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Life Settlement Hearings - November 2008

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The New York State Insurance Department will conduct public hearings in New York City, Long Island, Albany, and Rochester to gather information about the life settlement industry to help ascertain the scope of oversight and regulation needed to protect insurance policyholders in New York State.

The large-scale purchase of life insurance policies began with the onset of the AIDS epidemic more than two decades ago. In recent years, however, a life settlement market has expanded to include purchases of life insurance policies where the insured does not have a catastrophic or life-threatening illness or condition. The insureds generally are senior citizens, who use the market as an opportunity to obtain a monetary benefit greater than the cash surrender value but less than the death benefit of the policy. In some cases, potential buyers also have financed the purchase of life insurance policies solely for the purpose of resale. Interests in these purchased policies often are resold to third party investors, who achieve the best investment returns upon an insured’s early death. Reports indicate that the business of purchasing beneficial interests in life insurance policies is currently an estimated $15 billion dollar industry nationwide.

These purchases of life insurance policies, often packaged for resale to investors, currently are outside the scope of the Insurance Law and are essentially unregulated. These transactions raise fundamental concerns about the privacy rights of policyholders and insureds (particularly where the policies are resold), the lack of transparency regarding commissions paid to brokers and others, and the possible use of deceptive solicitation practices to obtain ownership of, or a beneficial interest in, life insurance policies owned by residents of New York State.

The purpose of the hearings is to gather information from policyholders and insureds who have been solicited to or who have entered into these transactions, and to hear any concerns that such persons have about protection of their private information or deceptive sales practices, and to seek advice from consumer groups and advocates regarding their concerns and observations about the industry.

The Department seeks input from the general public, senior citizen organizations, and consumer groups with experience or expertise regarding life settlements. Oral and written testimony should focus on consumer experience with life settlement contracts and the acquisition of life insurance policies for the purpose of resale.

The public hearings are scheduled as follows:









Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008
SUNY College at Old Westbury
Multi-Purpose Room A, Student Union Bldg.
223 Storehill Rd.
Old Westbury, New York 11568
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 7, 2008
New York State Insurance Department
5th Floor
25 Beaver Street
New York, New York 10004
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008
Convention Center
Meeting Room #7
Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12242
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 14, 2008
Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County
115 South Ave.
Rochester, NY 14604
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The hearings are open to the public. Interested parties may testify at these hearings or submit written comments to be included in the hearing record. Any person wishing to testify may sign up at the Department’s website, Persons without Internet access may contact the Insurance Department’s Public Affairs Bureau at (212) 480-5262. Oral testimony will be allowed for up to 5 minutes.

Written comments for the hearing record may be submitted via the Department’s website,; by mail to Life Settlement Hearings, Public Affairs Bureau, New York State Insurance Department, 25 Beaver Street, New York, New York 10004; or by e-mail to with the subject line “Life Settlement Hearings.” Comments will be accepted by the Department for up to 15 business days after the public hearing.

For additional information about this hearing, please contact Bradley F. Rice, New York State Insurance Department, Community Affairs Bureau, One Commerce Plaza, Albany, NY 12257 (Tel. 518-473-2345).


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