How Long Does A Viatical Settlement Take?

Rebecca Parson
Rebecca Parson

Rebecca Parson


Rebecca Parson is a financial and tech writer with 10 years of experience writing about topics such as life insurance, commodities investing, and the SaaS industry. She has a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Washington. Her writing has appeared at,,,,, and more.

Brian OConnel
Brian OConnel

Brian O'Connel


Brian O’Connell has been a contributing writer for U.S News & World Report since 2016. A former Wall Street bond trader and the author of two best-selling books; “The 401k Millionaire” and “CNBC’s Creating Wealth”, he has 20 years experience covering business news and trends, particularly in the business and financial sectors. He believes education is the best gift a financial consumer can receive – and brings that philosophy to every story he writes. His byline has appeared in dozens of top-tier national business publications, including CBS News, Bloomberg, Time, MSN Money, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC,, Yahoo Finance, CBS Marketwatch, and many more.

By Rebecca Parson, Brian O'Connel
Author, Contributor, Life Insurance

Selling a life insurance policy as a viatical settlement has several sequential steps that must occur in a particular order. The viator can control some of these steps, and some he cannot. For example, there is very little a viator can do to control the speed at which the life insurance company transfers the policy. On the other hand, obtaining medical records and completing the necessary paperwork is an area where the viator can dramatically speed up the process. 

It is in all parties’ interests to complete the process as fast as possible, especially when the visitor has serious medical issues and may need the money immediately. The investor and broker often go out of their way to speed up the process and make it as seamless as possible.

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Viatical Settlement?

On average, the viatical settlement process takes approximately 60-90 days to finalize, from the application submission to the receipt of funds. At times, the process can be accelerated and completed in as little as 30 days. This time frame depends on several factors, including the complexity of the policy, amount of coverage, obtainment of medical records, responsiveness of the insurance company, and cooperation from all parties involved.

Why Is My Viatical Settlement Delayed?

Delays in a viatical settlement process are often due to a variety of factors:

  1. The process will be delayed when medical records are incomplete or inaccessible. As medical records play a pivotal role in determining the policy’s value, delays in obtaining records from a pivotal physician can prolong the entire procedure.
  2. The insurance company’s responsiveness can significantly impact the timeline. If the insurer is slow to respond to requests for policy information or transfer paperwork, this will inevitably cause a delay.
  3. If there are any discrepancies in the policy details or the policy is complex, it may take extra time to analyze and sort out these issues.
  4. Lack of cooperation or communication among all parties involved can delay the settlement process.

Each party must promptly and effectively communicate with others to ensure that the process runs smoothly.

What If I Cannot Pay The Premiums Due Until Closing?

Some investors or brokers may agree to front the premiums until closing. However, this should be agreed upon before the process begins and clearly stated in the life settlement contract. This is not standard, and the buyer may ask you to sign a letter of intent obligating the seller to reimburse the seller if the transaction does not go through.

Can I Rush The Viatical Settlement Process?

Yes – an experienced broker can help rush the process. There are two primary areas where the seller can help accelerate the process. The first is facilitating the release of medical records as quickly as possible. The second area is to communicate and fill out the necessary paperwork promptly.

The areas that cannot be rushed involve the steps the insurance company must complete. A sluggish response to policy information requests or transfer paperwork from the insurer inevitably results in delays. Additionally, if there are inconsistencies in the policy details or the policy is intricate, the insurance company will need more time to analyze and resolve these issues. Unfortunately, this area is out of your control and requires patience.

A delay may be in the seller’s interest when the policy is out for bid. The policy owner often takes 2-4 weeks to make a final decision. While obtaining the highest offer may be prudent, it will delay the process. 

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