Barry Kaye – King of Life Settlements – is under fire
Barry Kaye, who allegedly made his fortune in the life settlement market is facing more bad news. First, he was forced to reduce his contribution to Florida Atlantic University to $5,000,000 from his planned $16,000,000. Now Investment News is reporting, that the Ohio Department of Insurance is investigating his life settlement sales in that state. The article reports that he has been sued by an 81 year-old life settlement investor for a failed transaction.
A life settlement begins with the purchase of a high value life insurance policy by an investor. The investor can either pay with their own cash or borrow the cash from a willing borrower, usually a financial institution. So, either using their own or someone else’s cash the investor pays the premiums for two years, to avoid the contestability period. At that point, the policy becomes a free asset and can be sold. It was commonly believed that policies had higher values in the resale market than their cash value.
The problem, not surprisingly, is that the entire transaction was based on the availability of willing buyers. Like many great ideas of 2001-2007, these ideas don’t look so good in 2008 and 2009. The new owner of the policy has to pay the premiums, a significant sum in many cases. So the original investor ends up with no buyer, a policy they didn’t need but were convinced that they did, and possibly a significant loan that they don’t want, can’t afford and expected to be able to repay upon sale of the insurance policy. Oops.
No free lunches people. This was too good to be true and it was a sham to begin with. But the sellers of these schemes should have known better and made better disclosures.