Having previously attended and reviewed the 2024 Annual Conferences of the Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) and the National Association of Settlement Consultants (AASC), the 2024 Annual Conference of the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) offered this writer the third and most comprehensive opportunity this Spring to evaluate the status of, and outlook for, the overlapping structured settlement and settlement planning markets.

In summary:

  1. Overall, the NSSTA conference, hosted in Nashville from April 9 through11, was balanced, busy and well-organized including: a charitable event (“Operation Gratitude” which helps the children of military families), numerous committee meetings, an Annual Business Meeting, a Board of Director election, 2 receptions, 11 educational sessions (with CE credits) and various off-site events highlighted by a Women’s Caucus dinner.
  2. The conference affirmed the resurgence of both the structured settlement market, following a COVID-depressed premium cycle in 2020-21, and NSSTA itself, following an organizational schism in 2021. Both the market and NSSTA appear stronger today – not despite, but perhaps because of, those challenges.
  3. Two featured speakers, Bob Lee and Peter Jachym, projected a “generational opportunity” for continued industry premium growth tempered by three fundamental industry challenges (discussed further below). Much of NSSTA’s excellent educational program supported this growth opportunity and encouraged its realization by focusing on personal-professional development within a transformative business environment.
  4. The NSSTA’s Women’s Caucus, a major catalyst for NSSTA’s own resurgence and transition, was a dominant and positive feature of this year’s conference. Starting with new NSSTA President Kerri Poe, along with members of the Board of Directors and Committee Co-Chairs, members of the Women’s Caucus increasingly represent the core of NSSTA’s leadership. Their goals, vision, values, commitment, and enthusiasm are contagious and appear to have re-energized and improved NSSTA.
  5. Poe opened the NSSTA conference by outlining her Presidential priorities. Consistent with the conference themes of “Connection and Energy,” her priorities include collaboration to achieve shared industry goals; increased premium production; and finding more ways for NSSTA to benefit its members through education and embracing industry change.

This article expands upon these summary statements and offers additional observations gleaned from the NSSTA conference.

Business Success and Optimism

In a much-anticipated presentation titled “Industry Premium Prognostication,” Bob Lee and Peter Jachym updated Lee’s premium predictions from last year’s NSSTA conference when, in early May 2023, Lee projected $8.2 billion of structured settlement annuity sales for the full year 2023.

Lee’s 2023 prediction was significant for at least three reasons: 1) at the time, many NSSTA members were skeptical of Lee’s projections; 2) many NSSTA members also assumed what appeared to be an impenetrable annual industry premium ceiling of $6 billion based on our extensive history of being “stuck” at that level; and 3) actual 2023 results eventually totaled $8.7 billion, exceeding Lee’s optimistic prediction. As NSSTA’s then President Nolan Robinson said, 2023 was “the strongest year ever for the structured settlement industry.

This year, Lee and Jachym doubled down on Lee’s 2023 projections while emphasizing: 1) they were describing a “generational opportunity” not an outcome; and 2) the industry will need to overcome the following three main challenges in order to achieve their updated annual premium projections of $9.5 billion in 2024 and $15 billion in 2030:

  1. Training new users;
  2. Building new consultants; and
  3. Addressing the use of single claimant QSFs.

Some of the key market assumptions in Lee and Jachym’s projections are: 1) continuing interest rates on new money 10-year investment grade bonds of at least 4 percent; 2) more annual litigation with greater severity; 3) continued annual premium growth based on 5 percent annual growth in the number of structured cases combined with increasing average case size; 4) available life company markets and life company capital to support the projected growth.

Lee and Jachym also projected a further $1 billion of potential non-annuity “market base by 2030 resulting from an expected “steady increase in Holistic Financial approach to settlement planning.

Lee and Jachym deserve thanks for the analysis they shared, which was based in part on confidential information from their own agency companies. Their presentation highlighted multiple topics and themes that generate questions for follow-up discussions including:

  1. To what extent is the industry growth over the last couple of years the result of historically high interest rates compared to the prior 15+ year period? What happens if (or more likely when) interest rates drop again?
  2. To what extent does the case backlog created by COVID. in 2020 and 2021 fully, or at least partially, explain the record industry premium results in 2022 and 2023 (and possibly even 2024)?
  3. Is the growth potential Lee and Jachym presented thru 2030 possible, particularly if interest rates decline again? By comparison, the growth rate for structured settlement premium production from 2001 thru 2018 was flat despite varying interest rates during that period.
  4. While Lee and Jachym stated they expect more annual litigation with greater severity, what objective metrics and data exist to support this statement and the other assumptions in their projection?.
  5. To what extent do Lee and Jachym’s projections depend upon expansion of existing markets (g., mass torts, structured attorney fees, structured installment sales) and/or the development of new, tangential markets (e.g., employment cases)? As an aside, our industry does not identify, measure or report cases and/or premium from specific market segments and we should begin to do so.
  6. To what extent do Lee and Jachym’s projections implicitly depend upon more innovation, which has been lacking in our industry historically? And where is the evidence that our industry is embracing the types of innovation that will create long-term sustainable growth? One should step back and ask: which industry participants are bringing true, value-building innovation to our industry and, in the absence of such innovation, what happens when interest rates inevitably decline again?

The Nashville Program as Part of NSSTA’s Education Curriculum

NSSTA offers its members the most comprehensive structured settlement curriculum available within the settlement planning industry. Three of its most valuable educational programs are open to non-NSSTA members: the Structured 101-202 Program (101-202 Program); the Certified Structured Settlement Consultant (CSSC) Professional Certification Program; and the Master’s Certification in Structured Settlement Consulting (MSSC).

The 101-202 program is our industry’s premiere technical and operational program for new professionals and experienced settlement consultants. During the past four years, under the leadership of CSSC Committee Co-Chairs Jordan Bossler, Susan Bowersox and Chris Shumate, NSSTA has forged a new CSSC/MSSC partnership with the University of Texas and upgraded and redefined the CSSC curriculum and certification requirements.

The continuing success of these popular NSSTA educational programs paradoxically creates challenges for the NSSTA Educational Committee, co-chaired by Paulette Jacobsmeier and Jim Rothwell, and assisted by Debbie Sink, NSSTA’s Operations & CE Compliance Director, and consultant Jennifer Stinnett of eJenn Solutions, Inc. Will NSSTA and its Educational Committee be able to fashion unique and compelling agendas for its annual and fall conferences going forward? The answer, at least in Nashville, was a definitive “yes.”

The 11 educational sessions (including Lee and Jachym’s “Industry Premium Prognostication” discussed above) featured multiple speakers who addressed industry-specific issues including an evocative annuitant’s story and informative forums on topics such as MSP and Medicaid compliance, tax planning, and employment claims. A presentation by Julie Robinson addressing “Minors Settlement Planning Best Practices” was particularly in depth and noteworthy.

5 of the most interesting and unexpected presentations shared a common theme consistent with Lee and Jachym’s “generational opportunity” and Poe’s priorities: “ways for NSSTA to assist members to improve their personal and professional development within a changing industry.” What made these presentations impressive was their speaker quality, their useful content and how their educational message was consistently supportive and aligned with NSSTA’s leadership development goals.

In addition to a Paralympian motivational speaker, other non-NSSTA speakers addressed personal- professional development through discussions about the neuroscience of successful leadership, the productivity paradox and understanding stress tendencies based on voice.

Another great example of these developmental sessions was a presentation by NSSTA members Sallye Barnes and Erin Jesberger titled “Next Gen & Intergenerational Communication.” Barnes and Jesberger analyzed “five generations in today’s workplace” with recommendations for improving inter-generational communication and work effectiveness.

Supplementing the impressive Nashville program, a NSSTA conference handout announced an upcoming 4-part NSSTA webinar series titled “AI in Structured Settlements Focusing on Tools and Trends.” Developed for NSSTA by Jennifer Stinnett, specific dates are to be announced and the topics will be:

  1. AI-Driven Analysis for Enhanced Decision Making;
  2. AI and Cybersecurity: Safeguarding Structured Settlements;
  3. Application of language models in the legal domain; and
  4. Working hand-in-hand with AI: A Guide for Everyone.

NSSTA’s Mission and Strategy

Educational programs – whether developed for NSSTA’s own members as in Nashville, other structured settlement stakeholders, or the general public – represent an important component, but  only one component, of NSSTA’s Mission and Strategy.

Perhaps even more important is NSSTA’s role as our industry’s public advocate and defender of structured settlements. Since NSSTA was founded in 1985, it has been the only association to continually promote and protect structured settlements before Congress, state legislators and state and federal regulators.

The challenges and risks related to structured settlements are numerous and our entire industry has depended on NSSTA for leadership and protection. One ongoing challenge: despite enactment of IRC §5891 and the state structured settlement protection acts, factoring abuses continue. One prospective challenge: federal tax reform expected in 2025 potentially puts all internal revenue code sections with exclusions at risk.

Fortunately, NSSTA’s current organizational strength and ability to protect and preserve structured settlements appears as strong, if not stronger, than ever. That strength and ability begins with NSSTA Executive Director and Lobbyist Eric Vaughn and includes NSSTA Operations & CE Director Debbie Sink, NSSTA’s Board of Directors, NSSTA’s General Counsel and NSSTA’s Committees including NSSTAPAC.


NSSTA’s 2024 Annual Conference demonstrated NSSTA’s organizational strength, educational vitality and business optimism.  It also highlighted transitional growth issues that exist within the overlapping structured settlement and settlement planning markets plus collaboration challenges and opportunities for defense and plaintiff consultants that require further industry discussions.

Overall, the NSSTA conference was a terrific success – although it set an aggressive 2024 premium goal and a high bar against which to measure the success of future conferences.

Congratulations to everyone responsible including especially Education Committee Co-Chairs Paulette Jacobsmeier and Jim Rothwell, Eric Vaughn and Debbie Sink, immediate past and new NSSTA Presidents Nolan Robinson and Kerri Poe, and the NSSTA Board of Directors, as well as other Committee Co-Chairs and various award winners. This writer anticipates outstanding 2024 results for our industry and looks forward to future NSSTA conferences.