The administrative record is simply all of the documents provided to the LTD insurance company during the claims process, the claims file, the documents provided during the administrative appeal and the contract documents.
One of the little known but critical rules in ERISA Long Term Disability cases is that the Court will only consider the documents contained in the administrative record. Accordingly, it is extremely important that the insurer be provided all favorable information during the administrative appeal process. Otherwise, the claimants chances of winning in court can be very slim.
SMDA has had a couple of recent examples of the importance of this fact. We recently represented a client who filed her own administrative appeal by simply writing a letter explaining to the LTD insurer why she believed the claims denial decision was erroneous. Also contained in the record was a form completed by her primary care physician that indicated she needed a functional capacity examination in order to determine if she was disabled. The client was not aware of her doctor’s opinion and took no steps to provide the information suggested necessary by her own doctor.