Labor & Employment Finance & Banking Insurance

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Beware of Unintended Beneficiary Designations

Beneficiary designations are commonly used to name the individuals or entities who are to receive the proceeds of life insurance policies or retirement plans after the death of the owner. An increasing number of financial...more

HRAs Under the Affordable Care Act

Analysis: HRAs are employer-funded accounts designed to reimburse employees for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Employees are not permitted to contribute their own funds, so they are unlike flexible spending accounts or...more

A Court’s Review of a Disability Benefit Claim May Hinge on the Meaning “Satisfactory to Us”

Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that courts should review an ERISA participant’s claim for benefits under a de novo standard of review unless the plan gives the plan fiduciary discretionary authority to...more

ERISA: 11th Circuit Says “Show Me The Money” In Equitable Recovery Of Medical Expenses Even After Disbursement Or Commingling Of...

Can the Plan get reimbursed even when the beneficiary’s settlement funds have been disbursed or commingled? Yes in the 11th Circuit. But watch out in the 9th Circuit....more

Missing Participants in Your Terminated Defined Contribution Retirement Plan? The DOL Has Issued Guidance to Help You

Background - The U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") recently issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2014-01 (the "FAB"), which provides guidance about how fiduciaries of terminated defined contribution retirement plans can...more

Are you Covered When an Employee Breaks Bad?

Legal Requirements - Of course, since a bank must protect depositor funds, the law requires all banks to have appropriate insurance coverage for fidelity losses. Oklahoma banking law, 6 Okla. Stat. § 713(A), mandates...more

First Circuit Rules for Insurers in Two Retained Asset Account Cases; An Insurer Does not Need “to Don the Commercial Equivalent...

The First Circuit recently decided two ERISA cases challenging the use of retained asset accounts in favor of the insurer-defendants. The decisions are Merrimon v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 758 F.3d 46, 50 (1st Cir. 2014)...more

Third Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Excessive Fee Claims Against Insurer

The Third Circuit has affirmed dismissal of all claims against the insurer in a 401(k) excessive fee suit, rejecting arguments that the insurer is an ERISA fiduciary for its product's fees, even where the service provider has...more

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

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

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