Seniors Beware: What You Should Know About Life Settlements

February 8, 2007


Lately, more and more seniors are hearing about opportunities to sell their existing life insurance for cash in transactions known as life settlements. A life settlement, or senior settlement, as they are sometimes called, involves selling an existing life insurance policy to a third party person or an entity other than the company that issued the policy for more than the policy's cash surrender value, but less than the net death benefit.


Life settlements can be a valuable source of liquidity for people who would otherwise surrender their policies or allow them to lapse or for people whose life insurance needs have changed. But they are not for everyone. Life settlements can have high transaction costs and unintended consequences. And even if you decide a life settlement is generally right for you, it can be hard to tell whether you are getting a fair price.


If you are considering selling your life insurance policy to a third party, you can help protect yourself by familiarizing yourself with your existing policy so that you fully understand your options, becoming fully informed about life settlements, shopping around for the best offer, and dealing only with licensed buyers and brokers. NASD is issuing this Alert to highlight the questions you should ask and the factors to consider before entering into a life settlement.


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