The United States structured settlement market has been in existence for more than 40 years and continues to expand its scope, complexity and importance within the context of both claim management and personal injury settlement planning.
When structured settlements were first introduced in the United States in the late 1970s, they were viewed primarily as a defense claim management concept which was binary in nature. A settlement was either “cash” or “structure”. A “failed” structured settlement was a “cash out”.
Defense brokers sold a single product – a structured settlement annuity which could be, and almost always was, combined with upfront cash. Rarely, however, from a defense perspective, was a structured settlement annuity integrated with other financial products or government benefits. In fact, a fundamental public policy justification for structured settlements claimed that “structured settlements enable injury victims to live free of reliance on government assistance.”
As the United States structured settlement market continues to evolve, however, a shift in control has occurred as plaintiffs and their attorneys now retain their own structured settlement advisors. From the plaintiff perspective, a structured settlement annuity looks less like an all or nothing settlement proposition and more like a core strategic product that can be combined with other financial products, government benefits and trusts into comprehensive settlement plans.
Authoritative Reference Guide
Since it was first published in 1986, "Structured Settlements and Periodic Payment Judgments" (S2P2J), has provided structured settlement and settlement planning professionals 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 Settlement Planners (SSP) have utilized S2P2J as an educational resource for their certification programs. Updated semi-annually, the book now features an online version as well as the traditional hardcopy. Online S2P2J includes a search feature and download capability as well as link features to access individual book sections, appendices, footnotes, cases and statutes.
Knowledge Network Mission
The Mission of Independent Life’s Knowledge Network is to provide all structured settlement and settlement planning professionals with timely and targeted learning resources: 1) to help elevate educational marketing and improve professional work product; and 2) to encourage and support the development of a professional online community of practice that features structured settlements.
To help accomplish this Mission, Independent Life has entered into a contract with ALM Media, the publisher of “Structured Settlements and Periodic Payment Judgments” to provide every structured settlement consultant and settlement planner associated with Independent Life with a complementary one-year subscription or hardcopy edition to S2P2J.
Structured settlement stakeholders who are members of professional associations where Independent Life is a member, sponsor or exhibitor will be eligible to purchase one-year subscriptions to the online version of the book at an 85% discount.
Recent Book Release Highlights
Release 64 for “Structured Settlements and Periodic Payment Judgments” features new and updated coverage of these topics:
- Reported court approved use of 468B Fund for a single claimant but without any assurance of favorable tax treatment.
- Reported case about how imprecise statements of “guaranteed payments” can result in liability for a settling defendant if the funding vehicle subsequently fails to pay.
- Reported case highlights the legal responsibility of plaintiff attorneys for drafting structured settlement agreements and therefore their need for knowledge about structured settlements more generally.
- Tax penalties assessed in reported case for claimed tax-free treatment of non-physical injury.
- How the 2017 Tax Act changes effect on government benefits and treatment of Medicaid recoupment, treatment of attorney fees for deduction purposes, and non-disclosure provisions in sexual abuse settlements.
- Texas twenty-one-year study concludes no evidence exists of favoritism of claimants or defendants in structured settlement usage.
- New York court decision concludes that its periodic payment of judgment statute does not apply to contract claims.
- CFPB jurisdiction to review factoring companies for abusive acts and practices upheld.
- Workers compensation decision explains how to apply periodic payment of attorney fees in relation to monthly benefits to injured worker.
Release 63 featured new, updated and expanded coverage of these structured settlement topics:
- Updated coverage of ABLE accounts including Congressional improvements in 2017.
- An introduction to and explanation of “market-based” structured settlement programs.
- An extensive update in the summary and analysis of financial rating agencies relevant to structured settlements.
- The 2017 NAIC updates to the “Model Life and Health Insurance Association Model Act,” including who is covered by the Act.
- Summary of Lanclos v. United States, a 2017 case decided by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in which a shortfall victim argued that the U.S. government should be held liable for the shortfall because it “guaranteed” the structured settlement payments
- Various federal and state privacy laws that may impact the gathering and/or sharing of medical or other personal information belonging to a claimant during the course of a personal injury settlement negotiation.
- Expanded analysis of how MSAs have become an important sub-market for structured settlements, and the applicable updates to the CMS WCMSA Reference Guide.