by John Darer CLU ChFC MSSC CEFT RSP CLTC
By all accounts, 2018 was the best production year for the structured settlement industry primary market for a decade. Here are the highlights:
- Total premium $6,019,384,091. That was an increase of 8.45% over 2017.
- Three insurers received in excess of $1B in premiums
- Prudential did just under $1B, tripling 2017 production.
- USAA more than doubled its 2017 production.
- Leading underwriter Berkshire Hathaway, which had a dip in 2017, returned to its customary level.
- The number of cases structured increased by 4.27%, the best since 2013 and the second best increase in the last decade.
Numbers are even more impressive given the few hurdles straddled in 2018
- These results are quite a statement given that a major player in the non qualified structured settlement market Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston ceased writing in February 2018. Liberty represented more than $522M in premiums in 2017.
- Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company, which began offering a non qualified structured settlement solution in January picked up some of the slack. More good news to come later this year when Met rolls out a structured installment sale funding solution.
- The "agita" over Berkshire Hathaway's good faith attempt to look after consumers with its Hardship Exchange Program turned out to be a tempest in a teapot.
- The AIG Structured Settlement Class Action, which was dismissed with prejudice in September 2018 was a complete non factor despite the best efforts of a few would be "saboteurs" from within the industry and without. While the plaintiffs have appealed, the plaintiffs appeal is as unimpressive as original complaint and the amended complaint.
If any year proved the value of structured settlements it was 2018. The stock market achieved a schizoid level of volatility. Such times makes people appreciate the advantage of "going with the flow". The structured settlement flow.