Hartford Financial shuts down it's annuity business, what is the impact on structured settlements?

In what came as a mild surprise to the financial and structured settlement professions, it was announced earlier today that Hartford Financial would be closing down it's life and annuity divisions and putting them into "run off" status pending a possible sale. 

The stated objective of this move was to address the companies lagging stock price, which has been trading at 50% of book value, and is down 15% over the last year. The firms largest single shareholder, John Paulson whose hedge fund is reported to own 8.5% of the Hartford Financial Services Group, (HIG) had in a analyst phone call last month made it clear that management needed to do something to boost the value of the stock. Today that "something" became apparent as The Hartford will now concentrate on it's property casualty business, as well as it's group pension division, and cut ties with it's life and annuity markets.

In this special report, Mark Wahlstrom, the President of Wahlstrom & Associates and a leading commentator on structured settlements and annuity products, looks at some of the key questions surrounding this announcement. Such as:

  • The immediate impact of the S&P ratings of Hartford Life and Annuity being dropped to BBB+ in the wake of the announcement.
  • What concerns if any should policyholders of Hartford annuity contracts have as this enters run off status.
  • What brought about the demise of this line of business for Hartford? Was it the on going drag of overly generous variable annuity policy provisions agreed to during robust equity markets?
  • Is this an indication of problems among annuity companies or an isolated situation specific to The Hartford.

Learn more by watching the full video interview and subscribe to Mark Wahlstrom's commentary on The Settlement Channel, a featured broadcast here on The Legal Broadcast Network.

Tax deductible retirement plans for trial lawyers

Ok, if you are a trial lawyer and last week you had a painful conversation with your CPA or tax professional about the amount of tax you owed, or how depleted your retirement account is, then you absolutely need to contact my office and learn more about some options only available to trial lawyers.

This weeks edition of Speaking of Settlements gives you a quick look at how trial lawyers and litigators can accomplish the following:

 

  • Convert taxable income into fully tax deductible income by taking advantage of structured legal fees and certain retirement plan options.
  • Remove all market risk from your retirement planning and know in advance exactly how much retirement income you will have at a certain age, regardless of market performance.
  • Cut your current tax bill by the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars by doing some very basic and simple advance planning.

As I state in the video, this is not some esoteric plan that is going to give your CPA a heart attack or keep you up at night wondering when the IRS is going to knock on your door. No, this is plan that is based on long standing tax law and principals that allow trial lawyers to defer their taxable income into future years, guarantee those payments and then direct them into exceptionally conservative guaranteed benefit retirement plans.

It's a basic plan, it works like nothing else in the financial community but you have to speak with an expert BEFORE your case settles in order to take full advantage of it.

If your tax bill is killing you and your retirement plans are a mess, please contact my office at Wahlstrom & Associates and lets talk about how you can begin to clean up this disaster. Lets face it, the last few years have been hard on trial lawyers bank accounts, but you have a chance to fix it and get control over your finances if you simply plan ahead and systematically convert some of your current legal fees into guaranteed future income.

You only have yourself to blame if you are paying too much in taxes and your retirement plan is something that keeps you up at night. The solution is staring you in the face, you just have to get educated and put the plan in motion.