Why Ignoring Structured Settlements is a Huge Mistake
Why a Defendant or Insurer Needs a Structured Settlement Expert
While structured settlements may be familiar to many corporate defendants, insurers and their counsel, utilization may not be effective or often enough to achieve the optimal effect on the underwriting bottom-line. What may come as a surprise to many is, that despite the declining trend in interest rates during the mid 1990s until 2004, again during the early stages of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, the Executive Life debacle of 1991, allegations of corrupt business practices in the cases of Travelers v Macomber and Spencer v Hartford, the perceived threat of "cash now pushers" and pervasive misleading advertising, the bailout of AIG, a smaller pool of structured annuity issuers, numerous bank failures and other "distractions", the structured settlement remains vital as a recovery management alternative for tort victims. This is because when done right, in its various forms, the structured settlement concept really works. People embrace the simplicity and certainty that structured settlements represent. It is worth noting that one of the reasons the "cash now pushers" seek to buy structured settlement payments rights is the perception that it is a good investment.
While the industry has consolidated over the last decade in terms of the number of structured settlement annuity issuers, the structured settlement industry has expanded in sophistication through the emergence of settlement planning as a profession. Furthermore, innovative product developments, more complete education (that includes the new Registered Settlement Planner designation), leads to more innovation, better education of judges and litigating parties and application for the concept and greater technological efficiency. Further the government printing press in response to the financial crisis will likely lead to rising taxes. One can already observe a rising interest rate trend. The combination of rising interest rates and higher taxes will make structured settlements an even more attractive solution to both existing and new recipients of structured settlement payments.
Quality structured settlement consultants are professionals, advocates and facilitators of a complete solution to claims, dispute or lawsuit resolution that affects the bottom line of your company or your clients.
It is important that claims consultants and counsel look to their structured settlement person as a team member in lieu of strictly a quoting source. From the standpoint of familiarity, most quality structured settlement brokers and settlement planners see more cases involving structured settlements than even the busiest risk managers, adjusters, claims personnel and defense counsel. Given the opportunity, creative and imaginative input can be provided. Whether you are a risk manager, adjuster, claims personnel or defense counsel, early involvement in a case will enable your structured settlement broker to better assist you and your colleagues with collateral source analysis, assist in discovery to help identify areas of economic damages that can be mitigated using innovative techniques, measuring quantum in life care plans, make sure that fatal flaws to structured settlements are not made in settlement documents, and provide valuable input for your consideration. Some solutions for settlement resolution, such as the equity based variable income structured settlements require a level of technical expertise as well the appropriate securities and insurance licenses. Such settlement solutions are best presented, and may be required to be presented, by someone who is appropriately licensed. Attendance of a structured settlement broker at mediations can be helpful to quantify damages, help fashion settlement offers and, when appropriate, to give input as part of your team.The value of a structured settlement as good public relations should not be under estimated.