When selecting an outside resource for help, people prioritize different factors. Often, personal relationships dictate the selection process. However, when seeking advice in matters of financial consequence, it’s important to focus on tangible attributes. This is where business expertise, reputation, and quality service matter most.
Using structured settlements in Workers’ Compensation claims is an effective way to reduce overall settlement costs while resolving the claims of injured employees. Offering a predictable, tax-free stream of benefits that meet future financial needs, a structured settlement is often the optimal solution for both the injured party and the settling company.
Settling a claim can be stressful to do alone. When deciding to bring your case to an expert, don’t just choose a firm; choose a partner. Engaging the right partner to support your settlement solution requires a deeper understanding of the differences between various structured settlement solutions companies.
There are several factors to consider when making this selection:
- Experience: You want to choose a structured settlement partner with qualified settlement professionals who have decades of claims, jurisdictional, legal, and financial experience. This level of experience implies familiarity with a broad array of settlement tools and resources, that lead to the best settlement outcomes for all parties.
- Reputation: You want to work with settlement partners that are unbiased and take a fair, reasonable approach in the claim resolution process. You also want your settlement partner to be professional and detail oriented.
- Safeguards and Process: When choosing a structured settlement partner, you want to understand their processes. All partners should have security standards, such as SOC2 compliance, to safeguard sensitive data. You also want to work with companies that offer useful technology and strict quality assurance standards. Finally, you want to ensure your partner has sufficient insurance, including E&O coverage, and will support all needs for settlement plans that may extend decades into the future.
- Products: When choosing a structured settlement partner, it’s important to know what products and companies your settlement partner utilizes. You want to work with partners that have access to the best providers of future payments in the structured settlement market, especially when working in contingent liability venues. You also want a partner that understands how to employ a variety of products to reach the best settlement outcomes.
- Needs-Based Analysis: You want to work with structured settlement partners that will take a needs-based and holistic approach when designing a plan to help resolve your claims. They will work with the injured party and their counsel, acting as an additional set of eyes and ears to help you determine what is most important and necessary to the injured person to settle their claim.
- Coordination of Government Benefits and Settlement Partnerships: When choosing a structured settlement partner, it’s important to ensure they are knowledgeable in government benefits such as Medicare and Medicaid. Other asset or means-tested programs, such as veteran benefits, housing, and foods stamps may be adversely impacted by a lump sum settlement of a claim. It’s important that your settlement partner identifies and makes appropriate recommendations for other settlement services when claim specific facts support this need. An example would be for your partner to recommend post settlement professional medical administration in cases where this will add value to the overall settlement outcome.
- Competitive Pricing: You want to employ a structured settlement partner that has access to a full range of products and ancillary services to design the best-priced options for your specific case. A trustworthy partner will help you secure an optimal outcome with notable savings.
- Protecting Interests: One reason injured workers opt to receive a lump sum vs. periodic payments over time, is the belief that they can manage and grow their funds independently. However, managing large sums of money can be burdensome, particularly for those who have been impacted by physical injury, long-term disability, and/or the death of a family member. There are many product options that go beyond a structured settlement annuity which may offer injured parties a holistic settlement solution, including market-based or growth structured settlements. There are also situations that require Special Needs Trusts, primarily used to protect injured people from losing Medicaid eligibility. It’s important to choose a structured settlement partner that will help coordinate and protect the interests of both injured people and the insured/insurer by implementing proper products, tools, and protections.
- Negotiations/Mediations/Settlement Forums: Choose structured settlement partners that are experienced in navigating negotiations, mediations, and other settlement forums following your directives and authority. You also want to consider partners who know and consistently adhere to state regulations.
- Multi-Line Expertise: It’s always important to consider a company’s expertise in specialty areas. Are they known for handling a particular type of case? Types of claims include Workers’ Compensation, General Liability, Medical Malpractice, Auto-Bodily Injury, and Specialty/Professional Liability claims. Longevity, diversity, experience, service, and protection are all key characteristics of quality settlement partners.
Alisa Hofmann, CWCP, CMSS, WCSS Alisa is the Vice President of Workers’ Compensation and Medicare Practices at Arcadia Settlements Group and currently works on the Business Development team. She has been handling and overseeing Workers’ Compensation claims for 27 years with various national carriers, prior to coming to work for Arcadia Settlements Group in 2019. Alisa obtained a BA in Organizational Communication at Otterbein University. She maintains her adjuster licensing in many states, also holds Life, Health, and Accident Licensing, and many Insurance Accreditations.