Since when do you believe everything a politician says, especially when the statements are made on the campaign trail?
In a recent blog post Patrick Hindert reasons that 3 year old campaign rhetoric of New York Liquidation Bureau appointee Jonathan Bing is something we can hang our hat on when it comes to the fate of annuities payable to certain crippled New Yorkers and others.
"Bing's strong support for, and favorable attitude toward, persons with disabilities (and also therefore, at least potentially, structured settlement victims) are apparent from his responses to a 2008 Questionnaire when he was running for re-election to the New York State Assembly. The questionnaire was compiled and published by the 504 Democratic Club, 'The First Democratic Club in the Country Focusing on Disabled Rights'."
He then goes on to devote a meaningful scroll of "below the fold" space for sound bytes from Jonathan Bing, like some sportswriter with a "hot stove" trade report.
Successful Businessman and 1992 Presidential candidate, Ross Perot, famously denounced Congress for its inaction in his speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on March 18, 1992. where he said:
This city has become a town filled with sound bites, shell games, handlers, media stuntmen who posture, create images, talk, shoot off Roman candles, but don't ever accomplish anything. We need deeds, not words, in this city. (emphasis ours)
Is that what we are dealing with in Executive Life of New York? To quote Cameron Poe, "It's Not All Mai-Tais and Yahtzee".
What I continue to uncover astounds even me, particularly the level of confidentiality, secrecy and lack of transparency. Read the contemporaneous post of Peter Bickford which I commented on the other day. How many structured settlement annuitants will be affected? Is it 5,000; 2,500; 300 or none at all?
I can tell you that the other day I received a call from an annuitant with Executive Life of New York who inherited a structured settlement set up in 1985 for his late mother's damages from an accident. The annuitant had previously sold some payments to Peachtree but is now in need of more cash so he can pay rent. Peachtree said no to the sale of more payments and it was readily apparent that the payments in the new proposed transfer would be for payments beyond 5 years.
The uncertainty about Executive Life of New York is not unwarranted. While it is true that to date, all related Executive Life of New York structured settlement payments have been paid in full, the most recent financial statements for ELNY (as of December 31. 2010) show assets of $905,945,200 compared with liabilities of $2,474,317,342 resulting in a negative surplus of $1,568,372,142. As Hindert says, the 2007 announcement (which we've dispassionately dubbed the "Spitzer Hoopla") of "an agreement in principle", whereby various insurers and guarantee associations apparently had agreed to pay $650 to $750 million to fund future ELNY payments, has never materialized.
Leaving on a positive note, I also spoke to another member of the industry who has reached out to his Executive Life of New York annuitants. He related that his client, who he stated has only one payment left, said "even if there is a shortfall she'd still come out ahead of where she'd be if I had taken the next best offer".