Habersham Funding, LLC, licensed in Arizona, Massachusetts

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Atlanta-based life settlement industry pioneer continues focus on compliance; has long led way in championing regulation and is at forefront of disclosure trend

Habersham Funding, LLC, an Atlanta-based firm that does business nationally helping people cash out of their life insurance early, has been licensed in Arizona and Massachusetts. Habersham is one of the most-licensed life settlement and viatical settlement companies.

Life settlements enable seniors who no longer want or need their life insurance to receive an advance cash payment for their policy that is greater than cashing in or abandoning the policy. Viatical settlements enable some people who are terminally ill the same type cash settlement.

Massachusetts has long regulated viatical settlements of the terminally ill and has now changed to also regulate life settlements; Habersham has been licensed in Massachusetts for viatical settlements for many years and now holds the expanded license. Arizona is new to licensing settlement companies, and Habersham wanted to be among the first to achieve licensure there.

“We have long supported responsible regulation of the industry, and are proud to gain these licenses to add to our extensive list of existing licenses. Habersham now holds licenses in 40 states with life settlement regulation,” says Adam S. Hicks, Habersham’s General Counsel. “Regulation protects all parties to the transaction. It is important for consumers in another way: Settlements transacted through a licensed settlement firm may be eligible for tax-free treatment; dealing with an unlicensed provider can result in a huge tax hit.”

Habersham is a leader in its industry’s regulation, having championed, testified for and even written settlement legislation. For instance, its founder and president, life settlement industry pioneer M. Bryan Freeman, helped enable veterans to be able to settle their policies, shepherded in the tax-free treatment of some settlements, and created a program focusing on financial planning for seriously ill people and retirees. A life agent himself for 35 years, Freeman and Habersham frequently partner with insurance agents, financial advisors, attorneys, non-profit organizations, social workers and others to foster life insurance settlement for their clients.

“Regulation gives consumers confidence to explore this powerful financial option,” Freeman says. “That’s why life settlements are now embraced by state disclosure laws, financial and legal advisors, navigators, social workers and other health care professionals, for their clients who range from people of modest means to high-net-worth individuals.”

Freeman and Habersham are currently leading champions of a new wave of disclosure in which states are adopting laws that require the disclosure of the settlement option. So, instead of “spending down” or surrendering assets, those applying for Medicaid are now able to settle their life policies, opt for private pay benefits and defer for a time their reliance on Medicaid. At least six states now require insurance carriers to disclose the settlement option, which is crucial, Freeman says, because 1 in 4 people applying for Medicaid has a life policy.

With its licensure in Arizona and Massachusetts – and the recent addition of a New Hampshire license, Habersham Funding can buy life policies in 48 U.S. jurisdictions (including Washington, DC). Habersham’s predecessor company, and Freeman himself, entered the settlement industry the same year it came into the mainstream – 1989. Freeman and Hicks both frequently speak about the secondary market for life insurance and related topics, and Freeman is a former four-term board president of the Life Insurance Settlement Association.


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B Andrew Plant
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