DEFINITION of 'Transferable Insurance Policies - TIPS'

A life insurance policy which allows for the transferable assignment of the benefactor. In a Transferable Insurance Policy, the owner sells the policy to an investor at a discount to the face value of the insurance. The purchaser, who becomes the benefactor of the policy, will pay all subsequent premiums and receive the settlement value when the insured person becomes deceased.

BREAKING DOWN 'Transferable Insurance Policies - TIPS'

Transferable insurance policies have a guaranteed principal, similar to a bond, but an uncertain maturity. Since they are sold at deep discounts, TIPS often have high yields. While TIPS contain no external risks, such as interest rate fluctuations, they do have the risk of an extending maturity. The longer an insured person lives, the less return for the investor.

The two primary types of TIPS include viaticals and life settlements. Both types function in similar ways, however, have different expected maturities. Viaticals are policies on terminally ill people, which have a life expectancy of two years. Life settlements have senior citizens as the insured, which extends the life expectancy to an estimated two to 15 years.

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