UNUM Provident

Disability insurance lawyers Frankel & Newfield have represented many Unum claimants when their short and long term disability claims have been delayed, denied or terminated. If you are having a problem with your Unum disability claim, call Frankel & Newfield at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524) to find out how we can help.

We have represented clients at all stages of disability insurance claims with Unum for many years, and are familiar with the disability claim handling tactics of this company. UNUM handles both private disability (IDI) and Group LTD (ERISA) claims, and owns many insurance companies, so you may have a Unum policy or one administered by UNUM and not even know it.

What Disability Insurance Companies Does Unum Own?

Unum Group owns a long list of insurance companies, as reported on its investor relations website:

  • Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company (SC)
  • First Unum Life Insurance Company (NY)
  • The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company (MA)
  • Unum Insurance Company (ME)
  • Provident Life and Casualty Insurance Company (TN)
  • Unum Life Insurance Company of America (ME)
  • Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company (TN)
  • Provident Investment Management LLC (TN)
  • Unum Limited (UK)
  • Fairwind Insurance Company (VT)
  • Northwind Holdings, LLC (DE)
  • Northwind Reinsurance Company (VT)

How Does Unum Delay, Deny or Terminate Short and Long Term Claims?

Some of the disability claim handling tactics we frequently see from UNUM on both private (also known as individually owned or IDI) and ERISA claims (when coverage is part of an employee benefit package) are:

  • The aggressive utilization of surveillance and investigation seeking to uncover inconsistencies between a claimant's reported activity level and their functionality;
  • The utilization of in-house medical staff to support the denial or termination of a claim;
  • Aggressive efforts to determine claims to be due to sickness, rather than injury, to impact the maximum benefit period to pay a claim.

Why is it Difficult to Fight Back When an Unum Disability Claim is Denied?

Unum is a large publicly owned corporation selling insurance in the United States and the United Kingdom. According to its website, the company reported revenues of $11.3 billion in 2017, and provided $7 billion in benefits. Taking on a legal battle against such a large corporation with access to limitless resources is not an easy task. There are no punitive damages in a fight for disability insurance coverage, so the only thing a giant insurance company has to lose by denying a claim is the cost of its in-house or outside law firms and the benefits that it would have paid anyway.

A claimant, on the other hand, stands to lose everything when their disability insurance benefits are cut off. Lacking resources or the ability to secure effective representation is something Unum counts on in its aggressive claim handling.

UNUM, as the result of First Unum and Unum Provident combining, was the subject of national headlines when a class action lawsuit shed a glaring spotlight on the company's systematic process of deliberately denying disability claims. Internal memos were revealed that proved that UNUM deliberately denied disability claims and instructed claims adjusters that the more claims they denied, the more likely they would keep their jobs and earn incentive bonuses.

Investigative news reports on 60 Minutes and Dateline featured interviews with former employees who spoke out on national television about a quota system and bonuses for claims denials. Unfortunately, once the company was out of the national spotlight and the governmental inquiries finalized, things went back to how they had been before the class action lawsuit. Thus, we see many of the same tactics still employed today in claims being delayed, denied and terminated.

Frankel & Newfield represents clients with Unum disability claims at all stages of the process, including:

  • Pre-claim strategizing to help ensure seamless transition to claim;
  • Claim preparation and claim management;
  • Defending claimants from aggressive claim tactics (including requests for Functional Capacity Evaluation, Independent Medical Exam, Field Visit)
  • Appealing ERISA denied or terminated claims;
  • Litigating claims following Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies.
  • Lump Sum Settlement of currently paid claims.

In one of our many cases on behalf of Unum disability claimants, the firm represented a doctor who had been on residual disability for more than ten years as the result of an illness that limited his ability to perform the tasks of an OB/GYN. As a result of our effective representation, the doctor now receives his full benefits - more than $20,000 per month - for the rest of his life.

What Unum is Reporting for 2019 Claims

Unum conducted a ten year review of disability claims reported in May 2018 that points to a dramatic increase in dramatically in short and long term disability claims for joint disorders and musculoskeletal (orthopedic) issues, likely related to an aging population. Cancer remains the number one reason for disability claims, with 17% of claims citing a cancer diagnosis.

But what Unum brags about in its press release is what we are MOST concerned about: the percentage of short term disability behavioral health claims that transition to long term claims being down 15%, “the result of a dedicated behavioral health program implemented at Unum.”

We see that from the claimants’ side: it means that Unum has become more effective at shutting down mental/nervous claims. This is not good news for claimants with such claims.

If you have a disability claim with Unum that has not been paid or if the UNUM claims adjuster is trying to get you to settle your case for far less than its value, call our office at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524) and learn how Frankel & Newfield can help.

Justin C Frankel

Written By:

Justin C. Frankel

Disability Insurance Attorney