The structured settlement industry is getting a lot of press recently after an article was published in the Washington Post last week back. This article painted the industry and the companies in a horrible light that showed companies scamming vulnerable communities of people and highlighting the worst cases they could find.
They primarily focus on a Access Funding based out of Chevy Chase, Maryland. This company was notorious for taking advantage of lead paint poisoning victims and other personal injury victims by purposely not communicating the deals of their contracts and convincing them that they were trustworthy. They often hired specific lawyers and financial advisers to speak with potential clients and discuss how this transaction would benefit them without naming any possible drawbacks from selling their settlements. They often wined-and-dined their clientele in order to show them they were trustworthy and promised things they they had no intention to deliver.
Let the record show that this is not a one-size-fits-all industry. Yes, Access Funding made some bad deals and took advantage of their clientele but not all companies are like this. There are also a lot of rules and blockades put into place that help the seller make their decisions and understand what they are doing with their money. One of these stipulations is the Structured Settlement Protection Act which requires that a seller consult with an independent financial adviser before completing a transaction. Access Funding didn’t play by the rules and instead hiring a financial adviser to speak with their clients and purposely fail to discuss the pros and cons of selling structured settlement payments.
While many of the stories in the article are truly heartbreaking, it needs to be known that not all companies are out there to make a quick buck. The article fails to show the stories about the countless number of homeless people who were able to buy homes or rent apartments by selling their future settlement payments. It fails to feature the stories about the families that couldn’t feed themselves before selling portions of their settlements. It fails to discuss the young people looking to advance their careers and education by attending college with funds from their structured settlement.
All in all, this industry is not a bad industry. There are just a few bad seeds out there that make it look bad for everyone else.