"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 premium growth, structured settlement consultants and product providers arguably must, at the very least, identify and promote new ideas and best practices for improving and growing the structured settlement market.

In other words, growing the market requires these structured settlement participants to think about the future. But how? And where?

The Future is Dodge Ball

According to Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Op-Ed writer Andy Kessler, “The Future is Dodge Ball” – regardless of your industry. Summarizing and paraphrasing Kessler’s November 2017 WSJ article suggests a strategy for The Chronicle’s readers to expand their thinking about “The Future of Structured Settlements” during 2019.

The most important thing to remember about the Future, Kessler pointed out in his article, “nobody knows anything. Every one of us is an outsider and everything is up for grabs. Someone might offer an opinion, but there are very few facts.” What you, as a structured settlement provider and/or settlement planning professional, need are your own opinions about where the world is headed and how it impacts both the structured settlement and personal injury settlement planning markets. Most importantly, you need to go places (including especially educational conferences) where the future of these related, overlapping markets are being discussed - and not just by the featured speakers.

All industry participants, all conference attendees (Kessler continues) need to talk about the future. These conversations are, or should be, taking place in the hallways at conferences. Don’t be afraid to initiate such a conversation. Remember: there are no determined facts about the future of structured settlements and personal injury settlement planning – only personal opinions. Walk up to people and introduce yourself. This is not classic networking, according to Kessler, but a new way to think - to filter news over time as the future takes shape. You just need to get inside and let some of those future “dodge balls” whizzing by start to hit you.

Kessler’s “Dodge Ball” metaphor addresses “how” you should, or might, think about the future of structured settlements and personal injury settlement planning.

As for “where”, what follows is a preliminary list of Winter/Spring 2019 national conferences some of which focus exclusively on structured settlement topics, while others encompass structured settlements as part of a wider educational agenda as defined by the attendees, sponsors and/or exhibitors.

Independent Life Participation

Independent Life representatives will be attending and/or exhibiting/sponsoring at many of these conferences. Look for our upcoming social media coverage on Twitter, Linked In and Facebook for up to the minute developments.

In addition, The Chronicle will be publishing news summaries/analyses for many of these conferences with related articles in The Knowledge Network.

The list below does not include many other valuable conferences such as: 1) structured settlement agency sponsored conferences; and/or 2) state-specific conferences. Also note: attendance at some of the listed conferences (as opposed to sponsorship or exhibiting) may be limited to association members.

2019 Winter/Spring National Educational Conferences

  1. AAJ 2019 Winter Convention – February 1-6 in Miami Beach. The American Association for Justice (AAJ) is the world’s largest trial bar. Their members represent a primary marketing target for companies and professionals offering structured settlements and settlement planning products and services. The National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) previously commissioned a Plaintiff Attorney Structured Settlement Survey.
  2. UT 2019 SNT Conference – February 7-8 in Austin, Texas. This year’s event represents the 15th Annual Special Needs Trust (SNT) Conference sponsored by The University of Texas. Similar to the Stetson SNT Conference, it “brings together nationally recognized professionals in the SNT field, features the latest updates and hot topics, and offers a great set of handout materials…” Leading structured settlement professionals increasingly recognize the strategic importance of special needs attorneys and the market overlap between settlement planning and special needs planning.
  3. SSP 2019 Annual Conference – February 24-26 in Charleston, S.C. Once viewed simply as an association of plaintiff structured settlement brokers, the Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) has evolved into a “product neutral” leader in advancing the profession of personal injury settlement planning. Structured settlement annuities continue to play a role, but not an exclusive role, in SSP’s educational programs which consistently earn high marks for their speakers and topical selection.
  4. NSSTA CSSC/MSSC Certification Program – March 6-9 at the University of Notre Dame. The industry’s oldest and most respected professional designation, the NSSTA Certified Structured Settlement Consultant (CSSC) now represents the “baseline qualifier” credential for structured settlement professionals. NSSTA has recently added a Master’s Certificate in Settlement Consulting (MSSC) as a further distinguishing credential. Both programs have qualification requirements.
  5. AANLCP 2019 Annual Conference – March 21-25 in Las Vegas. The American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners (AANLCP) represents one of two national life care planning professional associations. Structured settlement professionals should note the increasing number, importance and roles of life care planners within the personal injury settlement planning market. For example, their role as MSA allocators.
  6. NSSTA 2019 Annual Meeting - April 2-4 in Charleston, S.C. Founded in 1985, the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) has nearly 1200 members including life insurers and consulting firms actively engaged in the settlement or funding of personal injury damage actions or other claims involving periodic payments. NSSTA offers its members a variety of comprehensive educational and certification programs as well as other administrative, legislative and other services.
  7. ASNP 2019 Annual Conference – May 2-4 in Chicago. The Academy of Special Needs Planners (ASNP) and the Special Needs Alliance (SNA) are both national associations of special needs attorneys many of whom also increasingly specialize in personal injury settlement planning. Unlike the SNA and NAELA (see below): 1) membership in the ASNP (with a vetting process) is open to non-legal (financial/insurance) professionals; and 2) attendance at ASNP’s annual conference is open to non-members.
  8. NAELA 2019 Annual Conference – May 9-11 in Ft. Worth. Although the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney's name suggests otherwise, many of NAELA’s 5000 members, and therefore, its educational programs, conference sponsors and exhibitors are special needs related including personal injury settlement planning. NAELA plays another important function for settlement planning because of its role in legislative and regulatory lobbying related to elder law and special needs law issues.
  9. CLM Workers Compensation Conference – May 21-23 in Chicago. "Dedicated to meeting the professional development needs of the claims and litigation management industries", CLM has worked closely with NSSTA through its affiliate CLM Advisors (now Suite 200 Solutions) which conducted three market surveys for NSSTA in 2014. Because of the expanding growth of workers compensation MSAs, the workers compensation market has become increasingly important for structured settlement professionals.