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Texas Securities Board Sues Life Partners Over Subpoenas

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The Texas state securities board filed a lawsuit against Life Partners Holdings Inc. for failure to comply with subpoenas issued as part of the state agency’s ongoing investigation. The investigation is over the company’s methodology of estimating life expectancies for life settlements sold to investors, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Life Partners is a major player in the life settlement business. The company sells existing life insurance policies to an investor, who then pay a required premium on the policy and collects proceeds upon the insured’s death.

The state agency is hoping to determine whether Life Partners provided inaccurate life expectancy estimates of insured persons, which is an integral part in determining the value of a life settlement.

Life Partners also faces a similar probe by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Earlier this year, the company issued a statement saying the SEC intended to file a civil claim against Life Partners.

According to a report by the WSJ, the Texas investigation is significant because the SEC’s jurisdiction generally only covers Life Partner’s publically traded shares. However, the state agency’s query will cover the underlying investments in life policies the company sold to thousands of retail investors.

The state agency has been investigating Life Partners since mid-2010 and issued subpoenas in June 2011, seeking various records from the company.

In December, the WSJ reported on the SEC suit and revealed that since Life Partners was founded in 1991, the company has sold 6,400 policies at a face value of $2.8 billion to over 27,000 clients.

The company promoted yearly returns of 10 to 15 percent; however, a large number of the insured outlived the life expectancy estimates.

In 2002, Life Partners brokered investments in 297 life policies and in 95 percent of the policies the insured was alive at the end of the life expectancy estimate.

Life Partners also faces numerous suits by shareholders and investors over the company’s life settlement products.

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