Some good and interesting news for trial lawyers today. There is a NEW life insurance company that has entered the structured settlement and settlement planning market, Independent Life Insurance Company, and it's very important that trial lawyers be aware of who they are, their business model and why it is important your clients have them as an option when considering a structured settlement.
This is Mark Wahlstrom, President of Wahlstrom & Associates and this is another in my series on settlement planning for trial lawyers, covering the vital facts and inside information you need to know to make informed decisions for your clients.
So what is the deal with Independent Life and what do trial lawyers need to know?
1. They are the first totally new entrant into the structured settlement and settlement planning business in almost a decade. In a profession that has seen a steady decline in life companies and funding choices, a new competitor will help to keep pricing competitive and possibly offer new and additional services over time to settlement planners and trial lawyers.
2. They are the first company that is only going to write structured settlement business. No retail products, no additional lines, but a dedicated focus and purpose to provide structured settlement products and services. This specific focus has certain advantages when it comes to pricing, service and underwriting that should benefit plaintiffs and trial lawyers over time. Plus while they are new, they have a veteran and experienced team that knows structured settlements extremely well and should know how to handle this unique market with out a learning curve.
3. As a new, smaller company they are going to face substantial competitive pressure from larger, highly rated companies in the structured settlement space, so when they are offered as an option it will be vital for trial lawyers, judges and casualty companies to understand their somewhat unique format as a start up so as to fairly consider their suitability on any particular case. There will be a lot of disinformation so it's important you know the facts as to their business plan, solvency, pricing and service.
4. Why even consider a smaller company like this? Well, because of their new launch they do not have the legacy portfolio and cost issues other traditional markets face, thus creating a situation where they will likely be very cost competitive. If they are the best price value for a client, you will need to consider the value of that price vs the size and reputation of older firms. To do that you need planners who can fully explain and justify their use and as trial lawyers you need to require that back up information for your clients, judges and defendants.
5. Independent Life is going to be an active advocate for the structured settlement process, even using and innovative grant program to underwrite ideas and tactics to expand and improve the structured settlement and settlement planning space. This has been badly needed as an investment in revenue rulings, ideas and planning as a commitment from life markets has been badly lacking for decades and this alone could drive important changes to improve the process of settlements for injury victims.
In summary, this is an important and innovative entry into the settlement planning market as most companies have been established life insurance companies who decide to create a structured settlement division. This new start up offers a unique pricing strategy, a veteran management team and a commitment to the settlement planning process that can only benefit injury victims. You'll be seeing and hearing about them and if you have questions you can go to their web site or you can contact me at Wahlstrom & Associates and we can make sure you fairly consider them on cases where they are the appropriate choice for a client.