The United States structured settlement market has been in existence for almost 40 years and continues to expand its scope, complexity and importance within the context of personal injury settlement planning.
Since it was first published in 1986, "Structured Settlements and Periodic Payment Judgments" (S2P2J), has provided structured settlement stakeholders with an authoritative reference guide, consisting of 16 chapters with extensive footnotes and Appendix documents, to help them understand issues and fashion settlements and judgments utilizing periodic payments. Both the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) and the Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) have utilized S2P2J as an educational resource for their certification programs.
Co-authored and updated semi-annually by Daniel W. Hindert, Joseph J. Dehner and Patrick J. Hindert, S2P2J now features an online version as well as the traditional hardcopy. Online S2P2J includes a search feature and download capability as well as link features to access individual book sections, appendices, footnotes, cases and statutes.
Publisher Law Journal Press anticipates a late September 2016 distribution date for hardcopy supplements for S2P2J Release 60 with online S2P2J subscribers receiving their update simultaneously with no additional subscription charge. Competent professionals confronted by structured settlement issues should have access to an up-to-date copy (or the online version) of this indispensable source book.
Release 60 Highlights - Release 60 will feature new, updated and/or expanded sections addressing the following structured settlement topics:
- History Chart - To help structured settlement and settlement planning stakeholders analyze the comprehensive changes impacting their professions, S2P2J inserted a History Chart into Chapter 1 several years ago, developed by Timothy Morbach and Patrick Hindert, which tracks legislative, regulatory, financial and market developments impacting structured settlements since 1975 and organizes these developments into three stages of industry development. Release 60 updates this History Chart.
- Primary Market Business Practices - Release 60 continues to update S2P2J's analysis of changes impacting primary market structured settlement business practices including public policy, guidelines for use, industry standards and product suitability.
- Secondary Market Business Practices - An update of Chapter 16 provides background coverage of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's civil investigation of J.G. Wentworth as well as historical context for recent Washington Post reporting about continuing abusive business practices by some factoring companies in Maryland which resulted in a civil lawsuit by the State of Maryland Office of Attorney General Consumer Protection Division.
- Taxation Examples - To increase clarity for various tax concepts, Professor Ken Milani, of the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business, provides multiple case examples which have been added to Chapter 2 with this Release. In addition to his other teaching responsibilities, Professor Milani teaches the tax section of NSSTA's Certified Structured Settlement Consultant (CSSC) program which is hosted by the University of Notre Dame.
- Settlement Trusts - As structured settlements increasingly fund settlement trusts, structured settlement stakeholders require greater knowledge of such topics as the duties of settlement trustees under the Uniform Prudent Investors Act plus factors settlement trustees must consider when making investments. Release 60 addresses those topics in Chapter 3.
- NSSTA Surveys - Prior updates of S2P2J provided summary analyses of structured settlement marketing surveys of claims executives and claims professionals sponsored by NSSTA and conducted by CLM Advisors. Release 60 features analysis of Part 3 of NSSTA's three marketing surveys in Chapter 5 which examines how plaintiff attorneys view structured settlements and structured settlement consultants.
- Plaintiff Attorney Malpractice - Also in Chapter 5, Release 60 summarizes a 2015 California lawsuit against a plaintiff law firm (Mraz v. Lief, Cabraser) which, although the jury determined the plaintiff law firm did not breach its duty of care, warns of several potential malpractice dangers for plaintiff attorneys who are: 1) uninformed; 2) lack competent advisors; and/or 3) act carelessly; with regards to structured settlement issues.
- Product Suitability - Recent updates of S2P2J have expanded Section 6.02 which addresses "Settlement Consultant" issues. Release 60 expands prior discussion within this section about the topic of "product suitability" and how it impacts structured settlement and settlement planning professionals.
- Judicial Authority to Impose Structured Settlement - Release 60 features a recent New Jersey Superior Court case (Impink v. Reynes) in Chapter 7 that determined (despite conflicting authority in other states) that a motion judge's inherent parens patriae powers did not permit the judge to change the terms of a settlement to impose a structured settlement for a minor without consent of the parties.
Previous S2P2J releases have highlighted and addressed the following structured settlement developments and growth opportunities:
- Wrongful Convictions Tax Relief Act of 2015.
- Court decisions analyzing "safe harbor annuity rules under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 when annuities are used to preserve Medicaid eligibility.
- New cases where courts have identified questions to held judges determine whether proposed transfers of future payment rights meet the "best interest" test under various state Structured Settlement Protection Acts.
- Non-qualified assignment issues - including tax and security issues raised by off-shore assignment companies.
- Templates for: 1) approval of MSAs; and 2) disclosure of consultants' roles and compensation.
- Expanded coverage of Workers Compensation MSAs.
- Summary and discussion of recent PLR for indexed annuities and commutation riders.
- Summarized results of CLM Advisors surveys commissioned by NSSTA to determine the value claims executives and claims professionals place on structured settlements and structured settlement consultants.
- Introduction to ABLE Accounts.
- A new section to introduce and explain federal and international regulatory developments and entities resulting from the 2008 global financial crisis.
- Updated analysis of the changing role of and standards for plaintiff attorneys engaged in personal injury settlement planning and when negotiating structured settlements.
- Summary and analysis of recent U.S. Treasury Regulations for IRC 104(a)(2).
- Practice tips for minimizing the risk of an IRS settlement challenge.
- Updated summary of lessons learned from the Executive Life Insurance of New York (ELNY) insolvency.
- Periodic payment reinsurance as an alternative means of funding structured settlements.
For S2KM's most recent analysis of the structured settlement industry, see: "Structured Settlements 2015":