In an article titled "Loss for Policyholders", written by James Campbell and published April 17, 2012 in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Executive Life of New York (ELNY) stakeholders expressed contrasting reactions to Judge John M. Galasso's decisions to:
- Approve the ELNY Restructuring Agreement proposed by the Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (Superintendent); and
- Grant judicial immunity to the Superintendent, as ELNY's Receiver, and the New York Liquidation Bureau (NYLB) "for any action or omission by any one or more of them when acting in good faith, in accordance with this Order, or in the performance of their duties pursuant to Insurance Law Article 74 ..."
Eric Rabinowitz, a 43-year-old Manhattan man, who received an ELNY-funded structured settlement in 1983 after being blinded in his right eye during a cataract operation, told the WSJ: "They hung us out to dry and they knew for years that this thing didn't get properly protected and yet they gave us a few weeks to lawyer-up in holiday season."
Shortfall Payee Attorney
Connecticut attorney Edward Stone represents 12 payees whose combined ELNY benefits, according to the WSJ article, will be cut by $20 million under the approved plan. The article quotes Stone as saying: "Their benefits are being cut by more than 50%. One of my clients is being cut by 58%. This will mean major changes, and it may impact their ability to get medical care. One of my clients will have to file bankruptcy because the guarantees they were promised are not really guarantees at all."
According to Schedule 1.15 of the ELNY Restructuring Agreement, 1459 structured settlement payees will experience shortfalls ("uncovered amounts") as a result of ELNY's liquidation and restructuring even after state guaranty association contributions and voluntary enhancements by life insurance companies.
Stone also informed the WSJ: "the judge rejected his bid to call a number of witnesses to probe the [NYLB's] management of the company, including a former ELNY president, an actuary, a forensic accountant and a fraud expert."
Spokesman for Superintendent
David Neustadt, a spokesman for the Superintendent, disagreed with Stone's suggestion that the Superintendent and the NYLB might be guilty of mismanaging ELNY during the 20 plus years they supervised ELNY's Rehabilitation. "This is an absurd and baseless suggestion from a small-group of self-interested plaintiff's lawyers seeking to enrich themselves," Neustadt said.
Structured Settlement Industry Spokesman
Eric Vaughn, Executive Director of the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) "defended the structured-settlement industry, amid the failure of the ELNY rehabilitation" according to the WSJ article. Vaughn stated: "The Executive Life insolvency remains the only instance where any insurer of structured-settlement annuity has not made all payments in full and on time." In addition, according to Vaughn, "several hundred of the structured-settlement recipients might be able 'to recover shortfalls from the original insurers and other parties that have continuing responsibility under settlement agreements.'"
For S2KM's complete and continuing reporting about the ELNY liquidation, see the structured settlement wiki - and more specifically related to this blog post: