Edward Stone Law in the News

Edward Stone is a frequent commentator on issues relevant to the insurance industry and has been quoted extensively in the media on such issues as pension derisking, structured settlement fraud, and the Executive Life Insurance Company liquidation.

October 7, 2022 – Edward Stone was quoted by Life Annuity Specialist in its article entitled “Why the Boom in Pension Transfers to Insurers Has Some Worried. In an interview with Warren S. Hersch, Mr. Stone said, “Revised guidance should also require that insurers maintain capital and surplus levels needed to support obligations to annuitants, and that they use separate accounts managed solely for the benefit of the recipients. Income guarantees supporting group annuities pale compared to what workers and retirees can count on through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. The annuities are backed up by the National Organization of Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Associations.
An illustration provided by Stone shows that monthly payments of $2,500 for a 65-year-old retiree will be exhausted four months after reaching age 73 under guaranty association coverage that’s capped at $250,000. In contrast, the payments under Pension Benefit Guaranty coverage would continue and keep rising. The illustration assumes the insurer goes into liquidation and that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. takes over responsibility for the payments on the same date the retiree attains age 65. The PBGC isn’t imperfect, but to say that a state guaranty association’s safety net offers reasonably equivalent coverage is just a lie, I don’t know how else to put it.”

August 19, 2022 – The class action filed in December 2020 against Symetra Assigned Benefits Company and Symetra Life Insurance Company by plaintiffs Renaldo White and Randolph Nadeau who are represented by Edward Stone Law, along with co-counsel from Keller Rohrback LLP and Marcus & Auerbach PC was summarized in a recent article in Life Annuity Specialist entitled “Predatory Behavior Case Against Symetra Moves Closer to Trial.” For more information on the Class Action click here.

August 4, 2022 – Edward Stone, co-counsel for Robert F. Cockerill and Christopher W. Newton, along with attorneys from Kantor & Kantor was quoted in Law360’s article entitled DuPont, Corteva Can’t Sink Early Retirement Benefits Suit. Mr. Stone stated, “We are grateful that the court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss and is allowing the plaintiffs to obtain discovery into what we believe was a scheme to improperly divest them of retirement benefits that they earned through decades of service to their employer.” This lawsuit alleges that DuPont and Corteva are trying to evade their promises to provide certain early retirement benefits to Cockerill and Newton, and others similarly situated. The case is Cockerill et al. v. Corteva Inc. et al., case number 2:21-cv-03966, pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

October 14, 2020 –  Edward Stone’s presentation on pension de-risking at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Association of BellTel Retirees can be viewed here.

September 8, 2020 – Edward Stone is quoted in H. Dennis Beaver’s article in Kiplinger “Considering a Structured Settlement? Watch Out for Fraud by ‘Bad Apples'” advising recipients of structured settlement annuities on how to “protect yourself from yourself.”

April 6, 2020 –  Edward Stone was quoted by Warren Hersch in his article in Life Annuity Specialist, “Stock Slump Threatens Promising Line of Business for Life Insurers cautioning that if you underprice “given today’s interest rate environment and volatility in the equity markets, you could have a nightmare on your hands down the road.”

March 9, 2020 –  Edward Stone joined The Bell Effect Podcast for a series of episodes on protecting retirees in pension risk transfers.

August 2, 2019 –  NY Life Sued for Okaying Factoring Deals That Bilked Annuity Recipient of $11M” by Warren Hersch in Life Annuity Specialist. Hersch posits that the case “could reignite a debate over the need for revised laws and rules to better protect people who receive structured settlement payments.”

March 4, 2019 –  Edward Stone was interviewed by Warren Hersch at Life Annuity Specialist, and was quoted in his article “New York Eyes Bill That May Complicate Pension Buyout Business.” Stone, told Hersch that the Association of BellTel Retirees supported New York’s proposed legislation stating that “The goal of our effort is to replace the protections that retirees had under ERISA with reasonably equivalent protections under state law,” referencing the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, a federal law that sets minimum standards for private sector retirement plans. “We want what these retirees had before the companies chose to de-risk without the retirees’ consent.”

February 6, 2019 –  Edward Stone was recently interviewed by Life Annuity Specialist in connection with its article entitled “Booming Pension Buyouts Raise Red Flags, Critics Say” by Warren S. Hersch.  “No insurance company is too big to fail,” says Stone. If the account performance of group annuity contracts and carriers’ capital and reserve levels are, as now permitted, kept secret then “retirees, regulators and the general public won’t know that there is a problem until it’s way too late.”

January 25, 2019 –  Edward Stone’ s Letter to the Editor of Crain’s New York Business, comments upon the article “Trump deregulation binge puts state agencies on the spot” stating “While we may not yet know what happens when an insurer the size of a Prudential or MetLife isn’t policed adequately, we know for sure that the seeds of the next financial meltdown are being sown with deliberate attempts to avoid transparency and accountability at the expense of retirees and their families.”

October 19, 2018 –  Edward Stone, founder of Edward Stone Law P.C. was interviewed by Cheddar TV on October 19, 2018 regarding the Sears Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and its impact on the Sears pension plans.

October 15, 2018 –  Attorney Edward Stone was interviewed by MarketWatch in connection with the impact of the Sears bankruptcy on retirees.   The full article is available here on MarketWatch.com.

April 16, 2018 –  Dennis Beaver’s You and the Law: Problems at Met Life should concern everyone quoted Attorney Edward Stone on the potential dangers of pension de-risking to retirees, and why it’s no small thing that insurance giant MetLife downplayed their failure to make payments to thousands of pensioners.

Fall, 2017 –  Attorney Edward Stone writes about the pitfalls of the NFL Concussion Settlement in “The NFL Concussion Settlement, Traumatic Brain Injury, and CTE: Fact, Fiction, and Spin Doctoring” published in The Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting, Volume 28, Issue 3, Fall 2017, pp 8-11.

March 2, 2017 –  Attorney Edward Stone, along with John Darer, the “structured settlement watchdog” participated in a panel discussion moderated by Rhonda Bentzen on current developments in the structured settlement secondary market at the 2017 Annual Conference of the Society of Settlement Planners in Las Vegas.

February 16, 2017 –  Edward Stone provided testimony at a Public Hearing on Proposed Bill No. 493 “AN ACT CONCERNING THE PURCHASE OF AN ANNUITY TO FUND PENSION AND RETIREMENT BENEFITS”.

March 24, 2016 –  In his S2KM blog “Beyond Structured Settlements” Patrick Hindert offers a recap of the 2016 Society of Settlement Planners annual conference held in Tucson from March 9-12, 2016.  Attorney Edward Stone spoke on the Executive Life Insurance Company of New York and factoring industry lawsuits.

December 27, 2015 –  “The flawed system that allows companies to make millions off the injured” by award winning journalist Terrence McCoy of The Washington Post highlights an Edward Stone Law case and exposes some of the problems associated with the structured settlement factoring industry and the various state Structured Settlement Protection Acts.  Credited with exposing the predatory structured settlement factoring business, McCoy was named the 2016 winner of the Heywood Broun Award for his investigation into lead paint poisoning and structured settlements.

October 4, 2015 –  Stone’s editorial Pension de-risking by Lincoln Electric, others imperils retirement security: Edward Stone (Opinion) appeared in The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio. The Op-Ed emphasized the need for state legislation protecting retirees in pension de-risking transfers.

July 21, 2015 –  Stone is quoted in Business Insurance on the landmark legislation passed in the state of Connecticut protecting retirees in pension risk transfers: “This law restores creditor protection for Connecticut retirees and hopefully paves the way for other states to follow suit.”

July 14, 2015 –  “Connecticut Pension De-Risking Bill Enacted; New York Legislation Dies in Committee” by Sean Forbes. Stone is quoted as saying “ProtectSeniors.org will continue to introduce legislation and educate members of the legislature about little-known risks of de-risking from the retirees’ perspective.” Reproduced with permission from BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter, 42 BPR 1210 (July 14, 2015). Copyright 2015 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com.

July 14, 2015 – Connecticut Governor, Dannel Malloy, signed new protection for retirees into law earlier this month.  In this article for BenefitsPro, “In Connecticut, creditors can’t touch de-risked pension benefits”, Edward Stone calls the legislation “…an important and historic win for Connecticut retirees.” Stone was also quoted on the signing of the law, which takes effect in October, in “Governor Malloy Signs Retiree Pension De-Risking Protection into Law” for ProtectSeniors.Org.

June 9, 2015 –  Lawmakers in Connecticut have passed de-risking legislation that has been sent on to Governor Dannel Malloy for signature. Stone is quoted as saying “This bill is an important step in the right direction for retirees.” See “De-Risking Bill Sent to Connecticut Governor; N.Y. Measure Stalled in Insurance Committee”, by Sean Forbes. Reproduced with permission from BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter, 42 BPR 1008 (June 9, 2015). Copyright 2015 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com.

June 2, 2015 –  Stone’s testimony before the ERISA Advisory Council focused on the notices and disclosures to retirees. As Stone told BNA’s Sean Forbes, “The question participants ask is: What does this mean for me?” For more on the discussion on disclosures at the ERISA Advisory Council hearings, see  “De-Risking Notices Should Balance Simplicity, Sufficiency of Information, ERISA Council Told” by Sean Forbes. Reproduced with permission from BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter, 42 BPR 946 (June 2, 2015). Copyright 2015 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com.

May 27-29, 2015 – Stone testified before the United States Department of Labor’s Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans (ERISA Advisory Council) on disclosures needed both pre and post pension risk transfers.

March 24, 2015 – As those in other states peer over their shoulders, lawmakers in Connecticut and New York consider legislation designed to protect retirees as companies offload their defined benefit pension obligations. “Two States Consider De-Risking Legislation; Insurance Lawmaker Group Adopts Guidelines”, by Sean Forbes. Reproduced with permission from BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter, 42 BPR 567 (March 24, 2015). Copyright 2015 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com.

March 16, 2015 – Patrick Hindert, author  of S2KM’s blog “Beyond Structured Settlements offers a preview of the 2015 Society of Settlement Planners conference to be held in Las Vegas  from March 29-31, 2015.  Stone will speak on risks to settlement planners in the wake of the Executive Life Insurance Company of New York (“ELNY”) liquidation.

January 24, 2015 – In “You have rights when selling a structured settlement” by Dennis Beaver for The Hanford Sentinel, Stone discusses the key protections that exist for those selling all or part of a structured settlement. Stone cautions that “A structured settlement isn’t free money” and should only be sold for a particularly compelling reason.

January 17, 2015 –  Cited as “one of the country’s leading experts in the area of Structured Settlements,” Edward Stone helps Dennis Beaver to illuminate some of the dirty tricks involved with structured settlement sales in “Use caution before selling structured settlement.”

December 14, 2014 – “Andrew Cuomo’s Secret Plan That Took from the Pockets of 1,500 Widows, Accident Victims, and Handicapped” by Shawn McCoy. Published on Inside Sources,  an online news organization, this article provides an in-depth analysis of the Executive Life debacle.

October 14, 2014 – “Tough times for structured settlements” Stone’s article in LifeHealthPro on the pending class action lawsuit against Ringler Associates highlights what can happen if structured settlements are not set up properly.

August 29, 2014 – Roll Call, a leading source for news on Capitol Hill, posted commentary by Edward Stone on the downfall of structured settlements from Congress’ original good intent. In “Congress’ Obligation on Structured Settlement Fraud”Stone calls for Congress to “investigate the fraud that may cost innocent people their futures.”

August 15, 2014 – Stone’s article, “Do Pension Risk Transfers Consider Retiree Concerns?”, on PLANSPONSOR.com outlines his “concerns that insurance companies and plan sponsors routinely treat earned pension benefits as their money.”  Stone asserts that retirees  should have the right to representation of their own choosing when subjected to de-risking.

July 26, 2014 – Retirees need to be wary of “advisors (who) haven’t a clue of what they’re talking about” and make lofty promises of financial security and risk-free growth. Stone is quoted in Dennis Beaver’s You and the Law column for The Hanford Sentinel. “Insurance agent caught exaggerating annuity safety.”

September 20, 2013 – There is hope for retirees as New York Senator, Tony Avella, plans to introduce legislation to stop employers from selling off their pensions. In “Avella drafting legislation against pension stripping” for the Times Ledger, Stone cautions how a simple thing like moving can strip retirees of guaranteed association coverage.

August 14, 2013 – “What the pension crisis could mean for AT&T employees (and anyone who has a pension)” Some of the nation’s largest, strongest companies are abandoning their pension obligations to employees by purchasing group annuity contracts and walking away. Stone explains in this article by Dennis Beaver.

August 9, 2013 – “State fund bomb” was the headline for the article in  The New York Post on August 9, 2013 which noted that the Executive Life of New York liquidation marks the “first time the state insurance fund did not cover 100 percent of a failed company’s liabilities”.  Columnist Josh Kosman goes on to point out that “ELNY’s liquidation has wiped out a $558 million insurance fund.”

August 1, 2013 – ABC6/Philadelphia’s Nydia Han did an piece entitled “Cautionary Tale About Annuities”  featuring an Executive Life annuitant and highlighting the cuts that will be inflicted on 1500 Executive Life (ELNY) annuitants in the coming months.

July 31, 2013 – In this YouTube video, “‘De-Risking’ is Risky For Millions of American Retirees”, made for ProtectSeniors.Org, National Retiree Advocate, Jack Cohen, talks to Edward Stone about a new corporate trend called “de-risking.” Stone outlines the basics of why this practice is a potential threat to the pension funds of retirees nationwide.

May 14, 2013-  LifeHealthPro reported that Executive Life Insurance Company of New York (ELNY) cuts are expected to begin in the third quarter of 2013, but Edward Stone is not giving up the case.  “ELNY Liquidation expected in 3Q” by Elizabeth Festa, May 14, 2013.

April 14, 2013  – In “Broken promises: There are no guarantees with annuities”, Tim Grant for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette shares a case study that details why annuity providers are not created equally.

April 5, 2013  – “NY seeks to liquidate Long Island life insurer” by Claude Solnik, Long Island Business News, April 5, 2013.

February 18, 2013  – The February 18, 2013 edition of the Insurance Advocate, an industry publication serving New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., ran a column by Peter Bickford entitled “Ongoing ELNY Debacle Exposes Serious Problems”, and a Guest Opinion by Edward S. Stone, Esq. Both articles can be viewed here.

February 7, 2013  – Edward Stone digs in for the long haul as he prepares to appeal the dismissal of ELNY lawsuit. “Stone to appeal dismissal of ELNY suit: Lawyer for the New York plaintiffs vows to fight to the end” by Elizabeth Festa for LifeHealthPro.

January 11, 2013 –  The Executive Life Insurance Company of New York saga continues as New York tries to hush concerns over the mismanagement that will reduce benefits for thousands of New Yorkers by as much as 66 percent. “N.Y. Bungled Fund Then Sued Critics, Group Says” by Julia Filip for Courthouse News Service.

January 10, 2013 – The New York Daily News published an article on January 10, 2013 highlighting the concerns of a number of Executive Life victims. Accident victims are suing New York Liquidation Bureau as state agency slashes their payment” By Ginger Adams Otis/New York Daily News, January 10, 2013.

November 30, 2012 – Verizon Retirees Sue to Block Pension-Risk Transfer, a November 30, 2012 article by Leanna Orr for Chief Investment Officer, details the handover of Verizon pension funds to Prudential that many retirees felt left them shouldering too much risk.

November 10, 2012 – In November, 2012 the National Underwriter published a feature article on the Executive Life Insurance Company of New York debacle. The entire article and the companion features are available at the link here:  “The Complete ELNY Saga – 21 years of Mismanagement, Corruption, Broken Promises and Shattered Lives” by Bill Coffin, Elizabeth Festa, Warren S. Hersch, Michael Stanley, and Shawn Moynihan – National Underwriter Life & Health (November 2012, Volume 116 No. 11) Life Health Pro.  This article went on to receive three industry awards.

February – April, 2012

“Insurance Cuts Leave Some Livid,” Courthouse News, April 18, 2012

“Loss for Policyholders” Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2012 

“Insurance Beneficiaries Say NY is Cheating,” Courthouse News, March 22, 2012 

“The Trouble With ELNY” by Peter Bickford, February 2012