The 4th roundtable of life settlement company executives, sponsored by National Underwriter Life & Health, was held in Washington, D.C. on May 14.

The previous roundtables were held in October 2006, March 2007, and October 2007. When looked at as a series, the 4 discussions provide an illuminating look at the business and how it has changed in the last year and a half.

Over the last 18 months the life settlement business has been engaged in bruising battles with life insurance trade groups on the regulatory front as both state insurance regulators at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and state insurance lawmakers at the National Conference of Insurance Legislators crafted separate (and in several ways, highly different) model laws.

The battle over these competing models has now moved to the state legislatures, with a mixed record of success for the life settlement business. In the weekly pages of NU as well as in our daily news articles on our website, we have covered these developments in detail as they have happened.

Nonetheless, despite these continuing struggles, one thing is clear, and that is the growing traction that life settlements are gaining with a wide band of advisors as well as the public at large.

The roundtable in May took a somewhat different focus than previous ones. While these continuing legislative struggles were acknowledged, the focus of this roundtable was more on providing an on-the-ground look at how the business operates. The participants were quite candid about the process challenges their growing industry faces, but they also continue to exude tremendous confidence in the value of what they provide to consumers.

It is the hope of the participants, as well as myself as moderator of the session, that this roundtable and the issues it explores give our readers more insight into life settlement transactions and what agents can expect if and when they advise clients about this option.