May 6, 2010

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What company do you currently trust to help you financially should something unexpected occur in your life?

What would happen if you had a house fire and lost everything? Or suffered a car wreck that led to extensive injuries which required costly medical treatment? You would turn to those insurance companies that you have selected, because you trust that they will be able to meet the promises that they make to you financially.

What if you could invest in those companies' products that provide the same level of trust for much higher that traditional market rates on investments that have comparably low risks?

Investing in Structured Settlement Annuities

Structured Settlement Annuities offer a simple and affordable way for buyers to meet financial goals, such as saving for retirement, a child's education, or simply improving overall returns on a balanced investment portfolio.

Structured Settlement Annuities are sold by structured settlement annuitants to Platinum Financial Strategies at a discount in exchange for a lump sum payment. Platinum Financial Strategies offers these annuities for resale.

Who makes the payments?
Structured Settlement Annuity payments are made directly to the buyer by a U.S. based Insurance Company with a credit rating that is generally AAA to A rated by Standard and Poor's.

How is the Interest Rate determined?
The interest rate for each Structured Settlement Annuity is determined by market conditions and is represented as an "effective rate" that is compounded annually based on a 365-day year.

Why are Structured Settlement Annuity rates of return higher than other fixed income products?
The rate of return on a Structured Settlement Annuity is higher than rates available for comparable fixed income products for several reasons:
  • A Structured Settlement Annuity has been "previously owned." The payment term and payment amounts are pre-determined.
  • There is no "over the counter" market for Structured Settlement Annuities. Structured Settlement Annuities must be transacted through a court process that takes time and expertise.
  • Structured Settlement Annuities tend to be purchased by sophisticated Buyers comfortable with a more complex transaction.
With Platinum Financial Strategies, Buyers benefit from a high rate of return with the confidence of knowing that the transaction is completed to exacting standards.

Why do you need Platinum Financial Strategies to facilitate the purchase of a Structured Settlement Annuity?
Payment rights to Structured Settlement Annuities are transferred from the original structured settlement annuitant to the Buyer pursuant to State law. The purchase and sale of each payment stream must be approved by a court which issues an order redirecting payments to the Buyer.

Platinum Financial Strategies has expertise in legally transferring payment rights. We obtain a court order in the Buyer's name at no additional cost to the Buyer. All of the court costs, transfer fees, lien search fees and legal costs are paid by Platinum Financial Strategies.

Platinum Financial Strategies has a number of channels, including an extensive broker network, through which structured settlement annuities are acquired. Platinum Financial Strategies ' experience and due diligence practices insure the investment quality of the annuities offered for sale.

Structured Settlement Annuities are not widely known to the general public nor are they generally accessible. As such, they provide a limited opportunity to sophisticated investors to invest in safe, fixed return annuities at superior rates of interest.

What is the Term and Investment Amount of a typical Structured Settlement Annuity?
Structured Settlement Annuities can range from 1 to 35 year terms, but are typically 5 to 20 years. The investment amount (present value) of a Structured Settlement Annuity typically ranges between $50,000 and $150,000 but can be higher or lower.

Legal Structure of Structured Settlement Annuities
When a Structured Settlement Annuity is acquired from an existing annuitant, the payment rights are transferred to the Buyer by a court order stipulating the Buyer's name. The court order is obtained pursuant to a State sanctioned transfer statute available in 46 U.S. States. The court order will direct the insurance company that issued the Structured Settlement Annuity to pay the Buyer all of the annuity payments as and when they are due. Payment by check is then mailed to an address designated by the Buyer or by direct deposit into the Buyer's bank account.

Benefits of Investing in Structured Settlement Annuities
A Structured Settlement Annuity is a good vehicle for conservative investors. Platinum Financial Strategies only offers annuities paid by insurance companies with high Standard and Poor's credit ratings. These insurance companies invest the underlying funds used to pay the annuities primarily in government securities and high-grade corporate bonds. This makes Structured Settlement Annuities one of the safest forms of fixed term investments available today.

Structured Settlement Annuities can also provide above average returns for the fixed income portion of a balanced investment portfolio boosting overall portfolio performance.

May 4, 2010

Purchase Structured Settlement

When many think of annuities they think of the ultimate level comfort, guaranteed income for life. Month after month routine checks floating in so you can do whatever it is you please. Over all that sounds pretty good, but it doesn’t mean it should be your financial goal now. Hiring expensive tax attorneys is often good for wealthy people, but you
wouldn’t need one would you?
Get Out of Debt First
Having routine payments won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to live within your means. The whole point of the annuity is to fix your means forever. The best way to take control of your financial life is to beat down debt. In fact if you already own an annuity I would sell my annuity to pay down your high interest debt. You’ll be able to come back later at a proper time and get a new better annuity. Once you’re out of debt you’ll want to start saving for retirement.
Use Tax Free Growth Plans First
The first place you want to invest your savings is tax free growth plans. I prefer plans where I can choose my investments simply because I don’t believe buy and forget is the best choice for me. However, if your company offers a match you must take advantage of it first. A guaranteed 50 – 100% return in your first year of investment really helps the upward momentum. Next, I would invest all the way to the max allowed by the IRS into an IRA. Some would say a ROTH IRA, but I don’t trust the government won’t tax them later, so I would rather get my tax savings now. That’s just me with no political insight on the matter. After you max your IRA finish maxing out your 401k plan. I know it’s limiting, but it’s worth it for the decades of tax free growth.
Time to Buy Annuities
Now that you’ve maxed out your retirement plans ( The money is really growing now isn’t it?) it’s time to purchase an annuity, but not the type you generally think of. My favorite choice is the variable annuity for this phase in your game plan. The variable annuity allows you to invest in mutual funds wrapped in an insurance plan. Essentially the mutual funds grow tax free within the annuity, the insurance company will guarantee a certain rate of return as long as you hold the variable annuity for so many years and they will guarantee all of your principle. Obviously the terms vary a little bit from plan to plan, but this is another great way to invest in good mutual funds.
Time to Retire
Now that you have enough money to retire, and you’re of age for your retirement accounts, you can purchase annuities for a life time of income and beyond. I would begin with an annuity to cover all of your expenses and general wishes for the rest of your life. Then I would create separate annuities for each person in your life you would like to pass wealth too. I like this method because you can often set an individual up as the benefactor of the annuity and it bypasses the need to be put in a will. This way you won’t offend anyone that you’re helping your nephew more than your son or whatever your personal situation may be. My other favorite choice for annuities is to set them up for your favorite charities. Instead of writing one big check you can give them monthly support as long as they meet your standards.

Structured Settlement Investment qwoter

Structured settlements are known as payment methods for legal claims, lawsuit cases, and several other payment rewards.  In contrast to a lump sum settlement alternative, the structured settlement money is paid over a specific period of time. There are several reasons that you may choose to consider a structured settlement investment as opposed to the one time lump sum money.

Annuities & Structured Settlements

Annuities are products managed and sold by insurance companies. You can sell your annuity either it is immediate or deferred. The money that stays in the account is secured from taxes until you make a distribution. When it comes to huge amount of settlements, you may be granted the option to annuitize your account, or this might be a component of the settlement prerequisites. When this takes place, the funds are placed in an annuity, and as the annuitant, you will receive scheduled payments, which can either be period certain or life certain. The life certain term gives out an income throughout your lifetime, while the period certain provides payouts for a particular number of years.
On the other hand, the structured settlement loans utilize annuities to maintain and distribute the funds from a huge settlement over time. This maybe caused by more than one reason. For one, you may want to take advantage of the tax benefits by taking the money over time rather than in an instant. This can also prevent you from using all of your resources fast because of your poor cash management. Since there are many people that make very expensive purchases or aid their poor relatives who come visit them home, the structured settlement investment can assist in inhibiting you from experiencing abrupt financial losses.

Structured Settlement Drawbacks

In reality, there are two main drawbacks in having a structured settlement. The first disadvantage is the limited resources. When you have a structured settlement, you don’t have direct access to your bulk money, which you can use for car or home purchase. This may let you feel that you are ensnared to live within the means set on you. Most people who procure this kind of settlement are either unable to look for further work or are disabled, thus they ultimately rely on their settlement payments. Another disadvantage is its investment potential. Even if you don’t need your money soon, you may later realize that the annuity firm is generating money off your lump sum funds while you could be making the money personally by investing in assets with good potential for growth.

Selling a Structured Settlement

If you are searching for a structured settlement purchaser, you’ll be delighted to know that there are several companies that buy these annuities. They are promoted and advertised on television declaring that they can help you acquire your money fast. While several states control the sale of these settlements, in actual fact, they are very attractive methods to generate huge sums of money fast, although they are not designed for your best interest.
If you currently maintain a tax-free settlement, you should gain knowledge of the federal restrictions in selling these annuities. You should recognize that these companies will not offer this opportunity for free and will frequently get as much as 1/3 of your lump sum account balance.


If you plan to take your structured settlement investment, make certain that your financial requirements are met and your best interests are taken into consideration. It would be advantageous to get the investment advice and services of a neutral third-party financial expert to evaluate and assess your insurance company’s strength and ensure that there are no unwarranted commissions that you’ll have to pay.
Don’t just allow your lawyer to place the annuity, particularly if he is also a licensed and experienced insurance agent. Confirm all the information regarding your attorney’s financial interest on your case. In many instances, you may wish to divide your settlement among different insurance firms to broaden and diversify your portfolio to lower the risk.

investing (Buying) Structured Settlements and Annuities

Settlement Quotes can provide buying opportunities to Financial Institutions, Mutual Funds and Accredited Investors looking to invest in guaranteed Fixed Term Annuities such as structured settlements. These payment streams offer secure guaranteed investments.
Settlement Quotes is a structured settlement exchange company which facilitates lump-sum cash payments in return for future annuity payments. These annuity and structured settlement payments are transferred through a court approval process at a discounted rate.
Your $1,000,000.00 invested today with our annuities could grow to $1,489,845.71 in 5 years. If you buy U.S. Treasuries your $1,000,000.00 will amount to only $1,225,452.19 in 5 years.  If you invest in conventional annuities such as those offered by Midland National, you will end up with $1,240,230.75 in 5 years.   As such, Settlement Quotes annuities will earn you $264,393.52 more than U.S. Treasuries and $249,614.96 more than typical annuities.
That isn't all, when comparing Settlement Quote’s annuities to U.S. Treasuries, Fidelity High Income Bond Fund, and S&P 500 Index historically over the past 5 and 10 year periods our investments fared at least two times as well as the best of the other investment options over the past 5 years and almost as well as the S&P 500 Index over the past 10 year equity boom.
In short, for safe and secure fixed-income investments Settlement Quote's annuities are second to none.
Let us help you with your structured settlement and annuity investing needs.
Call us today and one of our investment specialists would be pleased to explain how.


We frequently hear from investment people about the rate of return on structured settlement annuities vs. other investment products. It is important to keep in mind that these payments, by Federal Statute, are totally tax-free from any Federal, State, City, Social Security or Medicare taxation.
The income generated by investment of a large settlement would typically result in higher tax brackets. Therefore, one would need to earn 35 to 40% greater rates each and every year throughout a lifetime to equal the same rate of return as the structured settlement on a net after-tax basis. Please also keep in mind there are no ongoing fees, commissions, reporting requirements or additional expenses in connection with these structured settlements.
If the client has sustained considerable injuries, the "age rated" annuities often produce a tax equivalent internal rate of return of 10.5% or more, guaranteed for a lifetime. The average return of stocks from 1926-2002 has been only between 10 and 12 percent a year (7.7% after taxes), with much more risk.
When comparing rates of return of a structured settlement annuity vs. another investment, it is important to compare those returns over a period of time comparable with the life expectancy of the individual claimant. It is also important to compare the net performance of the investment after fees and taxes as there are no ongoing fees, commissions, reporting requirements or additional expenses in connection with the structured settlement annuity.
If the claimant has sustained serious injuries, "age rated" annuities often produce a higher tax equivalent internal rate of return guaranteed for a lifetime, with almost no risk.
At a minimum we suggest the claimant consider a portion of their portfolio that would normally be invested in conservative products such as U.S. Treasuries, Municipal Bonds, Corporate Bonds, etc. (typically one-third to one-half of the settlement) be placed in a "structure" as this will improve the rate of return on these monies due to the tax-free status.
Many financial planners do not understand structured settlements and many have never experienced a Bear Market. Could the claimant stand to lose almost 50% of their settlement over a 3 year period if the market declines as it did in the early 1970's and again in the early 2000's?
Another factor to consider is that life expectancies are increasing at a rate close to one percent a year, making a person with a 20 year life expectancy at retirement actually live about 50% longer than the expectancy table reflects. Could the claimant outlive their settlement...not if it is a lifetime payout in a structured settlement annuity. If the injury is permanent, the settlement should be too!
If a trust officer, stockbroker, money manager, or financial planner advises they can exceed the total amount of payments on a net after-tax basis, have them issue a letter guaranteeing this statement, as our proposals are contractually guaranteed by a multi-billion dollar life insurance corporations.
We will be happy to review any of the proposals offered by financial advisors.

Structured Settlement as an Investment Vehicle

You always hear people talking about the latest investment vehicle they're using. It's water cooler talk, dinner table talk, phone talk, it's everywhere talk. People are always looking for a way to invest their money that might be a little 'different' from what others are doing. Buying a structured settlement is one of those options.
A structured settlement is where one party is awarded an amount of money that is to be paid out over a certain period of time. It is commonly the result of an insurance settlement or a life settlement where the insurance company is required by a judge to pay the victims an amount of money over time. The person who is awarded the settlement then knows they can count on $X.XX per month over the next Y years.
However, often people who are awarded structured settlements don't want to receive the money over Y period of time. They want the money NOW. And why not? Often they can make better use of the money now than they could over 30 years, or sometimes they could better their personal finances right now and forever if they had a lump sum of cash right now for their structured settlement payments.
In comes the investor. As an investor, an alternative vehicle would be to buy someones structured settlement payments. That's right, pay cash for structured settlement payments. For example, Joe is awarded a $500,000 settlement from the insurance company for an auto accident he was involved in. The company is going to pay the $500,000 over the next 10 years, $50,000 each year. However, Joe would be better off if he could just get $150,000 now and let someone else receive the payments over the next 10 years. As an investor, you could do this. Of course, in this case you would have to have $150,000 in cash to buy the payments, but then over the next 10 years you would make 333% return on your initial investment of $150,000. Not bad!
I'm not saying it is an easy process to buy someone's structured settlement payments. The process involves lawyers, insurance companies, and judges, three things people tend to dislike. However, there are companies that can help you. They'll help you find all the resources you need to make a successful investment.

Structured Settlement Investment iv

Choosing a structured settlement investment as an option for for financial gain can be a viable method of acquiring profit. These settlements are usually paid out to individuals over a period of time and may be the result of an insurance pay out, lottery winnings, annuities or a court judgment. Recipients of these funds are often willing to sell the payments in exchange for a lump sum of cash. There are a variety of reasons why an individual might choose to do this. Receiving money that is owed over time in small increments may not have the same kind of life changing possibilities that a one time payment of a large amount of money can have. This is the main attraction that draws individuals to investors who are willing to pay money for structured settlement payments. Why wait for the money when it can be obtained in one large payment? Of course, sellers will find that they are not going to receive as much money as originally would have been the case. For a structured settlement investment to work, there must be the potential of real profit down the road for the investor. These settlements may have been originally designed to create a steady source of income that will aide the beneficiary for a long time to come. This time frame will usually extend over a period of years. In the minds of some recipients, having access to a larger sum of money in the present is more valuable than having more money in the long run, but having to wait for it.

The decision to participate in a structured settlement investment can depend upon a variety of factors. Individuals who are weighing an offer to sell off any payments that will come in the future are generally more concerned about the present. Pressing financial needs can be very persuasive for the owners of these settlements. Mounting debts, needed home repairs, medical bills, or a child's education can be just some of the reasons that someone might decide to sell off future payments. But the wise seller will take a number of things into consideration. It is generally a good idea to seek counseling from an objective financial professional before making a final decision or signing any contracts. This professional should be functioning independently of any investors and have only the best interests of the seller at heart. Such counselors will usually help a client to understand just how much money will be lost should the client decide to move forward with a structured settlement investment. Advisers will also suggest certain pertinent questions to the client. How much money does the client currently need? Is this need so pressing that it is worth sacrificing future income? Is there any other way that the needed money can be obtained? Since the client will end us loosing a percentage of the settlement's worth, the seller should take the time to weigh all options and to decide if the future cost of the arrangement is worth the present day benefits.

A a structured settlement investment requires a little more than a willing buyer paired with a willing seller. While such arrangements can be a financial opportunity for both parties, the law does not allow individuals to sell off such assets without court approval. Involving a judge is designed to make sure that the seller fully understands what is being sacrificed and that the deal as it is presented is fair and equitable to all concerned. When the request is brought before the court, the seller's current situation and financial need will be presented as well. In addition to the input of a judge, separate legal representation may be called for. Many clients do not realize that they may be able to sell off only a portion of these settlements and are not obligated to sell the entire asset. This approach may offer a client the best alternative since they will be able to obtain cash for current needs while maintaining a portion of the payments that will be paid out over time. This choice can help to provide a sense of security for the future. It is also very important to make sure that the buyer or group of investors who are offering to complete the structured settlement investment are reputable and that there are no hidden fees buried in the agreement.

Selecting a reputable broker who can lead a client through the process of working with a structured settlement investment groups is a very crucial choice. A broker will need to be knowledgeable of the law as it pertains to these contracts. In addition, a broker must also hold the best interests of their clients as a top priority. The strength and comfort that God offers to believers is detailed in the Bible. "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isaiah 41:10)

A structured settlement investment should benefit the purchasing company as well as the seller. These companies do not make such investments as a good will gesture to the seller. Like all investors, they are interested profit. For this reason, the amount of money that is paid to the seller will be less, sometimes substantially less, than the final settlement pay out. There may be fees and other costs associated with these contracts as well. What ever choice a seller might make, a fair contract will honor all concerned parties and provide needed financial relief.

structured settlement investment iii

To get a free quote for the lump sum amount you would receive if you sell your structured settlement, annuity, or other type of future payments, just contact Structured Settlement Investments today. We can help you get cash for structured settlement payments so you can live the life you deserve!
Many people with structured settlements don’t know that federal and state statutes govern the transfer of structured settlement payments. Despite language in some settlement agreements prohibiting selling structured settlement payments, these statutes permit the sale of most structured settlement payments.
Many settlement agreements provide for payments for life, after a specified period expires. These “non-guaranteed” or “life-contingent” settlement payments can often be sold, providing cash now in exchange for uncertain structured settlement payments in the future. We at Structured Settlement Investments would be happy to explain how you can turn your dreams into reality.

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If you are considering selling your structured settlement, annuity payments, insurance payments, lottery payments, or other future payments and are seeking advice from industry-leading professionals, you've come to the right place. At Structured Settlement Investments, we can help you get cash for future payments now!
Are creditors hounding you? Has your car been repossessed? Having trouble paying bills on time? If so, you may want to sell your structured settlement, annuity, or other future payments. Receiving cash for structured settlement payments can mean having the money you need now... when you need it!
Do you have structured settlement payments coming to you as a result of a personal injury settlement or other structured settlement? Have you purchased annuities for retirement, but now find that a lump sum of cash would better suit your needs? Are you tired of waiting for your check, when you could have your money now? Would a lump sum payment help you get your life back on track? If so, you can sell your structured settlement or annuity payments for cash. At Structured Settlement Investments, we provide cash for structured settlement payments, and other forms of future payments, to help our clients get the money they need to live. We can purchase your future payments to help you get the large cash payment you need now!

May 3, 2010

Austrlian Mesothelioma Registry could mean new hope in future

The launch of a new Australian Mesothelioma Registry may constitute an important part of the international struggle with asbestos regulations, and could be an important step towards new discoveries about the disease. The registry, established at the Bernie Banton Centre in Sydney, will aim to collect detailed information about each specific cases of mesothelioma in Australia. The data that’s collected could help to improve the understanding of the circumstances that cause the disease, as well as improve international efforts to develop more effective treatments and prevention programs.
“The NSW Government’s Cancer Institute has been awarded a major contract to manage and operate a national register of mesothelioma cases on behalf of the Commonwealth Government,” said Premier Kristina Keneally about the project.
“The Cancer Institute is recognized as a national leader in the management of cancer registries and will manage the new registry with a consortium including the Monash Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Sydney, the Asbestos Disease Research Institute and the Western Australian Cancer Registry.”
The new registry was launched by the New South Wales Minister Assisting the Minister of Health Frank Sartor, the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Julia Gillard, and Kristina Kineally, the New South Wales Premier. Combining management by a consortium of organizations led by the Cancer Institute of New South Wales, and participation by a variety of Australia’s leading asbestos illness specialists, the registry hopes to improve the world’s understanding of the disease as well as its effectiveness at combating it.
Mesothelioma is a rare and terminal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. At one time, Australia had the highest asbestos consumption per capita in the world, a fact which is certainly connected to their current struggle with asbestos related diseases. While Australia and many other nations have effectively banned the use of the dangerous substance, a wide variety of developing nations still import asbestos products and use them with little or no safety precautions.
The establishment of the Australian Mesothelioma Registry will help to amass evidence of asbestos’s ill health effects, and could play an important role in the ongoing international debate concerning the appropriate restrictions for asbestos products.

ConnocoPhillips indicated in asbestos trial

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010
Early last month Troy Loften was awarded more than $15 million after his former employer was found to have negligently exposed him to dangerous asbestos dust.
Troy Loften suffers from asbestosis, a crippling disease caused by asbestos exposure which attacks the lungs and causes severe respiratory difficulty as well as general pains and weakness. In addition to being reliant on a 24 hour supply of oxygen, he also suffers from a severely diminished quality of life and a much greater risk of developing mesothelioma or another fatal cancer triggered by asbestos.
The lawsuit against CP Chem showed that Troy was required to handle large amounts of materials that contained dangerous amounts of asbestos. One product in particular, a material known as Flosal, was often shipped to Troy and his co-workers in 50 lb bags; they were then required to dump the dusty contents into other equipment by hand. Flosal, as was shown in the lawsuit, contains asbestos dust, and this dumping process thoroughly contaminated the air with microscopic asbestos fibers which are incredibly dangerous when inhaled.
While regulations for enforcing the safe handling of asbestos were not in place until the late 1980’s, the health concerns associated with the substance have been around for nearly one hundred years. Medical studies published as early as the 1920’s and 1930’s noted scarring of the lungs in asbestos factory workers, and by the middle of the century the substance could be directly linked to various serious and even fatal diseases.
Asbestos companies worked to suppress information about the substance’s health hazards, owing to its importance in various industries and its growing profitability. These efforts effectively postponed the formation of state and federal restrictions throughout much of the twentieth century, allowing hundreds of thousands of individuals to develop serious asbestos related illnesses as a direct consequence.
Today, state and federal regulations severely limit the use of asbestos in the United States, and oversee its safe handling and proper disposal. While the laws have only been around since the late 1980’s, companies that acted wrongfully while possessing knowledge that asbestos fibers can cause disease and death can be held liable in a court of law.
Troy Loften’s successful lawsuit of a division of Conoco Phillips could very well open the floodgates for similar cases. Already, more than 700 additional lawsuits involving former employees of the oil company are pending.

Mesothelioma Case Results in $6 Million Verdict

A recent mesothelioma trial has brought nearly $6 million to the wife of former United States Navy officer Robert Hardick, who passed away from mesothelioma cancer earlier this year.
Diane Hardick, Robert’s wife, filed the wrongful death lawsuit against John Crane Inc. and Garlock Sealing Technologies.
According to the suit, Mr. Hardick contracted mesothelioma after inhaling asbestos fibers while serving on the U.S.S. Newport News, a Des Moines-Class heavy cruiser. It is believed that Mr. Hardick also experienced asbestos exposure while serving on other ships from the 1950s through the 1970s.
Exposure to asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma cancer. Symptoms of this rare condition typically do not present themselves for 20 to 50 years after being exposed and the average mesothelioma life expectancy ranges between four and 18 months.
The lawsuit claimed asbestos-containing materials manufactured by John Crane and Garlock Sealing Technologies were provided to the Newport News Naval Shipyard. The compensation from Mr. Hardick’s death was divided between the two companies.
John Crane’s responsibility represented about half of a $5.98 million verdict. The remaining monetary awards were apportioned to Garlock Sealing Technologies, who settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
The Virginian jury awarded $2 million for Mr. Hardick’s pain and suffering, $1.15 million for the loss suffered by his wife, $2.5 million for the loss of future income, and $327,000 for medical and funeral expenses.
Previous shipyard workers and crew members who may have been exposed to asbestos while working around ships may be at risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. It is advised for those at risk to receive regular medical examinations to check for signs of asbestos exposure.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma in the chest
Mesothelioma in the chest
The tissues lining (or covering) the lungs are called the pleura.  There are two pleura.  These can be called pleural membranes.  The gap between them is called the pleural space.  The pleura are fibrous sheets.  They help to protect the lungs.  They produce a lubricating fluid that fills the gap between the two pleura.  This helps the lungs to move smoothly in the chest when they are inflating and deflating as we breathe.

Mesothelioma is most often diagnosed in the pleura.  This is known as pleural mesothelioma. Because it is so close, pleural mesothelioma can also affect the sheet of tissue covering the heart – the pericardium.  Doctors call the pericardium the lining, although it is on the outside of the heart.  It protects the heart and allows it to move smoothly within the sac that surrounds it.  So it does much the same job for the heart as the pleura do for the lungs.
Mesothelioma in the abdomen
The tissue lining the abdomen (tummy) is called the peritoneum.  It helps to protect the contents of the abdomen.  It also produces a lubricating fluid.  This helps the organs to move smoothly inside the abdomen as we move around.
Mesothelioma of the tissues lining the abdominal cavity is known as peritoneal mesothelioma.  It is much less common than pleural mesothelioma.
It is unusual for mesothelioma to spread to other parts of the body.  But if it does, it does not usually cause troublesome symptoms.

Benign mesothelioma
There is a form of non cancerous (benign) mesothelioma that can develop in the lining of the lungs, or in the lining of the reproductive organs.  It can occur in either men or women.  These non cancerous tumours are very rare and we don’t cover them in this section of CancerHelp UK.

Move to the country to save on car insurance

A 2009 Mercedes C class and 2009 Smart Fortwo in a frontal offset car-to-car crash test. Along with maintaining a good driving record, motorists who live in the country and have a car alarm in their vehicles enjoy lower rates than urban dwellers, Garry Marr notes.I think of my car insurance like a utility bill. I have to pay it. My only other choice is to sell my car and take the bus. Frankly, I’d rather freeze in the dark.
That car-or-bust attitude leaves me at the mercy of auto insurance companies who can jack up my rates at their discretion. Every traffic accident or traffic fine is not just an immediate hit on my household income, but a potential black mark for years to come.
But even with a perfect driving record, can I escape rate hikes? The perception among most consumers is that car insurance rates are always on the rise.
They are basically right. Automobile insurance rates were up 5.5% in March from a year ago, says Statistics Canada. The overall consumer price index was up only 4% during the same period.
Go back a decade and you’ll find auto insurance prices have risen 67%, while the consumer price index is up about 22% over the same time frame.
“We are pretty much sitting at a high level. It’s not the all-time high, but pretty close,” said Daniel Cheung of StatsCan.
Is there anything you can do about it?
“You can shop around,” says Jim Davidson, a car broker and owner of “I suggest you should contact insurance companies directly if you are looking for the cheapest quote you can find.”
That advice seems a little strange — a car broker suggesting people avoid insurance brokers. “Yes, it’s a little funny for me to say. Their rates are a little higher, but people get other advantages from dealing [with insurance brokers]. It’s one-stop shopping for all your needs. ”
He suggests that before you even buy your car you should try and get an estimate of what the insurance will be on the vehicle. “You can do all that online now,” says Mr. Davidson, who also advises customers on what cars are considered by insurers as high risk.
There may be no way to avoid accidents, but you can prevent them from becoming part of your driving record. “Pay for the little stuff out of pocket,” says Mr. Davidson.
Anything under $1,000 counts as little stuff. And since you are paying for everything under $1,000, the deductible — the amount of money you have to pay out-of-pocket before making a claim — should be less than $1,000.
Henry Blumenthal is vice-president and chief underwriter at TD Insurance. He says his company is what is called a “direct response insurer” with no intermediary. You can get a quote over the phone. “I encourage Canadians to do that,” Mr. Blumenthal says. “It’s a very easy process.”
He says there are a number of factors that determine your auto insurance rate, starting with where you live.
“It depends on what we project in terms of accident risk and severity and all those things,” he says, adding rates are lower in rural areas than congested cities.
Insurers can also bundle services together. Tying your house and car insurance together with the same company can save you money on both policies. “It also helps you avoid confusion,” says Mr. Blumenthal. “You are dealing with one company and one payment.”
Anti-theft systems in your vehicle are another way to lower your premium. “In Quebec, it can lower your premium by up to 25%. If you are in Montreal, you are close to the port, the most exposed area [in Canada] for auto thefts. Thieves put the cars in a container and they are gone. We’ve seen our cars show up in Africa and they haven’t even taken the plate off,” Mr. Blumenthal says.
What about sex reassignment surgery? “As a general concept, females are better drivers than males,” says Mr. Blumenthal, adding there is one age group among females that is considered higher risk, but he won’t identify the group.
So, I can move to the country, get a cheaper car, pay for an alarm system, get a sex change — or watch my rates go up. At least I can shop around.
Dusty wallet: If you drive your car during working hours as part of your job make sure you’re insured for it. If you are not compensated for mileage, try and get your employer to help with that extra insurance. They might be willing because of their own potential liability.

Online Auto Insurance Offers Quotes with No Obligations also understands that many consumers feel that providing certain information may make an individual feel obligated to deal with certain companies and therefore does not require individuals to provide personal information to compare auto insurance quotes from multiple insurers. Items such as driver’s license and social security numbers are not necessary to begin the quote comparison process.
Motorists are welcome to visit and compare as often as they like and it is recommended to do so in order to ensure that the best rate is obtained. In a consumer guide provided by the Missouri Department of Insurance, it states, “The Department recommends that you get three quotes when shopping. But with Internet shopping, three quotes take no time at all. You could probably get 20 quotes in the same amount of time it takes to drive to or call three agents. The more you shop, the better price you will find."
Consumers may also want to occasionally compare rates to ensure that their current carrier is still competitively priced. By visiting motorists can get as many quotes as they like free of charge with absolutely no obligations make a purchase to see if a more affordable rate is available.

Best Auto Insurance Plans For College Students – Will You Save Time And Money Online With Allstate?

Getting car insurance does not need to be a hassle, but it often turns into one. This process can be much easier if you use the tools that are available to you. The Internet is one of the best resources that you have. It may be difficult to decide where to start. If you are having a hard time deciding where to go or how to look, here are a few pointers.
Look around! Visiting multiple car insurance websites will help you better understand what you can expect to get.  Many people will go to one insurance provider, and then except what is presented to them. You may not be getting the best plan and rates if you do not check it against other car insurance providers.

Auto insurance companies, like GEICO and Allstate, offer free quotes at their websites. The process is very easy. You start by providing a zip code. You will get a screen telling you what they require. The criteria includes how many drivers, and many vehicles and what type they are, and what possible discounts you may be eligible for.
Once you have filled in all the required information to get a free quote, you may be able to get discounts for being a college student. Not all insurance providers will offer this, but those that do should be worth your attention. It is hard enough to find time to go to class, study, and work. Many auto insurance providers understand this and want to make sure that their company is there for you. Allstate insurance is a company that offers discounts for college students with good grades.
You may already have car insurance. Do you know if you are paying too much for the plan you have? It is sometimes very difficult to understand how car insurance works. You are paying for a “just in case” service. It is always better to have insurance in case of an unexpected disaster. That does not mean you need to pay an outrageous amount for that insurance.
It is good to remember that as you get older, your insurance rates will change. If you have insurance and you’re not sure if you are getting the best deal or not, go ahead and visit one of these websites to get a free quote. You may find that you can save money by switching to a different auto insurance provider. It never hurts to look around.

Nationwide Auto Insurance Discounts – Can You Really Save Money On Car Insurance?

Many auto insurance providers will give you discounts. Sometimes you qualify for discounts, other times you don’t. What is often the case, many people don’t even ask for what discounts are available to them. These people are missing out on a great opportunity to save hundreds of dollars on their auto insurance. Companies, like Nationwide auto insurance and GEICO auto insurance, offer a wide range of discounts like keeping your grades up in college, having multiple policies with that one company, being a safe driver and having an up-to-date safe car. These discounts can add up after a while.

When you visit these auto insurance providers websites, you can get a free quote. Sometimes the free quote process will ask you questions that will help you receive these discounts. If you get a free quote and you don’t see that you’ve received any discounts, called the auto insurance company directly. Sometimes talking to a real person is the best way to get a straight answer. You may be eligible for a discount that was not listed. The more time and research you devote to finding a good cheap auto insurance plan, the better your chances of receiving a low cost auto insurance plan. Continue to look around and compare rates between auto insurance companies, and you should be able to find an auto insurance plan that is right for you.

Northampton County judge cracks down on structured settlement transfers

Companies are finding it tougher in Northampton County Court to buy people's personal injury and other lawsuit settlements for pennies on the dollar.
Last month, Judge Leonard Zito bristled over one request, rejecting it as ''usurious, and worthy of contempt.'' But a review by The Morning Call found that despite a decade of court oversight, the industry routinely got away with deals that offered even less than the one that outraged Zito.
Since then, Zito has been assigned every case involving the agreements, known as structured-settlement transfers. The results have been predictable: Zito rejected two earlier this month, and expressed heavy scepticism Friday when he heard three others without issuing a ruling

Betting on a 2010 Kentucky Derby Winner in structured settlement investment

When your sitting back
In your rose pink Cadillac
Making bets on Kentucky Derby Day

-Townes Van Zant (Rolling Stones)
Each year on Kentucky Derby day, people ask me for betting advice. Each year, I update this column and give it my best shot.
Although there are people more qualified to give Derby tips, like political or financial commentators, I won't let lack of expertise stop me.
My father was a professional gambler and my most recent book, Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners Losers and What to Do When You Win the Lottery, talks about how I grew up around the rack track.
Each year, I write a column on Derby Day, and if you have followed my advice, you have lost a lot of money. The large fields at the Kentucky Derby throw logic out the window.
I have a system that leans towards favorites and long shots often prevail at the Derby.
The expected bad weather will also change the dynamics. Some really great horses are lousy on mud.
Thus, luck will be a big factor. Betting on a winning horse will be a little like winning the lottery. It will be more a random act than a test of skill
Having said all that, the betting system I tout is a good one. If you go consistently to a track like Keeneland or Gulfstream with good horses and smart bettors, the system works.
Many years ago, I found a book called Racetrack Betting: the Professors ' Guide to Strategies by Peter Asch and Richard E. Quandi.
It was written by two statistics professors and not the easiest book to read. I can sum up the advice in two statements.
1. Bet on the horse that everyone else is betting on. 2. Bet on the horse to show, not to win or place.
The book bases the ability to pick horses on a theory known as the wisdom of crowds.
The wisdom of crowds concept is really popular now. It is a driving force for web sites like Google.
The idea is that marketplace will move towards the best outcome.
If a horse moves from 10 to 1 to 2 to 1, it is probably a good horse to bet on.
Betting to show is a practice that I follow religiously. .
The professors said that betting to show will produce a winner 52% of the time. That is better than any other kind of bet.
The professors hate jackpots like the Pick-6. Just like the lottery, big odds draw a lot of excitement and attention.
Just like the lottery, you don't see many people winning them.
The professors frown on exactas, daily doubles or any bet that exhibits large risk.
Like in the investment world, the winner at the race track is the person with a conservative style and discipline.
The people trading mortgage backed securities at Goldman Sachs or Citigroup probably don't use my system.
When I go to the track, I don't look at the racing form, jockeys, past history or pick horses with funny names. (My mother was a sucker for horses with funny names.) I just follow the odds.
I usually win enough money to pay for lunch.
My father, a professional gambler, absolutely HATED my betting system. He and I would go to Keeneland every session and we never picked the same horse. He would bet $100 on a horse and lose. I would bet $10 and win.
It drove him absolutely crazy.
Dad liked the excitement of big odds and big payoffs. He knew everything about the horse's past performance, their breeding and who was riding them.
Dad was superstitious and started to believe that my system was jinxing him. If dad ever met the professors, he would have punched them in the nose.
I stuck to my system. I stick to it today. Betting to show fits with my overall philosophy about handling money. Slow and steady works in the financial markets and works at the track too.
For whatever reason, my system has failed me at Kentucky Derby's. The last one I remember winning was Sunday Silence in 1989. I didn't pick Sunday Silence because of my system. His owner, Arthur Hancock III, had graduated from Vanderbilt and I had received a Masters Degree from Vandy the year before.
I picked the horse because of an alumni connection to a man I had never met. It was a stupid reason for picking a horse but produced one of my few winners.
Thus, on Derby Day, my advice is forget all the high powered systems and give it your best guess.
Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC is one of the world's leading authorities in helping people deal with "Big Money" issues. He is currently on tour promoting his book: Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners, Losers and What To Do When You Win the Lottery.

McNay is an award winning, financial columnist and Huffington Post Contributor.

You can read more about Don at

McNay founded McNay Settlement Group, a structured settlement and financial consulting firm, in 1983 and Kentucky Guardianship Administrators LLC in 2000. You can read more about both at

McNay has Master's Degrees from Vanderbilt and the American College and is in the Eastern Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni.
McNay is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table and has four professional designations in the financial services field. 
by :  

Don McNay

Posted: April 30, 2010 10:39 PM

MetLife Swings to $835 Million Profit on Investments for structured settlement investment

April 29 (Bloomberg) -- MetLife Inc., the biggest U.S. life insurer, swung to a profit in the first quarter as investments improved. The company gained in extended trading in New York.
Net income was $835 million, or 97 cents a share, compared with a loss of $544 million, or 71 cents, in the year-earlier period, New York-based MetLife said in a statement. Excluding some investment results, profit was $1.01 a share, beating the 98-cent average estimate of 17 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
MetLife, which lost $2.25 billion last year, is seeking to expand as profits return. Chief Executive Officer Robert Henrikson agreed in March to buy a non-U.S. life insurer from American International Group Inc. for about $15.5 billion. He’s tapping debt and equity investors for the purchase, which will bring MetLife business in emerging economies including Brazil and Russia.
“They didn’t ever stop expanding,” said Steven Schwartz, an analyst with Raymond James & Associates Inc., who has a “market perform” rating on MetLife. “They had the capital, they had the high quality name and they rode it.”
Book value per share, a measure of assets minus liabilities, increased by about 9 percent since Dec. 31 to $41.21 at the end of March. The figure increased by about 60 percent in 12 months on the rebound of fixed-income holdings including corporate bonds.
Investment Gains
Gross unrealized losses on fixed-maturity securities, which include portfolio declines that aren’t counted against earnings, narrowed to $8.3 billion from $10.5 billion on Dec. 31, the company said in a separate document on its Web site today. Unrealized gains advanced to $9.8 billion, giving the insurer more gains than losses for the first time since March 2008.
First-quarter results include an investment gain of $72 million, compared with a loss of $906 million in the year- earlier period when the company wrote down the value of holdings.
MetLife climbed 51 cents to $46.13 at 4:34 p.m. in New York. The insurer has advanced about 54 percent in the last 12 months on the New York Stock Exchange, the second-worst performer of the 7-company Standard and Poor’s 500 Life & Health Insurance Index. Prudential Financial Inc., the second-biggest U.S. life insurer, has more than doubled in the same period.
Net investment income, which includes dividends and payments on bonds advanced about 31 percent from the year- earlier period to $4.3 billion after the company drew down the cash hoard it built at the depths of the recession to buy corporate debt and structured securities. It was the second quarterly increase after seven declines.
Cash and short-term investments fell 7 percent to $17.2 billion on March 31 from $18.5 billion at the end of December. That total stood at $30.3 billion at the end of last year’s first quarter.
Private Equity
MetLife said results from so-called variable holdings, which include private-equity and hedge-fund assets, were $71 million above the company’s plan. In December, MetLife said it expected $100 million to $200 million of variable income each quarter.
Operating earnings in the U.S. business quadrupled to $757 million on gains at the unit that includes pension-closeout businesses and structured settlements.
Operating earnings at the international business climbed 15 percent to $151 million on premium growth, fueled in part by currency fluctuations.
Non-U.S. Expansion
The acquisition of AIG’s American Life Insurance Co. will add to the non-U.S. businesses MetLife acquired in 2005 with the purchase of Travelers Life & Annuity from Citigroup Inc. That deal helped MetLife double its international revenue in three years, reducing reliance on a U.S. life insurance market that contracted 15 percent last year.
Alico will make about $2.4 billion in profits in 2010, MetLife has projected. Henrikson plans to sell $2 billion in common stock and $3.1 billion of senior debt to fund the deal. MetLife recorded revenue of $5.5 billion outside the U.S. in 2009, compared with $42.1 billion in its home market.
MetLife returned to profit in the fourth quarter after losses in each of the first three periods of 2009. The stock market rally, in which the Standard & Poor’s 500 surged more than 40 percent in the 12 months ended March 31, trimmed MetLife’s potential payouts to savers on equity-linked retirement products called variable annuities.

.G. Wentworth Completes $252 Million Securitization of Structured Settlement Backed Notes

BRYN MAWR, Pa., Apr 23, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Specialty finance company J.G. Wentworth has completed a $252 million securitization of structured settlement and annuity backed receivables. J.G. Wentworth was the first to structure and securitize structured settlements in the asset-backed markets in 1997. Since then, the company has issued 20 securitizations backed by structured settlements and annuities receivables totaling over $2.3 billion.
The most recently completed securitization consisted of two issued classes of notes: $208 million of Class A notes rated AAA by Moody's and $26.5 million of Class B notes rated A2 by Moody's. A Residual Class of $17.2 million was retained by the Company. Deutsche Bank was the sole lead manager and bookrunner of the offering.
According to J.G. Wentworth Chief Investment Officer Stefano Sola, "This latest securitization was the largest for J.G. Wentworth, and we believe, the largest-to-date in the structured settlement industry. This transaction established a new, more liquid benchmark in the asset backed market which was underlined by strong investor demand from insurance companies, money managers and hedge funds."
According to J.G. Wentworth Chief Executive Officer David Miller, the strong demand, combined with the size of the deal, indicates the return of liquidity and growing strength of this asset class within the broader asset backed market. "Investors are keen to participate in offerings where the product has strong, predictable cashflows, no prepayment risk and a track record of strong performance," Mr. Miller said.
About the J.G. Wentworth family of companies
J.G. Wentworth, LLC, based in Bryn Mawr, PA, is the nation's largest buyer of deferred payments for illiquid financial assets such as structured settlements and fixed annuities. Since 1992, J.G. Wentworth has purchased over $4 billion of future payment obligations from consumers and is also the nation's largest securitizer of structured settlement and annuity-backed notes.
For more information about J.G. Wentworth, visit
SOURCE: J.G. Wentworth, LLC

Symetra Financial Reports First Quarter 2010 Results Strong Net Income Growth; 30% Increase in Adjusted Operating Income over First Quarter 2009 for structured settlement investment

BELLEVUE, Wash., Apr 28, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Symetra Financial Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!sya/quotes/nls/sya (SYA 13.55, +0.05, +0.37%) today reported first quarter 2010 net income of $46.3 million, or $0.35 per diluted share. This compares with net income of $5.1 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, in first quarter 2009.
Adjusted operating income(1) was $41.9 million, or $0.32 per diluted share, in first quarter 2010, compared with $32.2 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Summary Financial Results                 Three Months Ended
(In millions, except per share data)           March 31
                                              2010      2009
                                              ----      ----
Net Income                                  $ 46.3    $  5.1
  Per Diluted Share of Common Stock         $ 0.35    $ 0.05
Adjusted Operating Income                   $ 41.9    $ 32.2
  Per Diluted Share of Common Stock         $ 0.32    $ 0.29

"Symetra delivered strong earnings growth in the first quarter, reflecting our underwriting discipline and focus on operating fundamentals," said Randy Talbot, Symetra Financial president and chief executive officer. "Our balanced mix of businesses produced a 30% increase in adjusted operating income over first quarter 2009, despite the headwinds of a low interest rate environment."
First Quarter Summary
-- Improved loss ratio in the Group segment.
-- Continued expansion of interest spreads on record-level fixed account values in the Retirement Services segment.
-- Constrained earnings growth from high daily average cash balances.
-- Pretax increase of $7.4 million in the Individual segment related to a credited rate reduction.
-- Significant improvement in net income and total revenues led by equity portfolio gains and reduced investment impairments.
Total revenues and operating revenues(1) benefited from improved net investment income, which was driven by an increase in invested assets. Total revenues in the first quarter of 2010 were $453.2 million, compared with $378.8 million in first quarter 2009. Operating revenues were $446.5 million in the first quarter, compared with $420.4 million in the same quarter of 2009.
"Sales across all distribution channels were good," said Talbot. "After a dip in fourth quarter 2009, total sales increased in first quarter 2010, supported by the primary capital raised in our initial public offering."
S                                                     Three Months Ended
egment Pretax Adjusted Operating Income (Loss)
(In millions)                                              March 31
                                                          2010         2009
                                                        -------      -------
Group                                                 $    15.7    $    11.5
Retirement Services                                        17.3          9.0
Income Annuities                                            6.4         14.4
Individual                                                 23.3         17.2
Other                                                      (3.9 )       (3.3 )
                                                        ------- -    ------- -
Subtotal                                              $    58.8    $    48.8
Less: Income Taxes*                                        16.9         16.6
                                                        -------      -------
Adjusted Operating Income                             $    41.9    $    32.2
                                                ======= =======    = =======
Represents the total provision for income taxes adjusted for
the tax effect on net realized investment gains (losses) and on
net realized and unrealized investment gains (losses) on fixed
index annuity (FIA) options at the U.S. federal income tax rate of

The Group segment, which consists primarily of medical stop-loss insurance, posted first quarter 2010 pretax adjusted operating income of $15.7 million, compared with $11.5 million in first quarter 2009. The increase in adjusted operating income stemmed from an improved loss ratio and lower commission-related expenses. The first quarter 2010 loss ratio was 68.9%, compared with 70.1% during the same quarter a year ago. A combination of fewer, less severe stop-loss claims and price increases on renewals contributed to the loss ratio improvement.
Sales for first quarter 2010 were $41.4 million, up from $36.8 million in first quarter 2009 as a result of focused work with select Group distributors and an improved pricing environment. Although rate increases on stop-loss policies led to higher lapses during the quarter, premiums remained relatively flat at $108.8 million, compared with $109.7 million in first quarter 2009.
During the first quarter of 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law. Based on the company's review of the Act, Symetra believes there is continued growth potential in its flagship medical stop-loss product following implementation of the healthcare legislation.
Retirement Services
The Retirement Services segment, which includes fixed and variable deferred annuities and retirement plans, produced $17.3 million in pretax adjusted operating income in first quarter 2010, up from $9.0 million in first quarter 2009. The marked growth in operating income was due to higher interest spreads on increased account values. Significant sales of fixed deferred annuities led to record-level total account values of $8.8 billion at quarter-end -- a 22% increase over $7.2 billion at the end of first quarter 2009.
Retirement Services sales were $377.5 million for the first quarter of 2010. This compares with sales of $911.1 million in first quarter 2009 when uncertain market conditions prompted many consumers to shift their assets to safer, fixed annuities, driving record-high sales. First quarter 2010 sales were generated largely by a broad group of financial institutions, including some recently added bank partners.
Income Annuities
The Income Annuities segment, which includes single premium immediate annuities (SPIAs) and structured settlements, reported pretax adjusted operating income of $6.4 million in first quarter 2010, compared with $14.4 million in the same quarter a year ago. Mortality losses in first quarter 2010 were $0.1 million, compared with higher-than-normal mortality gains of $4.3 million in first quarter 2009. A lower interest spread from reduced investment yields also contributed to the decline in adjusted operating income.
Sales for the quarter totaled $66.3 million, a 64% increase over sales of $40.4 million in first quarter 2009. Income annuity products continued to gain favor with consumers seeking a low-risk investment vehicle that provides income for life. Sales of structured settlement annuities also accounted for growth in this segment.
The Individual segment, which includes term and universal life insurance, and bank-owned life insurance (BOLI), had pretax adjusted operating income of $23.3 million for first quarter 2010, compared with $17.2 million in first quarter 2009. Because of continuing low investment yields, the credited interest rate on one of the company's universal life products is being adjusted downward to the guaranteed minimum. This change resulted in a $7.4 million increase to adjusted operating income due to the release of interest reserves and decreased amortization of deferred acquisition costs. A decrease in BOLI margins resulting from lower investment returns partially offset the impact from the universal life crediting rate change.
Individual sales grew 10% to $5.5 million for first quarter 2010, compared with sales of $5.0 million in the same quarter of 2009. Key drivers of sales in the quarter were term life policies sold through independent agents and BOLI.
Other Segment
The Other segment, which includes unallocated corporate income and expenses, interest expense on debt and other income outside of Symetra's four business segments, reported a pretax adjusted operating loss of $3.9 million in the first quarter of 2010, compared with a loss of $3.3 million in first quarter 2009.
Investment Portfolio
Symetra posted net realized investment gains of $6.8 million in first quarter 2010, compared with net losses of $43.0 million in first quarter 2009. Symetra's equity portfolio produced net gains of $7.6 million in the quarter, rebounding from net losses of $15.3 million in first quarter 2009. As a result of the improving economic climate, impairment losses were $9.7 million in first quarter 2010, compared with impairment losses of $27.8 million in the same quarter of 2009.
Symetra had average daily cash balances of $368.3 million in first quarter 2010, higher than its historical average. Retirement Services sales and net primary proceeds from the company's initial public offering (IPO) contributed to the increased cash balances.
IPO Proceeds
On Jan. 22, 2010, Symetra common stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "SYA." Of the $282.5 million in net primary proceeds raised in the IPO, the company contributed $236.6 million to its subsidiaries to fund growth.
Stockholders' Equity
Total stockholders' equity, or book value, as of March 31, 2010 was $1,971.7 million, or $14.39 per share, up from $1,433.3 million, or $12.83 per share, as of Dec. 31, 2009. The substantial increase in total book value included the $282.5 million in net IPO proceeds as well as appreciation in the investment portfolio. Book value per share was affected by the issuance of new shares of Symetra common stock.
Adjusted book value per share, as converted,(1) was $14.81 per share as of March 31, 2010, compared with $15.23 per share as of Dec. 31, 2009. The decrease in adjusted book value per share, as converted, stemmed from the issuance of new shares of Symetra common stock.
Symetra ended first quarter 2010 with an estimated risk-based capital (RBC) ratio of 484%, positioning the company well to pursue additional growth.
Additional Financial Information
This press release and the first quarter 2010 financial supplement are posted on the company's website at Investors are encouraged to review all of these materials.
Management to Review Results on Conference Call and Webcast
Symetra's senior management team will discuss the company's first quarter 2010 performance with investors and analysts on Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 10 a.m., Eastern Time (7 a.m., Pacific Time). To listen by phone, dial 866-730-5763. For international callers, dial 857-350-1587. The access code is 62327855. The conference call will be broadcast live on the Internet at and archived later in the day for replay. Those who wish to listen to the call by phone or via the Internet should dial in or go to Symetra's website at least 15 minutes before the call to register and/or test the compatibility of their computer.
A replay of the call can be accessed by phone at approximately 1 p.m., Eastern Time (10 a.m., Pacific Time) on April 29, 2010 by dialing 888-286-8010. For international callers, dial 617-801-6888. The access code is 30922964. The phone replay will be available through May 5, 2010.
Use of Non-GAAP Measures
(1) Symetra uses both U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and non-GAAP financial measures to track the performance of its operations and financial condition. Definitions of each non-GAAP measure are provided below, and reconciliations to the most directly comparable GAAP measures are included in the tables at the end of this press release. These measures are not substitutes for GAAP financial measures. For more information about these non-GAAP measures, please see the company's 2009 Annual Report on Form 10-K.
This press release includes non-GAAP financial measures entitled "adjusted operating income," "adjusted operating income per diluted share," "operating revenues," "adjusted book value," "adjusted book value, as converted," "adjusted book value per share, as converted" and "operating return on average equity." The company defines adjusted operating income as net income, excluding after-tax net investment gains (losses) and including after-tax net investment gains (losses) on fixed index annuity (FIA) options. Adjusted operating income per diluted share is defined as adjusted operating income divided by diluted common shares outstanding. Operating revenues is defined as total revenues, excluding net realized investment gains (losses) and including net investment gains (losses) on FIA options. Adjusted book value is defined as stockholders' equity, less accumulated other comprehensive income (loss), or AOCI. Adjusted book value, as converted, is defined as stockholders' equity, less AOCI plus the assumed proceeds from the outstanding warrants. Adjusted book value per share, as converted, is calculated as adjusted book value, as converted, divided by the sum of outstanding common shares and shares subject to outstanding warrants. Operating return on average equity consists of adjusted operating income for the most recent four quarters, divided by average ending adjusted book value for the most recent five quarters.
Definition of Selected Operating Performance Measures
The company reports selected operating performance measures, which are commonly used in the insurance industry as measures of operating performance and financial condition. These measures are described here:
Loss ratio -- Represents policyholder benefits and claims incurred divided by premiums earned.
Sales -- For the Group segment, sales represent annualized first-year premiums for new policies. For the Retirement Services and Income Annuities segments, sales represent deposits for new policies. For the Individual segment, sales represent annualized first-year premiums, deposits for new policies, and 10% of new deposits for BOLI and other single-premium products.
About Symetra Financial
Symetra Financial Corporation /quotes/comstock/13*!sya/quotes/nls/sya (SYA 13.55, +0.05, +0.37%) is a diversified financial services company based in Bellevue, Wash. In business since 1957, Symetra provides employee benefits, annuities and life insurance through a national network of benefits consultants, financial institutions, and independent agents and advisors. For more information, visit
Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
This press release may contain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. All statements, other than statements of current or historical facts included or referenced in this release that address activities, events or developments that we expect or anticipate will or may occur in the future, are forward-looking statements. The words "will," "believe," "intend," "plan," "expect," "anticipate," "project," "estimate," "predict" and similar expressions also are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, among others, statements with respect to Symetra's:
-- estimates or projections of revenues, net income (loss), net income (loss) per share, adjusted operating income (loss), adjusted operating income (loss) per share, market share or other financial forecasts;
-- trends in operations, financial performance and financial condition;
-- financial and operating targets or plans; and
-- business and growth strategy.
These statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by Symetra in light of its experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors believed to be appropriate under the circumstances. Whether actual results and developments will conform to Symetra's expectations and predictions is subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and contingencies that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations, including, among others:
-- general economic, market or business conditions, including further economic downturns or other adverse conditions in the global and domestic capital and credit markets;
-- the availability of capital and financing;
-- potential investment losses;
-- the effects of fluctuations in interest rates;
-- recorded reserves for future policy benefits and claims subsequently proving to be inadequate or inaccurate;
-- deviations from assumptions used in setting prices for insurance and annuity products;
-- market pricing and competitive trends related to insurance products and services;
-- changes in amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs;
-- financial strength or credit ratings downgrades;
-- the continued availability and cost of reinsurance coverage;
-- changes in laws or regulations, or their interpretation, including those that could increase Symetra's business costs and required capital levels;
-- the ability of subsidiaries to pay dividends to Symetra;
-- the effects of implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; and
-- the risks that are described from time to time in Symetra's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including those in Symetra's 2009 Annual Report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q.
Consequently, all of the forward-looking statements made in this press release are qualified by these cautionary statements, and there can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by Symetra will be realized or, even if substantially realized, that they will have the expected consequences to, or effects on, Symetra or its business or operations. Symetra assumes no obligation to update publicly any such forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Symetra Financial Corporation
                                    Consolidated Income Statement Data
                                   (in millions, except per share data)
                                                                                 Three Months Ended
                                                                                      March 31
                                                                                     2010         2009
                                                                                   -------      -------
   Premiums                                                                      $   119.0    $   119.5
   Net investment income                                                             286.9        262.7
   Policy fees, contract charges and other                                            40.5         39.6
   Net realized investment gains (losses):
         Total other-than-temporary impairment losses on securities                  (17.9 )      (51.6 )
         Less: portion of losses recognized in other comprehensive income              8.2         23.8
                                                                                   -------      -------
      Net impairment losses recognized in earnings                                    (9.7 )      (27.8 )
      Other net realized investment gains (losses)                                    16.5        (15.2 )
                                                                                   -------      ------- -
   Total net realized investment gains (losses)                                        6.8        (43.0 )
                                                                                   -------      ------- -
Total revenues                                                                       453.2        378.8
                                                                                   -------      -------
Benefits and expenses:
   Policyholder benefits and claims                                                   86.2         94.4
   Interest credited                                                                 218.5        195.6
   Other underwriting and operating expenses                                          59.6         63.0
   Interest expense                                                                    8.0          7.9
   Amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs                                  15.4         10.7
                                                                                   -------      -------
Total benefits and expenses                                                          387.7        371.6
                                                                                   -------      -------
Income from operations before income taxes                                            65.5          7.2
Provision for income taxes:
   Current                                                                             9.9          1.9
   Deferred                                                                            9.3          0.2
                                                                                   -------      -------
Total provision for income taxes                                                      19.2          2.1
                                                                                   -------      -------
Net income                                                                       $    46.3    $     5.1
                                                                           ======= =======    = =======
Net income per common share:
   Basic                                                                         $    0.35    $    0.05
   Diluted                                                                       $    0.35    $    0.05
Weighted-average number of common shares outstanding:
   Basic                                                                           131.018      111.622
   Diluted                                                                         131.038      111.622
Non-GAAP financial measures:
Adjusted operating income                                                        $    41.9    $    32.2
                                                                           ======= =======    = =======
Reconciliation to net income:
Net income                                                                       $    46.3    $     5.1
   Less: Net realized investment gains (losses) (net of taxes)*                        4.5        (28.0 )
   Add: Net investment gains (losses)
       on FIA options (net of taxes)**                                                 0.1         (0.9 )
                                                                                   -------      ------- -
Adjusted operating income                                                        $    41.9    $    32.2
                                                                           ======= =======    = =======
Net realized investment gains (losses) are reported net of
taxes of $2.3 and $(15.0) for the three months ended March 31,
2010 and 2009, respectively.
*Net investment gains (losses) on FIA options are reported net
of taxes of $0.0 and $(0.5) for the three months ended March 31,
2010 and 2009, respectively.

Symetra Financial Corporation
                                  Consolidated Balance Sheet Data
                               (in millions, except per share data)
                                                                 March 31           December 31
                                                                   2010                   2009
                                                             -----------------          --------
   Total investments                                               $ 21,074.3         $ 20,183.1
   Other assets                                                       1,435.3            1,414.3
   Separate account assets                                              854.1              840.1
                                                                     --------           --------
Total assets                                                       $ 23,363.7         $ 22,437.5
                                                             ======= ========   ======= ========
Liabilities and stockholders' equity
   Policyholder liabilities                                        $ 19,862.4         $ 19,463.1
   Notes payable                                                        448.9              448.9
   Other liabilities                                                    226.6              252.1
   Separate account liabilities                                         854.1              840.1
                                                                     --------           --------
Total liabilities                                                    21,392.0           21,004.2
Common stock and additional paid-in capital                           1,449.5            1,166.6
Retained earnings                                                       362.7              316.4
Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss), net of taxes             159.5              (49.7 )
                                                                     --------           -------- -
Total stockholders' equity                                            1,971.7            1,433.3
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity                         $ 23,363.7         $ 22,437.5
                                                             ======= ========   ======= ========
Book value per share*                                              $    14.39         $    12.83
                                                             ======= ========   ======= ========
Non-GAAP financial measures
Adjusted book value                                                $  1,812.2         $  1,483.0
                                                             ======= ========   ======= ========
Reconciliation to stockholders' equity:
Total stockholders' equity                                         $  1,971.7         $  1,433.3
   Less: AOCI                                                           159.5              (49.7 )
                                                                     --------           -------- -
Adjusted book value                                                   1,812.2            1,483.0
   Add: Assumed proceeds from exercise of warrants                      218.1              218.1
                                                                     --------           --------
Adjusted book value, as converted                                  $  2,030.3         $  1,701.1
                                                             ======= ========   ======= ========
Adjusted book value per share, as converted**                      $    14.81         $    15.23
                                                             ======= ========   ======= ========
Book value per share is calculated based on stockholders'
equity divided by outstanding common shares plus shares subject to
outstanding warrants, totaling 137,061,763 and 111,705,199 as of
March 31, 2010 and December 31, 2009, respectively.
*Adjusted book value per share, as converted, is calculated
based on adjusted book value, as converted, divided by outstanding
common shares plus shares subject to outstanding warrants,
totaling 137,061,763 and 111,705,199 as of March 31, 2010 and
December 31, 2009, respectively.

Symetra Financial Corporation
           Reconciliation of Segment Pretax Adjusted Operating Income,
                      Operating Revenues and Operating ROAE
                                  (in millions)
                                                         Three Months Ended
                                                              March 31
                                                            2010          2009
                                                          -------      -------
Segment pretax adjusted operating income (loss)
   Group                                                $    15.7    $    11.5
   Retirement Services                                       17.3          9.0
   Income Annuities                                           6.4         14.4
   Individual                                                23.3         17.2
   Other                                                     (3.9 )       (3.3 )
                                                          ------- -    ------- -
Subtotal                                                     58.8         48.8
   Add: Net realized investment gains (losses)                6.8        (43.0 )
   Less: Net investment gains (losses)
       on FIA options                                         0.1         (1.4 )
                                                          -------      ------- -
Income from operations before income taxes              $    65.5    $     7.2
                                                   ====== =======    = =======
Reconciliation of revenues to operating revenues:
   Revenues                                             $   453.2    $   378.8
     Less: Net realized investment gains (losses)             6.8        (43.0 )
     Add: Net investment gains (losses)
       on FIA options                                         0.1         (1.4 )
                                                          -------      ------- -
   Operating Revenues                                   $   446.5    $   420.4
                                                   ====== =======    = =======
                                                         Twelve Months Ended
                                                              March 31
                                                            2010          2009
                                                          -------      -------
Reconciliation of ROE to operating ROAE:
   ROE                                                       14.5 %        3.7 %
   Average stockholders' equity*                        $ 1,169.5    $   644.5
Non-GAAP financial measures:
   Operating ROAE                                            10.5 %        9.9 %
   Average adjusted book value**                        $ 1,502.4    $ 1,342.1
Average stockholders' equity is derived by averaging ending
stockholders' equity for the most recent five quarters.
*Average adjusted book value is derived by averaging ending
adjusted book value for the most recent five quarters.