Tuesday, January 25, 2022 Jan 25, 2022
56° F Dallas, TX

SELLING HOPE: WHO BENEFITS?

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Business

KEITH JORDAN feels like a real humanitarian, not the ghoulish grave digger some accuse him of being. Jordan’s business, Living Benefits Inc., offers terminally ill people, most of them suffering from AIDS or cancer, instant cash for the life insurance policies they carry. In turn, Living Benefits is named sole beneficiary to the policies, and upon the deaths of the people, the company collects in full. Says Jordan. “We cater to those who are unable to pay for the medical treatments they need to make what little time they have left more bearable. Most have lost their jobs and have nowhere else to turn.” As a general rule, says Jordan, Living Benefits pays from 55 percent to 75 percent of the face value of the life insurance policy.

Living Benefits started in Albuquerque in 1987 and now has legislative approval to operate in all 50 states. The Dallas office, founded 18 months ago, has already paid out some $175,000 in claims to those who qualify under the company’s guidelines.

However, the whole concept of profiting from terminal illness makes JOHN THOMAS, executive director of the AIDS Resource Center, very uneasy. “If someone is in desperate financial straits, we will give out the names of companies like Living Benefits that can help. But we don’t suggest it and we don’t encourage it. Doing something as drastic as cashing in your life insurance policy causes one to mentally align himself with death.”

Not so, says Jordan, “We’re offering help and aren’t out to hurt anyone. You don’t see everyone getting upset with people who sell burial plots, do you?”