by Structured Settlement Watchdog
The off the cob "Suit Puts Structured Settlement Market Under The Spotlight" is not the Warren "Herschy bar" it pretends to be. Too many apples and oranges.
Hersch states "Allegations of lack of transparency about compensation come up throughout the 49-page Ezell case complaint, as well as in suits filed against other players in the structured settlement market in recent years, citing the matter of Griffiths v Aviva London Assignment Corporation, which has nothing to do with transparency about compensation.
"The timing of the publication in Think Advisor is suspect on the very day of a telling filing by AIG. Alas it's no coincidence that there's a link from the key word "court case" to attorney Dick Risk's "tossed salad" of misplaced metaphors from the March 12, 2015 Life Health Pro (now part of Think Advisor} used to Ginny up the ELNY lawsuit against Ringler, that I shredded in Structured Settlement Pulp From Disgruntled Dick in LifeHealthPro. Dick Risk is listed as one of the counsel in the AIG suit.
The May 10, 2017 Defense leave to reply said "Plaintiffs fail to explain how further discussion of the well-known, industry-wide commission practice would have impacted their settlement decisions. Plaintiffs do not dispute that the annuity costs would have been the same. They also do not dispute that they would have acted no differently, aside from arguably preferring the commission be paid to a different broker. There is no allegation that commission details would have affected the Plaintiffs’ periodic payments at all. They go on to say that
"Plaintiffs’ speculation that a “claimant’s broker” would not have “steer[ed] the annuity placement to the affiliated life insurance company,” Pls. Opp. at 14-15, is a non sequitur divorced from the Complaint, which raises no claims of inappropriate “steering” and instead details annuities placed with three competitors , and contains no allegation that there was anything improper about placing a structured settlement annuity with AGL". In fact exhibits show that in Erica Biddings case Plaintiffs’ argument is undermined by the fact (ignored in the Opposition brief) that Biddings retained her own broker and expressly chose to place annuities that were not affiliated with AIG, despite the AIG affiliates paying more benefits.
Plaintiffs do not explain what new facts were revealed to excuse their prior inaction. Plaintiffs argue that they were injured because “Defendants” “promised” Plaintiffs Ezell and Whitley “that $200,000 [of settlement proceeds] would be annuitized” and Plaintiff Biddings “that $1,642,000 [of settlement proceeds] would be annuitized”—but that a 4% broker commission was “secretly deducted” from those amounts. AIG argues that this is wrong, and inconsistent with the pleadings and documents before the Court. Plaintiffs do not—and cannot, now or ever—allege that Lexington paid less than the full $200,000 or $1,642,000… or do they allege that Lexington “deducted” anything ; rather, Plaintiffs concede that the “annuity issuer”—not Lexington—paid the commissions.
Hersch blows Structured Settlements 101
"Structured settlement consultants are insurance professionals authorized to buy annuities used to satisfy all or part of personal injury tort claims". FACT neither agents nor brokers buy annuities used to satisfy all or part of personal injury tort claims. A structured settlement annuity is either purchased by the Defendant, the Defendant's insurer or a qualified assignment company. Even in cases where Steve Berman hits pay dirt and a huge chunk of money goes into a QSF, where a structured settlement annuity is placed the structured settlement annuity is still purchased by a qualified assignment company.
Speaking of non-sequiturs, the "Herschy bomb" includes two more. First a link from the keyword "structured settlement" to a March 16, 2009 article that has nothing to do with structured settlements. It's ironic that Think Advisor chooses to display as a "related article" Texas Tech School of law school professors William Byrnes and Robert Bloink's (in my opinion) irresponsible, factually deficient article from January 30, 2014 LifeHeathPro that misrepresents what a "secondary market annuity" is to advisors not familiar with the instrument, not to mention those who are already misrepresenting "so-called "secondary market annuities" to the public and is otherwise deficient, leaving out material information. One Pittsburgh area couple was screwed out of $153,000 on a transaction vetted by two separate attorneys. Read http://structuredsettlement... Byrnes and Bloink spoke little of the risks of Mom and Pop "ordinary investors", investing in structured settlement payment rights who in the above case ended up getting screwed with retirement funds. Here's my contemporaneous 2014 write up on the Bynes Bloink piece http://structuredsettlement...
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