A senior life settlement, SLS is a financial transaction in which the owner of a life insurance policy sells his or her policy for an amount that is higher than the policy’s cash value, but lower than the policy’s face amount.


The purchaser of the life insurance policy, usually a life settlement provider, becomes the beneficiary and assumes responsibility for the premium payments. The life settlement provider may subsequently sell the policy to an investor who, in turn, becomes the beneficiary, with the intention to earn a positive investment return after accounting for the purchase price of the settlement, the future premiums payable, and the ultimate timing of the receipt of the death benefit.


Life settlements in force at the end of 2009 had a face value of about $35 billion.


Life settlement securities may also be attractive as a portfolio diversifier, because the returns on such securities may exhibit little correlation to the returns on other asset classes, such as stocks or corporate bonds.


The most attractive policies for life settlement providers to buy were high face amount. Consequently, life settlement policies on the market have an average face value of $2.2 million, far higher than the average face value of about $50,000.


A typical life settlement securitization begins with brokers arranging for a transaction with an

individual policyholders sell a life insurance policy to a life settlement provider. The brokers collect relevant information from the insured individuals, and offer the policies to life settlement providers. Life settlement providers are specialized intermediaries who purchase large numbers of life settlements for sale to investors or a securities issuer.


The securities issuer, pools the life settlements into an investment structure. These securities are then sold to institutional investors. The investment structure, funded by the securities sold to investors, pays the premiums on the in force policies, and, as the insured individuals covered by the policies pass away, the death benefits fund the interest and principal payments on the securities

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