Industry News

The Court Approval Process for Structured Settlement Transfers

July 21, 2016

Few Major Financial Transactions are Subject to as Much Oversight as Settlement Transfers. NASP has published this overview to help you understand the process.

 Court Approval Process for Settlement Transfers

Texas Structured Settlement Transfer Study

June 17, 2016

In 2014/2015, representatives of the law firm of Nesbitt, Vassar, & McCown, L.L.P. (“NVM”) conducted a study of 100 structured settlement transfers from Texas counties in order to identify various trends related to transfers more broadly. All public survey results protect the identities of payees involved, keeping anonymous their name, gender, county of residence, information about the structured settlement, etc.

Overall, the transactions included in the study are representative of structured settlement transfers in the state of Texas, as well as those in many other states. Like most states, Texas' state structured settlement transfer statute requires the vast majority of transfer applications to be filed in the payee's county of residence. Additionally, Texas courts require personal appearance of payees at transfer hearings, which is the case in the vast majority of states.

Texas' structured settlement purchasing industry is very competitive, and relative to the industry as a whole, the average applied discount rate found in this study proves to be fair, reasonable, competitive, and indicative.

Read the study here

National Association of Settlement Purchasers Comments on CBS News Segment

April 21, 2016

On Wednesday, April 20, 2016, CBS Evening News aired a segment on the structured settlement purchasing industry, using the story of a young woman in Baltimore, Maryland, to address alleged business practices within the industry.

The National Association of Settlement Purchasers (NASP) would like to use this opportunity to highlight its ongoing work with lawmakers in states across the country to ensure that every proposed settlement transfer is subject to a fair, robust and transparent court approval process.

Long Before The Industry Received Heightened Media Attention, NASP Has Been Working To Resolve Gaps In State Legislation In Maryland And Elsewhere.

For over a decade, NASP has proactively worked to identify jurisdictions with legislative gaps from the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) Model State Settlement Protection Act, the guiding statute NASP and other industry leaders established. In this ongoing effort, NASP conducts outreach to state officials and legislators to bring greater transparency, disclosure requirements, and standardization to state statutes across the country.
Recent legislation bolstering consumer protections has passed and been signed into law in Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia, and Tennessee. These legislative efforts are all the product of NASP's leadership in working to increase industry standards and align state statutes with the NCOIL Model. A bipartisan bill has also been passed in the state of Maryland, and is now awaiting Governor Larry Hogan's signature.
NASP believes there is no substitute for a robust, transparent court approval process that mandates beneficiaries’ personal appearance and disclosure of prior transfers or attempted transfers, and also requires the court approval process to occur in the beneficiary’s county of residence. Legislation in the previously mentioned states mandates these requirements.

These provisions are designed to ensure judges are able to conduct a thorough and informed evaluation of each structured settlement transfer and that all funding companies adhere to the highest standards.

Proposed Structured Settlement Transfers Are Evaluated By Judges And Transfer Attorneys On A Case-By-Case Basis, Both Before And During The Court Hearing.

Every effort is made to ensure that each structured settlement transfer is designed to meet the beneficiary’s particular needs in adherence to the pertinent state transfer statute. For these reasons, transfer applications must meet a series of transaction-specific requirements, which are evaluated by a judge in court.

Following the presentation of testimony from the beneficiary, judges can then address any unanswered questions or concerns. Prior to the hearing, judges have read and evaluated the transfer application, disclosure, and contract. The hearing then provides further opportunity for the judge to evaluate the proposed transfer and testimony by directly asking questions of the beneficiary – another reason NASP advocates for laws requiring beneficiaries' personal appearance in court.

(Download a copy of this article.)

NASP Builds on 2015 Accomplishments to Help Pass Legislation in Virginia & Florida

March 17, 2016

Last week, the National Association of Settlement Purchasers (NASP) and other industry advocates helped advance important legislation to improve consumer protections in the secondary market for structured settlements. By working directly with relevant state legislators, NASP and other consumer groups helped craft legislation in Virginia and Florida that increased disclosure requirements and standards for court approvals of structured settlement transfers, thereby bolstering consumer protections for payees in those states.

These newly enacted laws – Virginia Senate Bill 621 (SB-621) and Florida Senate Bill 458 (SB-458) – build on last year's legislative successes in Wisconsin and Illinois, where NASP partnered with state lawmakers to pass legislation with similar provisions intended to increase consumer protections.

On March 8, 2016, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed SB-621 into law, following the legislation's unanimous passage in both houses of the state legislature. Shortly thereafter, on March 10, Governor Rick Scott signed SB-458 into law, which also cleared Florida's state legislature with unanimous support. NASP President Patricia LaBorde, in a statement following Governor Scott's signature of this legislation, indicated that NASP will continue to build off the successes in Virginia and Florida, looking toward other states: “NASP is glad to have played an integral part in this important legislative passage, and looks forward to building on momentum in Florida to further strengthen consumer protections in other states' secondary markets.”

Key aspects of both laws include provisions that will:

  • Mandate that payees appear in person at the hearing when judges consider their proposed structured settlement transfer. When payees appear in court, judges are able to address the transaction with payees directly in order to thoroughly evaluate payees' personal and financial circumstances.
  • Require court proceedings to be conducted and approved in the payee's county of residence. By requiring approval in the county where a payee lives, judges are more likely to be familiar with a particular payee's background and court history, and therefore also likely to better understand and appreciate local economic conditions and other factors.
  • Mandate payees' disclosure of prior structured settlement transactions and attempted transactions within a designated number of years. These disclosures help judges' comprehensive evaluation of whether a proposed transfer is appropriate in light of prior transactions, the remaining payments, and other payee circumstances.

Structured Settlement Buyers Seek Changes In Maryland AG’s Proposed Law

March 04, 2016

NASP President Patricia LaBorde says the association wants any change in the Maryland law on the sale of structured settlements to include some legislative guidance. The law proposed by Maryland’s attorney general would give the AG carte blanche to create any regulations he might want.