Henry Strong

Why I Stand for Election to NSSTA Board

Coming together in a formal way to look after our industry’s interests is one of the smartest things we ever did. It was also no small challenge, given that we work in an openly adversarial environment and our industry was historically marked by unequal opportunities and numerous obstacles. Nevertheless, come together we did, formalizing as an actual Association in 1985.

The most obvious benefit of uniting in purpose was to guard the favorable tax treatment of periodic payment settlements for injured people as an aid to settlement. But early on, our Association served some other critical functions as well, such as offering a forum for discussion on how to clarify and simplify transaction documents, how to be sure the language not only preserved the tax break for claimants but also respected and delivered on defendants’ need for full and final release. “Yes, Virginia,” there really was a time when the only paperwork we handled was annuity quotes, annuity applications, and policy deliveries.

One might say “those were the days,” but in fact increasing complexity drove up the sophistication and professionalism of our industry to a remarkable degree and we are far better off for it. I was lucky to find the business as a relative pup; it has been both interesting and deeply rewarding to do work that really helps people. We are all lucky in that respect.

As many of you know, I’ve served in many capacities previously in NSSTA, including as President in 2007- 2008 and then took a back seat, serving on various committees and accepting specific tasks as asked. By total happenstance, when the Washington Post put factoring on its front page in the summer of 2015, it told the story of financial abuse in my home state of Maryland and then followed up with a similar tale across the river in Virginia. NSSTA responded promptly and I was asked to work with local trial attorney associations to put forth stronger Structured Settlement Protection Acts which we successfully got through the legislature and signed into law. Soon after, the District of Columbia followed suit and I testified before the DC Council in its hearing over their bill. Ultimately that one passed as well, creating some of the safest jurisdictions to have a structured settlement.

I run at this time out of a sense of shared responsibility. Board service is more demanding than many people know, and I’ve had a reasonable break from the heavy lifting. I need to do my part again. I have broad experience in the field: small organization, large organization, defense work, plaintiff work, legislative experience, NSSTA Board experience, and more recently product development. The most valuable thing I may bring to our industry now is institutional knowledge. My career is on the verge of spanning four decades; I have some sense not only of what went before, but also why. As we adjust our headings in this new world, I think I have what it takes to help navigate along genuinely fruitful paths without hurting the sound foundation upon which all our businesses have been built. If elected, it will be the collective good that I work for. Best regards and continued health and safety to you all.