The U.S. structured settlement industry consists of three national professional associations - the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA), the Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) and the National Association of Settlement Purchasers (NASP) - whose political differences frequently obscure their shared existential interests and, until recently, have restricted their opportunities for mutually-beneficial collaborative education.
NSSTA's 2014 Fall Educational Conference highlighted the issues of "generational change and challenges" and served as a precursor for improved association relationships by featuring SSP President Neil Johnson and NASP President Patricia LaBorde as guest speakers.
The SSP 2015 Annual Conference, to be held March 29-31 in Las Vegas will substantially expand this new educational chapter of industry dialogue by hosting an unprecedented number of association leaders as speakers. Among the highlights will be a repeat engagement of NSSTA's 2014 "Presidents' Panel" featuring current NSSTA President Kevin Silo and SSP President Johnson. Titled "Collaboration for the Greater Good", and moderated by Patrick Hindert, this panel promises to "doubledown" on solutions for achieving industry unity.
Additional association leaders scheduled to speak at the SSP Conference:
- Eric Vaughn - NSSTA's Executive Director is expected to emphasize the shared interests of all structured settlement professionals including plaintiff and defense representatives as well primary and secondary market participants. These shared interests being the protection and preservation of IRC sections 104(a)(2) and 130 plus the future growth of the primary market.
- Earl Nesbitt - NASP's Executive Director will be joined by Rhonda Bentzen, SSP 2015 Conference Chairperson and secondary market expert, to follow-up SSP's groundbreaking 2014 secondary market panel which first opened educational dialogue between primary and secondary structured settlement professional associations.
- Jack Kelly - NASP's lobbyist, who also spoke at last year's SSP conference, will provide his perspective on political changes taking place in Washington D.C. and how they might impact structured settlements.
- Kevin Urbatsch - The National Director of the Academy of Special Needs Planners (ASNP) recently introduced and helped organize ASNP 12-part "Settlement Planning" webinar series. In Las Vegas, Urbatsch will address recent attacks by the Social Security Administration on litigation-generated special needs trusts.
- Wendie Howland - Editor of the American Association of Nurse Life Care Planning (AANLCP) Journal, Ms. Howland will discuss settlement planning from a life care planning perspective. She will highlight the increasing role of life care planners in allocating damages for Medicare set-asides (MSAs) and as a result of the Affordable Care Act. In addition, she will advise structured settlement consultants and settlement planners how to better utilize life care plans to improve their own work product.
Additional SSP speakers and topics:
- Joseph Dehner - A prominent international attorney and co-author of the legal textbook "Structured Settlements and Periodic Payments", Dehner will discuss "Off-Shore Funding Companies" and their increasing role in the structured settlement market.
- Joseph DiGangi, Shannon Fitzgerald and Phillip Kruse - this panel of experts, moderated by Patrick Hindert, will analyze the application of "fiduciary standards" to settlement planning and settlement planners. Their presentation will feature a case study, review SSP's Standards of Practice, discuss NAIC Model Regulations, consider the 2006 Saltzburg/Chemerinsky memos, and suggest best practices.
- Edward Stone - A legal representative for many Executive Life of New York short-fall victims who continues to seek restitution for his clients, Stone will offer his opinion as to whether some settlement planners remain at risk in the ongoing ELNY litigation.
- Joseph Tombs - A lawyer, certified financial planner and former SSP President who helped organize SSP's Registered Settlement Planner (RSP) certification program, Tombs will outline his recommended process for developing a settlement plan.
- Jack Meligan - Also a former SSP President as well as a recognized settlement planning expert, Meligan will provide an MSA update with his perspective on how MSAs fit into settlement planning.
- Jeremy Babener - A prodigious structured settlement author and industry tax expert who also serves as Chairman of SSP's Legal Committee, Babener will introduce SSP's new website and discuss new SSP Legal Committee initiatives.
- Bryn Poland - A leading Qualified Settlement Fund (QSF) expert, who has served as attorney, trustee and/or administrator for numerous QSFs, Ms Poland will explain how and why the multi-claimant QSF market is growing rapidly despite the single claimant pullback within the structured settlement market.
For S2KM's reporting about prior structured settlement and settlement planning professional conferences, see the structured settlement wiki.