Life Insurance

For Life Settlements In 2024: Resilience… And Evolution

How the industry shed cumbersome legacy processes, adopted digital transactions and grew into a $5 billion market

by Wm. Scott Page

Mr. Page is CEO of policyappraisal.com, a leading expert in life insurance valuation and settlements. He has been published in Forbes, Huffington Post and is a regular contributor to our publications.

The life settlement industry in 2024 is a testament to evolution and resilience, shaped by decades of change, technological advancements, and recent global events like the pandemic. This article delves into the state of the life settlement industry, focusing on key trends, challenges, and opportunities.

Rediscovering The Value Of In-Person Connections

We returned to the conference circuit in the fall for the first time in several years. This re-engagement highlighted a vital aspect lost in the pandemic – the irreplaceable value of in-person interactions. Networking at conferences provided a platform to reconnect with some of the most dominant life insurance agencies, advisors, and top-producing agents, offering a richer, more nuanced understanding of the industry’s trajectory.

Reflections On Industry Evolution

Reflecting on the industry’s journey, there’s a stark contrast between its early days and the current landscape. Initially, the life settlement industry was a new, complicated field with heavy reliance on physical documentation and slow communication methods like FedEx and phone calls. The cumbersome, paper-intensive process often resulted in lengthy transaction times. However, the industry has vastly transformed today, benefiting from digital advancements and 30 years of market understanding.

Current Trends And Challenges

  • Demand for Speed

Looking to 2024, a critical concern among agents and advisors is the need for speed in policy evaluations. The current market demands quicker appraisals to determine the viability of policies in the secondary market. This shift is driven by a need to set clear and immediate client expectations, moving away from the traditional, slower processes.

  • Reducing Friction

Another significant challenge is the procedural friction in life settlement transactions. The industry is grappling with outdated, cumbersome procedures that are at odds with today’s digital-first approach. Agents and advisors express frustration with redundant forms and practices, highlighting the need for more streamlined and efficient processes.

  • Transparency in Transactions
A crucial strategy for agents is understanding the 'buying box' - policies that are strong candidates for life settlements based on specific criteria. This knowledge can significantly speed up the process and increase profitability...

Transparency has emerged as a critical demand. There’s a growing call for clarity around the trustworthy source of capital. Agents are learning that brokers and providers are not the “buyers” but instead are being revealed as middlemen. This educational process is critical for agents and agencies to understand, resulting in a faster and more transparent process.

Opportunities And Strategic Approaches For Agents and Advisors

  • Systematic Approach to Life Settlements

Advisors and agents are encouraged to adopt a systematic approach to identify life settlement opportunities. Partnerships with experienced lead generation, qualification, and back-office resources are a new trend disrupting the traditional market. This new approach offers surgical precision to identifying high-value cases without the headaches of panning for gold.

  • Understanding the ‘Buying Box’

A crucial strategy for agents is understanding the ‘buying box’ – policies that are strong candidates for life settlements based on specific criteria. This knowledge can significantly speed up the process and increase profitability.

  • Integrating Policy Appraisals into Client Planning

Advisors are advised to integrate policy appraisals into client planning sessions. Understanding the market value of a life insurance policy can be pivotal in decision-making, similar to appraising other valuable assets like real estate or cars.

A Transformative Year Ahead

2024 is poised to be a transformative period for the life settlement industry. The industry is expected to adapt to these challenges and opportunities with a maturing market. The focus is on enhancing speed, reducing friction, and increasing transaction transparency. Agents and advisors are finding new ways to add life settlements and policy appraisals to their offerings, recognizing their value in the broader financial planning landscape.

Since 1989, I have witnessed a lot of ups and downs in the life settlement industry, and I have never been more excited about its future. The coming year represents a crucial juncture characterized by rapid transformation and adaptation. Socrates said: “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” The industry is evolving to meet the demands of a digital age, focusing on speed, efficiency, and transparency, which are critical to its future success and sustainability.