by John Darer CLU ChFC CSSC
A very small fringe factor of structured settlement brokers, consultants and settlement planners hype small amounts of alleged bad into broad harmful,and perhaps defamatory, over generalizations about alleged sordid acts which are then broadcast to plaintiff attorneys for their marketing purposes. It's time to set the record straight for the sake of all parties.
The purpose of my post is not to justify the merits of being a plaintiff broker, defense broker or settlement practioner. I encourage both sides to have representation by the best structured settlement expert.
My purpose is to make sure that inaccurate information is not being disseminated. Inaccurate or misleading marketing and advertising about structured settlements or the industry is just as bad for consumers (and all parties) as is is the alleged malfeasance that the fringe factor overgeneralists assert.
In a prior post, circa Thanksgiving, I quoted Richard B. Risk, Jr, Esq., a noted plainitiff advocate from Tulsa , OK and former structured settlement broker and consultant who has written that he has worked on both plaintiff and defense. I will now quote him again from another one of his hot stove articles of yesteryear. The excerpts are taken in context as Risk discusses ethics an legal malpractice concerns for lawyers
"NOT ALL DEFENSE PEOPLE ARE OUT TO DECEIVE YOU" February 1, 2000
“I need to preface what I plan to say about the defense by telling you that there are several decent brokers in this industry, including many who are aligned with casualty companies (emphasis added) as their national accounts. These brokers have been drawn to participate in a system that favors the defense, and they are aligned with the casualty companies as a matter of convenience. The problem is: How do you know when you have a caring defense broker and when you don’t?”
“Also, this is not an indictment of all casualty insurers, since many of them will introduce a structured settlement broker to the process simply to ensure that the claimant has an opportunity to take advantage of the tax exemptions that Congress intended. Many casualty companies truly act in the best interest of the plaintiffs (emphasis added) in suggesting guaranteed future payments.” February 1, 2000
If the general consensus is that things have improved and the above 7 year old quotes are attributable to someone who at the time was considered the structured settlement industry's most radical of writers, the message is clear,
It's time to singe the fringe!