The French author and poet Victor Hugo has been translated and quoted as saying: "There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come."
Has the time come for "settlement planning" to be recognized as a powerful idea deserving professional study and status in the United States? Recent conferences, including the Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) 2012 Annual Meeting, suggest that settlement planning is becoming both an important profession and an alternative business model for the structured settlement industry.
As a foundation for professional status, SSP has previously developed the Registered Settlement Planner (RSP) Program and adopted Standards of Professional Conduct. The 2012 Annual Meeting, held April 30 - May 1 in Las Vegas, featured presentations by leading settlement planning practitioners and subject matters experts. In addition, several product providers introduced insurance and financial products to complement the traditional structured settlement annuity.
What is settlement planning? Joseph Tombs, a former SSP President and co-founder of the RSP program, defines settlement planning as "... a profession helping recipients of settlement proceeds use those proceeds to achieve post-loss goals and transition successfully to post-settlement financial life."
What is a settlement planner? The SSP Standards of Professional Conduct define "settlement planner" as "... a representative who provides advice and other services to a person participating in the design, negotiation or implementation of a settlement or satisfaction of judgment for the benefit of a person claiming a legal entitlement to an award of damages or other compensation."
SSP conference Keynote Speaker Michael Ellsberg, author of "The Power of Eye Contact" and "The Education of Millionaires", discussed how to "Invest in Your Own Human Capital".
Settlement Planning Practitioners and Subject Matter Experts and Topics:
- 2011 SSP President Jack Meligan - SSP Accomplishments
- 2012 SSP President Charles Schell - SSP Goals
- Joseph DiGangi - Reinventing the Settlement Industry
- Douglas Shaw - Medicare Liens
- Robert Wood - Tax Update
- Jeremy Babener - Settlement Agreements and IRS Challenges
- Karen Meyers - Suitability Standards
- Patrick Hindert - Settlement Planning Business Models
- David Higgins - Litigation Rollover Accounts
- Jason Lazurus - Liability MSAs
- Frank Maguire - Overcoming Stalled Markets
- Mark Wahlstrom - Market Trends and Challenges
- Daniel Hindert - The ELNY Liquidation
- Richard Risk - History of Settlement Planning
- Dan Alverez - Lien Resolution
- Joseph Tombs - The RSP Program
Settlement Planning Product Providers
- Wesley Cosgriff - Secured Futures Trust
- John Woolway - Vantage Investment Partners
- Robert Noack - Aequitas Capital Management
- Christi Fried - Continental Trust Services
- Paul Hansen - Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
- Major General James W. Comstock (ret.) - Alternative Design Insurance Services
- Anthony Prieto - Synergy Settlement Services
- James Creel - First Capital Surety & Trust Co.
- Robert Burney - Integrity Financial, Inc.
- Mal Deener - Symetra Life Insurance Company (on behalf of Berkshire Hathaway Life Insurance and National Indemnity)
In subsequent blog posts, S2KM will review selected SSP conference topics. For S2KM reporting of prior SSP meetings, see the structured settlement wiki.