Fewer than 16% of financial services advisors say they have ever helped clients sell in-force life insurance policies.

Researchers at Maple Life Financial Inc., Bethesda, Md., a life settlement provider, have included that finding in a summary of a recent advisory survey.

Survey participants included lawyers, accountants, financial planners and estate managers as well as professionals who classified themselves primarily as insurance agents.

Although 73% of the survey participants said they were familiar with the life settlement concept, 84% said they had not been involved in settlement transactions, the researchers report.

About 51% of the participants said clients over age 55 had surrendered life insurance policies.

Only 9% of the advisors cited the life settlement industry’s reputation as a reason to stand clear; 24% cited low awareness of the industry as the most significant barrier.

Life settlement companies should consider acting on the survey results by offering life settlement education programs aimed at accountants, estate planners and trust officers, according to Maple Life executives.