The United States structured settlement market has been in existence for more than 35 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 March 2015 distribution date for hardcopy supplements for S2P2J Release 57 with online S2P2J subcribers 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 57 Highlights - Release 57 will feature new, updated and/or expanded sections addressing the following structured settlement topics:
- WCMSAs - Release 57 re-positions and expands S2P2J's extensive summary of the new CMS rules for workers compensation Medicare set-asides, the fastest growing segment of the structured settlement primary market. Regulatory rules for liability MSAs remain essentially unchanged following the withdrawl by CMS on August 8, 2014 of it the liability MSA-related NPRM it had earlier submitted to the Office of Management and Budget.
- Indexed Annuities - PLR 143928-13 highlights the potential importance of indexed annuities and annuity riders as structured settlement funding alternatives. Release 57 features a new section explaining indexed annuities, differentiating variable annuities and summarizing the related PLR.
- Commutation Riders - PLR 143928-13 also provided favorable tax treatment for a commutation rider pursuant to a Notice of Hardship Conversion as a potential alternative to factoring transactions. This PLR justified an expansion in Release 57 of S2P2J's current section discussing commutations.
- Non-qualified Assignments - Most non-qualified assignments depend upon off-shore assignment companies which raise tax and security issues for participants. Release 57 expands S2P2P's analysis of non-qualified assignments to address these issues.
- CLM Advisors Surveys - Release 57 summarizes results from two surveys commissioned by NSSTA to determine the value claims executives and adjustors place on structured settlements and structured settlement consultants. The results and related metrics are generally favorable and arguably provide a valuable marketing blueprint for defense brokers.
- ABLE Accounts - Release 57 features a new section describing ABLE Accounts, a tax-preferenced funding option authorized by the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act) of 2014. Although some structured settlement consultants view ABLE Accounts as a competitive product, others see opportunities to fund ABLE accounts using structured settlements.
- Insurance Regulation - States historically have regulated insurance in the United States. As a result of the 2008 global financial crisis, however, new federal and international insurance regulatory agencies now exist which are targeting some of the largest structured settlement annuity providers among other financial and insurance companies. Release 57 adds a new section to introduce and explain these new regulatory developments and entities.
- ELNY and Reliance - The recent ELNY and Reliance liquidations have each impacted thousands of structured settlement recipients. Although judicial solutions have been fashioned, litigation continues - as least involving some ELNY shortfall payees. Release 57 updates S2P2J's extensive coverage of the ELNY and Reliance liquidations.
- Role of Plaintiff Attorneys - As structure settlements and personal injury settlement planning have become more complex, and plaintiff attorneys increasingly require the services of other settlement planning professionals, plaintiff attorneys should continue to perform certain essential structured settlement and settlement planning roles. Release 57 identifies and discusses those roles and provides additional related advice for plaintiff attorneys.
- Secondary Market Update - The continuing expansion of the secondary market has generated controversy and litigation as well as legislative reform and changing business practices. S2P2J continues to track these developments in expanding chapter 16 titled "Transfers of Structured Settlement Payment Rights". Release 57 highlights include "anti-assignment" issues in Illinois originating with the Brenston case and the market "chaos" some secondary market participant see occurring as the result of the Washington Square v. RSL Funding case.
- IRC 104(a)(2) Treasury Regulations - Recent U.S. Treasury Regulations for IRC 104(a)(2) relating to the exclusion from gross income for amounts received on account of personal physical injuries or physical sickness make two primary changes to the current regulations which Release 57 summarizes in the context of S2P2J more extensive analysis in Chapter 2 of "Taxation of Damages Received by the Claimant".
For related S2KM blog reporting about structured settlement 2014 developments, see: