Life Insurance Premium Financing: 3 Risks To Consider

Premium financing has many variables to consider when analyzing it as a viable option for clients – but so does planning in general. Oftentimes, premium financing is seen as having more inherent risk due to the fact that advisors do not fully understand the moving parts.

Let’s start with the fundamentals, is there a life insurance need?

When analyzing a premium financing option for clients, it is easy to get lost among the variables in play. These include 1) collateral risk, 2) policy performance risk, and 3) interest rate risk.
Collateral Risk
Collateral risk is the difference between the outstanding loan balance and cash surrender value of the policy. Additional collateral does not always need to be cash or cash equivalents. When structured properly, clients can pledge dormant assets such as residential and commercial real estate and equipment. The fact that liquid assets may not be needed for premium financing collateral allows for further leveraging opportunities for the client versus paying the premiums out of pocket.
Policy Performance Risk
Policy performance risk is present in any policy sale, but when premium financing in involved poor performance can increase the collateral risk in the under-performance may not permit the freeing up of loan collateral anticipated at the time of the sale and, possibly, even result in the need for more collateral.
Interest Rate Risk
Interest rate risk is all about the possible increases in the variable rates charged on the loans made for premium dollars. Rates overall are rising which affects the rates charged on premium finance loans. When illustrating premium financing scenarios expectations of the client must be managed by realistically demonstrating the impact on the plan if rates rise.
And in no event, should the feasibility of a plan depend on mere speculative arbitrage between policy crediting rates and borrowing rates.
A plan should be based on a more comprehensive strategy that include the cost of purchasing the insurance with cash, the opportunity gained by the flexibility of interest payments in the arrangement and the rate of return on the capital retained that wasn’t used for premium payments. Interest rate risk can be mitigated by structuring a favorable credit facility and administering it every year.
We have a full array of products, financing, plan designs, implementation and administration support.
Please call your Life Sales Associate concerning your high-net-worth clients who may want to finance their insurance plan to allow for ongoing use of their other liquid or hard assets.