AIG Bonus hearings, Spencer v Hartford, another bad week in structured settlements

In this weeks edition of Speaking of Settlements, I cover a wide range of topics but focus primarily on the AIG bonus hearings and the Spencer v Hartford case that has flown silently under the NSSTA PR radar as the big mess no one wants to talk about.

The AIG bonus hearings, as you will learn by watching the commentary, are one of the great hypocritial displays by Congress in recent history. For Ed Libby to get beat up by the very people who wrote the bonus package into the bail out law would be comical other then it's implications for the company and the economy. Those bonus payments were inserted by powerful Senators and Ed Libby is required by law to honor the contracts, but he is the one being grilled. We are in Alice in Wonderland territory here.

The Spencer v Hartford case is flying silently under the radar and PR of NSSTA and all but a few blogs. Has no one else noticed that one of our major players has a RICO action against them being allowed to proceed in US Court to look into a decade of claims practices in which annuitants and policyholders were forced to use Hartford Life to fund their contracts?

I've warned for some time and I repeat the warning here again that this is only the first of many other suits that are being lined up by both the trial bar and state AG's looking into the issue of in house claims programs that compel policyholders or claimants to use a particular life market or limit choice through approved lists. Our industry has ignored this looming threat to the profession and the claims model that feeds the vast majority of it's business and this surprise ruling by the court in the Spencer case now means that discovery will proceed, the process dragged through the mud and our profession once again cast in a bad light. I don't care where your allegiances lie on this issue, the fact is this is one more bit of press and bad news that we don't need right now.

Check out this weeks edition of Speaking of Settlements.

Posted on March 19, 2009 .