A national life settlement broker is taking an eBay-like approach to the secondary life insurance market, linking cash-strapped policyholders with institutional investors.In April, Life Settlement Insights drew a handful of institutional investors online to test the open-forward auction format of a new venture called LifeX, an electronic communications network that runs on a proprietary auction platform from HedgeHog Inc. Executives with Cleveland-based Life Settlement Insights claim they've created the life settlement industry's first online exchange and are considering extending the capability to other life settlement brokerages.

Life Settlement CEO James Cavoli says institutional investors will purchase $10 to $12 billion worth of life policies in the secondary market this year. That level could increase if LifeX succeeds in trimming the typical two-week purchasing process down to 30 minutes.

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