Life Settlement Training? Basic and Homegrown
Life insurance agents who want to add life settlement advice to their toolbox may have to make an effort to educate themselves.
Alan Buerger, the chief executive of Coventry First L.L.C., Fort Washington, Pa., expects to see several major new players respond to growing interest in the subject by introducing life settlement education courses in the next few years.
But for now, training in the viatical and life settlement fields is still in its infancy.
The Viatical and Life Settlement Association of America, Orlando, Fla., is not aware of any large, national, independent training firm that offers courses that focus on the life insurance policy resale market, according to Doug Head, the groups executive director.
“Weve thought about doing it ourselves,” Head says.
But the VLSAA is small, and it would prefer to work with an outside organization, he adds.
For now, agents must rely mainly on their own legwork, and courses and materials developed by the life settlement companies.
Coventry First, one of the biggest life settlement companies, has set up a nonprofit arm, the Coventry Center for Financial Professionals, that runs the countrys the most extensive life settlement education program.
“We offer courses in every state that requires continuing education,” says Buerger.
More than 20,000 life insurance agents, lawyers, accountants and financial planners have taken the courses, which range in length from 1 to 3 hours, in the past year.
Coventry First did not set up the program because it wanted to get into the continuing education business. “We did it because there wasnt any education in this area,” Buerger says.
Other life settlement companies have come up with similar, do-it-yourself education strategies.
Rumson Capital Inc., Jenkintown, Pa., a life settlement company that offers free errors and omissions coverage for agents, has developed a product presentation seminar for agents that lasts about 2 hours.
The firm also offers one-on-one tutoring for agents who want to send it business.
Robert Meyer, Rumsons general counsel, says he is not sure what a longer life settlement seminar would cover.
In the life insurance policy resale market, “every transaction is unique,” Meyer says.
Regulators and life settlement companies have been debating about what kind of license brokers ought to have to arrange life settlements.
In June, the NAIC adopted a final viatical and life settlement model regulation that leaves out any mention of separate life settlement broker licensing requirements.
The American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Falls Church, Va., continue to argue that life settlement brokers should have extra training and extra licenses.
“Good consumer protection dictates that someone who is urging a policyholder to viaticate his or her policy should understand the risks and benefits,” the ACLI says in a statement about viatical and life settlements. “This knowledge can only be guaranteed with the separate education a broker would receive when applying for a license to sell viaticals.”