Responding to online advertising and generic value calculators can mislead client expectations. Many things in life rarely come about; when this happens, the average person doesn’t have the knowledge to make a good decision. This can be true for financial professionals and consumers alike.

Understanding life settlements is one of those things. Where do advisors and consumers go to find the answers to questions about life settlements? If you Google life settlements, you will come up with 152,000,000 results. Even if you zoom past all the paid ads, you are still left with an abundance of contradictory opinions and information. Consumers are particularly vulnerable when they respond to direct-to-consumer TV commercials and social media ads about life settlements.

If you’re an advisor, who would you listen to, and how would you know if you can trust them to serve the best interests of your clients? Most of these ads come from life settlement lead generation companies and life settlement providers that represent the best interests of buyers wishing to purchase existing life insurance policies at a highly discounted price. It’s a good deal for the buyer but a bad deal for your clients. Furthermore, it’s almost impossible to use Google to determine whether you’re working with a licensed life settlement provider representing the buyer’s best interests or a licensed life settlement broker with a fiduciary duty to represent the best interests of the policy owner selling the policy.

This is precisely why attorneys, CPAs, CFPs, RIAs, and client-centric life insurance professionals do not rely on Google, social media, or television ads to determine who they should trust to help their clients. They use a more comprehensive due diligence process to protect themselves and their clients.

The strategy behind life settlement calculators

Most online life settlement platforms connect policyholders directly or indirectly with licensed providers that represent the best interests of buyers. They aim to lead your client to provide information by completing their life settlement calculator, then give them an arbitrary value and engage them in conversation. This is a problem for your client because the value indicated is, at its best, only a guess. The minimal output from a calculator is rarely accurate, and the potential offer is changed after additional medical, financial, and policy information is obtained. This misleads your client and forces them to lower their expectations. Often a highly discounted offer will be presented to your client based solely on the information provided on the calculator, and the deal can be closed quickly. Too quickly!

Moving too fast in life settlements can come with some inherent risk for you and your clients. If your client is involved in a life settlement process emphasizing speed, you might suggest they tap the brakes and determine if they are sitting on the wrong side of the negotiation table.

Bottom line: Complex transactions that require sophisticated underwriting and a negotiation process take time. There are only two licensed entities that sit at the negotiation table. Life Settlement Brokers represent your client’s best interests, and Life Settlement Providers represent the buyer’s best interests. Fast life settlements are risky. Slow down on the front end to verify that your client is represented by a nationally licensed life settlement brokerage firm experienced in case design and conducts a transparent policy auction between multiple providers to drive more value to your client. They will be glad you did!

Ashar Group is a nationally licensed life settlement firm that acts as a fiduciary to protect the best interests of policy owners by creating a competitive policy auction to deliver the best value to the seller. Ashar Group does not sell life insurance, management assets, or purchase policies. We are an independent resource for fiduciary advisors and their clients specializing in life insurance valuation for planning purposes. Contact us today.

Ashar Group has created a special checklist for tax season that helps you conduct a new and timely discussion that strengthens your current relationships and opens the door to new ones.

Most tax practitioners are unaware that existing life insurance policies can provide a value significantly higher than the cash surrender value offered by the issuing insurance carrier.

“Almost 85% of term policies fail to pay a death claim; nearly 88% of universal life policies ultimately do not terminate with a death benefit claim. In fact, 74% of term policies and 76% of universal life policies sold to seniors at age 65 never pay a claim.”

Wharton School Study by Daniel Gottlieb and Kent Smetters

What happens to all those policies that were put in place to protect families and businesses? They are lapsed or surrendered. Most of those policies are dropped by senior clients in financial transition. The reasons are many. Their policy may no longer be needed for estate tax planning, they are outliving their coverage, the policy is too expensive to maintain, a business owner is retiring, or they are going through bankruptcy proceedings or divorce proceedings. Often, they simply want to apply any cash they can obtain from the policy and use that cash - and the ongoing premiums they have been paying - to other aspects of their financial plan. They may need extra cash for medical or caregiving expenses, donate money to charity, or simply maintain their standard of living during retirement. Furthermore, many tax advisors and consumers are unaware of the additional value that can be obtained through a life settlement.

What can tax professionals and financial advisors do to help?

It’s simple, all you must do is be in the right place at the right time before your client decides to lapse or surrender an existing life insurance policy. That’s where our Tax Planning Checklist for Existing Life Insurance comes in. Tax season is the perfect time to reach out to your clients and tax professionals and ask them the questions on the tax planning checklist. This creates awareness about options that are available that could have a significant impact on decisions that they make when considering dropping their existing life insurance coverage.

We’ll be at Finseca in D.C.

Please stop by the Ashar Group booth #201 to get access to the Tax Season Checklist and options to co-brand this checklist.

Over time, the need for life insurance coverage naturally changes. While life insurance can sometimes be the largest asset a client owns, it’s rarely reviewed for fair market value like other assets, including real estate, art, and jewelry. This results in clients making uninformed decisions, missing lucrative planning opportunities, and paying unnecessary premiums.

We all know the advantages of early detection when it comes to identifying health risks. We never want to hear the doctors say, “If only we had caught this sooner…”.

Your automobile is equipped with all sorts of warning mechanisms to detect a problem before it turns into a costly repair.

Your children’s report cards provide early detection of a drop in grades before your child needs to repeat a grade.

Your annual dental visits for cleaning and x-rays help detect cavities before they turn into serious problems.

What about existing life insurance policies that your clients currently own? When was the last time you had your client’s existing life insurance appraised to detect all available planning options?

Right now, you have clients in financial transition. Whether it is retirement, selling a business, divorce, bankruptcy, or simply outliving their financial plan, your clients ask, “What are my options?” Is it best for me to keep paying premiums, change my coverage, surrender my policy, or sell my policy for its life settlement value? If you aren’t answering these questions, someone else will. This leaves your clients and the relationships/trust you’ve built with them vulnerable and in jeopardy.

There are many reasons to consider an Early Detection Valuation to explore the suitability of maintaining existing life insurance coverage. You don’t need to be a life insurance expert or hold a license to consider a valuation or a life settlement. We’re here to help. We’re a qualified appraiser of life insurance for estate and tax planning, charitable donations, and other aspects of financial and retirement planning. Contact us today.

Ashar Group is a nationally licensed life settlement firm that acts as a fiduciary to protect the best interests of policy owners by creating a competitive policy auction to deliver the best value to the seller. Ashar Group does not sell life insurance, management assets, or purchase policies. We are an independent resource for fiduciary advisors and their clients specializing in life insurance valuation for planning purposes.

Excerpt from an article in NAEPC Journal of Estate & Tax Planning by Jamie L. Mendelsohn, EVP

Life insurance can be the largest unmanaged asset a client owns, and it is rarely appraised or valued.  Policy owners allocate significant liquidity on an ongoing basis, often long after transitioning out of the original need that the policy was put in place to protect. Even after a traditional policy review and exploring historical non-forfeiture options such as a surrender, reducing the death benefit, or 1035 exchange, the client is left feeling as if they are not in an optimal position. Creating awareness and educating policy owners that the life settlement market exists can result in many planning opportunities, as well as mitigating risk and liability for the advisory teams.

The simple question, “When was your life insurance last appraised” can be the catalyst for many planning discussions.

Many policy owners have paid into policies for decades and want more than the intrinsic value of ownership when considering exiting it. The opportunity to take advantage of a secondary market, to capitalize on the numerous institutional buyers competing in an auction to deliver more value than other exit strategies, is an important option to discuss with policy owners. Getting clients in the habit of valuing their life insurance, similar to how they appraise other assets, could create additional cash flow for other planning needs.

Halloween is behind us and many of you may have walked through a corn maze with your children or grandchildren at a local pumpkin patch. You may have found that maze easy to navigate, but how do you navigate through the confusing maze of life settlement information to help your client monetize their policy for fair market value (FMV) rather than settling for a discounted value?  

The path you choose will determine how much value created ends up on the policy owner/sell-side of the negotiation table versus the buy-side. One wrong turn in the maze can take you and your client down a path that enhances investor returns at the expense of providing more value to your client. We will show you how you can help your clients make an informed decision about choosing the right life settlement company at a time when they are being bombarded with life settlement marketing that can often blur the lines between truth and fiction.

Securing independent representation for your client is the cornerstone of a successful life settlement.  

An existing life insurance policy, including convertible term insurance, may contain significant value, beyond the cash surrender value (CSV), that can be accessed and monetized through a life settlement. A life settlement is the sale of an existing life insurance policy for an amount greater than the CSV, but less than the death benefit. How much added value your client receives is totally dependent on which life settlement company they choose to represent them. The good news is that there has been life settlement regulation in place for several years that requires licensing that distinguishes between a seller’s representative and a buyer’s representative. Securing independent representation for your client is the cornerstone of a successful life settlement. 

Brokers vs. Providers 

There are only two licensed entities that are licensed to handle life settlement negotiations. One represents the seller, the other represents the buyers. Licensed life settlement brokers are fiduciaries to the policy owner. Their sole responsibility is to represent the policy owner in the life settlement transaction and obtain the best offer based on your client’s situation and needs.  

One wrong turn in the maze can take you and your client down a path that enhances investor returns at the expense of providing more value to your client. 

On the buy-side, life settlement providers are licensed to represent the best interests of the buyers. Most advisors are unfamiliar with the term provider, which is often conflated with the term buyer. As a result, advisors often unknowingly end up on the wrong side of the negotiation table working with a provider. Consumers are even more vulnerable because of constant consumer direct ads from providers on television and social media. If your client responds to an advertisement and gets involved with a “Direct Buyer”, then they are in fact dealing with a provider. Buyers are behind the scenes and prohibited from getting directly involved with the seller. Buyers must be represented by a provider. The only way your client’s best interests are protected is through a broker-managed life insurance policy auction forcing providers to compete

Your client should only use one broker that forces provider competition because all brokers access the same providers. If providers receive information from two or more brokers, control of the case is lost resulting in a more discounted offer to the seller. Providers can’t trust information that comes from more than one source. Also, sensitive client information is more secure if properly handled by only one broker. When providers are forced to compete that means your client’s case can be looked at by all available institutional buyers. 

Two due diligence questions to determine if a life settlement company is on the buy-side or sell-side 

Ask your potential life settlement resource these two questions:  

  1. “Are you a licensed life settlement broker or a life settlement provider”? Have them produce their license for your state if you’re not sure. You can also visit their website to find the answer. Sometimes you must read the fine print. If you discover that they are a licensed life settlement provider, then they are a buyer’s representative. Providers will gladly help your client sell their policy directly to the buyer, but they can’t serve two masters. They have a fiduciary duty to the buyers, not your client. Many life settlement resources are just lead generation companies and are not licensed to represent either side of the table. Do you really want a lead generation company to have access to your client’s sensitive health information?  
  1. “Do you conduct a life insurance policy auction forcing providers to compete?” Only a nationally licensed life settlement broker has the licensing and the expertise to conduct a successful life insurance policy auction forcing providers to compete. However, any insurance agent that wants to receive a commission from a life settlement, must first be appointed as a life settlement broker. They may complete one or two life settlement cases per year. They do not have the staff, national licensing, or expertise to run the policy auction. Make sure your resource is a nationally licensed life settlement broker. Fiduciaries do not take commissions but can charge fees for life insurance valuation and other services provided by a life settlement broker. 

Bottom line: There are only two licensed entities that sit at the negotiation table. Life Settlement Brokers represent your client’s best interests, Life Settlement Providers represent the buyer’s best interests. The first step is to verify right up front that the life settlement company you choose to help your client is a seller’s representative. Starting out on the right foot will help you have a big impact on the amount of additional value your client receives. 


Ashar Group is a nationally licensed life settlement brokerage firm and a qualified appraiser of life insurance for estate and tax planning, charitable donations of life insurance, and other aspects of financial and retirement planning. It’s what we do. By remaining deliberately independent and conflict-free, advisors trust Ashar to protect the best interests of the policy owner during a life settlement, thereby mitigating reputational or liability risk for the advisor. 

Use our life settlement probability calculator to determine potential opportunities, or contact us today to learn more about the life settlement solution.

Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions?

Divorce rates are on the rise - but not among younger couples, as one might expect. Instead, the increase is among couples who are ages 50 and older. According to the US Census Bureau, divorce rates among adults ages 55 to 64 are about 43% and have increased since the 1990s.

While divorce at any age is a complicated and emotional process, divorcing when you're over the age of 50 has some bleaker financial consequences than it might for a 25- or 30-year-old. That's because divorce almost always has a negative effect on a person's lifetime financial state. If you're close to retirement when you divorce, there's much less time to recover.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Women are more financially independent, which allows them to divorce without facing as stark of a financial picture as they once did. Additionally, as longevity increases, the overall length of marriage is longer. This on its own puts couples at a higher risk for divorce. Here are a few things to consider if you're among one of the many adults getting divorced after age 50.

Retirement accounts are usually considered marital property.

Preparing for retirement takes decades of planning and saving by contributing to a 401(k) or IRA. In most states, funds that you contributed to a retirement account over the course of your marriage are considered property and assets. This means that when you divorce, that money gets split between the two of you.

What was once enough to cover a single mortgage and utilities for a single household, might not be enough now that it must cover two separate households. The implications of this are profound, including the possibility of delaying retirement a few years or working part-time while retired.

Does keeping the house make sense?

During a divorce when the house is nearly or fully paid off, is keeping the house the right decision for either party? The house has a value, which means that your ex-spouse will receive some property equal to that value, and it might be retirement or savings accounts, future payments until that amount is met, or a life insurance policy.

In addition, a home comes with considerable costs that might stretch your already reduced retirement savings beyond their limit. Such as repairs, homeowner's insurance, and more.

Alimony is typically granted if the marriage has been a long one.

When marriages last a specific length of time, you can expect a form of alimony or spousal support to come into play. Divorces that end shorter marriages often include some kind of payment for a short time to assist the less well-off spouse in recovering.

Separating from your spouse can wreak havoc on not only your emotional life but your financial one as well. If you are going through this difficult event, thinking about money is probably the last thing you want to do - however, if you don’t, you could find yourself in a highly precarious financial situation once the divorce is final.

If you retain ownership of a life insurance policy during divorce negotiations that has become unnecessary, or a burden, you may want to consider a life settlement. Selling your policy for an amount greater than the cash surrender value can provide a significant liquidity event allowing you to bridge the gap in earnings.

Life settlements are an underutilized option that can be very helpful for seniors in certain circumstances. To learn more, read more about how this option can be beneficial for policy owners, or contact us today.

Retirement is more than just turning in your notice at work and packing up your desk. Beyond looking at your finances, there is other planning that should go into the decision to retire. 

Define "retirement".

What does retirement look like to you? Are you sitting on the beach somewhere or traveling the world? Many people know what they are retiring from, but they don't always think about what they are retiring to. Write down your retirement goals - don't say just "travel" but instead "cruise to Cancun" or "bus tour in European countries".

Many people find themselves in financial trouble after retirement because they didn't weigh the opportunity costs of their ideal life: they'll move to the west coast for good weather but rack up high travel costs to see their grandchildren in the Midwest every other month, for example.

Be realistic about costs of hobbies: many financial planners predict you'll spend less in retirement than you did previously, but a pricy hobby (like college classes or sailing) can often derail the best-laid budget.

Improve your health.

Just before your retirement date, it is best to see all your healthcare providers. While at your appointment, ask your providers to help develop a plan to keep you fit and alert during your retirement years. Commit to the suggestions, whether they are eating two green veggies a day, walking around the mall a few times a week, flossing, or doing brain games to stay sharp.

Find any opportunities for added income.

Look for opportunities to turn your hobbies into profit. You can sell your crocheted blankets to friends, teach piano to the neighborhood children, or turn your business skills into a consulting job. Many people get bored after a few months of retirement and actually prefer partial-retirement, in which they pick up part-time jobs. Remember, retirement doesn't have to mean not working; it's just having the freedom to do what your want when you want.

If you don't want to continue working during retirement, another option is to sell your unwanted or unneeded life insurance policy in a life settlement. A life settlement can create a significant liquidity event that can fund your retirement goals; however they look. To see if your policy could potentially qualify for a life settlement, take our Policy Value Questionnaire. For more details about life settlements and policy valuations, contact us today.

Nearly 90% of financial professionals with senior clients have never helped guide them through a life settlement transaction according to a recent poll we conducted. And only 13% had their clients' life insurance appraised within the last six months. This lack of education means there is a lot of money being left on the table each year when policy owners lapse or surrender policies that could have had value as a life settlement.

On the client's side, money is tied up in burdensome premiums when the policy could be liquidated into a lump sum payment to the policy owner. On the advisor's side, money is lost in business growth opportunities. Beyond that, there are a few other reasons financial professionals need to familiarize themselves with life settlements.

Statistics show a majority of today's seniors are financially unprepared for retirement.

According to a survey, 21% of respondents have nothing saved for retirement. As so many news outlets have reported over the past several years, this is nothing less than a retirement crisis. In addition to living costs, many seniors will need to pay for long-term care or costly medical treatments in retirement. If they aren't able to cover that cost themselves, it could fall on their children or other family members,

A life settlement can provide the cash these seniors need today. In these cases, liquidating a costly, unnecessary life insurance policy can ease the financial burden on the policy owners and their families.

A life settlement can create up to 8x more value than the cash surrender value.

A life settlement is the sale of an existing life insurance policy for a value greater than the cash surrender value and less than the death benefit to an institutional buyer. The key to receiving fair market value for your clients is partnering with a licensed life settlement broker, such as Ashar Group.

Through Ashar's proprietary auction process, we submit the policy to all licensed buyers creating a competitive bidding environment to drive up the value of your client's policy. If your client's policy qualifies for a life settlement solution, why surrender the policy for a mere fraction of its value?

Knowing all the options available to your clients is simply the right thing to do.

At Ashar, we believe in a simple principle: "do what is right and you will be blessed." Everyone., especially seniors and their advisory team, need to know what financial options are available to help them thrive in their later years. A life settlement can be an advantageous alternative to lapsing, surrendering, or materially changing a policy. The more financial experts know about the industry we serve in, the better we're able to educate and serve our clients.

If you'd like to find out more about life settlements, watch our video, which gives an overview of what we do and how we do it. And if you're ready to find out if a client's policy might qualify for a life settlement solution, take our Policy Value Questionnaire.

Life insurance in retirement can be a tricky topic to navigate for planning professionals. The biggest question we hear from advisors and their clients is, “How can this policy benefit me while I’m retired?” To which our response is typically about how that depends on the client’s financial goals which have been determined with their financial professional. There are several ways in which a life insurance policy can benefit you while in your retirement years.

menucross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram