The use of structured settlements in large and catastrophic workers’ compensation claims is well recognized as a way to reduce the overall settlement cost while at the same time providing the injured employee with a fair claim settlement. However, a factor often overlooked in structured settlements is the identification and selection of the best structured settlement company.
There are several characteristics and qualities that should be considered in the selection of the structured settlement company. They are:
You want a structured settlement company that has a track record. A structured settlement company that has been around for decades has more resources to draw from then a structured settlement company that has been in business for a few months. The more structured settlements the company has completed in the past, the greater likelihood that they know how to deal with every possible scenario that could interrupt or prevent a structured settlement from occurring.
- Ability to Design Settlements.
The structured settlement company must have the ability to taken into consideration the needs of everyone including the injured employee and employee’s family, the attorney for the employee, the employer and the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. The structured settlement has to be designed to be flexible to address the needs of the employee while maintaining control of the settlement cost for the insurer.
The structured settlement company consultant must have an in-depth knowledge of sophisticated damage analysis and life care plans, along with the different types of trusts that can be included in a structured settlement. By understanding the injured employee’s future financial needs and future medical care, the structured settlement consultant can design a creative solution that benefits all parties involved in the workers’ compensation claim.
A structured settlement is basically an annuity (or annuities) purchased from a life insurance company. It is therefore essential for the structured settlement company to have several top rated life insurance companies available to provide the annuity/annuities. By having several highly rated insurance companies available, the consultant can shop the settlement package with the different insurers to obtain the lowest overall cost for the structured settlement.
There are structured settlement companies that work only with the plaintiff attorneys and there are structured settlement companies that specialize in working only with the defense attorneys. These companies are well known to both the sides of the legal aisle, and are often mistrusted by the other side. A structured settlement company that works with both plaintiff attorneys and defense attorneys must maintain a reputation of being unbiased and fair in all their dealings. By selecting a structured settlement company that has the trust and extensive experience working with both sides of the legal aisle, the mistrust that hampers and prevents some structured settlements from occurring is removed.
- Geographical spread.
The structured settlement company should be somewhat local. If the structured settlement company has only one office or even several offices in another part of the country, it is difficult for the structured settlement consultant to meet with the various parties involved in the injury claim. An example – if the structured settlement company is located in Florida and the injured party is in California, the structured settlement company will be less effective. The structured settlement company that has a complete geographical spread and can provide a local consultant whether the injured employee is in Maine, Hawaii or somewhere in between will be able to provide the best service.
The proper selection of the structured settlement company can have a significant impact on the cost of the structured settlement. For assistance in identifying and locating the best possible structured settlement company, please contact us.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact:RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.