Blog

Structured Settlements and Peter Drucker’s Business Principles

In its annual evaluation of America’s best-run publicly traded companies, the Wall Street Journal uses a measurement system based upon five business principles developed by the late management guru Peter F. Drucker, the founder of the Drucker Institute, to select its Top 250: 1) customer satisfaction; 2) employee engagement and development; 3) innovation; 4) social...

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...

Future Financial Planning for People with Disabilities – Part 3

The National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities (NLCDD) at the University of Delaware has published a new National Study (Study) titled “Future Financial Planning for People with Disabilities” on its website that should be required reading for all structured settlement and settlement planning professionals. Introduction The purpose of this NLCDD project was to study future financial planning for people with disabilities...

Future Financial Planning for People with Disabilities – Part 2

A prior Independent Life article (Part 1) summarizes key elements of a new National Study (Study) titled “Future Financial Planning for People with Disabilities,” conducted by the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities (NLCDD) at the University of Delaware and is available on its website. Part 1 includes a “Correction at the end of the article which was added...

Future Financial Planning for People with Disabilities – Part 1

One of the highlights of the recent Stetson 2021 National Conference on Special Needs Planning and Special Needs Trusts was a presentation of the results of a new National Study (Study) titled “Future Financial Planning for People with Disabilities.” Presented by Cory Gilden and Caitlin Bailey, the Study was conducted by the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities (NLCDD) at the University of Delaware and is available...

Factoring Problems and Solutions – Part 2

When the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) supported enactment of IRC Section 5891 as part of the Victims of Terrorism Tax Relief Act of 2001 and began a successful state by state process to help secure enactment of state structured settlement protection acts (SSPAs) in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, NSSTA envisioned the...

Factoring Problems and Solutions – Part 1

The National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA), of which this writer is a member, has scheduled a virtual 2021 Fall Conference this week to be hosted by Executive Director Eric Vaughn, President Michael Goodman and Director Ravi Vaswani. The conference Agenda features Suze Orman as well as important and timely topics during a transformative period for NSSTA and the structured settlement...

Periodic Payments After Settlement

When Congress passed the Periodic Payment Act of 1982, the stated intent was to provide a secure and steady flow of periodic payments to claimants. At the time of settlement or judgment, the claimant foregoes immediate access to a lump sum in exchange for a secure promise of tax-free payments over time. From society’s perspective,...

Anti-Assignment Language

Almost all structured settlements are completed on a basis that qualifies future payments for tax-free treatment under I.R.C. § 104(a) and 130. One of the requirements for a “qualified assignment” under IRC 130 is that “periodic payments cannot be accelerated, deferred, increased, or decreased by the recipient of such payments.” In addition to this statutory language,...

Structured Settlements and Periodic Payment Judgments Release 70

Since it was first published in 1986, “Structured Settlements and Periodic Payment Judgments” , 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. Personal Injury Settlement Planning...

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...

Pre-NSSTA Structured Settlement History

Congratulations to the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) which will be celebrating its 35th Anniversary as part of its 2021 virtual Annual Conference May 4-7. Despite NSSTA’s lengthy and significant history, members may not be fully aware of the many events which preceded NSSTA’s formation in 1986 which played an important role in the history...

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...

Let’s Talk About: QSF Education and Issues

As the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) prepares to recognize its own 35th Anniversary during its upcoming 2021 virtual Annual Conference, it is also appropriate to note another important settlement planning development that occurred in 1986: the enactment of IRC 468B – with important regulations and revenue procedures added in 1993. What are Qualified...

Settlement Nation Episode 19: Inside 30 Years as a Civil Rights Lawyer

In this episode of Settlement Nation I chat with James DeSimone,  the founder of V. James DeSimone Law. James is one of the most highly regarded employment lawyers and civil rights advocates in Los Angeles, successfully achieving multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts on behalf of his clients. James was voted California Civil Rights Lawyer of the Year 2014,...

Let’s Talk About: Judges, Mediators and Settlement Planning

Judges and mediators play important, but distinctive, roles in settlement planning. So it may have surprised some attendees that a recent Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) 2021 Annual Conference virtual presentation advertised as the “Judiciary Panel: Planning from the Court’s Perspective” featured two mediators (one a retired judge) and focused on mediation not judicial issues. Skillfully moderated...

Let’s Talk About: Settlement Planning

If you market yourself as a “settlement planner”, or even consider yourself a “settlement planner”, how do you define “settlement planning?” During his presentation titled “Expanding Your Planning Network & Advanced Certifications,” featured as part of the recent Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) 2021 virtual Annual Conference, multi-credentialled settlement planner Joseph Tombs highlighted this issue,...

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...

Periodic Payment Judgments Release 69

Because settlements represent voluntary agreements, neither plaintiffs nor defendants can be forced to participate in a structured settlement. Structured settlements initially were promoted exclusively by defendants and their insurers as a claim management tool. For many years, plaintiff and their attorneys lacked equivalent resources. Today, however, many plaintiffs and their attorneys insist they should be:...

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...

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)...

Taking Control of Your Future with Wealth and Legacy Planning

Although female plaintiff attorneys continue to gain valuable recognition both in and out of the courtroom, many feel intimidated by the idea of financial planning. Fortunately, their chosen career offers an exclusive and excellent tool to create financial security, both now and in the future. Structured attorney fees, which generate unique contingency fee tax deferrals,...

Case Study: Medical Malpractice

A regional hospital was handling a challenging medical malpractice claim involving a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and significant developmental delays. Due to the nature of the claim, the life expectancy, medical cost projections, and valuation ranges were each hotly contested items. The Challenge As a result of years of low interest rates and...

Structured Settlements for Minors

When a personal injury case involves a minor, structured settlements are frequently considered the best choice for a settlement option compared with other alternatives such as a trust account managed by a bank or investment consultant or a “court-protected” account both of which are typically released to the child at age of majority except in...

Reconfirming the Case for Structured Settlements

The Wall Street Journal published an article on June 12, 2020 highlighting a fundamental reason why structured settlements are more appropriate for many personal injury plaintiffs than alternative stock market investments. [Note: The Wall Street Journal requires a subscription for access to this article.] Titled “‘Volatility Is Everywhere’: The Market Tactic That’s Driving Stocks Haywire” and...

Misconceptions Attorneys Have About Structured Settlements

Thank you for your interest in our e-book. Our goal is to help dispel any misconceptions attorneys may have about structured settlements, their benefits to plaintiffs, and their long-term value to attorneys themselves. Attorneys may think of structured settlements as an outdated or unfamiliar settlement technique and most plaintiffs’ frame of reference for structured settlements...

Structured Settlements and Periodic Payment Judgments Book Release 67

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...

What’s the Difference Between Qualified vs. Non-Qualified Settlements?

What is the difference between a “qualified” structured settlement and a “non-qualified” structured settlement? When describing a structured settlement, the terms “qualified” and “non-qualified” generally refer to “assignments” and IRC Section 130. The primary tax difference, from a structured settlement recipient’s perspective, is that “qualified” structured settlement periodic payments are excluded from income tax whereas...

3 Tips for Preparing a Mediation involving Structured Settlements

From a structured settlement perspective, whenever a plaintiff attorney is preparing for a mediation involving various tort and non-tort case, the attorney should address the following questions:  Have I advised my client about structured settlements and provided my client with adequate resources to allow my client to express an informed opinion of their possible interest? Regardless of whether my...

3 Tips for Preparing a Mediation involving Structured Settlements

From a structured settlement perspective, whenever a plaintiff attorney is preparing for a mediation involving various tort and non-tort case, the attorney should address the following questions:  Have I advised my client about structured settlements and provided my client with adequate resources to allow my client to express an informed opinion of their possible interest? Regardless of whether my...

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...

Responsibilities of Plaintiff Counsel in Structured Settlements

As the Mraz case demonstrates, even the most successful and sophisticated trial attorneys aren’t always familiar enough with structured settlement and settlement planning to identify and achieve a “best interest” result for their client. Similarly, the Grillo case points out the potential legal liability for plaintiff attorneys who do not advise their clients about structured settlements. And...

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 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...

Developments in Structured Settlements: Conflict, Growth, Transition

This is the third article (Part III) in a four part series of articles that explore the timeline of historical developments that highlight key events for the structured settlement market. Period One – Industry Formation Period Two – Market Foundation Period Three – Conflict, Growth, Transition Period Four – Industry Reset and Rebuild PERIOD THREE –...

Historic Developments Structured Settlements: Industry Reset & Rebuild

This is the fourth and final article (Part IV) in a four part series of articles that explore the timeline of historical developments that highlight key events for the structured settlement market. Period One – Industry Formation Period Two – Market Foundation Period Three – Conflict, Growth, Transition Period Four – Industry Reset and Rebuild PERIOD...

Structured Settlements and Periodic Payment Judgement Book Release 66

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 issues and fashion settlements and judgments utilizing periodic payments. Both the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) and the Society of...

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....

A Market Analysis of Structured Settlement Educational Programs

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 launches that series and asks: “Whether and how does NSSTA...

IL Launches ‘The Chronicle’

Welcome to “The Structured Structured Settlement Chronicle”, (the Chronicle) an Independent Life (IL) website resource that will feature regularly updated news coverage, with some editorial commentary, of industry events and developments which we view as valuable to structured settlement and personal injury settlement planning professionals and other stakeholders. The primary focus of the Chronicle will address industry...

Settlement Trusts + Structured Settlements = Settlement Planning?

Once considered a competitive product, most structured settlement professionals and settlement planners now view settlement trusts as an essential and complementary part of their personal injury settlement solutions.Trusts, which are legal entities and can be revocable or irrevocable, can have many purposes including wealth accumulation, spendthrift protection, avoidance of probate, and reduction of taxes. Trusts...

Drinker Biddle Structured Settlement and Annuities Roundtable

The Drinker Biddle law firm Structured Settlement and Annuity Team introduced a new educational model last week when it hosted a one-day, invitation-only Structured Settlement and Annuities Roundtable at its Philadelphia office. Drinker Biddle promoted the roundtable as “three substantive sessions on pressing issues facing the structured settlement industry and its participants, accompanied by opportunities for open discussion, collaborative...

The Importance of Public Policy for Structured Settlements

What is public policy and why is it important for structured settlements? One definition of public policy is “the broad area of government laws, regulations, court decisions, and local ordinances as enacted by federal, state, and local governments.” That comprehensive definition encompasses all federal and state laws, regulations and court decisions that have impacted structured settlements since...

Reviewing Structured Settlement Educational Programs – Spring 2019

Does the National Structured Settlements Trade Association (NSSTA) need to re-think and re-design its educational programming and educational marketing to strategically position structured settlements as the core product within personal injury settlement planning? Or is NSSTA already doing so? We introduced  these questions in a prior Independent Life Chronicle blog post.  Based on the goals set forth at its annual meeting...

Benefits of Structured Settlements

Today in the context of industry change and the need for industry growth, what exactly are the benefits of structured settlements? And will marketing those benefits be enough to ensure the future success of the National Structured Settlements Trade Association (NSSTA) and the structured settlement market? NSSTA President Michelle Caine highlighted the strategic importance of these questions during her inaugural...

Knowledge: A Strategic Factor in Structured Settlement Growth

He has demonstrated “how knowledge can function as a driver of long-term economic growth” – The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in awarding Paul Romer a 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics. —————- During the most recent annual meeting of the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA), which occurred April 3-5, 2019 in Charleston, South Carolina, NSSTA...

Why the Market Needed a New Non-Qualified Structured Settlement Plan

Structured settlements are typically associated with physical injury, sickness, wrongful death or workers’ compensation claims. In these cases, the tax code allows the claimant to receive income tax free compensation for their injuries, spread over time, from a trusted life insurance company via a §130(c) qualified assignment but what, if any, options are available for non-injury cases? Enter non-qualified...

ABLE Accounts: The Direct Funding Debate

Without more specific legal authority, many plaintiff attorneys, special needs attorneys and settlement planning professionals may be unwilling to recommend direct funding of ABLE accounts with structured settlements because of the risk their disabled client might lose his or her means-tested government benefits. In this article, we’ll explore the current arguments for and against direct funding of ABLE accounts; suggest reasons...

Are ABLE Accounts a Growth Opportunity for Structured Settlements

The ABLE Act together with the state ABLE programs now offer settlement and judgment payees an important new solution (ABLE Accounts) for saving and accumulating money while preserving eligibility for needs-based government benefits and allowing direct access by the owner/beneficiary. Structured settlement annuities appear to represent an ideal funding mechanism for ABLE accounts which, like special needs trusts...

What are ABLE Accounts?

  ABLE accounts, similar to special needs trusts and pooled trusts, allow qualifying persons with disabilities, including personal injury victims, to save money without jeopardizing their eligibility for means-tested public benefits.  Means-tested public benefit programs generally impose income and resource limitations. For example, to qualify and remain eligible for Social Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid,...

Independent Life Now Offering Non-Qualified Structured Settlements

DALLAS – (April 15, 2019) – Independent Life Insurance Company (Independent Life), the first annuity provider to focus solely on the structured settlement market, is delivering on its promise to introduce innovative solutions to the marketplace. The Texas-based company announced it will now offer annuities for non-qualified structured settlements to fill a gap in available options for settlement planners. With...

Introducing the Payee Protection Policy

ndependent Life is proud to introduce the structured settlement industry’s first Payee Protection Policy. This new offering is directly in line with our company’s mission to provide trustworthy, competitive and innovative annuity products that professional structured settlement consultants can easily integrate with other financial products and governmental benefits to produce optimum settlement planning solutions for personal...

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...

The 2018 Structured Settlement Production Report – Part 5

This is the final post of a five part series regarding the 2018 Structured Settlement Report – be sure to read parts I, II, III and IV. Because of its significance for the structured settlement and personal injury settlement planning markets, The Chronicle is devoting a five-part series of articles to the most recent Structured Settlement Production Report published and distributed...

The 2018 Structured Settlement Production Report – Part 3

This is part three of a five part series regarding the 2018 Structured Settlement Report – be sure to read parts I, II, IV and V. Parts 1 and 2 of The Chronicle’s Series analyzing Melissa Price’s 2018 Structured Settlement Production Report highlighted both the positive and the concerning news for NSSTA and the structured settlement market contained in her historical data....

“How” and “Where” to Think about the Future

The Chronicle’s introductory article highlighted a series of developments that have dramatically changed the structured settlement market.  It further opined that many traditional structured settlement participants have still not learned how to transition and/or adapt their business models and practices to these recent and ongoing market changes. To successfully transition to a new era of...