NSSTA ELECTIONS : MEET THE CANDIDATES
It is an honor and privilege to serve NSSTA and to run for a seat on the NSSTA Board of Directors. With over 28 years’ experience in litigation and settlement planning, I am uniquely qualified to take a further leadership role within our industry. Within NSSTA I have been an active member of the Legislative and Regulatory Committee for 10 years, and have served as Chair of Legs & Regs for two years. I have also regularly participated in our “Take the Hill” activities.
After attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an undergrad and obtaining my Juris Doctorate in 1991 from the Wake Forest University School of Law, I started my legal career as a Law Clerk for the Hon. James G. Exum, Chief Justice for the Supreme Court of North Carolina. In 1993 I began a litigation and appellate career at the Raleigh, NC law firm of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog. My litigation practice was devoted to insurance defense, insurance coverage, medical malpractice and appellate work. Within the firm, I formed and chaired both the Appellate and ERISA Litigation Sections. Few litigated cases actually make it to trial. As a result, I facilitated hundreds of settlements for my insurer and insured clients in over 12 years of private law firm practice. Most of those cases could not have been resolved without the use of structured settlements.
In 2005 I left private practice, and started my settlement planning career with a fairly equal mix of plaintiff and defense cases. I was fortunate to serve former insurer clients and many former adversaries in the plaintiff’s Bar. Today, my work is largely devoted to claimant settlement planning and consulting. It is important to both my settlement planning practice and my NSSTA participation that my professional experience is devoted to both sides of our industry.
Two years ago our industry had the unique opportunity to be aggressive in our efforts to expand our business and product offerings. In the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, I believe we should have expanded Section 130 to include IRC Sec. 139 (f) (wrongful imprisonment) and, frankly, other areas of IRC 104. We have to stop playing catch-up on similar future measures. We need to be more assertive when the opportunity rises, and not cower to the worry that the IRS will view us differently. If we get the appropriate changes, the IRS will follow what Congress says, not the other way around.
To wit, in 2018, the structured settlement industry produced slightly more than $6 billion in structured settlement placement . . . out of an estimated $300 billion in personal injury settlements (and another $300 billion in non-qualified settlements). That is an extraordinary amount of money being left on the table. Because of our unique ability to offer secure, flexible, lifetime benefits to injury victims, as well as to protect critical governmental benefits, we should be – and can be – producing well over $6 billion in sales. We can be growing our industry whether directly through traditional structured settlement annuities or other newer settlement planning products. NSSTA is well-positioned to lead those efforts. If we do not, other organizations will. This is my passion and my primary goal in seeking a position on the NSSTA Board of Directors.
I will do the work that is expected, and should be expected, of a NSSTA Board member, and I will lead when and where I can. Our organization has benefitted greatly from the wealth of experience from the first generation of our industry leaders. It is now time for a new generation of leaders to step up and lead our industry into the future.
Therefore, I respectfully ask for your vote and thank you for your support.