Taking back our brand is one of the top priorities for NSSTA and for our members. We all know that when people hear the term “structured settlements” they think about catchy jingles from cash-now pushers or the stories they’ve heard about predatory factoring and the negative effects those transactions can have on injury victims and their families. One of our goals is to identify the challenges we face when it comes to structured settlements in the media and to identify opportunities to educate the public.
There are a few issues that need to be addressed when it comes to placing positive, accurate information about structured settlements in the media. Settlements are often confidential, and it’s important to protect the information of the parties involved. However, it’s possible to get these success stories out into the world. When used as part of a comprehensive settlement plan, structured settlements can be invaluable to injury victims and their families and it’s important to find a way to tell our success stories. The guaranteed income replacement, college payments and benefits that cover medical needs help to provide the financial security and peace of mind that is so important to people that have suffered a loss.
Many of the stories that have gained attention focus on predatory lending and factoring companies. There are excellent examples of reporting that discuss the harm that factoring transactions can have on claimants, and we applaud anyone willing to expose unethical practices that take advantage of structured settlement recipients. However, these articles often use language that confuses the structured settlement industry and consultants with the factoring market. Articles that refer to “structured settlement companies” when discussing factoring, or don’t clearly distinguish structured settlements from cash-now transactions cause confusion about the work our members do. We at NSSTA try to be vigilant about requesting corrections from publications that contain inaccurate or confusing statements.
In addition to positive media placement, and providing a rapid response when the media gets it wrong, there are a few more things that we can do at NSSTA, and as an industry, to take our brand back. We are working on programs that include targeted educational initiatives for attorneys and judges to ensure that the parties that work in our industry have a clear understanding of the product, and can distinguish between structured settlements and factoring when these topics are discussed in the media. In March, 2017, NSSTA will be hosting the annual “Take the Hill” program to help educate our elected representatives and correct any misconceptions they may have about structured settlements. We encourage our members to participate in this important program – with tax reform being a priority in the upcoming Legislative session, it’s vital that we all work to protect the tax codes for structured settlements.
We welcome our members to submit any ideas/suggestions they have for raising the profile of structured settlements and continuing to spread the word about the positive effect that guaranteed, long-term payments can have for victims of injury and illness. You can email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.