Blog

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. I was born in 1957, during the early days of King’s work. As...

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. 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 discuss Brett’s...

Let’s Talk 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 states, and...

Independent Insurance Group LLC Announces 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 on the...

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)...

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 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?

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 it would stop selling BlackBerry-branded phones in August, most analysts...

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. Johnson & Associates Synergy...

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 titled “Secure File Sharing...

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 educational programming and educational marketing to...

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 employees, the Code of...

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 framework for the predominant...

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 and re-design its educational programming...

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 attorney David Higgins and former Congressman...

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 what extent does NSSTA educate...

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 post asked “whether and how does NSSTA educate its members...

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 for information sharing and learning....

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 the Independent Insurance Group, which was formed in...

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 and commentary. Plaintiffs...