11/21/2014

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Technology

Silicon Valley billionaire buys record life policy

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - An unnamed Silicon Valley billionaire has purchased the world's most valuable life insurance policy.

The San Jose Mercury News reported Saturday that Guinness Book of World Record officials say the $201 million life insurance policy is more than double the previous record set in 1990 by an unidentified "entertainment industry figure."

A Southern California financial services company who helped put the deal together declined to identify the buyer for safety reasons.

"We don't want hit men running around Palo Alto trying to find him - or members of his own estate," quipped Dovi Frances of the Santa Barbara-based SG LLC financial services company.

Frances said that the life insurance policy is actually two dozen policies underwritten by 19 different insurers. That's because no one company could afford to pay the policies' benefactors when the billionaire died.

Frances didn't disclose the annual cost to the billionaire for the policy, but did say it was in the single millions of dollars. He said Guinness officials spent six months investigating the policy before declaring it the world record.

Several billionaires have connections to Frances' firm, including Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and Palantir Technologies co-founder Joe Lonsdale. Frances declined to discuss identity of the policyholder.

A spokeswoman for billionaire Elon Musk, the man behind PayPal, Tesla Motors and other high-flying startups, declined to say whether he was the mystery buyer.

Frances wouldn't disclose the billionaire's age. Frances said the billionaire purchased the policy to help his heirs avoid paying a 45 percent inheritance tax.
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