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.