JG Wentworth pushes back against CFPB allegations of consumer fraud in structured settlement purchasing transactions

In yet another sign the structured settlement purchasing profession is in the regulatory cross hairs, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFPB, brought charges against JG Wentworth last week. The allegation is that their method of solicitation and purchase of structured settlement cash flows is deceptive and harmful to consumers. 

JG Wentworth has fired back with their own defense that the CFPB is outside it's jurisdiction and that much like it's prior attack on for profit colleges, the CFPB will lose this case as well. The Settlement Channel will continue to monitor the case and report as events unfold. 

New York Structured Settlement Expert, Jennifer O. D'Andrea

New York Structured Settlement Expert Jennifer D'Andrea

Newest addition to the structured settlement expert directory covering the state of new york.

Jennifer D'Andrea is a Settlement Planning Consultant, Mediator and Structured Settlement Expert with over 16 years experience in the insurance, financial and legal fields. She began her settlement career with EPS Settlements Group (EPSSG) primarily working with the defense on New York State Workers' Compensation, and in 2003, transitioned to EPSSG's sister company, Millennium Settlements as a Plaintiff's oriented consultant. Jennifer continues to work with plaintiff's and their attorneys attending mediations and settlements conferences, as required in the negotiation and resolution of personal injury and non-qualified cases. Prior to structured settlements, she worked in insurance sales and continues to offer various insurance products in conjunction with structured settlement annuities.

A military brat, Jennifer grew up at Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Through her personal experiences and work in the community, she recognized the needs of Military Families and Veterans and thus Founded S.E.R.V. NIAGARA. S.E.R.V. NIAGARA is the first organization in Niagara County to provide housing exclusively for homeless and disabled Veterans and their families, while also providing a uniquely structured program to support, educate, employ, empower and promote healing.

Jennifer is a liaison in the Lockport City Treatment Courts, Niagara County Veterans Court, and speaks on social issues such as substance abuse, domestic violence and the effects on children and families. She is a member of the Lockport Rotary, Niagara County Judges and Police Executive Conference, National Structured Settlement Trade Association, and NIMAC (Niagara Military Affairs Council). 

Jennifer is an alumna of the Leadership Niagara Class of 2015, has recently been honored with the 2016 Unsung Hero Award presented by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, a 2015 Congressional Medal of Honor Citizen Honors Finalist in the Service Act category, and the 2014 Community Support Award sponsored by the Lockport Business Association. After living out of the country for 5 years, Jennifer and her family now reside in historic Lockport.

Contact Jennifer O. D'Andrea on social media or her company web page below:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-o-d-andrea-a366944

https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer.O.Dandrea.LLC

Jenniferdandrea.com

Jennifer O. D'Andrea, LLC

Conveniently located across from the Niagara County Courthouse at 80 Park Avenue, Lockport, NY 14094

Office line: 716-553-6714

Are Structured Settlements a good deal in a zero interest rate world?

"Should a trial lawyer propose, and should an injury victim accept, a structured settlement to settle their personal injury case in such a low interest rate environment?"

In this weeks commentary on The Settlement Channel, host Mark Wahlstrom looks at the issue of zero interest rates, or even negative rates of interest, being offered on fixed income investments, in particular structured settlement annuity contracts. One of the constant refrains that structured settlement experts hear from trial lawyers and their clients is that structured settlements are a bad idea in a world where interest rates are offering effectively zero rate of returns when you factor inflation into the yield at 2%. On it's face, you would think it's hard to argue with that logic as we are clearly in a historic period of zero to negative yields on fixed income and annuities. 

However, as pointed out in his weekly commentary, Mark illustrates that in practical experience settlement planners and structured settlement experts have been hearing this same narrative for over 15 years now, as we have been in a 25 year bond market rally where rates have gone from double digits to the current negative or zero yields on high quality bonds and notes. It has always been " rates are too low compared to the past" but all along that 25 year curve, the value of a guaranteed, tax free income has been proven to be the key component of just about every successful settlement plan. The rate of return or yield is important for sure, but the consistency of the cash flow, monthly income and security are paramount to injury victims who rely on those funds to live. As pointed out in the commentary, 15 years ago people were rejecting tax free yields of 7% to 8% as "too low", when the evidence of the last 15 years now shows that anyone smart enough to take those tax free deals was getting a yield roughly equal to that of the S&P over that same time frame, particularly when taxes and management expenses are deducted and a net yield is calculated. 

The question now is, what will planners, attorneys and injury victims be saying about their decisions to not structure annuity payments in the current rate environment? Will it be considered wisdom to have declined the option for life time, tax free income that was guaranteed, predictable and couldn't be outlived or outspent by the injury client? Will they look back and say that the low rate environment was actually the precursor to a historic stock market correction, or even more likely, an eventual bond market correction that wiped out huge chunks of principal and crippled their ability to care for their future needs?

As the commentary concludes, no one can know what the economic and financial market futures of the US will be, they can only speculate. However, the one thing any experienced settlement planner or structured settlement expert does know is that guaranteed, tax free, no fee income for a person who can no longer work, care for themselves or needs to support a family, is like GOLD to them. Every plan requires an income strategy and over the last 35 years the structured settlement annuity approach has been proven time and again as the bed rock foundation of most settlement plans. There is almost always a place in the settlement plans of an injury victim for this monthly income and it is the wise attorney, planner or family that elects that option as PART of a comprehensive settlement plan. A structured settlement cash flow provides a safety net, a floor income and planning certainty in an uncertain world. No other investment option offers zero on going fees, administrative costs or taxes like a structured settlement does either. 

Conclusion: That even in a low interest rate world such as we see now, that while it might seem counter intuitive, it's entirely possible in a period of economic turmoil that the certainty and safety of a structured settlement payment stream makes the MOST sense as the people who rely on it can't afford to be with out an income, ever. Don't just focus on rates of return and what you think you might get in alternative investments, instead engage a competent structured settlement expert from the directory to assist you in designing a settlement plan that makes sense. Chances are good you won't look back in 10-15 years with buyers remorse if you do.