Welcome to Caregiver Cast. I’m Mary Elaine Petrucci, your host. My speaker today is Lisa Rehburg who will be talking to us about life insurance settlements.
As far as life insurance settlements, Lisa has been in the health and life industries for over 30 years. She has held executive roles at carriers, General Agencies, and TPS. Ms. Rehburg is energized by helping care professionals and their clients benefit from unwanted or unneeded life insurance policies.
Lisa Rehburg can place more life insurance settlement policies in front of many investor groups and realize a bigger return for the investor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Finance and a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Development. Welcome, Lisa to Caregiver Cast.
After talking to you initially, I realized that I wanted to know more about life insurance settlements. Who do you work with regarding life insurance settlements?
Don’t feel bad that you didn’t know anything about it. People who should talk to me are anybody that does not want their life insurance policy anymore and does not need it because it becomes unaffordable or if somebody is looking for ways to pay for their care needs.
Because a life insurance policy isn’t an asset you own, we purpose it into cash that can help people feel more comfortable and give them the care they want and need while they’re here. I think that’s amazing that I have that this is an untapped resource for caregivers because it’s like a real estate transaction.
My personal passion lies in talking about these 500,000 seniors a year. Some people literally walk away from their life insurance policies with little or nothing.
Because a life insurance policy is an asset, it can be sold for cash in a three to five-month process. We do need a little time to do our job and market policies properly. A good three to five months is an ideal timeframe for us. So how does one know if their insurance policy is worth it?
We don’t know until we market it because it doesn’t matter what I think my house is worth. It matters what a buyer thinks my house is worth. So I would suggest contacting me or a life settlement broker. At least let’s talk about the policy and we’ll be able to figure out, Hey, is this a good opportunity or not a good opportunity?
If there are clients that are in a caregiving situation and they need caregiving, they’re going to be a good opportunity for a life settlement. Those policies tend to be more valuable. So I think that’s really important for people to know is to talk to somebody who’s a life settlement expert and can give you an indication of the possible payout. We are not going to know until we market it because it’s so specific to each client, their situation, what their policy looks like, what those policy premiums look like, and how much premium the investor group has to pay for the policy.
It doesn’t really important for people to know that the type of policy itself does not matter. It’s literally the policy details and the client details that make the determining factor. That’s really good to know.
I talked to clients who also have long-term care insurance and maybe there are some gaps there like a waiting period, or the insurance is running out. We can be an additional option for them.
How much can policies be worth and how do people determine that? So usually the different investor groups purchase policies that determine the payout.
We have access to about 30 of them so our job is to market that policy at the most value for clients. They all look at three primary things. One is: How much premium are they going to have to pay?
Number two: what do they think someone’s life expectancy is? Number three: what is the payout that the investor group is going to receive because in a life settlement?
So the ownership of the policy is going to get signed over to an investor group. The client receives cash and the investor group is going to pay the premiums because they’re going to be the beneficiary.
The more valuable that policy is, the more money investors are willing to pay. The shorter someone’s life expectancy is the more money investors are willing to pay for that because bluntly, they will receive their investment faster.
The higher, the face value of the policy, the more money they’re willing to pay for. We don’t represent the investor groups. We represent our clients. So our fiduciary duty is to them to get the most money we can for their policy. So how many investor groups do you usually give a policy to?Some policies don’t fit into certain investor parameters. For instance, we have certain investor groups that don’t want any policies that are less than 500,000 of what we call face value or death benefit.
We send it out to as many investor groups where that policy fits their basic parameters because the beautiful thing for our clients is if we have two or three or four investor groups that are really interested in their policy.
In bidding on a policy, we can leverage those relationships to drive up the value for clients. So your second part of the question was, do we negotiate? You bet. We do. Absolutely. I’ll give an example. We have a client right now with a $200,000 universal life policy which is a permanent policy. The opening offer for her policy was $20,000. By the time we were done, it was $115,000 which shows you the value of what we provide. That’s why I think it’s important that we go out to as many investor groups as possible to be able to maximize value for clients.
I’m here to take care of a client big, small,or anywhere in between. We appreciate the opportunity to be of service.
From a buyer’s perspective, they still have to make premium payments. They have to do a lot of administration? Investor groups are not interested typically in policies that are under a hundred thousand dollars. I’m not saying that in all cases, I’m saying if your audience has a policy, that’s I just sold an $85,000 policy.
So a hundred thousand is not hard and fast, but my point here is that if somebody has a $20,000 final expense policy. The investor groups are not going to want to look at it so I tell clients cells that there’s just not going to be enough money in it to make it worth it for them.
So ideally it’s a hundred thousand or more, but that’s not a breakpoint. I’ve worked on $50,000 policies. It just depends upon the client’s circumstances. But like I said, if it’s $10 or $20,000 that’s really typically going to be too small for an investor group. Call me anyway. Let’s talk it through because if there’s a way for us to figure out how to get it done.
What makes sense for the client? If you’re just selling $10,000 policies, you’ll get a thousand-dollar offer on it. It doesn’t make sense. I’d rather have their family have the $10,000. That does make sense.
I am going to explain why it takes three to five months. I think that’s probably where your part of your question is because the negotiation part does not actually not that long. I do want your listeners to know is that this is a free, no-obligation appraisal.
It’s that up until the point that a policy is sold, we’re not paid. There’s no money owed to us like a real estate agent. We only get paid when a policy is sold and the client has already received their money. First of all, there’s an application. There’s no application fee. That’s really important.
We have to go get medical records because we pay for them. The client does not have to go to get the documents. We pay for the medical expenses. This is how the investor groups underwrite, if you will, what they feel a client’s life expectancy is, which as you and I spoke is a key component here.
Doctors, medical groups, or hospitals can take a while to give us medical records. I like to tell people as an expectation is that from the time we receive an application to the time we hear from investor groups is about 60 to 90 days.
Now, as I mentioned, we can fasttrack the process so I have gotten medical records in a week. We have clients get involved by calling their doctors and kind of tapping them on the shoulder. Like, “Hey, can you respond to this?” That can really shorten the timeframe the investors typically need 2 to 4 weeks to do their evaluation.
I say 60 to 90 days from the time we get an application to the time we find out how much the investors are willing to offer. Just contact us because there are some ways to fasttrack it.
If we don’t get offers and clients know, they walk away from a policy it’s unaffordable, they know they’re not leaving any money on that. If we do get offers, clients do not need to accept it. So in the example, fI told the client from day one, “We’re at 20,000 right now.”
Clients want to know every step of the way where we are. We went from 20 to 30 to 40 to 50. So by the time we got to the 115,000, I said, “We’re done. We are maxed out. This is the best offer we can possibly get.”
It’s not just throwing the policy out there and having an electronic bulletin board. It is negotiations and “Can you raise your bid for a client?”
Clients don’t have to accept the offer. She didn’t want the 115,000 and said, “No, I don’t want to do it.” Then she walks away and there’s no money owed.
If she says, “Yes, I want to do it.” It’s a contract. It looks like selling a house? There are a lot of legal protections that the states’ mandate are for clients in terms of language and disclosures.
From the time we get a contract to a client, I’m going to say it’s about four to six weeks for the sale to be completely made.
Does the client’s medical history play into what the investors will purchase?
Huge. Yes, huge. The more health impairments a client has in our world, the more valuable their policy. So it’s actually a good thing for someone to have health impairments in our world. As in regular life insurance, it might be hard for them to get life insurance or impossible for them to get life insurance, but the more health impairments the better, the value for the client. Absolutely because bluntly, it shortens that life expectancy. So typically the investors are looking for clients with 10 to 15 years, maybe 20 of life expectancy or less. So the older we are, the healthier we can be because we fit in that.
I have clients in their fifties right now, the younger, we are the more health impairments to be able to fit into that window and the shorter that window. So if someone has three or four years of life left, the more money the investors are willing to pay for that policy, the more valuable it is to the client.
Investors are going to get their payoffs. Okay. And you said this is like a real estate transaction.
I’ll ask another blunt question, but “how much are you actually paid? Is it in addition to what the client receives or Is it a partial amount from like the total amount that you are able to negotiate.”
We’re very transparent. So let me tell you what, let me, first of all, commissions are negative. Let me tell you about the maximum commission that we can receive. And we operate anywhere underneath where it makes sense for the client.
So maximum commissions that we can receive are one third of what we get the client. So the more money we obtain for the client, the more, obviously the more maximum commission massively one-third with the client or 8% of the face value of the policy whichever one is less. So the bottom line here is whatever works for the client.
Commissions are disclosed because we’re highly regulated by departments of insurance across the country. Commissions are disclosed. That is really, really important. There’s a separate piece of paper in the contract that discloses commissions, and clients do need to sign off on it.
So nothing here is hidden. That it’s all very transparent. So let me just go back to that $115,000 payout. You’re getting the face value or one third of her policy was $200,000. So our maximum commission that we could have received on that particular policy is 8% of $200,000 which is 16,000. In that particular case, we did receive $16,000 and that’s what the client pays you after the payout. The client receives the net, they get their check, and they don’t have to worry about anything else.
And sometimes people will what we call surrender policies and get that cash. Before someone even does that. Once again, contact us, we can sell term policies, which obviously have no inherent value. They have no cash in the policy. So anything we get on terms, this is great, right. But on the policies that have cash on average, and we know how average is are Mary Lane, but on average, we are three to five times cash surrender value.
So if someone’s going to surrender that policy, we can generate more value for the insurance company settlement. For example, it could be a policy bought 20 or 30 years ago which is no longer a concern because the house paid off or a spouse passed away and you could use the money for assisted living or caregiving for his/her more immediate needs.
Take a look at a life settlement. It can be a good solution. We always suggest people talk to their insurance and financial advisors before looking into a life insurance settlement. We always suggest to at least find out how much a policy is worth and then talk to your insurance and financial advisors for sure. When somebody surrenders the policy, it gives them a semi immediate return.
Let’s say a policy is purchased by an investor group. What if it turns out that that person had more immediate needs or. Then, um, or have more needs in the future. And so how would the person utilize, I guess the net profit the cell. Okay. So if somebody has already surrendered their policy, what that surrendering means is they have given it back to the insurance company, the insurance company have given her cash value, right?
That means there’s no more policy left where gets. Right. So, um, on a settlement side of it, it’s going to be the same thing. Meaning that once you sell your car, someone else drives away with it. There’s no more asset. Same thing here. The client is still insured. Right. But they don’t control the policy anymore.
So that policy. For them, that policy is no longer here. Like you sell your house, you, you don’t, you walk out the front door with your furniture and that’s, that’s all you have to do with the house. It’s a, it’s a very similar thing. Now, the beautiful part about this is, uh, answering the second half of your question is like, when you sell a car, your house, the proceeds are not restricted.
It anyway, right? When you sell your car, you can do anything with the money you want. It’s the same thing here. So when our clients receiving that $115,000, they can do anything with it that they want to do. Go on around the world, cruise. I can do whatever you want to do with it. So it’s not restricted. But what I would do want your listeners to know is they will be 10 99.
So that is important for people to understand. Now, I am not telling you that all that money will be taxable because sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it’s not once again, tax advice. Uh, and if you want me to go into the weeds on that, I can, but it’s probably not appropriate here. Bottom line here is that there will be a 10 99 coming in January for the net proceeds that the client receives.
So it could be pretty expensive than for the client to pay in taxes. Maybe, maybe not because once again, part of it may be taxable part of it not taxable. So if, and once again, I’m going to tell people to talk to their financial advisors and the tax advisors, because I am not one, I’m going to caveat that, but I’m going to answer the question.
When people put premium, when people put pre-bid into a policy that is considered how much they’ve paid for that policy, that’s a basis. So an example is I buy a house for a hundred thousand dollars. That’s how much I paid for my house. But I sell it for 50. The $50,000 I get is less than what I paid for the policy.
So I’m not text on that. It’s the same thing. A lot of times the settlement money is underneath the amount of premiums the client has paid for the policy that I’ll give an example. We have a million dollar policy. We just sold the premise. We’re just getting way too expensive for the family to afford on the policy like 45,000 a year.
And they’re just like, look, we can’t, we can’t afford paying this and we can’t afford to pay this anymore. And they have about a hundred thousand dollars of cash in the policy. We wound up selling it for $360,000, which last time I checked is better than a hundred thousand cash surrender. Right. Here’s my point.
They had already paid $381,000 of premiums into the policy. So that whole 360,000 is not going to be taxable. Because it’s underneath what they paid for the policy. So that’s what I’m saying. It depends. And then typically, typically if you have money that’s over that basis, the premiums typically it’s capital gains.
So. It’s not a horrible tech station event. And, and even in some circumstances, depends upon the client’s circumstances that money can be even tax-free. It just depends upon their health issues and how they long, how long they have to live. So there’s all kinds of things going around, uh, you know, uh, possible here.
But the bottom line here is, remember, these are policies that. Or wanted or needed. I am going to walk away from that. The client giving the 115,000 had $600 of cash. Like within a month, that policy was going to be gone. Cause she just couldn’t put more money into it. And now we have 115. So even if she has to pay some of that in capital gains, last time I checked that still is a lot more money than $600.
Okay. You make your point very nicely. Thank you. Are there any unexpected surprises when somebody surrenders the policy? I mean, you think that, um, it would be worth more than what you, um, actually surrendered the value for. Am I making my, okay, so let’s say you’ve got a hundred thousand dollars. Policy and let’s say your would be getting.
Uh, payment less than that, much less than that is that when do you determine it’s not a good fit for that particular? Okay, good question. So here’s an example. If someone calls Mrs. Lisa, I have a hundred thousand dollars policy and it has $80,000 of cash surrender value. I’m going to tell that client to take the 80,000 of cash surrender value because there’s no.
That we’re going to be able to sell it for 80,000, right. Compared to the face value. Okay. That’s really, really high. But like I said, I talk to me, like call me and talk to me because, um, sometimes, like I mentioned before, we have a client that had that $150,000 policy with 25,000 of cash. We got on 31.
Here’s the key here. When we look into a life settlement, if the investor groups can not beat the cash surrender value, they’re just not going to make an offer because it makes absolutely no sense to sell it. So the gentlemen has just, gentlemen had 25,000 cash. The investors are not gonna make an offer 15.
There’s no way because why would they, it would make no sense. Why would I sell my policy for 15 when I can get 25,000 for surrendering it? So what’ll happen is we just won’t see investors bid on it. And this particular case, the obviously did, and they gave him more money, but in a situation where if they didn’t think they could beat the cash surrender, they’re just not gonna make an offer on the policy.
Does that answer your question? Yes. Yes. Thank you, Lisa and sorry, I’m just trying to formulate these questions and sometimes. I’ve tried to make it as clear as possible, but, um, I need to re state what I was trying to ask. So I just wanted to make sure I answered the right question. No, I appreciate that. I was trying to figure out how to, um, uh, frame it for you so that it would make logical sense.
So thank you for your job. Thank you. Got it. Um, you’re doing amazing. So, Lisa, I love your passion. Um, what makes you do this for clients? Good question. As you mentioned, first of all, I’m an insurance geek. I’ve been in the insurance industry for 30 years, but this is all we do. And here’s the reason why to answer your question.
The 500,000 seniors who elapsed their policies every year and walk away with little or nothing that makes me. Um, and that’s why I love doing, um, podcasts like this, because I’m here to raise visibility that this solution exists. I’m not here to sell anybody, anything. I am not here to talk anybody into selling the life insurance policy.
Right. I’m just here to say it exists. And if it’s a right fit for you and your family, then that’s fantastic. Let’s talk. And if it’s not, that’s great. Keep because we are not the right fit for most people and we shouldn’t be the right fit for most people. But for some of those 500,000, right, we should be.
And to give you some perspective, only about 2,500 sold their life insurance policies last year. 500,000 and we’ve got 2,500, that’s a really big gap, right? So where my passion lies is educating as many people as possible to let them know we’re here. So before you let your policy go, you know, look into a life settlement, cause we can’t, you’re walking, you could be walking with little or nothing and we could be getting you an awful lot more money.
So that’s where my passion lies is to, I love. Helping clients. And we’ve worked with financial advisors and insurance agents across the country. Yes, we do business nationwide, um, uh, healthcare professionals like yourself to help your clients, elder law attorneys, anybody that we can reach out to, to let people know that we’re here and yet.d
We’ve been legal since 1911 and yes, we are highly regulated by departments of insurance across the country. So this is not some crazy thing that, you know, just popped up. That’s not regulated. We are extremely regulated and the process is very transparent. So like I said, very much like really. Well, that’s incredible.
If it’s like real estate, why haven’t more seniors heard about this service as a possibility to help them manage their care? So a couple of things, and I’m going to caveat this by saying life insurance is important. I believe in life. It can be a very important financial planning tool, but I also believe that there can be a time when a life insurance policy isn’t wanted anymore.
Right. Doesn’t serve its purpose anymore, or people want to redirect it and they should be allowed to sell it. Well, I will tell you that life insurance companies, aren’t really excited about what we do and here’s the reason why. So that’s part of the reason. Uh, that lot of people don’t know about it because no, one’s shouting from the mountaintops we’re here and here’s the reason why they don’t like it.
And once again, this is no disrespect to life insurance companies. They are really important, but when clients lapse their policy or surrender it it’s thank you very much for the premium. We did not have to pay a claim, right? That’s profit. When an investor group purchases a policy. The life insurance companies know that these investors are not going to lapse the policy.
So they know there is going to be a claim here. It’s just a function of when. So although seven states have regulated that life insurance companies tell clients that there are alternatives to lapsing or surrendering a policy. That’s fantastic. Most clients are not going to pick up the phone and say, hi life insurance company.
I’m thinking of laps. You’re surrendering my policy. Like no one does that. Right. They just go, oh, you know, I don’t need it anymore. So I stopped making my premium payments or I might just write a letter and send in a cancellation notice to my insurance company. So am. A lot of insurance agents and financial advisors, either a don’t know about this or B don’t really fully understand it or have misperceptions about what it is.
So they don’t, aren’t ready to talk to their clients and see, um, some life insurance companies, especially if there is a, um, what’s the word I’m looking for? Um, uh, if they’re traditional life insurance that, um, carriers that have. Uh, set agents that can’t go outside those carriers. In other words, this is the agents could only market their products.
The insurance companies do say, look, if you’ve been talking about a life insurance settlement, we can counsel your contract. So it’s, it’s a lot of different reasons, but I will tell you the good news. There is one buyer right now. Spending a lot of money to advertise on TV. You’ll typically see them call Coventry direct.
They are wonderful. We love our investor groups, right? Because without them, we don’t have anybody to purchase the policy. Here’s the difference when someone calls that 800 number on TV, that is one investigator. We work with them. They’re wonderful. They do a good job. They’re trying to get the policies inexpensively as possible.
And from their perspective, I completely understand it. Our job is completely the opposite, right? So our client with a $200,000 policy called the 800 number and that 800 number offer 20,000. She might’ve just taken it because like, great. That’s better than $600. And that’s awesome. And I’ll take that well.
And how does she know how much your policies work? You don’t know until your marketing. It’s like selling your house to one person. I mean, I mean, you don’t say that the first person that shows up it’s it’s, it’s not the right thing to do. It does not maximize value. So we’re here to maximize value and that way she knows her policies worth one 15.
That’s what she got. You know, life is good. Well, thank you for just setting us, given these amazing, um, examples of what you’re able to do, because it just seems like, um, people should be shouting this from the rooftops. It’s almost like the changes in, if you don’t mind reverse mortgages. So, um, that is amazing that people can walk away possibly with, um, a greater return so that they can use it for, like you mentioned any purpose that they want is, um, is there any, well, there doesn’t appear to be any downsides.
The client or for you? Um, what else do we need? Is there more to life, uh, life insurance, settlements that we haven’t covered? Well, you brought up a good point Mary Lane. Let’s talk about the downsides real quickly. Okay. So yeah, whenever there’s positives, there’s negatives, right? Um, so there are four, there are four negatives, none of which I think are terribly big deals.
One, we already, the biggest one we already talked about and that’s Texas, but once again, Nothing from my asset. And I might get, you know, 20,000, 30,000, whatever. I mean, even have to pay taxes on a portion of that. It’s going to be better than zero or little so taxes. The second thing is it may be difficult to get more life insurance, but I look at it this way.
If someone is selling a life insurance policy, they obviously don’t want more life insurance, but it can be more difficult to get into the life insurance policy. So that’s number two. Number three is that we already addressed it is that the clients will get a 10 90. So if somebody is on, um, state, uh, or income-based, you know, government, um, uh, programs like Medi-Cal can be an issue.
However, I would tell them to talk to a elder law attorney because elder law attorneys know how to deal with that. That’s not my purview, I’m just mentioning it. And the last one is going to be really rare. If I’m in bankruptcy and to be clear, I’m not, but if I’m a client that’s in bankruptcy and I sell my life insurance policy for cash, that becomes part of the bankruptcy estate that quitters gonna attach.
So once again, not a big deal that might mean that’s not gonna come up a lot. So Mo. In my opinion, clearly positives much bigger than negatives. And I just, I just love delivering found money for clients. So back to your point, it’s a win for a client, you know, for the, for the right circumstances, it’s a win for the investor.
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That’s see. That’s an excellent question. There’s a couple things. So there’s a whole cottage industry around a life insurance settlement. So couple of different ways. One is there are firms that particularly will monitor the social security and Medicare roles. So if someone drops off those roles, that’s the.
Pretty big clue that something happened. Right. But more importantly, as part of that contract, I think I mentioned like real estate is pretty thick. Right? Right. There is going to be, um, two sheets of paper in there besides the rest of it. But in there, um, one is going to be a sheet of designees. So for instance, um, who can provide a death certificate, who’s going to provide a death certificate.
And I will tell you that by law, the investor groups do have the right, depending upon the state, I’ll talk about California do have the right to contact the client or the client’s designee. Whichever one they can doesn’t matter once every quarter. Um, up until they have a year live and then it can be maximum once a month.
Now I will tell you that typically doesn’t happen because once again, these investors don’t want to do more restoration than they have to, but legally they have that, right. So they can, and they don’t say, Hey, how’s it going? I mean, they just check in and say, Hey, is this still your foot, your phone number still working.
That’s great. Are you still at this address? And those kinds of things, but once. There’s designees in this, um, uh, contract so that these investors can contact them. And also someone signing off just to say, yes, I agree to provide the death certificate. Okay. So the designee could be the same person that provides the death certificate, or could it be someone else because it matter doesn’t matter.
Absolutely. Wow. Whatever works for the client. I have clients who have. You know, work with my husband. We have people who say work with my son, my daughter, my, you know, estate planning, attorney, whatever it is. Well, you seem to make it so easy. So I really appreciate you talking about life insurance settlements.
It’s a new topic for me, so I’m sure it will be for a lot of the caregivers who are taking care of a loved one. Um, do you have just like a free kind of sheet where it could explain what type of, uh, or what a life, life insurance settlement is and then, um, what they can possibly expect during this process?
I do. Um, I have a. Uh, flyer, uh, it’s just an educational flyer that literally talks about exactly the basics of what we just talked about. What is this thing? Right? What can I do with the money? Why would I want to sell my policy? Policies can be sold. So it’s a real, a real simple, brief. Um, flyer. I also have a website with a lot of information and articles and blogs, or, you know, just call me.
Um, I have a lot of clients just to say, look, I’m just going to pick up the phone and call me, email me. Um, absolutely whatever works, but yes, we do have a lot of information available and I’m happy to provide any and all of it. Once again, I’m just here to educate. Because people know, right. People know when this is a good solution for them or not a good solution for them.
I’m just here to provide the tools to help them decide.
Thank you very much. I really appreciate you being here and talking to our caregivers about this really important tool that they use.
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