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Life Settlements, Viatical Settlements -- Too Much Risk for You
posted at June 11, 2012 9:24 PM EDT
First: June 11, 2012
Last: June 11, 2012
I am internationally known as an expert on this industry. I was the first person to expose and describe the fraud that now has reached billions of dollars. There are insurance agents who will try to lure you to apply for new insurance which you will sell immediately. This is fraud. You will be a party to fraud. No matter how much you need cash, consider this: The investor may be another senior who is duped into buying the policy, or a fraction of it, with his or her IRA. If you qualified for insurance, your life expectancy will be much longer than the investor is told. Here's one true story: An 80 year old woman who was paid $5 thousand for applying for a death benefit of $1 million was sued by the investor, another retiree, when the insurance canceled the policy for fraud.
If you have a legitimate policy you have owned for many years and need cash, you are likely to be paid more than the insure would pay but much less than a true fair market. I have a collection of lawsuits brought by families of deceased insureds who learned, too late, that their loved one was defrauded. Sometimes the fraud is perpetrated by companies that are not licensed, other times by licensed companies. Most state insurance departments are too busy, too under-staffed to do anything about this.
The third type of fraud is when you are lured to invest with claims the return will beat the stock market and any other investment you have. But how do you know the life expectancy you are given is accurate? Some companies fill in the numbers to meet the investor's request. In general, there is no standard for determining life expectancy for viatical or life settlements. The companies that claim to speciaiize in this have revised their tables several times in the past ten years--always lengthening them because they were grossly inaccurate.
Investors rarely are given all the information they should have before making a decision.
If tempted to invest, or tempted to engage in these transactions in any way, hire an attorney to give you advice. If he or she doesn't do the homework, at least you will have someone to sue. That, too, has happened. I track these lawsuits. Be absolutely certain not to rely solely on the advice of someone who makes a profit from this industry.