Blog

Road Traffic Safety

Many structured settlement recipients are victims of road traffic accidents – as drivers, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists or innocent bystanders. Independent Life believes road traffic safety represents a complementary goal that all structured settlement and settlement planning professionals should not only support but also proactively advocate.   National Roadway Safety Strategy Earlier this year, United States...

Structured Settlements and Periodic Payment Judgments Release 71

For many settlement planners and structured settlement annuity providers, the dominant storylines of the past two years have been COVID-19 (COVID), low interest rates and plummeting structured settlement annuity sales.  In 2019, based on industry reports, $6.47 billion of annuities were purchased to fund 26,486 structured settlement cases, for an average per case premium of $244,228.....

Factoring: Is Judicial Education Really the Solution?

For the past 20 plus years, two related industry issues have dominated the strategic agenda of the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA): 1) factoring (aka the transfer of structured settlement payment rights) and 2) lack of growth in the primary structured settlement market.   NSSTA’s Legislation Accomplishment By the end of the 1990s, NSSTA...

Settlement Planning Compensation Models

With few exceptions, the topic of consultant compensation receives limited public discussion within the structured settlement and settlement planning communities. A quick review of the websites of three national associations whose members sell structured settlement annuities, NSSTA, AASC,  and SSP, appears to indicate only SSP even mentions the word “compensation.” The SSP references to “compensation”...

MLK, Jr. and the Right Side of History

MLK, Jr. and the Right Side of History Today we honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who vocally and bodily advocated for social justice through non-violent social change in defiance of historical precedent. We now acknowledge that precedent was wrong and that history was violent. Today is a good day...

2021 The Year In Review

Among his many memorable quotes, Winston Churchill is credited with being the first to say “never let a good crisis go to waste.” Judging solely by reported structured settlement premium production, most structured settlement professionals and companies appear to have ignored Mr. Churchill’s advice for the second consecutive year. As the COVID pandemic continues to...

Expanding ABLE Through Collaboration

Last week, the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) sponsored its 2021 Treasury Management Training Symposium, which occurred virtually and featured a panel titled “Expanding ABLE Through Different Types of Collaboration.” Moderated by Amy Corbin, Executive Director for the ABLE Authority which oversees Indiana’s state ABLE plan, the panelists included: Mary Rubenis, Associate Director responsible for...

A Review of the NSSTA 2021 Annual Conference

NSSTA President Michael Goodman opened the 2021 National Structured Settlement Trade Association Conference, hosted virtually May 5-7 by Goodman, NSSTA Executive Director Eric Vaughn and Director Ravi Vaswani, by announcing he plans to ask NSSTA’s new Board of Directors to review and re-write the NSSTA Mission Statement as part of a strategic review of “what we are and what we will be.”...

Soldiers vs. Scouts: The NSSTA 2021 Annual Conference

In her new book titled “The Scout Mindset”, author Julia Galef, co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, utilizes a comparative military metaphor, “soldiers vs. scouts,” to contrast two antithetical types of mindsets and methods of reasoning. Metaphorically speaking: A soldier mindset causes an individual or a group to defend their beliefs against perceived threats, to seek out supporting...

Settlement Nation Episode 18: Billion Dollar Trials – Aimee Wagstaff

In this episode of Settlement Nation we chat with Aimee Wagstaff, the founding partner of Andrus Wagstaff. Aimee has dedicated her professional life fighting against pharmaceutical and medical device companies. The vast majority of her litigation is done through national mass tort consolidations and she has been appointed by federal and state court Judges across the country to...

Let’s Talk About: Approved Lists, Rated Age and Beneficiary Protection

During its three-day 2021 Annual Conference in late February, the Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) hosted 20 separate virtual presentations addressing a variety of settlement planning topics and featuring many industry experts. For conference attendees, SSP has made the video presentations available on a privately accessible online site for convenient asynchronous viewing and/or re-viewing. For...

Settlement Nation Episode 17: Trial Tactics & Trusting the Jury

In this episode of Settlement Nation we sit down with Brett Turnbull, the Founding partner of The Turnbull Law Firm, with offices in Alabama and Georgia. Trial Tactics Brett has been recognized for his many multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements, representing clients in trucking, products liability, automobile defects, pediatric burns, traumatic brain injury and nursing home malpractice. We...

Let’s Talk About Factoring

About Factoring Continuing a series of articles previewing selected topics at the upcoming Society of Settlement Planners’ (SSP’s) virtual 2021 Annual Conference, which has already addressed “product suitability” and “mass torts”, this article asks: “Is it possible to avoid predatory practices in the Secondary Structured Settlement market? And if so how?” Despite the enactment of IRC Section 5891 and Structured Settlement Protection Acts in 49...

Independent Insurance Group LLC Announces New Signing

New Signing JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Independent Insurance Group LLC (“Independent Group”) announced today the signing of a definitive agreement for an investment by Kilter Finance, an insurance-focused specialty finance company backed by KKR. Launched in 2018, Independent Group is the parent of Independent Life Insurance Company (“Independent Life”), the first insurance carrier to focus exclusively...

Let’s Talk About: Mass Torts and Structured Settlements

Upon reviewing the agenda for the Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) 2021 Annual Conference there is one session that falls outside the normal industry curriculum: Ryan Garrison’s Breakout Session titled “Demystifying the Mass Tort Market: an Attorney’s Perspective of Planner Value.” Although both SSP and the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) may have previously addressed mass tort tangentially, the mass tort topic...

Independent Insurance Group LLC acquires Sterling National Life

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Jan. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Independent Insurance Group LLC (“Independent Group”) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Sterling National Life Insurance Company (“Sterling National”) from SILAC Insurance Company (“SILAC”). Independent Life Insurance Company (“Independent Life”), Independent Group’s life and annuity subsidiary, is focused on the primary issuance of structured settlement...

Let’s Talk About: Suitability and Settlement Planning

The Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) will host its virtual 2021 Annual Conference for February 23-25 and has already announced the session topics and most of the speakers. One session which should provoke considerable discussion is titled “Suitability and Settlement Planning.” It appears to reference language in SSP’s Practice Standard #9 within the Settlement Planning Practice Standards (Practice Standards)...

IRS Publishes Final ABLE Regulations (Part 2)

Since The ABLE Act created IRC 529A in 2014, 49 states have passed legislation to implement ABLE and ABLE accounts have become popular financial and settlement planning tools for qualifying disabled individuals. Although the statutory foundation for ABLE programs and ABLE accounts exists within the Internal Revenue Code, ABLE account benefits encompass both income tax and social security related advantages.   ABLE Account...

IRS Publishes Final ABLE Regulations

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has published final regulations that provide guidance regarding programs under the Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014.The ABLE Act added IRC Section 529A to the Internal Revenue Code which was enacted as part of the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014. Section 529A provides rules under which states or state...

NSSTA Virtual Business Meeting and Fall Educational Conference 2020

A five star success! Awesome! Amazing! Blown away! These were some of the immediate reactions to the three-day National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) virtual Fall Conference hosted last week from Los Angeles by NSSTA President Louis Masry and Executive Director Eric Vaughn. Beginning with videotaped welcoming vignettes from more than 20 geographically dispersed members, the NSSTA conference seamlessly integrated...

Structured Settlements and Periodic Payment Judgments Book Release 68

Since it was first published in 1986, “Structured Settlements and Periodic Payment Judgments” (S2P2J), has provided structured settlement stakeholders with an authoritative reference guide, consisting of 16 chapters with extensive footnotes and Appendix documents, to help them understand historical development as well as current issues and fashion settlements and judgments utilizing periodic payments. Both the National Structured Settlement...

Griffiths v. Aviva

Perhaps it is not surprising, for a business that results from personal injury claims and lawsuits, that sometimes participants in the structured settlement market should themselves become defendants in class action lawsuits. For example, in October 2018, the parties to the Griffiths v. Aviva class action lawsuit settled concluding a dispute involving more than 4000...

Wrongfully Incarcerated Individuals

The number of exonerations for wrongfully incarcerated individuals has increased for the third year in a row, according to The National Registry of Exonerations, with an average of over three exonerations per week across the United States. Experts attribute this leap to a growing trend of accountability in prosecutorial offices around the country. How might this influx...

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Structured Settlement Market

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Structured Settlement Market How has the Impact of COVID-19 pandemic impacted the structured settlement market to date and what impact will it have in the future? Those issues were addressed, directly and indirectly, last week in separate forums featuring two Independent Life executives: Chairman Michael Upchurch and Senior Vice President of...

A Settlement Planning “Commencement”

A Settlement Planning “Commencement” During the past month, despite the cancellation of almost all in-person graduation ceremonies, the internet has been filled with virtual commencement speeches for the Class of 2020. Although most of these online orations have some general applicability, none seem particularly relevant to structured settlement graduates. And perhaps for good reason: there are no...

An Analysis of the Revised NAIC Annuity Suitability Regulation

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has recently voted to update its Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation (Model Number 275). States can use NAIC Model Regulations when developing their own laws but have no requirement to do so. Many states previously enacted laws based upon the NAIC’s original 2010 Model Suitability Regulation and most states are expected to quickly amend their laws to correspond with the...

An Analysis of the Updated ABLE POMS Guidance

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has published updated Program Operation Manual System (POMS) guidance for Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts effective March 13, 2020. POMS represent a primary source of information used by Social Security employees to process claims for Social Security benefits. The Direct Funding Debate  Unfortunately, the updated POMS neither mention structured settlements nor clarify the “direct funding debate”. As...

An Analysis of the Revised NAIC Annuity Suitability Regulation

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has recently voted to update its Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation (Model Number 275). States can use NAIC Model Regulations when developing their own laws but have no requirement to do so. Many states previously enacted laws based upon the NAIC’s original 2010 Model Suitability Regulation and most states are expected to quickly amend their laws to correspond with the...

What Do Smart Phones Have in Common with Structured Settlements?

What Do Smart Phones Have in Common with Structured Settlements? If a future business historian were to make an analogy between the personal injury settlement planning market in 2030 and the smart phone market in 2020, which product will structured settlement annuities resemble more – the BlackBerry or the iPhone? When Chinese electronics company TCL Communication announced this week that...

AAJ Winter Convention 2020

AAJ Winter Convention 2020 The 2020 conference schedule has now begun! This week the Independent Life team is exhibiting at the American Association for Justice (AAJ) 2020 Winter Convention in New Orleans. While we are the only structured settlement annuity provider attending, four of our partner agencies will also be exhibiting: Forge Consulting Milestone Consulting Robert W....

Industry Education and Technology

Industry Education and Technology None of the 2019 educational conferences sponsored by the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) included any presentations about technology issues. This omission appears more the rule than the exception for recent NSSTA educational conferences. By comparison, the 2019 Annual Conference of the Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) featured a presentation...

Industry Education, Financial Products and Concepts

Industry Education, Financial Products and Concepts Should the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA), and its members, be interested in education programs about financial planning products and concepts other than structured settlement annuities – and, if so, why? Addressing this question is part of a series of articles evaluating whether NSSTA needs to re-think and re-design its...

Industry Education and Ethics

Industry Education and Ethics The National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) Code of Ethics, more formally referred to as NSSTA’s “Statement of Ethics and Professional Responsibility” is prominently featured on NSSTA’s website. NSSTA Code of Ethics In addition to a Preamble, which makes clear the Code’s applicability of its “guiding principles” to NSSTA members and their...

Industry Education and Taxation

Industry Education and Taxation Potential tax benefits represent both a fundamental advantage of structured settlements and a rationale for considering structured settlement annuities as part of almost any personal injury settlement plan. Virtually every member of the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) and the Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) has a basic understanding of the statutory...

Industry Education and Public Benefits

Industry Education and Public Benefits From a structured settlement perspective, a key settlement planning priority is determining how best to integrate structured settlement annuities into a settlement plan to qualify or maintain government benefits – especially “means tested” government benefits. Continuing a series of articles evaluating whether the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) needs to re-think...

Industry Education, Federal Laws and Regulations

Industry Education, Federal Laws and Regulations Since its formation more than 25 years ago, one of the defining characteristics of the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) has been its ability to “punch above its weight” politically. This core competency began with a group of dedicated consultants led by Len Blonder (among others) who retained...

Industry Education and Stakeholder Perspectives

Industry Education and Stakeholder Perspectives Following the Spring 2019 National Structured Settlement Trade Association Annual Conference, The Chronicle promised a series of articles to evaluate whether NSSTA needed to re-think and re-design its educational programming and educational marketing to strategically position structured settlement annuities as the core product within personal injury settlement planning. This article asks: “whether, how and to...

An Assessment of the Current Education for Settlement Planning

An Assessment of the Current Education for Settlement Planning Following the Spring 2019 National Structured Settlement Trade Association Annual Conference, The Chronicle promised a series of blog posts to evaluate whether NSSTA needed to re-think and re-design its educational programming and educational marketing to strategically position structured settlement annuities as the core product within personal injury settlement planning. An introductory...

NAMSAP 2019 Annual Conference Overview

NAMSAP 2019 Annual Conference Overview From Independent Life’s perspective as a sponsor and exhibitor, the 2019 National Alliance of Medicare Set-Aside Professionals Annual Conference hosted September 18-20 in Baltimore surpassed its goals, objectives and expectations: As the primary annual meeting of Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) and Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) knowledge resources, NAMSAP’s conference represents an extensive, valuable market...

KBRA Affirms Rating for Independent Life Insurance Company

KBRA Affirms Rating for Independent Life Insurance Company NEW YORK (May 2, 2019) – Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) affirms the insurance financial strength rating (IFSR) of A- for Independent Life Insurance Company (Independent Life), a Texas-domiciled life insurance company that focuses exclusively on the structured settlement market.Independent Life Insurance Company is the underwriter within...

Ezell v. Lexington

Ezell v. Lexington Note: this article was edited on June 16, 2019 to correct an earlier mistake and to provide an important update. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed the Plaintiffs’ Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  Release 66 of “Structured Settlements and Periodic Payment Judgments” will provide additional details...