Revised and updated Investor’s Guide, this edition emphasizes life (senior) settlements.

New chapters include details about the methods Life Expectancy specialty companies use tp predict life expectancy; what to expect if the settlement company is in bankruptcy or placed in receivership; why securitization may be the safest way to invest.


by John P. Shelton, UCLA professor emeritus, economics and marketing

The viatical and life settlements industry didn’t exist in the United States before 1989 and remains small compared to its counterpart, the life insurance industry. For these reasons, primarily, it is also a financial area that has not been well understood or thoroughly investigated.

Unfortunately, an industry that could fulfill a useful economic purpose has become the breeding ground of scam artists, embezzlers, and fraudulent promoters. Honest and legitimate viatical products are rare. But that does not mean there cannot be viatical sales of life insurance that are beneficial to both the viator (the one who sells his or her financial interest in a life insurance contract) and the investor who buys that interest.

The thrust of this book is to draw the attention of potential investors to the traps and snares they must avoid if they are interested in buying a viator’s life insurance policy. This book should be studied by anyone who is interested in the viatical and life settlement industry.


  • Introduction
  • Overview and History
  • Sales Pitches
  • Before Signing Up
  • Types of Risk
  • Reinsurance and Other Special Risks
  • Fraud Watch
  • Viators and Fraud (author, David E. Wood, J.D.)
  • Predicting Life Expectancy
  • Companies Specializing in Life Expectancy
  • Securitization
  • “Belly Up” Insurance (author, Jack Traylor)
  • Bankruptcy and Receivership
  • Conclusion
  • Appendices
  • Glossary
  • Index
  • About the Authors