Call it settling up before moving — or passing — on. Life settlements (or viatical settlements before the marketing makeover) are on the rise, and expected to continue as boomers age. According to The New York Times, trading in life insurance policies held by wealthy seniors has quietly become a big business. The paper reports hedge funds, financial institutions like Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, and investors like Warren Buffett are spending billions to buy life insurance policies from the elderly. In a disturbing twist, other investors are paying seniors to apply for life insurance, lending them money to buy the policies, and then reselling them to speculators.
“This nascent market illustrates one way that investors are hoping to make money from a large and wealthy generation of Americans as they reach retirement age,” writes the Times. “These aging baby boomers and those even older offer both opportunities and risks for many companies, investors and swindlers seeking to capitalize on their final years.”