In the viatical and life-settlement industry, revolutions are not uncommon. There is little to indicate that the days ahead won't change this industry as radically as it has changed in the recent past. But this is a book meant to inspire thought. So here is the radical thought: life insurance has value like other assets and consumers ought to know what their policies are really worth.
When you talk to people about life insurance—in fact, even when you talk to a life insurance salesperson—the discussion generally revolves around the idea that the policy sold today will pay a claim when you die. When the producer of life insurance, the agent, discusses the value of insurance, he will emphasize that point. If you have a concern about the value of your life or the retention of your assets, you'll consider the purchase soberly and seriously.
In this discussion, the agent will tell you a few other things too. There are different kinds of life insurance. Some of them involve premiums for the loss of life only. Others can serve as investment vehicles, and still others have purposes associated with the need to pass assets on to the next generation. But the essential idea is that in purchasing a policy, the buyer is a good citizen, thinking about his future and his family's welfare.
Generally, the idea behind insurance, for many generations, has been to spread the risk. A few people will die early, in accidents or from disease. Most ...