This morning I received a phone call from a structured settlement broker concerning a case with an approach so boorish it need not be be fully described here. The broker, who was not even insurance licensed in the state where the case was being adjudicated knows who they are and so does the President of their firm. The broker' deserves thanks for inspiring this blog post, which makes suggestions in response to some some of the behavioral oddities I have observed over the years from different cases involving different people.
- When you call your counterpart, be prepared! Have a clear purpose for calling and state it succinctly. The word "babbling" is a descriptive best associated with a patch of running water known as a brook**.
- Just because your client didn't call you until after the fact is not my fault. I encourage my clients to bring me in early and most of the time they do!
- If by chance you arrive at the dance late, try to do what you can to help get the deal done instead of disturbing the feng shui in a weak attempt to justify your existence. If there is something substantive fair enough, but if not, just makes the industry look bad.
- If you don't hold a valid insurance license in the state where the case is being adjudicated you should not even be at the dance. There is no pro hac vice in insurance! If you get caught, expect me to point that out (or have pointed out) (1) to my client, (2) to your client. (3) to the lawyers involved, (4) the mediator; and (5) if a minor is involved, to the judge or magistrate overseeing the case. Note that there are documented cases where several members of our industry have been fined thousands of dollars for operating in a state without a license. Don't let that be you!
- How is it that XYZ insurance Company "insists" on using THEIR documents but in my experience with 4 different brokers on the approved panel of XYZ Insurance Company there are 4 different documents in 3 different fonts?
- Does XYZ insurance company insist that you do ALL your documents in courier font?
- Please don't send documents in Adobe .pdf format for review , UNLESS it is accompanied by a version in MS Word or Wordperfect . It takes much longer review them and is not time efficient for anyone. Encourage your clients to use MS Word or Wordperfect. The former has a great track changes function where everyone can instantly see every change and edit and who made them. Use it or learn how to use it. It makes for much easier collaboration for all concerned and increases the level of satisfaction with the process. If your client doesn't know it, teach them!
- At some point you have to realize that a cookie cutter belongs in the kitchen.
The structured settlement watchdog's favorite cookie cutter
- Don't call me out in the hallway to negotiate a commission split in front of the client. While sitting in a cramped waiting room next to my client during a mediation, this dude actually swiveled his "fresh from an transcontinental flight " keister into my client's face in one such attempt.
**August 9, 2010 postscript. I am astonished at times about the lack of sophistication in the industry. Thus this message to the clueless who don't get " the picture", I was not referring to a friend and fellow Syracuse alum who coincidentally belongs to the same firm as one of the brokers who inspired this post. The broker in question and the head of the firm and my firm know who they are. I'm surprised nobody has tried to figure out which of our industry brethren's "fresh from a transcontinental flight" keister I referred to. Send in your suggestions. If you correctly guess the "butt" of this joke you will win a bottle of Malbec courtesy of this author. Contest ends November 10, 2010. Only one entry permitted per person. Neither offender and any brokers or attorneys, or mediator involved in the case, nor any of their employees are eligible. Ties will be settled by a monkey throwing at a dart board. You supply the simian. And before I forget, reread the final point!