Why the Structured Settlement Marketplace Gets a Bad Rap

The process of transferring rights in today’s mainstream structured settlement market is inefficient, complicated, and costly -- for everyone but the transfer company involved. Before now, there was no simple way for people to sell structured settlement payments for a fair price if they faced an emergency and needed cash.

structured settlement marketplaceWhen a person obtains a settlement in a civil lawsuit, he or she may receive that money in the form of payments over time rather than a lump sum all at once. This option is called a structured settlement, which provides part of the settlement money up front and the remainder through a customized schedule of future payments. But sometimes, people with structured settlements suddenly need a large amount of money. If the future payments are their only asset, they may look into getting cash for some of them.

When you “sell” your future structured settlement payments, you are really transferring the rights to the payments in exchange for a lump sum. Sounds reasonable, right? Unfortunately, selling payments means entering the lion’s den of an industry that does not work in your best interest. Here’s what you can generally expect to experience as a seller:

  • Aggressive advertising. With catchy jingles like "It's your money. Use it when you need it!" sung by opera singers, the industry markets the perspective that selling is a no-brainer. In reality, you should only sell your payments if you have a sudden financial need, have no other options to meet that need, and have consulted with a financial expert.
  • Questionable practices. Some companies use high-pressure tactics to get people to sell. They reach out aggressively (and often unsolicited), send documents to sellers earlier than the process requires, and over-promise on the timing and expected results.
  • Unfair pricing. All this time, you’re likely unclear about the value of your asset, which makes it hard to know if you are getting a good deal or not. Whoever buys your future payments also loses money, because the transfer company usually puts a big markup on the sale price.

An estimated 10,000 of these transfers happen each year with assets totaling $1.8 billion. Unfortunately, those assets sell for just $600 million collectively. In other words, those who need cash for structured settlement payments typically get about one-third of the value of their future payments.

Why so little? Due to the demand for immediate cash and a lack of options, a traditional structured settlement transfer company purchases future payments at a steep discount. Acting as a “middleman,” the companies that process these assets aim to buy as low as possible and then resell the assets for a lot more money. The seller, who needs cash fast, suffers a big financial loss by selling. It makes sense why historically, this industry has earned a bad reputation. But this is why we created CrowFly. Our platform connects people who can legally sell their future payments with vetted buyers directly. We know it’s not a no-brainer decision to sell, so we will educate you on the process and talk through your decision to sell (or not). We are transparent about every step of the way, so you do not have to wonder if our practices are questionable. There is no middleman looking to create the widest possible gap or turn an egregious profit, just a fair process to transfer rights and get your money now. To learn more, call 833-CROWFLY or visit crowfly.com/sellers.