The answer to this question is always, “Of course, what do you need?”. However, it does beg the question of why the defense team waited so long to avail themselves of significant claim settlement products and services that add zero cost to the claim file. Chronovo provides a wide array of advantages to the defense team. We help assess and define future costs and needs and provide clarity and transparency in the settlement process.
In fact, Chronovo Structured Settlements work best when we are engaged early in the process. Here are ten ways we can assist in evaluations (#1-5) and facilitate negotiations (#6-10):
#1 Rated Ages
When calculating the cost or payout of life-contingent future payments, annuity companies combine their current rates with the life expectancy of the claimant. Rated Ages consider such factors as illness, trauma, pre-existing conditions and family history, even if these factors are unrelated to the accident. Chronovo has created a state-of-the-art system that maximizes the best combination of market pricing and Rated Ages to provide real-time best options, often resulting in significant savings that can be used during negotiations.
#2 Demand Deconstruction
The demand often provides little or no clarity as to how the numbers were derived. It is often made up of future medical expenses, wage loss, liens, pain & suffering, attorneys’ fees and costs, opinions and a variety of other factors. Demand Deconstruction is a process in which we break down the demand into component parts for pricing, evaluation and negotiation. This can diminish the gap between offers and demands by reducing the quantifiable component parts that comprise the initial and subsequent demands.
#3 Define and clarify actual costs
Future medical care and wage loss are often major cost components of the demand. By analyzing expert opinions such as life care plans, medical cost projections and economic loss reports, we separate immediate cash items from future expense components. Once we apply Rated Ages, relevant proposal designs and real-time market pricing, we can almost always bring down the cost of these critical demand drivers.
#4 Need analysis
Too often claim negotiations take place in a cash environment. This approach focuses on the money and not on the specific needs and concerns of the person receiving it. This almost always results in claimants becoming observers in their own settlements, not active participants. A needs analysis of the claimant and family, including examination of medical reports, depositions, life care plans and other expert reports, can uncover relevant financial and emotional factors that help us create more customized and relevant proposals. Importantly, because we address genuine and sensitive issues and concerns rather than allowing counsel to drive the discussions based on some pre-determined value, the claimant has a key voice in the decision-making process.
Our new medical savings program, ChronovoCareTM can save as much as 80% off prescription drug prices, up to 60% off surgeries, procedures, and rehab services, and an average of 49% off of medical equipment, supplies, tests, treatments and therapies. Like our structure services, there is no cost to the claim file or the claimant. Using ChronovoCare can help clarify settlement discussions and bring down the real cost of demands. It can also be used as a goodwill gesture to provide the claimant an easy way to reduce out-of-pocket expenses while the case moves through the courts and the settlement process.
#6 Set expectations
Our team works with you to initiate strategic discussions with the defense team about how to approach settlement negotiations. We review the timing of the offers, whether in a pre-suit proactive attempt, during or after discovery, or at planned settlement conferences or mediations. We define the ranges for the first offer and how it will be presented. Who will make the best presentation of the offer and who will follow up to solicit feedback? Count on our team to make a comprehensive plan based on the case facts, claimant’s circumstances, personalities, settlement goals and timing.
#7 Design relevant offers
Our Chronograph proposals transform the abstract math of each settlement offer into clear, colorful graphs, rich with customized, supportive data on financial planning issues that affect claimants and their families. This is an important way we ensure full claimant understanding and participation. By making the offers as relevant and coherent as possible, addressing future needs, personal and family goals, and providing safe and secure methods of payment over time, we maximize claimants’ influence on the outcome. The alternative is to leave negotiations entirely to counsel, which often means considerations of cash alone.
#8 Negotiate with structures
We know the impact of bringing structures to the negotiation table, preferably early for analysis and evaluation. Make your initial offer with a structure. If plaintiff’s counsel objects and says there is no interest (or they will consider it later, or don’t send me any more of those…), respectfully decline and continue to advocate for a structure. This is the only way to continually get the advantages and the increased payouts in front of the claimant. Remember, counsel is legally obligated to relay the defense offers to their clients in the forms they were made. The message: this is your money, negotiate with it in a way that will give you all the opportunities for savings and success that structures can provide.
#9 Stress advantages
We must continually use the structure process to educate the claimant and counsel on the benefits that are available to both with structured settlement annuities. Once claimants understand the advantages, they can participate in negotiations in their own best interests. Once counsel understands their own tax-advantaged opportunities and the fact that utilizing a structure will avoid awkward conversations years later when the settlement funds are gone, they will include this process in the negotiations. This is their affirmative duty to their clients.
#10 Secure the settlement
Throughout the evaluation and negotiation process, Chronovo is mindful of the need to maintain needs-based eligibility and Medicare compliance where applicable. We review the work of other brokers to ensure best practices, enroll the claimant in ChronovoCare if not already engaged during negotiations, review and prepare assignment documents and check for the proper language needed for court orders, review all carrier and IRS guidelines and comprehensively secure the settlement for all parties. Our involvement even continues on post-settlement with policy issuance, beneficiary designations, address changes and so on.
By the time Trial Tuesday arrives, your needs—and the needs of those you serve—will be secured for the long term.
Learn more about ChronovoCare