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Seventh Circuit Reaffirms Requirement to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

In Orr v. Assurant Employee Benefits (7th Cir. May 19, 2015) the district court dismissed a lawsuit for life insurance benefits because the plaintiffs did not first exhaust their administrative remedies.  On appeal, the Seventh Circuit affirmed noting that the denial letter plaintiffs received informed them of their right to seek review and included a copy of USIC’s Life Claims Denial Review Procedure.  That document stated in boldfaced, all-caps print, that a request for review must be submitted in writing within 60 days and warned: “If … you do not complete both the first and second review before filing a lawsuit, a court can dismiss your lawsuit.” The exhaustion of administrative remedies is a requirement of most ERISA plans and courts will enforce its requirements by dismissing lawsuits that do not comply with this requirement.