Sean Strube, HIV, Los Angeles discussed on All Things Considered

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And so when you die all collect the entire hundred thousand the catch, of course, is the you're waiting around for me to die. Yes. Is there? I mean life insurance is regulated industry. Right. Is there? Anything that regulates? These vital settlements not really kind of one of the more gruesome parts of the industry is that especially during the aids epidemic. This was not something that was regulated. I mean, some of the brokers who were buying viatical settlements. I'm sure had you know, best interest in mind for these people. But there were a certain amount of pariahs them, right? Because in theory. It's it's a quick buck. Right. I mean, the life expectancy of these men who had aids in the eighties and nineties was not not long. No, it wasn't until medicine got involved. Yes. In nineteen five a class of drugs called protease inhibitors came to market protease inhibitors dramatically expanded the life expectancy for people living with HIV nowadays the life expectancy for an HIV positive person is just a couple of years short of an HIV negative counterpart and basically the entire industry around viatical settlements collapsed. Wow. And so they with these men now living some of them from those days or many of them are still alive. Yes. And the policies are being paid by. There isn't really a way to find out who owns your life insurance policy. Once you sell it. And so the men that I talked to who've I advocated their policies in the nineties. They don't really know who owns their policies today, which must somehow be terrifying. In in some weird way. I don't think it's constantly on their mind. But I think it's something that they definitely do think about from time to time one of the people that I interviewed the guy named Sean Strube, and he is the mayor of his town in Pennsylvania. So he is somewhat of a public figure with with some weird kind of price on his head with somebody waiting for him to die. If they've been paying the policy premiums all these years. What did these men do with the money? They got answer to that is varied hospital bills were exorbitant for people living with aids and the only available medication for a long time was a drug called AZT cost ten thousand dollars a year. It was the most. Expensive pharmaceutical ever brought to market but to them that I spoke with actually started their own businesses. One Sean Strube started a magazine called paws, which is still around today. The magazine designed for people living with HIV one of the other guys that I talked to you Henry Scott started his own media company, and is based in Los Angeles. It's interesting. It's it's a story. That's a legacy of what feels like another time. If that makes sense. Yes. But with ramifications that are playing out today. What's your sense of? Regrets that the folks you talk to have about maybe selling those policies or do they need the money in the moment? And that's what they did. Neither of them that I spoke with had any regrets about this. They both said it was the best financial decisions. They've ever made in that moment. And to this day. My sense is that yes, they were able to access large amounts of cash they would've never otherwise been able to realize thanks a lot. Thank you for having me..

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