Life, Viaticals & Health Insurance
Life and viatical settlements have existed for some time, much longer than most people realize in fact. The first chapter looks at the basic concepts of the viatical process, giving the reader a basic knowledge of the life and viatical industry.
The second chapter looks at life insurance as an asset in addition to death protection. While the issuing insurers intend life insurance to be death protection, life insurance has always been an asset, although mostly unrecognized as such. Many financial planners knew they were assets, but even they dealt with life insurance as though the policies were merely death protection. Now that consumers are realizing their life insurance policies, while certainly representing death protection, are also assets, insurers are being forced to recognize that as well. This chapter covers what that means to both insurers and consumers.
Chapter three looks at viatical benefits in Canada and the United States. Life and viatical settlements have many benefits, especially for those facing severe illness or frailty due to age and health conditions.
Chapter 4 looks at health insurance in the United States and Canada. It considers elements often overlooked, such as the opioid crisis and how that affects health insurance. It also points out that nothing is “free” and that includes health insurance even when it is sponsored by the country’s governments. This chapter looks at funding health insurance and the options available in both the U.S. and Canada.
Chapter 5 looks at STOLIs, stranger-oriented life insurance, which is primarily illegal in both countries. The reason it is mostly illegal has to do with insurable interest requirements in life insurance policies. While beneficiaries can be changed after the life insurance policy is issued, insurers clearly require there be an insurable interest. This was not highly regulated in past years because insurers did not face the issues that STOLIs bring about. That has changed as life insurance benefits became big business; now insurers must be concerned with how issued policies are used.
The final chapter, chapter six, looks at life and viatical ethics in Canada and the U.S. While ethical conduct is generally mandated and everyone accepts that ethics are needed and required in the insurance industry, when it comes to life and viatical settlements, and certainly STOLIs, ethics needs to be emphasized so that those within these industries have no excuse to offer when laws (or the intent of laws) is violated. The chapter looks at moral responsibilities to clients and others within the industry, including issuing insurers who expect life insurance policies to be used as death protection. It looks at the ethical intent of policies and the insurance producers who sell them.
This chapter looks at how insurers and regulating authorities can promote ethical insurance activity and the difficulties that represents. It questions whether it is even possible to regulate ethical activity through laws, since laws can only define legal versus illegal activities. The chapter covers what is termed “fast buck” items. This is anything that is treated as a fast way to gain commissions and does not mean the item being sold is wrong or illegal. Rather it is the intent of the agent, not the item represented.
The chapter ends with looking at professionals and what that means in the insurance industry. Only each individual can determine whether he or she is truly a professional since it often involves intent as much as actions.