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Draft benefit-plan documents can be legal

by on
in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

A brokerage firm employee was seriously injured in a car accident while driving drunk. He applied for coverage under the company's accidental death and dismemberment policy, but his claim was denied because of an exclusion barring coverage for accidents resulting from alcohol use. The employee sued, claiming ERISA violations. He argued that while the company's insurance policy had gone into effect six months before the accident, a final version wasn't distributed to employees until nearly two years later. Siding with the company, a district court said that didn't matter. Reason: The alcohol exclusion appeared in every earlier draft of the employer's plan. (Jones v. Aetna Life Insurance Co. and Janney Montgomery Scott Inc., No. 01-2476, E.D., Pa., 2002)

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