The Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) has announced a preliminary agenda for its 2007 Annual Seminar to be held March 7-8 in Washington, D.C.
SSP Seminar Highlights (with S2KM's recommended background reading) include:
- Settlement Planning Certification - see SSP to Create Professional Designation
- SSP Code of Ethics - see NSSTA's Code of Ethics
- American Association for Justice (formerly ATLA) update - see ATLA 2006 Annual Meeting
- Murphy v. United States - see S2KM's Murphy wiki
- Arkansas DHS v. Ahlborn - see this article by Matthew L. Garretson
- NSSTA's Broker Relations Initiative - see NSSTA 2006 Fall Regional Meeting - Summary and related podcasts on The Settlement Channel
- Non-Qualified Assignments - see this article by Robert W. Wood.
What is Missing? SSP President Charles Derenne states on SSP's website: "Settlement Planning involves the integration of myriad fields of study when intelligently developing and implementing the injured victim’s future financial road map." Here are three recommended (and unsolicited) topics for SSP's 2007 educational seminar to help settlement planners intelligently develop and implement the injured victim's future financial road map:
Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) - The DRA created substantial changes to Medicaid long-term care eligibility rules. Neither SSP nor NSSTA has heretofore addressed this important legislation which impacts annuities, structured settlements and personal injury settlement planning. Although SSP's 2007 educational program includes a presentation about Arkansas DHS v. Ahlborn, the DRA presents even more important and fundemental issues for structured settlement professionals and settlement planners. For additional information about the DRA, see NAELA 2006 Advanced Institute.
Compensation Disclosure - During 2006, two opinion letters written by law professors Stephen Saltzburg and Edwin Chemerinsky have circulated throughout the structured settlement industry. These opinion letters highlight obligations of plaintiff attorneys to obtain informed consent from claimants for structured settlement compensation arrangements. Although Frank Johns and Jack Meligan summarized and analyzed these opinion letters during the SSP 2006 Annual Meeting, neither SSP nor most SSP members appear to understand the related lessons, opportunities and obligations for structured settlement producers who assist injured claimants. Structured settlement compensation disclosure and informed consent of structured settlement compensation by claimants should become best practices and industry standards for settlement planning professionals.
Factoring - SSP's 2006 educational program included a presentation by Professor Adam Scales about structured settlement factoring (aka transfers). Although this presentation featured an economic and legislative analysis, Professor Scales did not address the obligations of and best practices for structured settlement professionals related to factoring. Factoring continues to be a controversial issue within the structured settlement industry. For recent evidence, see: NSSTA's Bylaw Amendments or John Darer's weblog. However, any professional who claims to be a "settlement planner" needs a sufficient understanding of factoring to advise and educate claimants and plaintiff attorneys about IRC 5891 and state structured settlement protection acts - including negotiation options and strategies; settlement documentation issues; and annuity product alternatives such as commutations.
Afterthought - after reviewing this blog post, SSP's website and the SSP-related blog posts listed below, here is one additional recommendation to improve SSP's 2007 Educational Seminar. SSP should consider including a technology training component (preferably an introduction to Web 2.0) with two objectives:
- Teaching basic Web 2.0 skill sets to SSP members and associates;
- Developing an updated, interactive, Web 2.0 SSP learning platform accessible 24/7 by SSP members.
For two examples of Web 2.0 learning models developed by S2KM, see:
- This Web 2.0 for Lawyers wiki - developed for a Cincinnati Bar Association presentation; and
- This educational resource wiki - developed following NSSTA's 2006 Fall Regional Meeting.
Also note: each S2KM wiki:
- Was developed with assistance from Denham Grey; and
- Features linked concept maps developed by Barbara Bowen.
For additional information about SSP and SSP's 2007 Educational Seminar - see SSP's website.
For previous S2KM blog entries about SSP, see: