Reviewing Structured Settlement Educational Programs - Spring/Summer 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 by NSSTA president Michelle Caine, NSSTA certainly appears to be making educational marketing a strategic priority for 2019 and beyond.

One way to pressure test both premises, and to discuss the current status of  both NSSTA’s  member education and its educational marketing, in the context of industry change, is to review the agendas from NSSTA’s two most recent educational programs – the 2019 NSSTA Annual Conference and 2019 NSSTA Certified Structured Settlement Consultant (CSSC) Program. And we plan to do so as part of this new Independent Life Chronicle series looking at industry education.

For additional perspective, this new Chronicle series will also discuss and compare the agenda from the 2019 Annual Conference of the Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) and consider other relevant NSSTA and SSP educational resources as appropriate.

One objective of the series is to generate interest, and focus industry discussion, on Independent Life’s belief that more structured settlement stakeholder education is needed to increase knowledge about personal settlement planning issues as a foundation to drive future structured settlement growth. Another objective is simply to ask, what is the industry currently teaching its members?

The Chronicle’s review and discussion of these three educational programs will be organized based upon the following topics – with one article addressing each topic.

  • Market Analysis
  • Settlement Planning and Planning Process
  • Stakeholder Perspectives
  • Laws and Regulations
  • Taxation
  • Government Benefits
  • Other Laws and Regulations
  • Investments and Products
  • Ethics
  • Technology

The three educational programs to be reviewed, of course, each have different prerequisites, different audiences and different educational objectives. For example: attendance at NSSTA’s Annual Conference is limited to NSSTA members. Topics include NSSTA business issues (which are not addressed in this review) as well as important industry developments relevant to structured settlements.

By comparison, the NSSTA CSSC program, generally offered every two years in partnership with the University of Notre Dame, requires pre-qualification for a limited number of attendees. For successful participants, it provides the structured settlement industry’s oldest and most respected professional designation and establishes educational standards for structured settlement professionals.

SSP’s educational programs historically have been open to non-SSP members.  And, while SSP’s conferences encompass structured settlement issues, they have tended to be, as expected, more settlement planning oriented. SSP also offers its own Registered Settlement Planner (RSP) certification program. 

These differences, however, should enhance, rather than diminish, the Chronicle’s discussion and analysis for it provides a wider perspective and allows for more questions. To achieve industry success in a changing market, Independent Life believes we need to encourage open discussion among more stakeholders.

Additional comments and acknowledgments:

  • Independent Life is a member of NSSTA and was a sponsor of the SSP 2019 Annual Conference.
  • Patrick Hindert, the author of this Independent Life Chronicle series, is a member of NSSTA, the NSSTA CSSC Committee and is a member of SSP. He spoke at both the 2019 NSSTA CSSC Program and the 2019 SSP Annual Conference. He attended, but did not speak at, the 2019 NSSTA Annual Conference and has earned a CSSC certificate. Both NSSTA and SSP utilize “Structured Settlements and Periodic Payment Judgments,” a book Hindert co-authors, as part of their certification programs.
  • In addition to the programs discussed, NSSTA offers its members additional educational resources including a Fall Educational Conference, a Structures 202 Conference, NSSTA University and the Master’s Certificate in Structured Settlement Consulting.
  • SSP likewise offers its members additional educational resources including webinar series.
  • Many NSSTA member companies, and some SSP members, also provide their employees with separate educational programming.

Interviews and related industry news articles will further enhance and supplement this Chronicle education series.