Unum Insurance is the largest private disability insurance company in the US. Many people are comforted believing they will be protected if they become disabled and cannot continue working; their insurance company will step up, honor their claim and approve monthly benefits. Unfortunately, Unum claim denials are all too common, and disturbingly, there seems to be a pattern of unfair and improper business practices by Unum.
It is important to realize that Unum is a corporate giant with many affiliate insurance companies under different names, such as Provident Life, Paul Revere and the Colonial Companies. It is estimated that Unum is currently covering some 17 million Americans with some type of disability policy. If you have coverage or are currently a claimant, you should be aware of whom you are dealing with. Additionally, Unum’s questionable reputation is not merely the product of disgruntled individuals who received Unum claim denials; Unum has been under investigation by state insurance investigators and the federal government and has lost several large legal decisions regarding the manner in which it handles claims, and is currently the subject of class action lawsuits regarding its handling of claims.
Altering Policies After the Filing of a Claim
As clearly illegal and unethical as changing the terms of a policy after it was issued, many people who have filed claims for disability benefits under a Unum policy have alleged just this. In fact, few policy holders read their policy and rely, often at their peril and to their disadvantage, on the insurer to inform them if their claim is covered under the policy language.
Improperly Investigating the Claim
When a Unum policyholder makes a claim for short term or long term disability, there is an all but universal protocol that downplays the claimant’s treating physician’s medical findings. In fact, Unum has created what may be called an illusion of credibility, which suggests that only Unum’s conclusions can be correct; those who disagree are therefore simply wrong. One way this is done is by flooding the claimant’s file with voluminous reports and findings all pointing to the conclusion that the individual is not disabled. Another common tactic is to switch claims handlers often during the review process. Each time a new handler takes over the claim, there is a delay. Delays can be devastating to a claimant anxiously in need of financial benefits, and long delays often result in the claimant giving up and accepting the fact of a denial despite the very real possibility that the claim is legitimate and should have been approved.
Cessation of Benefits
Even those fortunate enough to be approved for disability benefits are not beyond the scope of Unum’s malfeasance; Unum too often issues letters terminating the claimant’s benefits at some point after they have begun, again in most instances without proper justification.
Misuse of Medical Experts
One of the more common tactics employed by Unum is the use of independent medical examiners. If you are a disability insurance policyholder and apply for benefits, the insurer has the right to have you see a third-party medical professional if it needs more information about your condition than was supplied by your treating physician. However, Unum uses the same list of doctors repeatedly, and rather than rendering fair and unbiased opinions, they regularly side with Unum and against the claimant. There is little independence in their approach to the examinations.
Contact a Unum Denied Disability Claims Lawyer for Legal Advice
If you or a loved one has been treated unfairly by Unum or any other private disability insurance company, you need to explore your options. Unum has established a systematic operation of denial as a business tactic, incentivizing their employees for denials. Against this type of operation, you can’t go it alone; call Uscher, Quiat, Uscher & Russo, P.C., a Unum denied disability claims legal group, at 800-797-5575.