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SUPREME COURT SIDES WITH LTD INSURERS

As a follow up to the last post, the US Supreme Court sided with the Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company enforcing its contractual limitations period. In Heimeshoff v Hartford Life and Acc. Insur. Co., ______S.Ct. _______ (2013). the Court concluded that:

Because proof of loss is due before a plan’s administrative process can be completed, the administrative exhaustion requirement will, in practice, shorten the contractual limitations period. The question presented is whether the contractual limitations provision is enforceable. We hold that it is.

In other words, even though a claimant is precluded from filing suit before they have exhausted their administrative remedies, the clock starts ticking on the time they have to file a lawsuit. The practical effect of this ruling is that many LTD claimants will have a (sometimes markedly) shorter period of time to file a lawsuit after the claims denial decision is finally issued.