The Settlement Alliance

Don't Let This Happen to Your Client: Why You Need a Plaintiff Structured Settlement Broker

Don't Let This Happen to Your Client: Why You Need a Plaintiff Structured Settlement Broker

Nov 7, 2014

In liability settlements, the defense will often include their own structured settlement broker during negotiations. That individual is tasked with proposing a structured settlement arrangement to the plaintiff and aiding in the resolution of the case. All in all, sounds okay, right?

Wrong.

The defense broker is responsible for protecting the best interests of the defense, not the plaintiff. That often means proposing a structured settlement offered by an insurance company tied to the defense, regardless of whether or not that structure is the best deal for the plaintiff.

This issue was recently illustrated in a blog post by Suzanne Dunn-Bradford, who suffered the unexpected loss of her husband in a car accident. She then suffered a second time after the insurance company through which she had a defense-proposed structured settlement went bust. When Executive Life of New York went into liquidation, Dunn-Bradford, a mother of three, suddenly faced a nearly 60 percent decrease in her structured settlement payments. Because Executive Life was not registered in a number of states, including Dunn-Bradford’s state of residence, state guaranty associations did not contribute as much to the liquidation fund as did other state guarantee associations.

How was this allowed to happen? In Dunn-Bradford’s words,

“At settlement, the defense team gave me its proposed structured settlement payment terms. It was ‘take it or leave it.’ I could not negotiate and was never allowed to choose the insurance company that would fund my lifetime payments. […] My entire life has changed and the ordeal is devastating”

THAT is why a plaintiff broker is needed. A plaintiff should never be forced into any decision, whether the decision is the choice between a lump sum or a structured settlement, or whether it’s the decision about which insurance company to use for the structure.

When the plaintiff’s attorney brings in a structured settlement broker for the plaintiff, the plaintiff then has an advocate. That broker will work with the defense to select an option that is agreeable to both sides, and any reputable plaintiff broker will only present options from the most highly-rated insurance companies. A comprehensive settlement planner, who is a combination plaintiff broker and settlement expert, is an even better option. Comprehensive settlement planners both have the ability to write structured settlements and also properly address other settlement issues, such as government benefits protection,trust planning, and Medicare planning.

Before you settle your next case, make sure you involve a comprehensive settlement planner, so that your client doesn’t repeat Suzanne Dunn-Bradford’s experience.

We are proud to partner with the highest rated structured settlement providers in the industry:

  • American general Life Companies
  • Berkshire Hathaway Structured Settlements
  • Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston
  • MetLife
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • New York Life
  • Pacific Life
  • Prudential