Patt Morrison for August 14, 2012

The macabre business of trading life insurance policies

AP Photo/Lisa Poole

John Crowley poses with his daughter, Kaitlyn, 3, and an insurance flier with Kaitlyn's photo on it, Friday, April 11, 2008, at their home in Ashland, Mass. Crowley is pushing for a change in state law after a life insurance claim was denied in his wife's death a year after she took out the policy from the company who used their daughter's photo on their brochure.

In a capitalist society the market dictates everything, and even death is not immune. Every year, thousands of people take out life insurance policies to protect their loved ones in the event of their untimely passing, but what if the payout of a policy would be more effective while the policyholder was still alive?

For example, a terminally ill person could use the money to pay for family to stay near them during their final few weeks or months, or someone with extensive medical bills could use the money to defray debt left to their heirs.

An industry has built up around the trading of life insurance policies, but it brings up some interesting moral questions; is it right when a third party stands to benefit from the death of a beneficiary rather than the loved ones of the deceased?

WEIGH IN

Have you sold a life insurance policy? Who should govern the rules of this practice?

Guests:

Chris Ledlie, managing director of Opulen Capital

Dustin Miller, CEO of Longevity Insight, a San Diego firm that advises life settlement purchasers about the projected life expectancy of people who wish to sell their life insurance policies


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