Continuing to advance a theme of "industry unity", which now appears to encompass some collaborative political lobbying as well as education, the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) hosted its 2015 Annual Meeting April 22-24 in Washington, D.C.
Incoming NSSTA President Michael Goodman highlighted these developments during his introductory address when he listed among other recent NSSTA successes: 1) a strong relationship with the American Association for Justice (AAJ); 2) improved dialogue with the Society of Settlement Planners (SSP); 3) guest educational participation involving SSP and National Association of Settlement Purchasers (NASP) representatives; as well as 4) successful cooperation with NASP to enact revised structured settlement protection legislation in Illinois.
The new Illinois legislation provides an antidote for problems created by the Brenston case. Among other changes to the prior Illinois statute, the new legislation also includes provisions to: 1) restrict forum shopping; 2) require the seller of payment rights to appear in person at the court hearing (unless the court determines that good cause exists to excuse the payee from appearing); and 3) require disclosure of prior transfers.
Representatives of both NSSTA and NASP have expressed their intent to cooperate in pursuing similar legislative reforms in other states including Florida, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Goodman also identified several goals for NSSTA during his term as President. These include: 1) modifying NSSTA's traditional "protect and preserve" message to inspire primary market growth; 2) moving beyond "interest rate selling"; 3) moving beyond a focus on factoring; 4) identifying and pursuing new markets for structured settlement annuities; 5) adding one or more new life company providers; 6) engaging new, younger structured settlement brokers; 7) providing a new and improved training initiative.
Goodman will be joined on the NSSTA Board by two newly-elected Directors: Jim Early and Geoff Kissel. They replace retiring Directors John Machir and Dan Goodmann. John McCulloch was re-elected to a new three year term of directorship. McCulloch was also honored as NSSTA's annual President's Award winner. Karen Meyers and Bill Wakelee were named recipients of NSSTA's annual Leadership Award.
NSSTA Executive Director Eric Vaughn updated members on the Structured Settlement Caucus which is co-chaired by Congressmen John Lewis and James Sensenbrenner and currently consists of 53 congressional members. The objectives of the Caucus include: 1) expanding the base of Congressional support for structured settlements; 2) educating new members of Congress about structured settlements; and 3) protecting and promoting structured settlements.
As an important auxiliary portion of its meeting, Vaughn and 125 NSSTA members "Took the Hill" to meet with Senators and Representatives. Their efforts received strong encouragement from Congressman Lewis who exhorted NSSTA members "to make some noise."
"Stand up! Speak up!" Lewis urged. "Structured settlements have always enjoyed strong bipartisan Congressional support. They are the right and necessary thing to do. They work by providing long term financial security for injury victims to live with dignity."
NSSTA and its Education Committee face a continuing challenge: how best to educate its members, who possess varying degrees of experience and who market to a diverse group of structured settlement producers and decision makers, to deliver high value services to their respective clients. NSSTA has addressed this challenge with multiple new initiatives:
- Structures 202 provides a comprehensive program of case management fundamentals and business development opportunities. Unlike Structures 101 (a prior NSSTA educational program for case managers), Structures 202 is also designed for structured settlement brokers who are new to the market and therefore includes an important, primarily plaintiff-oriented, business development component.
- Complementing and extending its Certified Structured Settlement Consultant (CSSC) Professional Certification Program, NSSTA has added a new Master's Certificate in Structured Settlement Consulting (MSSC). NSSTA recognized and honored the most recent graduates of both programs during its 2015 Annual Meeting.
- During its Fall 2014 Conference, NSSTA announced a new "NSSTA University" service whereby NSSTA will partner with any member to secure CE credits for member-sponsored educational seminars or insurance claims departments or law firms.
- In partnership with CLM Advisors, NSSTA's Marketing Committee has commissioned a three part survey project to provide its members with valuable marketing tools for discussions with the audiences surveyed. Part 1 (claims executives) and Part 2 (claims adjustors) have been completed. Part III will survey plaintiff attorneys.
In addition, from S2KM's perspective, NSSTA continues to upgrade its traditional educational conferences.
SPEAKERS AND TOPICS - NSSTA 2015 Annual Meeting
- Kevin Silo - Opening Remarks
- Congressman John Lewis - Keynote Speaker
- Michael Goodman - NSSTA Agenda and Objectives
- Sally Greenberg - Consumer & Legal Protections for Injury Victims
- Mike Montemurro and John Stanton - Internal Revenue Service Update
- Taylor Smith, Ronna Ruppelt, Robert Sampson - Delivering High Value Services to Claims Professionals
- Karen Meyers, Anne Marie VonBank, Cody Shively - Trigger Trusts
- Christi Fried, Paul Hansen, Phil Sanders - Trust Asset Allocation and Structured Settlements
- Stephen Harris, Timothy O'Driscoll and Peter Vodola - Judicial Education
- Susan Clark and Melissa Price - NSSTA Took the Hill
- Michael Miller, Earl Nesbitt, John McCulloch - Factoring Panel Discussions
- Dr. Quincy Krosby - Macro Economics and the Financial Markets
- Nancy Bond - Life Care Planning
For additional S2KM reporting about past NSSTA conferences, see the structured settlement wiki.