by John Darer CLU ChFC MSSC RSP CLTC
As if it wasn't enough to take on the responsibility of critiquing structured settlement websites for the improper use of the English language, for the first time I have an issue over the Settlement Channel's use of Yiddish.
In today's rant concerning one firm's commission sharing agreement Mark Wahlstrom uses the word "Huzpah". There is no such word in Yiddish. I believe the word Mark meant to use was "Chutzpah" (pronounced with the phlegmatic "ch" as in the Scottish, Loch Ness or "Achmed the Dead Terrorist".), or Hutzpah, not Huzpah (which is too close to the word for "the white canopy" under which the groom "steps on the glass"). Incidentally the modern use of the word "chutzpah" can be used to express strong disapproval as Mark has, or a grudging admiration, which he has not.
Further to the subject of Mark's rant. I believe I have seen the precise commission sharing agreement that Mark describes. It is being circulated by members of a large national agency and has been for some time. I disagree with Mark that the "kitchen sink agreement" is a sign of desperation. I see it is a sign of cheeky yet amusing opportunism. As opportunistic as it may seem, it's hardly worth anyone getting apoplectic over (and I'm not saying Mark is). I just can't imagine any settlement planner ever agreeing to the first offering and it isn't being pushed hard anyway.
It is worth noting that I learned today that the same national company (of whose representative I am assuming Mark refers) apparently sent guidelines (to its members) for splitting commissions , on a mutually favorable basis with brokers or settlement planners engaged by the plaintiff.
I continue to be troubled however (in view of Principle VI of the NSSTA Code of Ethics), that any member of any NSSTA member firm is soliciting business or participating in a transaction without being insurance licensed in the state, or seeking a share of commissions on variable or securities products without being appropriately licensed etc. I encourage Mark Wahlstrom to report such behavior in writing, along with the evidence to the NSSTA Board of Directors. It is not enough that NSSTA members (and non members) gripe to each other about ethics. Do something about it!