by Structured Settlement Watchdog®
Someday the acquisition by Athene of Aviva USA, including Aviva's structured settlement book, will make a good business school or law school case study. How did it go wrong and how should they have done things ? Let me count the ways.
Athene is a co-Defendant in a class action lawsuit arising out of actions allegedly taken with respect to the termination of the Aviva Capital Maintenance Agreement that was a key ingredient to the estimated sale of more than $1 billion in structured settlement premium through 2008, which disappeared without notice to annuitants in October 2013. When an annuitant questioned it in September 2014, Athene couldn't be cagier with their avoiding the answer for months. before our persistence through September and October 2014 gave them no alternative but to state the stark reality to the annuitant. I reported about it on September 3, 2014 in Aviva Structured Settlements/ Athene Annuity What's Up With the Aviva CMA? The annuitant is now the lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit against Athene and Aviva, that has been pending since 2015 in Massachusetts District Court.
Part of the problem is that one year after the deal closed, Athene employees on the customer service front line, were in my opinion, inadequately schooled in the essential history and thus were ill equipped and not trained well enough. If you called two or three times you got different answers. Not exactly a confidence builder! So given that first impression it was not surprising and highly frustrating, that the Athene customer service reps' word proved not to be good time and time again in dealing with one of my clients for the simplest of requests related to timely payment. The first time it happened was in November 2016, then again in April 2017. When the client and I called in May 2017 we were told they were now on a 30 business day turnaround. Do you know of any company that has a 30 business day turnaround on basic customer service requests? It took Athene until the 3rd year after the deal to hire a TPA. Today after more than 30 business days, the client and I finally got Liz, a real professional at Concentrix, the TPA, who had 26 years experience and the knowledge, compassion and professionalism, who had confidence and did not equivocate on the simplest questions. She knew how to get it done, and did, thankfully. We learned that apparently there's a backlog of 1.200 EFT requests and 1,200 benefit letters when Concentrix took over.
It may not have been the best of first impressions for Athene, but now that Concentrix is on the problem there appears to be movement in a positive direction.