ERISA News & Views  -  December 2009

Most Employers Not Aware
Most of the nation's 5+ million employers are not in compliance with ERISA because they are not aware that their group insurance policies are subject to ERISA, just as their 401(k) plans are.  
A common misperception held by even experienced insurance brokers, consultants, human resources and benefits personnel, accountants, and attorneys is that an insurance company's group insurance policy or Certificate of Insurance is an SPD. However, Certificates of Insurance are not SPDs because they rarely contain all of the required ERISA language. An employer must prepare an ERISA "wrapper." Together, the wrapper and the Certificate of Insurance constitute an SPD. 
Another common misperception is who is responsible for preparing and filing Form 5500s. Even though that's the employer's responsibility, most of them believe that their insurance broker, accountant, or legal advisor is taking care of this. Should the DOL fine your client for noncompliance,  it could easily be upset for not bringing this liability to light.  It is in the advisor's interest to help their clients become compliant.  
Better Compliance Solutions
Until now, employers had to either engage an attorney to draft a custom SPD or fill in a template. A custom SPD is typically quite expensive, and a template is often not in full compliance with ERISA. Either way, an employer's documents can become out of compliance without periodic monitoring because of changes in an employer's benefits or in the law. Our compliance solutions are better because:
  • Our experienced professionals will personally obtain the information to prepare documents for employers, rather than giving them a blank template, which would likely be incomplete, completed incorrectly, or perhaps never completed.
  • ERISAPros proactively contacts its customers every year to assess whether their SPDs are still in compliance, and, if not, prepare the necessary documents to help get them back into compliance. 
  • ERISAPros' proprietary Wrap-Tight sm SPD allows all of an employer's ERISA Plans to be consolidated into a single Plan. Our wrap SPD saves an employer the time and expense of preparing an SPD and a Form 5500 for each separate Plan.

    Partner with Pros  

    ERISAPros will partner with brokers, consultants, and other professional advisors.  We help advisors cement their relationship with their clients, avoid potential legal problems, and reduce competition from other advisors.  Our partners will enjoy an additional revenue source while doing what's in their clients' best interests.
    Atlanta attorney, Bernard Kearse, JD, LLM, founded ERISAPros to fill the need for high quality, yet affordable SPDs for Welfare Benefit Plans. For a complimentary ERISA compliance evaluation or for additional information on ERISAPros, its Wrap-Tight sm SPD, or Form 5500 preparation and electronic filing, contact us today.
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    The day after a Department of Labor audit, what would you wish you had done?
    Why aren't you doing it now? 
    Our work at ERISAPros is driven by these questions.  The threat from a DOL audit is growing, and you are in a race between compliance and catastrophe. 
    © 2017 ERISAPros, LLC, All rights reserved. Information on ERISAPros' website, its newsletter, “News & Views,” and its blog, “ERISA Wonk,” is published as a general informational source. Information and articles are general in nature and are not intended to constitute legal or tax advice in any particular matter. Blog posts and comments reflect the personal views of their respective authors - not those of ERISAPros. Transmission of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. ERISAPros, LLC is not a law firm and is not giving legal or tax advice. It does not warrant and is not responsible for errors or omissions in the content on its website or in its newsletters. ERISA is a complicated and confusing law. Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs), Wrap Plan Documents, and Form 5500s require review and updating by qualified ERISA compliance professionals.


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