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New Money Market Fund Rules Require Review by Retirement Plan Sponsors

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently amended the rules governing money market funds in an effort to increase the stability and liquidity of these funds in times of economic stress. Money market funds...more

Where Oh Where Could They Be? Finding Missing Participants Under the New DOL Guidance

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued updated guidance on locating missing participants in a terminated defined contribution plan. The guidance reflects the discontinuance of the IRS and SSA letter forwarding...more

Illinois Supreme Court Rules that Public Sector Retiree Health Subsidies are Constitutionally Protected Benefits

As covered in more detail in a separate alert, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in Kanerva v. Weems by a 6-1 margin that state-subsidized retiree health coverage premiums are subject to the pension protection clause of the...more

Insurance Industry Sweeps Retained Asset Account Doubleheader

On August 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held in Vander Luitgaren v. Sun Life Ass. Co. of Canada, No. 13–2090, 2014 WL 4197947 (1st Cir. Aug. 26, 2014), that an insurer, acting as a claims administrator,...more

IRS Amends Revenue Ruling 81-100 to Permit Participation in Group Trusts by Puerto Rico Plans and Insurance Company Separate...

The Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) issued Revenue Ruling 2014-24 (the “Ruling”). The Ruling amends Revenue Ruling 81-100, the ruling that established the requirements applicable to a tax-qualified group trust. The...more

IRS Finalizes Guidance on Rev. Rul. 81-100 Group Trusts, and Insurance Company Separate Accounts

In Rev. Rul. 2014-24, scheduled for publication on September 8, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (the Service) substantially completed its pending guidance on Rev. Rul. 81-100 group trusts by permanently authorizing the...more

If I Had a Hammer – A Creative Method for Repatriating Offshore Corporate Profits

In this era of corporate inversions, there seems to be a lot of mud-slinging going around. Congress and the current Presidential administration would like to label large multi-national corporations as traitors. Somewhere...more

Ontario Employers Must Insure Long-Term Disability Benefits

The Ontario Budget introduced by the newly-elected Liberal government on July 14, 2014 includes a proposal for mandatory insurance of long-term disability (LTD) benefits. The Budget was accompanied by Bill 14, Building...more

Fiduciary Notice Obligations Associated with Change of Carriers

This case discusses the fiduciary obligation of plan administrators to inform participants in advance of ERISA’s statutory notice periods regarding the potential impact caused by a change of life insurance carrier under a...more

Insurance Recovery Law - July 2014 #3

Washington Supreme Court Rules That It Was Error To Delay Adjudication Of Insurer’s Duty To Defend, But Should Stay Discovery As To Insurer’s Coverage Defenses - Why it matters: The Washington Supreme Court...more

The Latest on the Use of Retained Asset Accounts to Pay Life Insurance Benefits

In Merrimon v. Unum Life Insurance Co. of America, 2014 WL 2960024 (1st Cir. July 2, 2014), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit became the third circuit court to approve an insurance company’s use of a retained...more

De Facto Plan Administrator Claims in the First Circuit

According to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c)(1)(B) of ERISA, it is within a court’s discretion to award a penalty of up to $110 per day based on an administrator’s failure to comply with a plan participant’s or beneficiary’s request for...more

First Circuit Upholds Use of Retained Asset Accounts in ERISA Class Action

On July 2, 2014, a unanimous panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that Unum Life Insurance Company’s practice of using Retained Asset Accounts (RAAs) to pay death benefits claims on group...more

Rules Will Allow Issuance of Longevity Insurance in Retirement Plans

On July 1, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued final rules excluding qualifying longevity annuity contracts (QLACs) from the required minimum distribution rules (RMD...more

I Can’t Get No SATISFACTION-- In the Eleventh Circuit, Is Discretionary Language Still "Satisfactory to Us"?

Ever since the United States Supreme Court addressed the question of whether a wholesale adoption of the "arbitrary and capricious" standard of review would be appropriate for judicial review of denial of benefit...more

Employee Benefit Plan is Governmental Plan, Even Though Employees are Not, says District Court in 11th Circuit.

It is a deceptively simple statement: Governmental employee benefit plans are exempt from ERISA. 29 U.S.C. § 1003(b)(1). But what about an employee benefit plan of an entity affiliated with a governmental entity, but whose...more

The Debate Continues Over The Fiduciary Status of 401(k) Plan Service Providers

In Golden Star Inc. v. MassMutual Life Ins. Co., 2014 WL 2117511 (D. Mass. May 20, 2014), a district court addressed two issues that have become hotly contested in 401(k) plan fee litigation: (1) whether and when a plan...more

Ask And You Shall Receive! Employers Should Interpret Requests For Plan Documents Broadly

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently joined a number of other appellate courts in adopting the “clear notice” standard under which a written request for copies of benefit plan documents subject to the Employee...more

NY Bill Seeks to Strip Insurers of Discretion When Substance Abuse Services Should Be ERISA Preempted

The New York State Senate is considering passing Bill No. 4326 which seeks to address an epidemic of heroin and prescription drug abuse by requiring insurers to provide in-patient treatment to addicts. Publicity over the...more

Court Rejects Plaintiff’s Attempt to Prevent Plan from Recouping $250,000 Overpayment

A federal district court in the Northern District of California dismissed an equitable estoppel claim brought by a pension-plan participant seeking to prevent the plan from recouping an overpayment. See Groves v. Kaiser...more

Defined Benefits Plans are to save $$$, not to make insurance salesman crazy $$$$

While the talk about retirement plans is usually centered on 401(k) plans, the value of a defined benefit plan for those companies that could afford it should not be discounted. Thanks to the generous deductible contribution...more

Spring Sprouts A Renewed Review By The NAIC

During and after the 2013 NAIC Fall National Meeting, various NAIC groups renewed their review of the regulatory framework for annuities. This review stems from the growing importance of annuities to address longevity risk....more

Employee Benefits Developments - March 2014

On January 9, 2014, the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury (collectively, the “Departments”) issued additional health care reform guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions...more

DOL Proposes Amendment to Service Provider Fee Disclosure Regulation

Proposal would require certain service providers to furnish a separate disclosure guide. On March 11, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposed amendment to its 2012 final regulations under section 408(b)(2)...more

Defendants See Success With Limitations Defenses Post Heimeshoff

Defendants have recently received three favorable decisions involving contractual and statutory limitations defenses. In each case, a federal court held that claims for benefits under ERISA plans were time-barred. Costa v....more

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