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    Conference season, albeit virtual, has officially kicked off with both the Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) and the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) announcing dates for their virtual 2021 Annual Conferences: February 23-25 for SSP and May 4-7 for NSSTA.

    SSP has already launched their conference website highlighting their agenda topics and speakers with a healthy mix of anticipated topics as well as some new and thought provoking sessions.

    As a NSSTA member and sponsor of the SSP conference, Independent Life has a vested interest in both associations including their educational programs and conferences. After reviewing the SSP conference agenda, our team was inspired to use the session topics to help publicize the SSP event and to continue encouraging NSSTA to prioritize this same educational perspective. Rather than distract from or upstage either educational conference, we hope the upcoming articles in our new series will supplement and help generate additional interest.

    Two aspects of this year’s NSSTA and SSP virtual conferences make them especially noteworthy. First, they each follow a year impacted by the COVID pandemic. These conferences will provide opportunities for conference speakers and participants to analyze how the structured settlement and personal injury settlement planning industries, as well as NSSTA and SSP themselves, have reacted and changed.

    Almost two years ago, following the NSSTA 2019 Annual Conference, The Chronicle launched a previous series of articles with the following premise: “to successfully develop a foundation for future growth in the context of industry change, NSSTA may need to rethink and redesign its educational programming and marketing to strategically position structured settlements as the core product within personal injury settlement planning.

    That 2019 series reviewed 10 basic industry issues, discussed agendas from then recent industry educational conferences, and offered suggestions to improve current educational programming and educational marketing.

    This writer incorporated portions of the series results in a presentation titled “Settlement Planning: Striving to Become a Profession”, which he subsequently delivered to the SSP 2020 Annual Conference. Perhaps coincidentally, but nonetheless gratifying, NSSTA’s virtual 2020 Fall Conference featured multiple presentations consistent with recommendations from the Independent Life series. NSSTA also has recently announced it has initiated a re-evaluation of its CSSC certification program including the program’s curriculum.

    Despite the challenges imposed by the COVID pandemic, it will be exciting to see what structured settlement and settlement planning industry developments and improvement have been taking place during the past 12 months – and the NSSTA and SSP conferences provide opportunities for participants to showcase and discuss those changes.

    The second aspect of the NSSTA and SSP Annual Conferences that makes them noteworthy is that both will be virtual. NSSTA’s outstanding virtual 2020 Fall Conference demonstrated just how effectively virtual technology can be utilized to encourage dialogue and discussions.

    Members of Independent Life will, of course, participate in the virtual NSSTA and SSP Conference discussions utilizing any and all communication tools these associations make available. However, we have utilized, and will continue to utilize, our own preferred online communication tools to discuss industry issues that both concern and interest our company, our agents, our customers, and their attorneys. These tools include our: 1) LinkedIn and Twitter accounts; 2) Settlement Nation podcast; 3) company newsletters; and 4) of course, The Chronicle blog.

    In many respects, SSP’s announced agenda already addresses the priority for structured settlement growth Independent Life set forth in the premise to our previously referenced 2019 series of articles: “to strategically position structured settlements as the core product within personal injury settlement planning.

    In conclusion: we encourage all NSSTA members to participate in the NSSTA Annual Conference and all personal injury settlement planners to participate in the SSP Annual Conference.  We look forward to creating an additional platform for these important topics and look forward to shared discussions with partners and colleagues within the structured settlement industry.

    Also note: The Chronicle blog has previously published articles addressing some of the announced SSP conference topics. Here are the related links for anyone interested: .

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