by John Darer CLU ChFC CSSC RSP CLTC
Is it necessary for a structured settlement consultant to be defense only, or plaintiff only, to be effective to meet your needs? Is it not more important that the structured settlement consultant be a credentialed expert in his or her field?
One of my industry colleagues from California has just registered the domain name defensestructuredsettlement.com and on another website is taking at least a decade old sales pitch to plaintiff lawyers, to defense lawyers and adjusters (i.e. why you need a exclusively oriented structured settlement broker). How ironic it is that the owner of defensestructuredsettlement.com, structured settlement broker, Jeff Anderson, is listed on the roster of Settlement Planners, Inc., which states on its website as of this morning:
"In all other aspects of a personal injury case, you call in experts to support your position or counter the defense. Why would you then hand your client over to the opposition (or their agents) when it comes time to plan and structure their settlement?"
"Historically, the defense has structured the settlement in a personal injury case. In many of those cases the interests of the defendant were served over the needs of the injured plaintiff. No longer. At Settlement Planners, the plaintiff comes first. We are solely retained by the injured party to create settlement plans that are tailored to meet the needs of your client. Not the defendant".
It is also ironic considering that the head of Jeff Anderson's brokerage is known to do both plaintiff and defense work. in California.
Mr. Anderson is an industry veteran of over 20 years. In my opinion his approach [and that of a few others with a similar bent] of "exclusive orientation" makes for nice marketing, but is meaningless in reality.
While both parties benefit from and should have a professionally credentialed structured settlement expert, if I was a claims adjuster or attorney I'd seek out the best expert I could find. That being said the structured settlement business is, and always has been a relationship business and trust is something that must be earned over time, through experience.