I received in the mail today my copy of the Annual educational Seminar of the Society of Settlement Planners, which is being held in Washington, DC at that Marriott Metro Center on April 26-28th. It's a nice full color 4 page flyer that outlines the speaking schedule, topics, CE and reservations.
In looking over the speaker list I would have to say this is one of the strongest groups they have pulled together since their last Washington, DC meeting four years ago and it's a very ambitious schedule. The one name that jumped out at me thought was the addition of Randy Dyer, the former Executive VP of NSSTA as a featured speaker on two topics, Past Life insurance company insolvencys and how structured settlement recipients fared, as well as a look at Structured Settlements; Past, Present and Future.
As anyone with even a few years in our business knows, Randy was for two decades the face and voice of NSSTA and his perspective on the industry and profession, where it was at the founding of NSSTA and where it is today should be intriguing to say the least. To imagine Randy in his prior capacity ever attending an SSP meeting would have been impossible given the animosity between the plaintiff firms and the defense brokers that have existed for most of the last 20 years.
However, I can personally attest that a great deal of the progress that has been made in bringing settlement planning into the mainstream, as well as the inclusion of plaintiff brokers such as myself into greater prominence in NSSTA was a direct result of the prodding and behind the scenes work of Randy who always saw the future of our business as a model where both sides of the transaction were represented and worked in cooperation with each other. He had a lot more vision then many of the NSSTA membership had on this issue and i'm glad he will be speaking at the SSP meeting and I am sure it will be an excellent set of talks.
The balance of the speakers are top quality, with the tax panel in particular which includes Rob Wood, Sylvius Von Saucken and Peter Wayne looking exceptionally impressive on day two of the meeting. As already mentioned by John Darer in his blog, the inclusion of Kevin Mack to provide insight of an in house broker really is a little bit odd, as it has been years since he was working in house and the abuses and practices that I assume he will be commenting on are no longer practiced at any P&C firm that i'm aware of. If the SSP wants someone to tell stories from back in the day when I was asked to deliver cash in brown paper bags to certain claims guys in order to get cases, I of course declined which is how I ended up as a plaintiff broker, I could do that, but, what relevance to our profession today would that have. It's a great program, I don't see the need to go back to discredited practices to try and elevate settlement planning as a profession.
One element that makes this a meeting that industry professionals and planners willing to attend is you do NOT need to be an SSP member to attend and obtain CE credits and learn more about settlement planning. Obviously they want new members, but for the tire kickers and others that want to know more about the SSP, this is a good opportunity and venue to learn more and expand your knowledge. The fact that it immediately precedes the NSSTA convention also being held in Washington, DC on the following three days also makes it an exceptionally valuable week to check out both programs or to do some networking with other professionals at both groups.
Nice job SSP, I hope to be in Washington, DC and cover part of the meeting for The Legal Broadcast Network.