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While many couples believe when they enter into Marriage, either formally, or via a common-law relationship, they will stay together for as long as they both live, unfortunately this does not always turn out to be the case. Many marriages end as a result of issues dealing with finances, particularly those where one of the parties suffers a personal injury accident and subsequent settles their claim.

A significant recent Ontario Court of Appeal court ruling should give couples pause as they think about what happens if a long-term relationship ends. In this blog post, I examine the recent decision, explain why it should have a significant impact on personal injury awards, and suggest that injured claimants in personal injury actions may now have more reason than ever to choose to place some or all of their settlements into a structured settlement.

The Case and The Decision

Only months after Donna Hunks married her husband Gary she suffered an accident, became disabled and was not able to return to her previous employment.

Hunks settled her lawsuit and used a significant portion (about $200,000.00) for her family’s needs; and much of the remainder ($302,100.00) was used to purchase a structured settlement. This structured settlement provided her $1,287.15 per month (plus a two per cent annual increase) for life and four lump sum payments of $15,000.00 every five years between 2009 and 2024.

When the Hunks separated in 2011, after 15 years of marriage, Ontario’s Family Law Act stipulated that, with few exceptions, “property” acquired during the marriage would be split evenly between the parties. In 2015, an Ontario Superior Court decision had concluded that Donna Hunks’ structured settlement payments were similar to a pension, and therefore part of the matrimonial property that would be split evenly.

However, on March 27, 2017, the Court of Appeal ruled unanimously that this decision was incorrect; Donna Hunks’ structured settlement payments were deemed to be more closely aligned to disability benefits which are considered income under the law.

What Does This Decision Mean For Personal Injury Claimants?

Donna Hunks’ co-counsel (with Trent Zimmerman), Christos Vitsentzatos called the decision a “victory for anyone who has a structured settlement, or who is contemplating a structured settlement through a personal injury action.”[1] Moreover, there is speculation that the clarity and reasoning behind this decision may encourage personal injury lawyers to recommend structured settlement plans to their clients, over lump sum payments.

If a lump sum award for such damages is used towards a matrimonial home or as part of a shared investment, it would then be considered shared property and divided equally upon the dissolution of the marriage. There are ways to protect yourself if you opt for a lump sum payment and plan to use the money in these purposes, but they entail some delicate conversations with your current or future spouse and a lawyer to draw up a marriage contract.

In the Hunks ruling, the judge found structured settlements to be payments that would, in whole or in part, replace the income that Donna Hunks would have otherwise been earning had she not suffered her personal injury accident. As such, they are a replacement for a lost future income stream than a pension that had been accrued. That future is not certain.

The Case for Structured Settlements

A personal injury award is not like a lottery win. However, if a personal injury does occur and money in damages is awarded, like real lottery winnings, lump sum payments are often at great risk of being lost prematurely due to poor investments or poor planning.

Moreover, although lump sum awards are tax-free, the income derived from them is taxable. Structured settlements, on the other hand, offer a guaranteed, tax-free annuity. This form of award disbursement is one of the most secure investments available, and yet it still generally – sometimes significantly – outpaces other types of guaranteed investment.

A More Secure Future

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruling in the Hunks’ case reaffirms that structured settlements offer personal injury victims a safe, secure, and dependable way to manage and invest the damages awards they receive – no matter what the future holds. In some instances, that future will hold a partner to share it with. But while that partnership may have ended for Donna Hunks, her life-long structured settlement payment plan will not.

For more information on the types of structured settlement plans available for an injured claimant, please contact Henderson Structured Settlements Managing Partner and Consultant, Barry Chobotar, H.B. Comm., J.D., CSSC, by phone at 1 (800) 263-8537, email at chobotar@henderson.ca or by visiting www.henderson.ca.


[1] Cristin Schmitz, “Ontario Court of Appeal rules structured settlements are 'income' not 'property',” The Lawyer’s Daily, March 27, 2017. URL: https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/2792/ontario-court-of-appeal-rules-structured-settlements-are-income-not-property-?category=news

Tanja Lazic

The Henderson name has been, throughout its 30-year history, associated with the very highest standard of professionalism and civility. These values extend throughout our organization and are characteristic of the people we look to employ.

With this in mind, we would like to present our newest associate, Tanja Lazic B.A. Tanja's dedication, experience and excellent customer service skills is something we invite all clientele, both present and prospective, to draw upon.

Please join us then in welcoming Tanja Lazic to the Henderson Structured Settlements team.

Jaclyn DahmsThe Henderson name has been, throughout its 30-year history, associated with the very highest standard of professionalism and civility. These values extend throughout our organization and are characteristic of the people we look to employ.

With this in mind, we would like to present our newest associate, Jaclyn Dahms. Jaclyn's dedication and excellent customer service skills is something we invite all clientele, both present and prospective, to draw upon.

Please join us then in welcoming Jaclyn Dahms to the Henderson Structured Settlements team.

Lindsey HutchisonThe Henderson name has been, throughout its 30-year history, associated with the very highest standard of professionalism and civility. These values extend throughout our organization and are characteristic of the people we look to employ.

With this in mind, we would like to present our newest associate, Lindsey Hutchison B.A. Lindsey's dedication, experience and excellent customer service skills is something we invite all clientele, both present and prospective, to draw upon.

Please join us then in welcoming Lindsey Hutchison to the Henderson Structured Settlements team.

There are some Making the Links Sponsorship Oppurtunities available.

Download the Sponsorship brochure for more information.

Henderson Structured Settlements is hosting the 6th annual Making the Link Golf Tournament. Join us on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 at the Brantford Golf & Country Club

If you'd like more information regarding the tournament, we invite you to email us at: makingthelinks@henderson.ca or visit the website here: http://makingthelinks.com/signup.html

Bistobia Mix and Mingle

Henderson is a proud supporter of Ontario Brain Injury Association's fundraiser Mix and Mingle.

The event is June 8th, held at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto.

reader's choice awardHenderson Structured Settlements LP is proud to be honoured by the legal community who have selected them as a top service provider for Structured Settlements in Canada.
 
Henderson Structured Settlements LP continually strives to provide the most thorough and expedient service to each and every client. We are proud to be recognized for our work, and are thankful to all of the support in the legal community.
 
The Canadian Lawyer Readers' Choice Awards showcase the companies and products that prevail among their competitors. You can view the Canadian Lawyer Readers' Choice Awards issue here.

Shelly DhingraThe Henderson name has been, throughout its 30-year history, associated with the very highest standard of professionalism and civility. These values extend throughout our organization and are characteristic of the people we look to employ.

With this in mind, we would like to present our newest associate, Shelly Dhingra, B.A. Shelly's experience in business  development,  account  management,  personal injury claims  adjusting, and knowledge of structured settlements is something we invite all clientele, both present and prospective, to draw upon.

Please join us then in welcoming Shelly Dhingra to the Henderson Structured Settlements team.

Mariana NikolovaThe Henderson name has been, throughout its 30-year history, associated with the very highest standard of professionalism and civility. These values extend throughout our organization and are characteristic of the people we look to employ.

With this in mind, we would like to present our newest associate, Mariana Nikolova, B.Sc., M.Sc. Mariana's extensive experience  in business  management,  account  management,  insurance industry, and knowledge of structured settlements is something we invite all clientele, both present and prospective, to draw upon.

Please join us then in welcoming Mariana Nikolova to the Henderson Structured Settlements team.

Courtney JohnsonThe Henderson name has been, throughout its 30-year history, associated with the very highest standard of professionalism and civility. These values extend throughout our organization and are characteristic of the people we look to employ.

With this in mind, we would like to present our newest associate, Courtney Johnson, DLOA. Courtney's academic background in legal office administration, and excellent customer service skills is something we invite all clientele, both present and prospective, to draw upon.

Please join us then in welcoming Courtney Johnson to the Henderson Structured Settlements team.

Amanda HudeckiThe Henderson name has been, throughout its 30-year history, associated with the very highest standard of professionalism and civility. These values extend throughout our organization and are characteristic of the people we look to employ.

With this in mind, we would like to present our newest associate, Amanda Hudecki, B.A. Amanda's dedication, knowledge and excellent customer service skills  is something we invite all clientele, both present and prospective, to draw upon.

Please join us then in welcoming Amanda Hudecki to the Henderson Structured Settlements team.

Our third annual Making The Links Golf Classic, held at the Brantford Golf & Country Club on June 18, 2013, was a great success! Thank-you to all who participated and helped to raise $62,500.00 for the benefit of three extremely worthwhile causes: Hamilton Health Sciences, Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, and the Ontario Brain Injury Association

The tournament brought together the medical, legal and insurance communities of Hamilton Health Sciences to raise money and awareness for both the hospital's Acquired Brain Injury Program and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation.

making the links golf classicOur second annual Making The Links Golf Classic, held at the Brantford Golf & Country Club on June 19, 2012, was a great success! Thank-you to all who participated and helped to raise $72,500.00 for the benefit of three extremely worthwhile causes: Hamilton Health Sciences, the Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario, and the Ontario Brain Injury Association.

The tournament brought together the medical, legal and insurance communities of Hamilton Health Sciences to raise money and awareness for both the hospital's Acquired Brain Injury Program and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation.

John WeltonThe Henderson name has been, throughout its 30-year history, associated with the very highest standard of professionalism and civility. These values extend throughout our organization and are characteristic of the people we look to employ.

With this in mind, we would like to present our newest consultant, John C. Welton, B.A., C.I.M., CSSC. John's extensive and progressive experience in casualty claims management and consumer centric knowledge of structured settlements is something we invite all clientele, both present and prospective, to draw upon.  

Please join us then in welcoming John Welton to the Henderson Structured Settlements team.

Our first annual Making The Links Golf Classic, held at the Brantford Golf & Country Club on June 21, 2011, was a great success! Thank-you to all who participated and helped to raise $85,000.00 for the benefit of three extremely worthwhile causes: Hamilton Health Sciences, the Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario, and the Ontario Brain Injury Association.

The tournament brought together the medical, legal and insurance communities of Hamilton Health Sciences to raise money and awareness for both the hospital's Acquired Brain Injury Program and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation.

Gerri StrausThe Henderson name has been, throughout its almost 30-year history, associated with the very highest standard of professionalism and civility. These values extend throughout our organization and are characteristic of the people we look to employ.

With this in mind, we would like to present our newest consultant, Geraldine (Gerri) R. Straus, LL.B., CSSC. Gerri's experience as a lawyer and as a structured settlement consultant is something we invite all clientele, both present and prospective, to draw upon.

Please join us then in welcoming Gerri Straus to the Henderson Structured Settlements team.

Henderson and Genstar logosSo as to assist in the further expansion of the company's growing presence in the Canadian structured settlement marketplace and beyond, the management of Henderson Structured Settlements is proud to announce the partnership between its shareholders and Genstar Capital, LLC, a major private equity company. The core values, service standards, operations and personnel that have ensured Henderson's growing presence in the structured settlement marketplace remain firmly intact, and the company looks forward to earning even greater client support as Your Partners in Service®.

Danielle MacNeilThe Henderson name has been, throughout its 27-year history, associated with the very highest standard of professionalism and civility. These values extend throughout our operation and are characteristic of the people we look to employ.

With this in mind, we would like to present our newest associate, Danielle MacNeil, B.Sc. Danielle's formal training in actuarial science and work experience with the late Bernie Younder at TSSC is complement to the background and skills of our existing professional staff.

Please join us then in welcoming Danielle MacNeil to the Henderson Structured Settlements team.

Henderson Structured Settlements
Your Partners in Service®


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
 


BMO Bolsters BMO Life With New Products and New Distribution 

  • Completes acquisition of AIG Life Insurance Company of Canada
  • All-cash transaction valued at approximately C$329.5 million.
  • Accretive to earnings in Year 1. 
  • Impact on BMO's Tier 1 Capital under 10 bps. 

TORONTO, April 1, 2009 - BMO Financial Group today announced that it has completed the acquisition of AIG Life Insurance Company of Canada (AIG Life of Canada). The acquisition, which was announced January 13, 2009, is an all-cash transaction valued at approximately C$329.5 million. 

"This acquisition will strengthen BMO Life's competitive position, giving us immediate scale and capabilities in the life insurance market and will allow us to meet our clients unmet insurance needs," said Gilles Ouellette, President and Chief Executive Officer of BMO's Private Client Group. "To secure their lifestyle and retirement needs, our clients are looking for both investment and tax-efficient insurance solutions. To help our clients, BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. has more than 800 investment advisors who are also life insurance agents, and in Quebec, financial security advisors with BMO Nesbitt Burns Financial Services Inc." 

With the completion of the acquisition, BMO Life is strengthened with 300 new employees, 400,000 customers, Managing General Agents, and a network of more than 5,000 brokers across the country. 

BMO Life intends to build on the already strong relationships with the Managing General Agents and is committed to providing outstanding support and service to brokers. 

Effective April 1, 2009, AIG Life of Canada becomes BMO Life Assurance Company and will adopt the BMO Insurance brand for all of its marketing, broker and customer communications. It will operate within BMO's wealth management division, the Private Client Group. 

BMO Capital Markets acted as exclusive financial advisor to BMO Financial Group on this transaction.


Founded in 1981 and located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Henderson Structured Settlements is a longtime, recognized leader in the Canadian structured settlement market. The company is licensed with all five major life insurance companies presently underwriting structured settlements in Canada.

Contact: 
Barry Chobotar, H.B.Comm., J.D., CSSC
Managing Partner/Consultant
Henderson Structured Settlements
21 Bold Street
Hamilton, Ontario
L8P 1T3

Toll free (North America): 1-800-263-8537
Phone: 905-523-6000
Fax: 905-523-6006
chobotar@henderson.ca

Henderson Structured Settlements
Your Partners in Service®


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:


Hamilton, Ontario - January 13, 2009 - BMO to Acquire AIG Life Insurance Company of Canada*

As you are likely aware from media reports over the past few months, the adverse effects of volatile financial markets and unrealized market losses on investments tied to U.S. housing and credit markets, have negatively impacted the financial performance of our parent holding company, American International Group, Inc. (AIG Inc.). Agreements to address AIG Inc.'s liquidity issues were put in place with the U.S. Treasury and U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, including a credit facility, a preferred share issue and other one-time transactions.

AIG Inc. announced a plan on October 3, 2008 to refocus the company on its core global property and casualty insurance businesses, maintain an interest in its Asia life insurance operations, and explore opportunities to sell its other high-quality businesses, including AIG Life Insurance Company of Canada (AIG Life of Canada), to help repay its government loan.

Today, I am pleased to announce that BMO Financial Group has agreed to acquire AIG Life of Canada.

As Canada's 4th largest bank based on total assets of $416 billion**, BMO Financial Group serves more than 7 million clients across Canada through an extensive branch network of retail, corporate and investment service operations. They are acquiring AIG Life of Canada in order to become a stronger, more competitive insurance provider in the growing Canadian marketplace. We anticipate the sale will close within the next two to four months once the agreement receives Canadian regulatory approval and all conditions are met.

As President and Chief Executive Officer of AIG Life of Canada, the important message that I wish to convey to you, our policyholder, is that your policy is safe and secure. This agreement to acquire AIG Life of Canada will not in any way alter the benefits and guarantees of your insurance policy or our strong commitment to customer service. You will continue to receive the same great service you've come to expect from us, with no interruption in coverage and benefits. No action is required on your part.

Over the next few months our respective management teams will be working to develop plans to transform our business under the BMO Financial brand. I trust that this news will give you added confidence in AIG Life of Canada, knowing that in the near future, it will become an integral part of one of Canada's premier financial institutions. In the meantime, here are some additional facts you should know about the security of your policy with AIG Life of Canada:

  • AIG Life of Canada is a well-capitalized, separate legal entity that operates only in Canada.
  • The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) regulates Canadian insurance companies, including AIG Life of Canada, and requires them to maintain enough capital and surplus to satisfy their obligations to their policyholders. AIG Life of Canada maintains assets, capital and surplus greater than OSFI's requirements. These assets, capital and surplus are held solely in Canada.
  • AIG Life of Canada's financial strength ratings remain competitive and continue to represent a strong ability to meet its financial obligations to policyholders…

strength rating chart

Should you have any additional questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact the AIG Life of Canada Client Services Department at 1-800-387-4483. Thank you for allowing AIG Life of Canada to continue to meet your insurance needs.

*BMO Financial Group will purchase the Canadian holding company, AIG Life Holdings (Canada) ULC, and thereby acquire AIG Life Insurance Company of Canada. AIG Assurance is a trade name used by AIG Life Insurance Company of Canada
** Total Assets as at Oct 31/08.

Sincerely,
Peter C. McCarthy, TEP
President and Chief Executive Officer


Founded in 1981 and located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Henderson Structured Settlements is a longtime, recognized leader in the Canadian structured settlement market. The company is licensed with all five major life insurance companies presently underwriting structured settlements in Canada.

Contact:
Barry Chobotar, H.B.Comm., J.D., CSSC
Managing Partner/Consultant
Henderson Structured Settlements
21 Bold Street
Hamilton, Ontario
L8P 1T3

Toll free (North America): 1-800-263-8537
Phone: 905-523-6000
Fax: 905-523-6006
chobotar@henderson.ca

Henderson Structured Settlements
Your Partners in Service®


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:


AIG Life Company of Canada Remains Strong

Hamilton, Ontario - September 17, 2008 - Structured Settlements placed with AIG Life Insurance Company of Canada are safe and secure

  • AIG Life of Canada remains a strong, secure, well-capitalized business. It is a separate legal entity that operates only in Canada and has not been affected by the U.S. credit crisis.
  • Insurance is a highly regulated industry and AIG's insurance subsidiaries in Canada and around the world are subject to stringent regulation in their home countries to ensure that they maintain enough capital and surplus to satisfy their obligations to their policyholders.
  • In Canada, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions for Canada ("OSFI") regulates Canadian insurance companies for regulatory compliance and financial solvency. This includes ongoing financial reporting to OSFI and undergoing periodic financial examination. OSFI regulates AIG Life of Canada.
  • AIG Life of Canada maintains assets, capital and surplus significantly greater than OSFI's requirements. These assets, capital and surplus are in Canada.
  • AIG Life of Canada has no investments in either U.S. sub-prime mortgages or similar U.S. assets, which have caused the credit crisis, nor any investments in Canadian Asset Backed Commercial Paper (ABCP).
  • AIG Life of Canada is reinsured by Assuris to the extent of the greater of $2K per month or 85% of the income produced by a structured settlement.
  • AIG Life of Canada and Assuris are further reinsured by the owner of the structured settlement; usually, the casualty insurer that consented to it at the time of settlement.

Founded in 1981 and located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Henderson Structured Settlements is a longtime, recognized leader in the Canadian structured settlement market. The company is licensed with all five major life insurance companies presently underwriting structured settlements in Canada.

Henderson and Granite PartnersSo as to assist in the further expansion of the company's growing presence in the Canadian structured settlement marketplace, the management of Henderson Structured Settlements is proud to announce the partnership between its shareholders and Granite Partners, a major Canadian private equity company. The core values, service standards, operations and personnel that have ensured Henderson's growing presence in the structured settlement marketplace remain firmly intact, and the company looks forward to earning even greater client support as Your Partners in Service®.

Barry ChobotarThe Henderson name has been, throughout its 25-year history, associated with the very highest standard of professionalism and civility. These values extend throughout our operation and are characteristic of the people we look to employ.

With this in mind, we would like to present our newest consultant, Barry Chobotar, B.Comm., LL.B.. Barry's extensive experience in personal injury litigation and the use of structured settlements is something we invite all clientele, both present and prospective, to leverage.

Please join us then in welcoming Barry Chobotar to the Henderson Structured Settlements team.

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of our founder and namesake, Roy Henderson. We wish to extend condolences to his family and all those who knew and loved Roy and assure them that his memory and devotion to basic human decency will live on in the company that he created over 25 years ago.

The Owners and Staff of Henderson Structured Settlements

Our Tournament, held at the Brantford Golf & Country Club on September 9, 2006, was a great success! Thank-you to all who participated and helped to raise funds for our two worthy charities, the Canadian Paraplegic Association and the Ontario Brain Injury Association.