STRUCTURED SETTLEMENTS CLAIMS PROFESSIONALS LOOK TO INSURANCE COMPANIES AND BROKERS FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
MetLife’s 2022 Structured Settlements Poll finds opportunities for broker outreach and support
NEW YORK, September 13, 2022
Nearly nine in 10 claims professionals (88%) are familiar with the benefits of structured settlements for personal physical injury clients and 84% view them as a prudent recommendation, especially when a minor is involved, according to MetLife’s 2022 Structured Settlements Poll. However, 58% say more structured settlements training from either structured settlements annuity providers or structured settlements brokers/consultants is needed. The full report is available online.
With a structured settlement, which is a voluntary agreement between the injury claimant and the defendant and, when necessary, approved by the presiding judge, the injury claimant does not receive compensation for his or her injuries in one lump sum. Rather, they receive a stream of tax-free payments — either for a certain period of time or for the rest of the individual’s life — from a life insurance company.
“Claims professionals understand the risk of claimants potentially spending funds too quickly and the role structured settlements play to ensure that money will not run out when claimants need it most,” says Mari Hioki, vice president and head of Structured Settlements with MetLife. “In fact, 76% of claims professionals say they would be likely to use a structured settlement if they were a personal injury claimant.”
Claims Professionals Play Important Role in Structured Settlement Decisions
If a claimant takes a lump sum, they may lack the financial sophistication to ensure the funds last as long as they may need them and potentially run the risk of spending the money too rapidly. This is a concern for claims professionals—the Poll found half of claims professionals (49%) are concerned that a claimant will deplete their personal physical injury settlement award too quickly, regardless of the size of the claim.
As a result of these concerns, claims professionals believe they are the ones most likely to introduce the idea of structured settlements, with 44% of respondents reporting this. Twenty-four percent believe that defense counsel introduces the idea, followed by claims supervisors or someone else, at 12% respectively, and 8% believe plaintiff counsel plays this role.
The biggest obstacles to using a structured settlement are a preference for a lump sum and a lack of agreement by the plaintiff’s attorney. According to the claims professionals surveyed, current interest rates, which are sometimes cited as a reason for not structuring a settlement, appear to have minimal impact.
Brokers Play an Important Role in Demonstrating the Value of Structured Settlements
Claims professionals (90%) overwhelmingly believe that structured settlement brokers/consultants play an important role in positioning the value of a structured settlement and/or helping to calculate the cost of a personal physical injury claimant’s medical care, basic living expenses and family needs.
More than half (58%) of claims professionals would like additional training to further develop their knowledge of structured settlements. They are evenly split on whether they would prefer structured settlements annuity providers (48%) or structured settlements brokers/consultants (48%) to provide it.
The first step to address this demand may be more proactive outreach. An important opportunity exists for brokers and consultants to increase the frequency with which they contact claims professionals. According to the poll, only 22% of claims professionals are contacted by a structured settlement broker/consultant once a month or more, 38% hear from brokers less than once a month and 40% of claims professionals say they never receive a call or email from a structured settlement broker/consultant.
“Claims professionals are looking to brokers, consultants and insurance companies for their knowledge and experience to help them better understand structured settlements and identify claims that could be structured,” says Hioki. “This knowledge and expertise can enable them to successfully position structured settlement solutions with their clients, and ensures proceeds due to personal injury claimants are not depleted too quickly.”