Source: Donna Horowitz, The Deal | https://pipeline.thedeal.com/article/00000186-ccc9-d512-a3e6-fedf4f5e0000/deal-news/life-settlements/abacus-promotes-trio-to-head-consumer-business?cmpid=em:ca031323
CEO Jay Jackson says his firm reported publicly that this segment made up 27% of the company’s business in 2021.
Abacus Settlements Inc., the second biggest buyer of policies in the secondary market, recently promoted three women to head its direct-to-consumer business.
Heading the division are Cassie Schaelling, managing director; Efi Laina, sales manager; and Courtney Pezzopane, director of sales.
“They are organized, intelligent and have terrific client reviews,” CEO Jay Jackson said of the trio. “They are leading the entire team in the division.”
Schaelling, who has been at Abacus for five years, was promoted this month, according to her LinkedIn profile. She was previously director of policy markets and director of broker services at Abacus. She also worked at Enterprise Holdings Inc. in Orlando and at Northwestern Mutual in the Pueblo, Colo., area.
Laina, who was promoted in January, has been Abacus for a year and seven months, previously serving as a senior account executive and account executive. She previously worked at Commute with Enterprise – Boston Group, vRide Inc. in the Boston area and at Excel Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation at Lexington, Mass.
Pezzopane, who also was promoted in January, has worked for Abacus for almost two years, previously holding senior account executive and account executive-client direct positions. She also previously worked at Citizens Bank NA, Nestle Nespresso SA, Productions Plus – The Talent Shop and Worthy Insurance.
Jackson said the three executives focus on working directly with consumers seeking to sell their policies, which made up 27% of the firm’s business in 2021.
The Orlando, Fla.-based life settlement provider attracts insureds through the company website, digitally driven advertising and its new nationwide TV ad, Jackson said.
He doesn’t believe selling directly to a provider is against a consumer’s best interest, although providers buy policies as inexpensively as possible. Brokers on the other side of the transaction owe a fiduciary duty to clients to shop policies around and get the best price.
“We use transparent pricing,” Jackson said. “You don’t need an auction to value a policy. You need a calculator.”
He said a calculator, like the one on his company’s website, shows the net present value of a policy.
He pointed out that Abacus’s average amount paid per face value was 22.5% in 2021 compared to 16.7% by rival, Coventry First LLC. Overall, the average paid per face in the market came in a 18.35%. The percent paid per face was reported in the annual market volume story in June by The Life Settlements Report. Coventry was the top buyer and Abacus came in second place.
As to whether insureds shop their policies around themselves by calling other providers or brokers, Jackson said some do “and then they call me and say ‘your initial number was higher.'”
As to whether direct origination will be a growing part of Abacus’s business, Jackson said he didn’t know.