Advance Trust & Life Escrow Services :: Who We Are & What We Do
Who We Are & What We Do

In late 2007, Dunnam & Dunnam, LLP, a well respected law firm which has served central Texas since 1925, began working on creating a division to serve as escrow agent for a large life settlement company. Life settlements are financial transactions involving the purchase of life insurance policies at a discount to their face value for investment purposes. By selling a life insurance policy, the policyholder receives an immediate cash payment to use as he or she wishes while the purchaser takes an ownership interest in the policy at a discount to its face value and receives the death benefit under the policy when the insured dies.

In January of the following year, the law firm hired Dennis R. Gilliam, a local banker with almost forty years of experience-including service as President of two banks-and Dunnam & Dunnam LLP, Life Escrow Services opened its doors. Assets grew quickly, to a height of more than two hundred thirty million dollars.

In 2010, a majority of the partners in the law firm decided that forming a trust company would give their customers an additional level of regulatory security, and work was begun on acquiring a charter from the state of Texas. In February of 2011, that charter was granted and all escrow responsibilities moved from the law firm to Advance Trust & Life Escrow Services, LTA.

Currently, Advance Trust has in excess of 14,000 customers, and services approximately 60,000 fractional interests in more than 500 active life insurance policies. All are issued by A.M. Best B+ or better rated legal reserve life insurance companies like John Hancock, Lincoln National, AXA, and American General (among many others). The death benefits of these outstanding policies exceed $1,600,000,000.

We have also facilitated the purchase of additional policies with a face value of almost $190,000,000 for commercial clients (mostly banks and investment funds) who chose to buy whole policies. Advance Trust does not service these policies after the purchase is complete. We also serve as the escrow agent for multiple private placement life settlement funds, and have been the escrow agent for other transactions unrelated to life settlements.

Safety & Security

Advance Trust has been under the supervision of the Texas Department of Banking since it received its charter in 2011. We are regularly (every 12 to 18 months) examined by the deparment. These examinations require the collection and production of thousands of pages of documents. Senior staff members dedicate substantial amounts of time preparing for the exams and also being interviewed during them. Several examiners work both on and off-site for multiple weeks during the course of the exams.

We also receive regular, thorough financial (annual) and information technology (12 to 18 months) audits since its inception. These auditors now understand our business and are familiar with its potential risks, allowing them to enhance their audit methods to best protect the company and its customers.

We have written hundreds of pages of policies and procedures to comply with Texas Department of Banking and other legal requirements. While trust companies with more conventional portfolios can buy easily customizable policy examples from multiple sources, the majority of these documents are not applicable to companies specializing in life settlement escrow. We do not run off of boilerplate, fill in the blank policies. We’ve crafted our policies without templates, so that they provide customized protections for our clients.

We maintain a level of capital deemed sufficient by the Texas Department of Banking and hold no liabilities other than accruals. In addition, the company carries a bond, as well as professional liability and other forms of insurance. Because life settlement escrow is a specialized business with which many insurers are not familiar, such coverage can be difficult to obtain.

Since Advance Trust (and its predecessor) began serving as an escrow agent, every dollar deposited in the company has been protected and has only been used for its intended purpose, as defined by the documents controlling the transactions. No client has never been given any control over the funds outside of the duties expressly granted to it by the contracts.

As a state chartered trust company, Advance Trust is eligible for pass through FDIC insurance. This means that every client has at least $250,000 worth of coverage for money held with us. In addition, the company has developed relationships with multiple quality banks, both in Waco and other markets, which allow us to give each purchaser (as determined by tax identification number) in excess of $1,000,000 worth of coverage, if requested in writing.