Life Insurance

News & Analysis as of

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

Fourth Circuit Rejects Widow’s Claim for Equitable Relief

The Fourth Circuit recently rejected fiduciary breach and equitable estoppel claims for life insurance coverage by Leslie Moon, the widow of a deceased employee, who claimed that the employer’s actions resulted in Mr. Moon’s...more

Plan Sponsor Should Avoid These Retirement Plan Provider “Con Games”

The George Clooney-Brad Pitt trilogy of heist films known as Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, and Ocean’s Thirteen were remembered for their twist endings, stylish pacing, and lightheartedness. Since the Ocean gang were...more

How to Fight a STOLI Scheme: Court Rulings Offer Clues

Two recent court decisions provide potential road maps for insurers in the fight against Stranger-Originated Life Insurance (STOLI) schemes. Ohio Nat’l Life Assurance Corp. v. Davis involved a STOLI scheme so obvious that...more

Harsh Justice

Concerned that its own decision might have "the potential to conflict" with that of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, a Pennsylvania federal court relied on the primary jurisdiction doctrine to dismiss a putative class...more

First Circuit Finds for Life Insurer in ERISA Class Action Challenging Retained Asset Accounts to Pay Life Insurance Benefits

In a unanimous panel decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reversed a trial court’s ruling that the defendant, Unum Life Insurance Company of America (Unum), had breached fiduciary duties under the...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

Unethical Companies Capitalizing on Employee Deaths: Protect Your Reputation with Compliance Training

It came as sort of a shock to me the other day when I came across the article in Fortune titled, “The many ways companies profit from hastening employees’ deaths.” What I took away from it was that companies are taking out...more

Idaho Unclaimed Property Rule: Insurers Must Confirm Whether Insureds Have Died

In a recently issued notice of rulemaking, the Idaho State Treasurer’s Office has proposed a temporary rule that, if permanently adopted, would alter two key definitional provisions in the state’s unclaimed property laws...more

"The Estate Planner" – July/August 2014

In this issue: - Net Gain For Taxpayers – Tax Court Approves Net Gift Strategy - Estate Planning For The Young And Affluent – How To Hedge Your Bets - Wealth Preserver – Use An ILIT To Shield Life...more

The California Supreme Court Agrees with Frankie Valli: “Big Girls Don’t Cry”

In an echo of the famed singer’s long-ago hit, Frankie Valli’s former wife may be crying, as she lost her bid to deny Frankie his community property interest in a life insurance policy. Imagine, paying the premiums on a...more

Protecting the Financial Services Firm as a Stakeholder: the Interpleader Action Defined (Part 1)

Financial services firms oftentimes can find themselves in the unenviable position of being in the middle of a dispute over money or property held by their clients. If two or more parties assert competing claims to the...more

Yet Another Decision On The Availability of Equitable Surcharge

A district court in Pennsylvania concluded that a decedent’s life insurance plan beneficiaries were entitled to equitable surcharge where the plan administrator failed to, among other things, inform the decedent about the...more

CFTC Issues No Action Letter On Application Of Swap Rules To Longevity Reinsurance Transaction

There has been considerable concern in the insurance and reinsurance industries that certain hedging and reinsurance activities that companies have engaged in for a number of years, particularly with respect to life insurance...more

Equitable Surcharge Awarded to Life Insurance Plan Beneficiary

A federal district court in California awarded relief in the form of surcharge to a life insurance plan beneficiary who claimed that a plan administrator failed to provide complete and accurate information in response to...more

Bill Would Change Post-Death Decision Making in Michigan

Michigan law currently permits any resident to designate a "patient advocate" during his or her lifetime. The patient advocate is tasked with making health care decisions – often including the ability to withhold or withdraw...more

Appellate Court Notes

AC35802 - Estate of Haburey v. Winchester - Widow was allowed to claim spousal benefits for deceased employee who worked at municipal sewage treatment facility. Commissioner could have properly found that exposure to...more

Court of Appeal Upholds Dismissal of Class Action in Mandeville v Manulife

In the most recent class action decision released by the Ontario Court of Appeal, Mandeville v The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, 2014 ONCA 417, Justice Gillese, writing for a unanimous Court, upheld the trial decision...more

First Circuit: Proof of Death Prerequisite to Payment of Life Benefits

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has confirmed that proof of death is a reasonable requirement for payment under a life insurance policy, and is a prerequisite to monies becoming “payable” under unclaimed...more

CFTC Interprets “Swap” Definition In the Context of Longevity Risk Transfer

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (Division) recently addressed for the first time the CFTC’s definition of a “swap” as it applies to a specific insurance...more

Ontario Court of Appeal Dismisses Hope-Based Claim and Reaffirms Limits for Pure Economic Loss

In Mandeville v. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, 2014 ONCA 417, the Ontario Court of Appeal considered whether a company owed a novel of duty of care to stakeholders in connection with a legitimate transaction that...more

The Clock Is Ticking: Consider the Delaware Voluntary Disclosure Program Before It Sunsets

The deadline is quickly approaching for participation in the Delaware Secretary of State's Unclaimed Property Voluntary Disclosure Program. Businesses have until June 30, 2014, to enroll in the program, and another year to...more

Life Insurance Unclaimed Property Litigation in 2014: Will Regulator Positions Withstand Judicial Scrutiny

Amidst ongoing multistate unclaimed property audits of many life insurers, and despite many regulatory settlements, the insurance industry and state regulators continue to disagree over the application of unclaimed property...more

New Minnesota Law Allows Investors to File Lawsuits Seeking to Validate Life Insurance Policies Before They Mature

In most states, carriers may void life insurance policies for lack of insurable interest at any point, even after the two-year contestability period prescribed by statute. This loophole allows insurers to continue collecting...more

Eighth Circuit Decisions Reminds Employers Of Importance Of Granting ERISA Plan Administrators Discretion To Interpret Plan Terms

Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit released an opinion which highlights the importance of ensuring ERISA plan documents grant plan administrators the discretion to construe and interpret the...more

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