The National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) hosted one of its best-ever educational programs November 2-4, 2011 in Austin, Texas. The conference primarily showcased NSSTA members and NSSTA member executives and encompassed a variety of important industry topics.
Speakers and topics:
NSSTA President Dan Finn - Finn summarized NSSTA's current projects, emphasized NSSTA's improved structured settlement marketing and announced the 2012 NSSTA Annual Meeting which will take place in Washington, D.C. and feature Congressmen Dave Camp and Paul Ryan as Keynote Speakers.
NSSTA Executive Director Eric Vaughn - In addition to reviewing the 112th Congress and Super Committee, Vaughn discussed the following NSSTA challenges and priorities:
- Protect IRC sections 104(a)(2) and 130.
- Defend structured settlements.
- Promote the expanded use of structured settlements.
- Expand the markets for structured settlements.
- Enhance the CSSC designation.
- Provide state court judicial education about structured settlements.
AIG Chief Economist Ardanvan Mobasheri - Mobasheri's economic overview highlighted China's emerging leadership, outlined a "very healthy non-financial business world" and predicted low interest rates for the foreseeable future.
American General Life President Mary Jane Fortin - Describing AIG as "a strong, stable and resilient company dedicated to keeping our promises", Fortin dispelled several "myths" about AIG, summarized AIG's recovery and expressed optimism about the future of life insurance industry and structured settlements.
John McCulloch and Michael Miller - Reprising NSSTA "Tax Posse", McCulloch and Miller introduced the new IRS audit guide for lawsuits, awards and settlements and reviewed recent tax cases addressing employment, factoring and Qualified Settlement Fund issues.
Peter Vodola, Stephen Harris and Amy Ravitz - The co-chairpersons of NSSTA's Legal Committee participated in two separate panels moderated by James Ebel and Michael Kelly and discussed non-tax cases and issues including state structured settlement protection statutes, issues arising from transfer petitions and minors statutes and settlements.
Len Blonder and NSSTA General Counsel Craig Ulman - Blonder and Ulman reported the status of the Executive Life of New York (ELNY) liquidation, discussed the consequences for structured settlements and reviewed hypothetical case examples from the proposed ELNY Restructuring Agreement.
Karen Meyers, LeAnne Sprague, Doug Brand and Kathy Moghadas - In addition to discussing changes to the CSSC designation that will require annual CE credits, NSSTA sponsored a special four hour annuity education session designed to meet the requirements of the new state annuity transaction suitability laws.
CNA Commercial Liability Claims Vice President James Martin - Championing structured settlements as an "important competitive advantage" for liability insurers, Martin also emphasized the importance of linking structured settlements and structured settlement sales to claim department goals and metrics.
Ringler Radio Broadcaster Larry Cohen - When announced co-interviwer Mark Wahlstrom proved a "no show", Cohen glibly volleyed Eric Vaughn toughest questions. Three memorable Cohen quotes: "a lot of a little is a lot"; "vision without execution is hallucination"; and (applying his grandfather's wisdom to Executive Life's annuity rates ) "there is something wrong with this tuna fish."
Liberty Life Chief Underwriter Kevin Smith - Speaking about "Life Company Operating Metrics", Smith pointed out the dearth of structured settlement metrics and announced a collaborative project among multiple NSSTA life company members to develop a preliminary set of structured settlement operating metrics.
Attorney William C Chriss - Author of the new book "The Noble Lawyer", Chriss discussed legal and structured settlement ethics. Among his observations while discussing NSSTA's Code of Ethics:
- "We cultivate beliefs that justify our behaviors, not the other way around.
- "Unconscious bias, as opposed to intentional venality, cannot be deterred by criminal laws or post hoc sanctions.
- "The more people involved, the easier it is to defuse moral responsibility."
Congratulations to NSSTA's speakers and leaders (especially Education Chairpersons Toni Warbington and Don Engels as well as Finn, Vaughn and Associate Director Peter Arnold) for substantially upgrading NSSTA's educational program.
For S2KM reports about prior conferences of NSSTA and other structured settlement and settlement planning professional associations, see the structured settlement wiki.