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Betty's Corner

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Why Betty Backs Life Settlements

If you live in the United States, you've probably seen plenty of Betty White in the past year. From the hilarious Snickers Super Bowl ad to the wildly popular, Emmy Award-winning, Facebook campaign-inspired guest host slot on Saturday Night Live last May (not to mention the TV Land original series "Hot in Cleveland"), the 88-year-old Hollywood icon is perhaps at the peak of her popularity now despite being in show business for six decades.

Can you think of another living celebrity who is as universally loved as Betty White? Kind of makes her an ideal spokesperson for your product, don't you think?

Atlanta-based life settlements company The Lifeline Program first signed White as the celebrity host for the company's informational life settlement DVD back in 2005. At that time, Wm. Scott Page, president and CEO of The Lifeline Program, explained the agreement like this: "Betty White is one of America's most recognizable and beloved faces, particularly when it comes to seniors. She will help us to teach thousands of seniors how to uncover hidden wealth by selling their life insurance policies."

Back on Aug. 30, The Lifeline Program announced that White had renewed her promotional agreement with the company.

We originally selected Betty as our spokesperson because she was well-regarded among our target audience of seniors and early boomers," says Stephen Terrell, senior vice president of The Lifeline Program. "Her ever-expanding star power has since helped build and define our brand. Today, whether you are talking to an emerging hedge fund manager, financial advisor or a senior who is considering a life settlement, everyone knows Betty White.

Life Insurance Selling was curious to know why this superstar, who could get top dollar to endorse practically any product or service she wanted, felt so strongly about the value of life settlements and the need to create consumer awareness of the option that she signed on for another five years as the face of The Lifeline Program. In a broader sense, she is endorsing the validity of the entire life settlements industry to older Americans who may know little about them, and may, therefore, be wary of them.

White was gracious enough to answer the following questions exclusively for Life Insurance Selling. We hope you enjoy her responses.

Life Insurance Selling: With all the causes out there that would absolutely love to have you as a spokesperson, you must feel strongly about your work with The Lifeline Program to renew your agreement. What made you decide to stay on?

Betty White: They are wonderful. In my dealings with The Lifeline Program family, I found I was in deep agreement with the program and happy to help spread the word.

LIS: Did you know anything about life settlements before becoming involved as a spokesperson for a company in the industry? (and how much have you learned about it?)

White: I was not familiar with life settlements before my involvement with Lifeline, but it was clear to me how they could be a valuable financial product for seniors. I have since learned a great deal about them and would encourage any senior who is considering letting their life insurance policy lapse to consider a life settlement.

LIS: I read that you have said about life settlements that it is "wonderful to be able to represent something you believe in wholeheartedly yourself." Please tell us why you feel it is so important to help spread the word to seniors about the life settlement option.

White: Every day, life gets more and more expensive. I have been fortunate that I have been able to work my whole life doing things that I love, and I don't worry about paying for retirement. But I know that many people are not as lucky as I am.

Many seniors are struggling, and the recession hasn't made it any easier. Within this group are many people who don't know that a life settlement could help them pay their bills and live a happier, less-stressful retirement. Naturally, it is important to let them know about a life settlement and how it could help them.

LIS: Has anybody you have encountered actually asked you about life settlements? (and if so, did you "sell" them?)

White: I usually don't get too involved with other people's financial affairs, but at a recent special appearance for The Lifeline Program, I told several agents that if they are doing life settlements, they better consider my boys at Lifeline.

LIS: What do your spokesperson duties with The Lifeline Program entail, exactly?

White: I do television spots, appear in print advertising and make an occasional public appearance to explain The Lifeline Program.

LIS: You are well-known for your work with the Los Angeles Zoo and animal charities. Are there other causes that you are personally involved with?

White: I have been involved with the Morris Animal Foundation for nearly 40 years. It is one of many charities for animals which I hold very dear. I will always be very passionate about animal causes and my pets.

LIS: It's obvious you are one of the most in-demand celebrities right now. How do you keep up such a busy schedule, and how do you decide what to take on and what to skip?

White: Well, my problem is that I just can't say no. As long as people don't get tired of this old broad, I'm going to keep saying yes.

LIS: Where can we expect to see you next on the big and small screen? (and will you be back on SNL this season?)

White: SNL was certainly great fun, and it was very flattering to be invited to host. It was hard work, but one thing I have learned in show business is to never say "never." I am back in the studio for season two on "Hot in Cleveland" on TV Land, which will start airing Jan. 19, 2010, and I just finished a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie called "The Lost Valentine," which will air on CBS in February.

LIS: As the most famous octogenarian in the country, do you feel a responsibility to be a public "representative" or role model for your generation, and, if so, how do you approach that role?

White: I'm not sure if I'm a role model, but I am blessed to have a wonderful life and wonderful fans. If I were to offer advice, I would tell people to be true to themselves and not forget to laugh.

LIS: Anything else you would like to comment about regarding your involvement as a spokesperson for a life settlements provider?

White: It's been a great five years with The Lifeline Program, and I hope we have many more.

LIS: This would seem like an ideally obscure public forum for you to reveal some deep, dark Hollywood secret. Do you have anything juicy for us?

White: The eyes of celebrity media are everywhere, but even so, a lady doesn't tell secrets.

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