Current press releases and publications about the BVZL
Two associations move closer together
BVZL and ELSA decide on a mutual affiliate membership
Munich, September 22, 2020 BVZL is now an ‘Honorary Member’ of the London (UK) based European Life Settlement Association (ELSA) and in return is pleased to welcome ELSA as a new supporting member of BVZL. Both associations have been working together very successfully for many years and have jointly organized numerous International Life Settlement Conferences in Munich and London, the most important European industry event for international life insurance secondary and tertiary markets.
“By joining ELSA as an honorary member, we want to underline our long-standing commitment to our partner organization,” says Christian Seidl, Member of the BVZL Executive Board. “In this way, we are moving a little closer together and strengthening our exchange. Chris Wells, Executive Director at ELSA commented: “Our Executive Committee has unanimously voted in favour of BVZL joining the European Life Settlement Association as an honorary member. ELSA looks forward to continued cooperation between the two associations.”
Christian Seidl added ELSA & BVZL have already worked together very well for many years and can now use synergy effects even more than before. “Both associations pursue largely the same goals with regard to a further professionalization of the secondary and tertiary life insurance markets and common best practice standards and promotion of this asset class”, emphasize the two association spokespersons, “BVZL and ELSA want to be a point of contact for European investors in particular, who are increasingly discovering this asset class for themselves, especially in these times.”
BVZL: The companies and service providers associated in the Bundesverband Vermoegensanlagen im Zweitmarkt Lebensversicherungen (BVZL) e. V. (Federal Association of Investments in the Secondary Market for Life Insurance Policies) are active worldwide in secondary markets for life insurance policies. Since its foundation in May 2004, the association, which currently has 16 members, has acted as a uniform representation of interests in economic, legal and political matters. BVZL is in constant dialogue with politicians, opinion leaders, the public and other interest groups in order to actively support the dynamic development of the industry. One important concern is to establish industry standards with regard to transparency and comparability of the various investment segments (British, German and US life insurance policies) and thus to constantly improve the conditions for successful investment in these asset classes, which are to be viewed in a differentiated manner.
ELSA: The European Life Settlement Association (ELSA) was founded in 2009 to set standards for the European life settlement industry. It represents European funding sources, service providers and intermediaries who seek to promote transparency in the life settlement market by providing accurate and authoritative information to investors, regulators and the media.
North Channel Bank
NORTH CHANNEL BANK: REPOSITIONING OF AFFILIATED NORTHSTAR LIFE SERVICES, LLC – INDEPENDENCE OF THE SERVICING DIVISION
There have been changes at North Channel Bank’s affiliate in the scope of a repositioning. The current NorthStar Life Services, LLC is renamed North Star Life Settlements Trading, LLC and is a 100% affiliate of the bank. The renamed North Star Life Settlements Trading will focus its activities on trading policies. The servicing business of NorthStar Life Services, LLC, including the rights to use the company name, was sold to its managing director John McFarland. “Our renamed affiliate NorthStar Life Settlements Trading will focus on trading policies for us and our customers. As a bank, this will allow us to concentrate even more on the financing in this sector,” explains Stefan Rensinghoff, Managing Director of North Channel Bank.
Close Cooperation with the Newly Founded Servicing Company
In servicing, North Channel Bank will cooperate closely with NorthStar Life Services, meaning that nothing will change at the operational level. “I am very grateful that this change in ownership will give us more flexibility and allows us to realize ideas in our company that were previously not possible as a foreign owned entity,” states John McFarland, Managing Director of NorthStar Life Services, LLC. “We look forward to continuing to work in a very close partnership with North Channel Bank.”
North Channel Bank GmbH & Co. KG was founded in 1924 as the privately owned bank Bankhaus Oswald Kruber, located in Berlin. In 2009, a group of North American investors with expertise in the US Life Settlement sector acquired the bank and renamed it North Channel Bank. In the following years the bank developed into one of the leading institutes in US Life Settlement financing. Today, the bank offers not only financing but also investments in US Life Settlements. Its affiliate NorthStar Life Settlements Trading, LLC, Irvine, California, which was renamed in 2020, is primarily responsible for trading life insurance policies. In the structured finance division the bank focuses in particular on financing in the renewable energies sector, (especially equity interim financing), capital goods and growth financing.
NorthStar Life Settlements Trading, LLC (formerly known as NorthStar Life Services, LLC) is a 100% affiliate of North Channel Bank. The company is based in Irvine, CA, USA and focuses on trading insurance policies for its customers, business partners, as well as its holding company North Channel Bank.
NorthStar Life Services, LLC offers a full range of premier services to institutional and private investors in life insurance policies, providing assistance at each stage of the life settlement investment cycle. The firm manages every transaction and portfolio with a personalized solution that considers the investor’s goals, budgetary requirements and risk tolerance in order to construct a strategy designed to maximize investment returns. NorthStar is a member of the Life Insurance Settlement Association (LISA) and the company’s CEO, John McFarland, is a member of LISA’s board of directors.
BVZL / ELSA: “International Life Settlement Investor Conference 2017”. Tailwind for secondary market policies – alternative asset class again enjoys increasing demand
On September 12, 2017, the BVZL and the European Life Settlement Association (ELSA) held their joint convention for the 4th time in a row: this year, the largest European trade conference on “investments in tradeable life insurance policies“ took place at Canary Wharf, London. The conference brought together the major representatives of the international secondary and tertiary life insurance markets, investors and an interested audience of professionals active in the segment.
In their speeches, the international experts discussed current trends, challenges and market opportunities, with a particular focus on the investors’ view of the different life insurance markets. The problems of the past were openly approached and debated as well as potential solutions and new investment opportunities pointed out.
With regard to the secondary life insurance market in Germany, the BVZL can announce that the general market environment is again very positive: this is reflected above all by the fact that purchase volumes of German policies increased by 50% to reach EUR 275m in 2016; thus, a larger number of consumers were able to profit from the clear advantages a policy sale has over a surrender to the insurance company. Consequently, purchase prices too have risen substantially. Also, the “policy purchase barometer” (implemented on the BVZL’s website), an indicator of the probability of a policy for sale to be purchased by a BVZL member, is again on “high” and has been clearly above the 60 percent mark since the beginning of the year.
Besides, the BVZL is positive about insurers’ financial standing, despite the ongoing low interest environment. This is also underlined by the solvency ratios, which were this year declared by the German insurers for the first time and which stand at an average of approx. 340% of the required solvency capital.
The expert speeches on the US-American “life settlement” market put a particular focus on the question of whether and if so, how the positive development on the secondary and tertiary life insurance market will continue in the US and also whether investments in US life settlement policies will also become attractive to a much stronger degree for the so-called ILS funds, which are currently mostly invested in natural disaster risks. What was also emphasized and intensively discussed by the experts at the conference, particularly with the participants representing the investor side, was the issue of cost of insurance (CoI) increases implemented by US primary insurers – for which there are currently several litigations pending. It should be noted that US life settlements, after a phase of market shakeout and professionalization, today represent a highly interesting investment opportunity, offering professional and institutional investors attractive returns in times of low interest rates, apart from the aspect of non-correlation to other financial instruments.
The conference program was rounded off by an introductory guest speech held by Baroness Altmann (former British Minister of State for Pensions), who talked about the future of retirement provision markets in Great Britain and the EU and strongly and openly emphasized the various challenges ahead. In her speech, she was strongly calling on the economy and politics to approach these issues as fast as possible.
In 2018, the BVZL and ELSA will once again host the International Life Settlement Investor Conference in a joint effort, this time in Munich.
About the BVZL: The companies and service providers associated in the Bundesverband Vermögensanlagen im Zweitmarkt Lebensversicherungen (BVZL) e.V. are engaged in the secondary markets for life insurance policies all over the world. Since its establishment in May 2004, the association has served to represent members’ economic, legal and political interests and has been in constant dialogue with politicians, opinion leaders, the public and other lobbying groups to further promote the dynamic development of the segment. BVZL’s primary objective is to develop industry standards in terms of transparency and comparability of the various investment segments (British, German and American life insurance policies) to steadily improve the preconditions for successful investments in these very diverse asset classes.
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June 14th, 2017 - A visit from Asia - The German secondary life insurance market as a possible blueprint for South Korea?
A visit from Asia
The German secondary life insurance market as a possible blueprint for South Korea?
Munich, June 14th, 2017 The Korea Securities Depository is considering to introduce a secondary market for life insurance in Korea. To get an overview of the secondary market in Germany as well as the mode of function of the US market as well as investor landscape, Dr. Hwa-Taek Lee and Ms. Ji Won Kim from the Korea Securities Depository came to Germany at the end of May for talks with Christian Seidl, board member of BVZL International, Max Ahlers, managing partner of Policen Direkt as well as representatives of BaFin, the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority. „We are very impressed with the German structured approach to this topic and also the initiatives taken in terms of consumer protection. It has been a great opportunity for us to have such fruitful and in-depth discussions with the major points of contact in Germany“, says Dr. Hwa-Taek Lee, researcher at the Research & Development Department of the Korea Securities Depository. Dr. Lee and his colleague Ms. Kim said their trip had a particular focus on research and analysis purposes to evaluate whether the set-up of a similar secondary life insurance market would also be possible in South Korea. „We were delighted to be able to provide our support to Dr. Lee and Ms. Kim regarding their stay in Germany and arrange helpful meetings for them“, states Christian Seidl. „And we will certainly stay in contact with the Korea Securities Depository to have an exchange on the further development in South Korea“.
The South Korean life insurance market is the world’s eighth largest, with a premium income of over USD 100 billion in 2015. The largest domestic life insurance carriers are Samsung Life, Hanwha Life and Kyobo Life. On average, Koreans hold more than four life insurance contracts, whereas in contrast to German policies, these are predominantly fund-linked and index-based products. In addition, the policies are often combined with health insurance components.
Korean policy owners also often use their contracts as an instrument for speculation. It can be observed that the number of new contracts and terminations seems to be linked to the developments of the stock markets. This comparably high fluctuation rate and relatively high rates of cancelation (over 10%) has now caused the Korea Securities Depository to evaluate the general sensibility and feasibility of introducing a secondary market for life insurance in Korea.
October, 2016 - BVZL/ELSA International Life Settlement Conference took place successfully in Munich
BVZL e. V.:
BVZL/ELSA International Life Settlement Conference took place successfully in Munich +++ Board member Christian Seidl confirmed in office +++
München / Berlin, October 2016 More than 100 international experts and investors gathered in Munich on September 27th, 2016 for the “International Life Settlement Conference”, jointly organized by trade assocations BVZL and ELSA for the third time in a row. At the largest European conference for international life settlement markets, speakers and attendees pointed out and discussed current market developments and prospects of the various market segments. This year, a special focus of the conference, which was chaired by Christian Seidl (Board Member of BVZL, responsible for international affairs) and Alec Taylor (ELSA Chair), lay on the subject of “digitilization”.