The Second Circuit provided claimants with a holiday gift, when it decided McCauley v. Unum Life Ins. Co. 2008 U.S. App LEXIS 26094 (2nd Cir., Dec 24, 2008). First Unum (part of Unum Provident) is the nation’s largest long term disability insurance company, and it has an extensive record of systematically denying and delaying claims to protect its shareholders more than policy owners. We remember the 60 Minutes and Dateline segments that explored the company’s employee rating system for employee promotions, raises and bonuses: based on how many claims they can deny or delay. We call that bad faith. And while it’s systemic to the entire long term disability insurance sector, Unum seems to have a particular gift for mean spirited denials.
Now, Courts are becoming more cognizant of this, and relying upon the Supreme Court’s decision in Met Life v. Glenn, such a history of biased claim administration is coming back to haunt insurers. We expect that the lower courts will similarly scrutinize the conduct of insurers history of biased claim administration in determining other actions.