And then there were ten....
In some really stunning news for the structured settlement industry, Aviva announced today that it will be exiting the structured settlement market. This follows on the departures over the last few years of Mass Mutual Life, Genworth Financial and AEGON, all of whom were major markets and industry leaders with solid credit ratings.
I'll be doing a follow up post and video interviews with several of the key players in this recent news, so until then i'll refrain from speculation and rumor as to the process that led to this decision. Lets wait to hear what the company has to say and see where the news leads.
However, I can tell you as someone who at one time was critical of Aviva several years ago as to their marketing, management and processing, that this is a big loss for the industry. This division under the leadership of Pauline Jenkins made a huge turn around over the last few years, increasing market share substantially, eliminating policy issue bottlenecks, improving front end sales process and hiring of quality staff at the Quincy, MA location. At a time when many life markets had pulled in their reins, Pauline and the group over at Platinum Marketing, had quietly and efficiently built a powerful sales and marketing organization that was a pleasure to do business with. Their willingness to look at new markets, handle difficult or challenging cases and resolve problems really stood out and i'm going to be sorry to see them go. It's a great group of professionals and people and i'm sure this is just a real kick in the pants to them, particularly the week before Christmas in the middle of a recession.
You have to wonder what the corporate parent, which has enjoyed a steady improvement in it's credit rating and image over the last five years, was thinking to pull the plug on a division that has shown the growth and measurable improvement that Aviva has over the last three years. To see what that group has done under the duress of weak credit ratings a few years ago is amazing, and now when they seemed poised to take a run at industry leadership and market share, to have the rug pulled out from above is going to be tough for those at Aviva and Platinum to swallow i'm sure.
Stay tuned, we will have some very interesting interviews and news on this latest body blow to the settlement industry.