by John Darer CLU ChFC CSSC RSP
Several Executive Life of New York structured settlement annuitants called me yesterday and the lawyer for another this morning. One received a letter stating that he/she would continue to receive structured settlement payments without reduction while the other received a benefit reduction notice that said a reduction to under 60% of the scheduled benefits was proposed. While ELNY structured settlement annuitants have been receiving 100% of payments as scheduled, the possibility that some annuitants could be receiving reductions has been known to members of the structured settlement industry for some time. The extent of those reductions has only been known to the majority of the industry since the 1.15 filing in November.
One of my readers expressed concerns that Executive Life of New York annuitants who live outside of the New York City Metropolitan area are not being adequately notified. For example, weekly notices are to be published in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, but are these notices going to the editions that are published outside of the New York City Metropolitan area? Both of my callers reside outside of New York state. One of them, who found me via Twitter, remarked how little information has been available and that because the mailed notification, when it finally arrived, was in a "spammy looking envelope. It might have easily been confused with mail bringing offers to buy payments and discarded".
Other than Pat Hindert, Mark Wahlstrom and I nobody in the structured settlement industry is tweeting, posting to Facebook, YouTube, or appears to be providing information on their company websites on ELNY.
- The National Structured Settlements Trade Association (NSSTA) provides extensive information about the ELNY Liquidation to its members but offers no public repository of information on its website.
- The Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) offers no public information about the ELNY Liquidation on its website.
- The National Association of Settlement Purchasers (NASP) offers no public information about the ELNY liquidation on its website. A number of the calls I have received are from people who have invested in Executive LIfe of New York structured settlement payment rights.
Noting that some members of the first two actually brokered and placed some of the affected parties into ELNY structured annuities (and they, or their companies, are still active members one or more of the associations) these people, companies and associations are encouraged to do something more public. At the very least they should consider providing a link to ELNY.org Commonly Asked Questions , the FAQ on Executive Life of New York on their websites or blogs. How about it?
Even if you did not write any ELNY structured settlement annuities, like me, or were not even in the structured settlement business at the time ELNY was operating, like me, perhaps you can volunteer a little pro bono time to field some calls and provide some compassion to people who need it.
I spent an hour of pro bono time this morning listening, answering questions and speaking with two affected by the ELNY Proposed Restructuring:
A father whose child was placed into an ELNY annuity as the result of the settlement of his case against a hospital 25 years ago. The son is facing a 43% covered scenario. The child is now 36. Think of the possible issues beyond the ELNY situation and provide value and expertise.
A caller whose payments represent compensation for the loss of parent when the caller was a child. It's not just about the shortfall letter. It's about what the money represents and being able to articulate that which may not be clear with a level of understanding and compassion that many of those in the structured settlement and settlement planning industry are trained to do.
I've told anyone who calls that they are welcome to call me again.