Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) stated that they endorse the use of professional administration of Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) accounts. Specifically, CMS added the following to their WCMSA Reference Guide: “Although beneficiaries may act as their own administrators, it is highly recommended that settlement recipients consider the use of a professional administrator for their funds.”
Legislative Update—Tax Reform: With Congress ready to start a five week recess, House Republican Leaders and the Trump Administration have released a “Joint Statement on Tax Reform” signed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady. To read a copy of the statement on tax policy click here.
The mission of the NSSTA membership is to promote the use of structured settlements as part of a comprehensive settlement plan. In doing so, we help provide financial security and long-term stability for injury victims and their families. It’s important for us to remember that financial planning is just one step in the process to help injury victims get back on their feet. There are numerous organizations that support and promote the needs of our claimants in other ways – through legislative initiatives, support services and advocacy.
This week the NSSTA Board of Directors, led by President Jim Early, will be meeting with Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho and Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas. Congressman Brady serves as the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, as well as the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation. This will be NSSTA’s second meeting with Congressman Brady. NSSTA member Chris Shumate has also been invited to attend the meeting and introduce Congressman Brady.
In a session titled, “Challenges & Opportunities in Educating Defense Counsel”, moderated by Nolan Robinson, Kathy Martin of AIG P&C and John Kouris, Executive Director of the Defense Research Institute (DRI) discussed best practices for working with defense counsel and claims professionals. The DRI is the world’s largest defense bar organization, 21,500 members, and John Kouris shared his organization’s perspective on structured settlements.
Yesterday the Council of the District of Columbia, in Washington, DC took a historic step by holding a Hearing to consider the adoption of the first-ever Structured Settlement Protection Act for the District of Columbia. Four Members of the DC City Council have introduced Bill 22-0020, the “Consumer Disclosure Act of 2017.” This bill would establish consumer protections for structured settlement annuitants who may consider selling some or all of their future payments in a factoring transaction.
Amos Goodall, incoming president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, discussed public benefits under the Social Security Act – specifically, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). It’s important for structured settlement to have a solid understanding of these programs and how they apply to claimants with disabilities.
If there was one theme running throughout the presentations at the 2017 Annual Conference, that theme was relationship building and the opportunities that we all have to reach out to organizations that participate in the work we do. As Phillip Krause of Ringler stated at the meeting, structured settlements are a financial solution that is undervalued in the current financial market, and educating stakeholders involved in settlement resolution is a critical mission for NSSTA.
This year’s NSSTA Annual Conference agenda included several speakers from outside of the structured settlement industry, who came to offer their valuable perspective on the future of structured settlements and issues that may arise in the future. One of these panels, hosted by Melissa Baldwin of Atlas Settlement Group, included Elise Sanquinetti, the incoming president at the American Association for Justice (AAJ), and Laurie Klimchock, the Chief Operating Officer for the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC).
On April 19-21, over 225 structured settlement industry leaders attended the 2017 NSSTA Annual Conference in San Francisco. By all accounts, the NSSTA Education Committee produced one of the strongest educational program agendas in the Association’s history. The NSSTA Annual Conference agenda included eleven panel sessions and a combination of knowledgeable industry leaders and highly regarded professionals from outside the structured settlements industry.
Highlights from the 2017 NSSTA Annual Meeting include: