Salzburg was the birthplace of Mozart and the setting for the musical and film The Sound of Music. A number of plaintiff structured settlement experts are using a certain legal ethic's opinion of namesake Steven A. Salzburg, Wallace and Beverly Woodbury University Professor of Law at George Washington University as a scare tactic and a commission grab. Should Salzburg's opinion be "a few of your favorite things"?
It is more often than not the case today that there are structured settlement brokers on both sides of the structured settlement transaction. It is not unlike real estate where there is a buyer's broker and a seller's broker (listing broker). However unlike real estate the structured settlement industry currently lacks a formal framework for splitting of commissions and instead custom and practice dictates agreements between structured settlement brokers which vary from case to case. Opportunists have unfairly tried to mischaracterize such agreements as if there is some "vonTrapp" door. It's up to the structured settlement broker to disclose how he or she is paid and in my experience how I'm compensated is one of the first questions a prospective new client asks and I'm happy to disclose, even provide a structured settlement affidavit.
If a structured settlement annuity is placed as part of the resolution of the case then the structured settlement brokers each share in the commission as licensed insurance agents or brokers, with the commission being paid by the life insurance company issuing the structured settlement annuity. Note that the commission is paid by the life insurance company issuing the structured settlement annuity and (unless the plaintiff's expert or his or her company is not appointed with the insurance company issuing the structured settlement annuity) not by the defense expert.
Some plaintiff experts are implying that the plaintiff is somehow more enriched by having the plaintiff broker earn all the commission from the placement of a structured settlement annuity. This is simply not the case. Unless the now illegal practice of rebating is made legal and the plaintiff broker is legally permitted to reduce commissions to increase payouts to the plaintiff or pay a portion of his or her commissions to the plaintiff, the plaintiff gains nothing financially if his or her structured settlement broker earns all the commission. That's no greater benefits, no greater annuity savings.
What a plaintiff gets by involving his or her own structured settlement broker, settlement planner or structured settlement consultant is hopefully a qualified navigator through the "short term decisions with life time impact" that accompany the resolution of years of litigation.
Through its new Broker Relations committee, involving representatives of all of its members, plaintiff and defense, the National Structured Settlement Trade Association ("NSSTA") is seeking to create a framework for the future. I am planning on participating in Chicago in July. If you are listening to a naysayer, ask them if they are participating.