Tuesday, December 27, 2016

No. 194: Life Partners—The Bankruptcy Court Approves a Reorganization Plan

On November 1, 2016, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Russell F. Nelms, who is handling the Life Partners case, approved a reorganization plan. On the same day, the law firm representing the bankruptcy trustee issued a two-page press release about the approval. On the next day, the bankruptcy trustee sent a two-page letter about the approval to investors who had bought fractional interests in life settlements from Life Partners.

Over the years I wrote many articles in The Insurance Forum about Life Partners. I also posted many blog items before and after the initial bankruptcy filing. The three most recent posts were No. 150 (March 16, 2016), No. 151 (March 18, 2016), and No. 156 (April 15, 2016).

Developments in 2015
Life Partners Holdings, Inc. (LPHI) and its subsidiaries Life Partners, Inc. (LPI) and LPI Financial Services, Inc. (LPIFS) participated for many years in the secondary market for life insurance policies. On January 20, 2015, LPHI filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy law. On January 30, the U.S. Trustee appointed an Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (Committee) to represent investors who had bought fractional interests in life settlements from Life Partners. On March 19, Judge Nelms approved appointment of H. Thomas Moran II as Chapter 11 Trustee. On April 7, the judge allowed Moran to expand the bankruptcy filing to include LPI and LPIFS. On May 20, Moran reported on the preliminary results of his investigation of the allegedly fraudulent business conduct that preceded the bankruptcy filing. On November 28, Moran and the Committee filed a Joint Plan of Reorganization. (See In re LPHI, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Texas, Case No. 15-40289.)

Developments in 2016
On January 19, 2016, Moran and the Committee filed an Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization. On March 5, Moran filed a follow-up report on the results of his investigation of allegedly fraudulent conduct that preceded the bankruptcy filing. On March 24, Moran and the Committee filed a Second Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization. On June 21, they filed a Third Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization. On November 1, after many developments, including an evidentiary hearing spread over five weeks, Judge Nelms issued a complex order approving the Third Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization.

The Order
The 50-page order includes many references to the "effective date" of the reorganization plan. On November 2, in his letter to investors about the order, Moran indicated that the effective date had not yet been determined, but that it was estimated to be November 30. The effective date turned out to be December 9. Here is the operative paragraph of the order, which begins at the bottom of page 5:
Accordingly, the Third Amended Plan, as revised at Docket No. 3427 (the "Plan") pursuant to the stipulations of certain parties, including but not limited to the Term Sheet filed at Dkt. No. 3422 and the term sheet admitted into evidence at the Confirmation Hearing as Shamrock Life Settlements et al. Exhibit 8, and in accordance with the Court's October 7 Findings and Conclusions, and inclusive of the Plan Documents, is confirmed as provided in this order (the "Confirmation Order"). [Blogger's note: Shamrock, which is mentioned elsewhere in the order, is one of several entities that had filed objections to the reorganization plan.]
The Exhibit
Attached to the order is a 70-page exhibit listing affected policies. It shows policy number, name of issuing insurance company, and face value. It includes 3,418 policies, arranged alphabetically by name of company. Here are the 11 companies (including affiliates) with at least 100 policies on the list (numbers of policies in parentheses):
Aetna Life Ins Co (108)
American General Life Ins Co (174)
Hartford Life Ins Co (104)
John Hancock Life Ins Co (131)
Lincoln National Life Ins Co (179)
Metropolitan Life Ins Co (310)
New York Life Ins Co (103)
Prudential Ins Co of America (183)
ReliaStar Life Ins Co (132)
Transamerica Life Ins Co (179)
Unum Life Insurance Co of America (169)
General Observations
Court approval of the reorganization plan is a major step toward resolving the Life Partners bankruptcy. The proceedings are now in the hands of parties such as a "Position Holder Trust," a "Creditors' Trust," an "IRA Partnership," and an "Advisory Committee." Judge Nelms has retained jurisdiction.

I would have preferred to provide more information about the order approving the reorganization plan. However, my practice is to refrain from writing about topics I do not understand well enough to be comfortable writing about them. In this instance, I do not understand the complex order well enough to discuss it. Instead, as indicated below, I am making the order available to readers who want to read it for themselves.

Available Material
I am offering a complimentary 124-page PDF consisting of the Moran letter to investors (2 pages), the law firm's press release (2 pages), the text of the order approving the reorganization plan (50 pages), and the exhibit attached to the order (70 pages). Email jmbelth@gmail.com and ask for the December 2016 package relating to Life Partners.