On December 29, 2017, Life Settlements Absolute Return I, LLC (“LSAR”) – a special purpose vehicle investing in life insurance policies – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (Lead Case No. 17-13030). The Debtors, LSAR I and its wholly owned subsidiary, estimate their assets to be worth between $10,000,001 and $50 million, and their liabilities to be between $100,000,001 and $500 million. According to the Debtors’ First Day Declaration, the Chapter 11 proceeding was necessitated because “[t]he Insureds have outlived their actuarial life expectancy, thereby prolonging LSAR’s receipt of cash from the death benefits of the Policies…” LSAR is wholly-owned by Attilanus, a Delaware limited partnership formed on January 29, 2004.
The primary risk associated with investing in life settlements (or viaticals) concerns the possibility that the insured (who has sold his or her life insurance policy to the investment sponsor) will outlive the money set aside by the sponsor to pay for continued life insurance premiums. In such a scenario, the investors in the life settlements may then be called upon to pay future premiums in order to ensure that the policy remains in force until maturity. When some investors refuse to pay, the remaining investors are left to cover higher premium payments, or else allow the policy to lapse.
Further, as appears to be the case with LSAR, when the sponsor can no longer afford to service the debt on its own credit facilities, then the sponsor may well be forced to seek bankruptcy protection. As outlined in LSAR’s Chapter 11 First Day Declaration, “Beginning in July 2009, in order to fund premium payments on the Policies… LSAR (as the borrower) and the Employees’ Retirement System of the Government of the Virgin Islands (“GERS”) and Attilanus (as lenders) extended a credit facility to LSAR, whereby Attilanus made an initial loan to LSAR in the principal amount of $500,000 and GERS made a loan to LSAR in the principal amount of $1,160,263.”