by John Darer CLU ChFC MSSC RSP CLTC
A structured settlement annuity is typically owned by a qualified assignment company if the annuity is being purchased as a "qualified funding asset" to pay damages as consideration for the settlement of physical injury, physical sickness, workers' compensation, or wrongful death survivior claims. If the structured settlement is for payment of damages from an employmnet settlement, a divorce settlement, a commercial dispute or to pay for taxable damages, then the annuity is typically owned by the non qualified assignment company.
In cases where a settlement is made with certain branches of the United States government there is no qualified assignment, the annuity is owned by the United States. There are also some insurers (and in rare cases defendats) who do not enter in to assignments. In those cases, the defendant or the insurer will own the structured settlement annuity.
In no case will the plaintiff own the structured settlement annuity. The plaintiff owns the right to receive payment from the structured settlement ("structured settlement payment rights"). Such rights may be transferred provided they meet the criteria set forth in IRC 5891 and any applicable structured settlementprotection act.