sources

Brandon Selfors is the chief executive officer of Bridge Insurance Group, LLC, a licensed life, health, annuity & life settlement brokerage. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship from the University of South Florida.

Brandon Selfors

President, Bridge Insurance Group, LLC

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