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ERISA Plan administrator Address vs. Plan Situs

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Black’s Law Dictionary defines situs as “[t]he location or position (of something) for legal purposes[.]”


Titles I, III, and IV of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 do not use the word situs.  Nothing in the United States Code’s title 29 (Labor) uses the word situs.  Further, the whole United States Code has only 16 uses of the word situs, and none of these is about a health plan.


Consider asking the statement’s maker to explain whether the business assumes a health plan has a location less wide than the United States, and why it might matter that the plan’s administrator’s address have some relation to such a location.


Or might the statement refer, if the health plan uses a health insurance contract, to some insurance law or an insurer’s underwriting factor?

Peter Gulia PC

Fiduciary Guidance Counsel

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania



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And what is in it for the “vendor” to espouse the position?  Or what is the vendor hiding (consciously or not) to be espousing this position?  For example, is the vendor limiting the scope of a search or a list of candidates based on the confining perspective? The vendor now has a huge burden to overcome — to convince you that the assertion is correct against a well-founded suspicion that the assertion is incorrect.

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DOL reg. sec. (i.e., 29 C.F.R.) 2520.102-3(f) tells you to use the "business address" of the plan administrator. (There may be other guidance, but I have not looked.) That probably means the place where the person who is the plan administrator (either a person id'd in plan docs or, by default, the employer if no one else id'd in docs) actually has a business address, such that (a) he or she will actually be likely to receive communications there, and (b) a summons or other order served on him/her/it there by federal court or DOL would be jurisdictionally valid. Some plan administrators will have only one such address, others , e.g. multistate businesses, will have many potential addresses.

Luke Bailey

Senior Counsel

Clark Hill PLC

214-651-4572 (O) | LBailey@clarkhill.com

2600 Dallas Parkway Suite 600

Frisco, TX 75034

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