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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

View From Proskauer: ERISA Plan Fiduciaries—Are Your Conversations With Counsel Privileged?

It is generally understood that communications between clients and lawyers are privileged and that the substance of those conversations may not be divulged to third parties except in the rarest of circumstances. In the...more

Sietzema v. Economical

Some appellate clarity on the issue on non-earner benefit is now emerging some two years after the confusion arising from the appellate decision in Galdamez v. Allstate....more

Legislative Update Report No. 2014-04 - Feb 28, 2014

In This Issue: Federal Government; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland; Northwest Territories; Nova Scotia; Nunavut; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Québec/Quebec; Saskatchewan; and Yukon....more

Änderungen im Befreiungsrecht der Rentenversicherung

Das Bundessozialgericht hatte in seinen Urteilen vom 31. Oktober 2012 (Az.: B 12 R 8/10 R; B 12 R 3/11 R und B 12 R 5/10 R) in Bezug auf die Wirkung einer Befreiung berufsständisch Versorgter von der Versicherungspflicht in...more

Another Benefits Grab Bag of Guidance and Reminders – Health and Retirement Plans

Preventive Care Expansion for Calendar Plan Year 2015 for Non-Grandfathered or Non-Exempt Plans - The preventive care coverage requirements were updated in September 2013 to include a requirement that there must be...more

Legislative Update Report No. 2014-01 -- Jan 13, 2014

In This Article: Federal Government; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland; Northwest Territories; Nova Scotia; Nunavut; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Québec/Quebec; Saskatchewan; and Yukon....more

U.K. Autumn Statement 2013

The Chancellor of the Exchequer today delivered a 130-page Autumn Statement that contained a number of surprises, as well as expected updates on areas such as partnership taxation....more

Claims Administrator Not Liable Under ERISA For Alleged Failure to Follow ACA’s Enhanced Benefit Claim Procedures

A federal court in New York appears to have issued the first published decision addressing alleged violations of the enhanced benefit claim procedures arising out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new procedures contain...more

Employee Benefits Update: 2013 Year End Plan Tasks

As we approach the end of the year, employers and plan sponsors of qualified retirement plans and health and welfare plans should take time to meet various upcoming deadlines. Failure to comply with the deadlines may result...more

Liability Insurance and a Plan Review are warranties worth paying for

The warranty in the electronics business is gravy for the retailers who sell it. You’ll be surprised how many people pay $20 to get a warranty on a $100 Blu-Ray player. When Best Buy was going national, they advertised how...more

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