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By Michael L. Coben
The secondary market for life insurance seems to have gone from upstart to mainstream reality in the blink of an eye. Many financial advisors are still not sure how to handle this development, which has sparked a dramatic reinterpretation of how life insurance is used and managed.
So what can advisors do to harness the extraordinary potential of this market for their clients?
Here are 5 simple steps to get you started.
1. Know your client’s portfolio – Most advisors can pinpoint the value of their client’s stocks, bonds and even real estate holdings. Life insurance is often another story.
The rise of the secondary market means that every policy has a market value which, for many clients, will be far greater than the policy’s surrender value. To truly know if a policy is performing up to expectations, it is essential to be aware of what it would bring on the secondary market.
Fortunately, obtaining a valuation is a simple and straightforward process. By simply submitting basic information about the policy and the insured’s health, you can learn what the policy is worth, so that you and your client can make educated financial decisions.
2. Understand your client’s changing needs – Life is a dynamic enterprise. As your clients’ needs evolve, so does the need for life insurance. Perhaps you have a client who is selling a business or retiring? Maybe an insured loan has been paid off. Even a change in health affecting a client’s insurability can significantly alter the overall value of the client’s portfolio. By staying current on your client’s situation, you can identify new financial opportunities as they arise.
3. Know the tools – The secondary market offers a range of financial transactions which, in the hands of skilled advisors, can create tremendous advantages for clients.
For example, one advisor used a life settlement to help a client meet her estate planning goals. Instead of surrendering the policy, the client sold it for $1.8 million over cash surrender value and used the proceeds to establish more efficient coverage.