25 Silver Years of Life Settlements from Scott Page and The Lifeline Program
ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Life insurance settlement provider The Lifeline Program celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2014, having blazed a trail for seniors and boomers who can now sell unwanted or unneeded life insurance policies for immediate cash. Joining in the celebration is company spokesperson Betty White (the television icon who turns 92 on January 17) who has helped educate seniors about life settlements as a means to fund retirement, pay bills and offset costs of long-term care.
The Lifeline Program has a rich history. Wm. Scott Page performed one of the first life settlement transactions in 1989, when he helped an ill-friend sell his life insurance policy for cash. Page started The Lifeline Program shortly thereafter and began assisting other terminally ill individuals with selling their policies and organizing their financial futures.
Little did he know that a business he started with the simple, noble goal of helping people live out their lives with dignity would evolve into an ongoing, sophisticated financial services business. The company has grown from assisting a handful of people in its first few years to helping thousands of individuals meet their financial goals and pay for retirement. Today, life insurance settlements represent a billion dollar industry as more than $2 billion worth of policies were purchased in 2012, according to Conning research. The gross market potential for life settlements is expected to exceed $170 billion for the next two decades.
Building a regulatory framework for settlements
“Before The Lifeline Program was created, there was no structure to the life settlement industry,” said Page. “We helped create best practices, drafted the initial regulatory framework for the industry and earned some of the first licenses ever issued.”
A key part of the company’s evolution, according to Page, was shifting the mindset about life settlements from that of a niche financial service to a mainstream retirement planning option. To assist in telling its story, the company had the forethought to hire as its spokesperson television icon Betty White.
“When approached about hiring Betty by Stephen E. Terrell, our senior vice president of market development and branding, I thought he was joking,” said Page. “But she has become the centerpiece of our marketing efforts for the past nine years.”
Wm. Scott Page performed one of the first life settlement transactions in 1989, when he helped an ill-friend sell his life insurance policy for cash. Page started The Lifeline Program shortly thereafter and began assisting other terminally ill individuals with selling their policies and organizing their financial futures
White can be seen on the company website, marketing materials and even as a cartoon character explaining how life settlements work. Most notably, the former “Golden Girl” appeared in a music video produced by The Lifeline Program which drew more than 2 million views on YouTube. “I’m Still Hot,” featuring Betty White and Luciana helped catapult life settlements into the public eye.
“It’s been a great nine years with The Lifeline Program, and I hope we have many more,” said White.
Currently, The Lifeline Program works closely with insurance agents, broker-dealers, trust advisers and estate planners to help educate seniors and boomers about the benefits of life settlements. In fact, the company believes it is the fiduciary responsibility of all financial planning professionals to advise their clients about life settlement options. Today, The Lifeline Program continues to spread the word about life settlements, directly to seniors and through a network of insurance industry and financial professionals.
“Life settlements are not for everyone, but we know that hundreds of thousands of American seniors can benefit from selling an unwanted or unneeded life insurance policy,” said Terrell. “It’s a financial option which needs more exposure because it can help many people who are still hurting from the economic downturn.”
An effective tool for retirement planning
Looking ahead, company executives believe life settlement transactions will become commonplace among American seniors and boomers, helping the industry to continue to grow. In the meantime, the first quarter century in business remains noteworthy.
“I’m proud of our far-reaching accomplishments,” said Page. “But mainly I’m happiest that we built a business which has successfully lasted for 25 years.”