Category Archives: Consumer News

Migraines – Far More Than a Bad Headache

More than 37 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, also known as vascular headaches. Unlike a regular headache, migraine headaches are debilitating, with extreme levels of sharp pain in the head and often in the ears or eyes. Some patients experience extreme changes in their vision, which are known as ocular migraines. Most migraine headaches involve nausea and light sensitivity. These headaches last anywhere from four to seventy two hours. For some, stress triggers an episode, while others find that certain foods or exposure to certain chemical compounds trigger the headaches. There is a general lack of understanding by non-migraine sufferers about the severity and impact of these vascular headaches. People are often stigmatized by employers and family members who do not comprehend the level of pain that they experience during these events. Unlike other disorders, the person does not always look like they are sick while...
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Good News for the Insurance Business from Moody’s

Financial ratings service Moody's has upgraded its negative outlook on the US insurance sector from negative to stable - good news that points to expectations that the national economy is finally moving forward in a positive direction. The projected rise in interest rates will especially benefit annuity products with long-term guarantees (e.g., payout annuities, structured settlements); old blocks of individual fixed annuities with high guaranteed rates; life insurance products with embedded interest rate guarantees (e.g., universal life insurance policies); and certain specialized long-tailed health products, including long term disability and long-term care policies. The tidy equation of rising interest rates and reports of dropping unemployment reports combine to bring higher yields to the investments owned by the insurance companies, increased demand for products by more working Americans and a willingness to protect future earnings. What does that mean for claimants? A few points to bear in mind: no matter how...
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Federal Court Permits Discovery in ERISA Disability Litigation

A Federal Judge in Pennsylvania was recently asked to determine the nature and scope of discovery in an ERISA disability insurance matter, where the claimant was pursuing the deposition of Aetna's Senior Appeal Specialist, the person who decided his claim on appeal. Aetna sought to limit the scope of discovery and had pursued a motion to quash the deposition, in effect, seeking to have the Court stop the claimant in its pursuit of discovery in the ERISA disability litigation. Aetna was the insurance company who was financially responsible for the payment of any benefits, and who had terminated the claim. In seeking to limit the scope of discovery, Aetna had argued that even thought it had an undeniable conflict of interest, as the entity deciding the claim and the one financially responsible for the payment of any owed benefits, discovery was not appropriate. The claimant had pursued discovery, and specifically...
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ACIs 16th Litigating Disability Insurance Claims Conference

We are pleased to be the media sponsor of the American Conference Institute's16th Litigating Disability Insurance Claims Conference, taking place January 23-24, 2014 at The Carlton Hotel on Madison Avenue in NYC Some highlights from this year's program: • U.S. Airways v. McCutchen • New remedies and equitable relief • Scope and limitations of discovery • Judicial review of claims decisions and the battle over discretion • State prohibitions on discretionary clauses • Implications and challenges of a court's decision to remand • Subrogation and recovery of overpayments • Proper use of surveillance, modern technology and online resources • Vocational issues in disability claims • Procedure: venue & removal • Subjective disorders • Contractual limitations periods and accrual provisions • IME's evaluation, treating & consulting physicians' opinions, the FCE, neuropsych evaluations, medical records and more Regular readers of this blog know we are big believers in keeping friends close and adversaries closer. We attend the Litigating Disability Claims conference to meet our colleagues and...
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