Chairman Schapiro established the Life Settlements Task Force in August 2009 to examine emerging issues in the life settlements market and to advise the Commission whether market practices and regulatory oversight could be improved. A life settlement is a transaction in which an insurance policy owner sells a life insurance policy to a third party for an amount that exceeds the policy’s cash surrender value, but is less than the expected death benefit of the policy. Reports indicate that the life settlements market had experienced robust growth up until 2007 when it was estimated that $12 billion in face amount, or stated benefit amount, of life insurance was sold in life settlement transactions. More recently, the amount sold has declined. Based on a recent estimate, $7.01 billion of face amount in life insurance was sold in life settlement transactions in 2009.