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Correction: Wrong Firm Named In Article On Viatical Lawsuit

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An article in the Aug. 21/28 issue of National Underwriter regarding a lawsuit against Beneficial Companies and other firms repeatedly and mistakenly referred to various charges against a Georgia-based corporation named Benefits America Inc., when those charges were instead directed at Beneficial Companies and others.

Among the errors in the article regarding Benefits America are the following:

o A statement that Benefits America declared bankruptcy in 2002.

o A statement that “The suit follows a series of regulator actions since 2000 against the same viatical firm Benefits America Inc., Baltimore, and its subsidiaries and officers, with charges ranging from selling securities without a license in Washington state to federal money-laundering charges against two of its agents last year.”

o A statement that “The suit charges Benefits America and its member firms offered guaranteed returns to the plaintiffs for their investments in viaticals.”

o A statement that “POA’s suit charges its 4,600 members bought interests in about 500 policies insuring the lives of 397 people whose life expectancy was projected by Benefits America to be no more than 48 months.”

o A statement that “In fact, the life expectancy claims were based on false medical reports by individuals in the employ of Benefits America including one who had no medical license, the suit charges.”

o A statement that “The plaintiffs charge Benefits America and its officials knew there was no basis for their life expectancy claims and that as a result, funds that buyers paid to cover the premiums due on the policies ultimately would be exhausted, requiring Benefits America to find new investors just to maintain the policies.”

o A statement that “In some cases, the suit charges, brokers bought policies of insureds who were not terminally ill, known as a life settlement, then sold them at a large profit to Benefits America as viatical investments, falsely claiming the viators had life expectancies of 48 months or less.”

o A statement that “Some of POA’s original board members had been former agents and officers of Benefits America, including several who would eventually become defendants in the suit. Among them were Benefits officers Edwin C. Hirsch and Robert J. Brown, who were eventually ousted from the POA board…”

o A statement that “More than 700 agents of Benefits America and its related companies sold viaticals to POA investors…”

We apologize for the errors and any confusion that may have resulted from them.


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