Why do we share news about the business of disability insurance companies? We believe that getting a glimpse into the decisions made at the corporate level can yield insight into the decisions made at the claims level. Insurance companies are businesses first – and the bottom line is the first, last and only priority to these companies. That’s why we tell our clients to try not to take their disability insurance claim delays, denials, or even terminations, personally. For our clients, these decisions are extremely personal, but for the insurance company, it’s business as usual.
It was recently announced that disability insurance policy sales for Hartford Financial Services Group are up in the last quarter. The company also announced that it shed its largest account after not being able to agree on terms. The account was reportedly not a profit source, which makes analysts and shareholders happy.
Hartford sold $52 million in new insured group disability sales and disability plan administration contract sales in the last quarter, and while group disability premiums and premium equivalents fell to $454 million, the disability loss ratio improved, falling to 75.5 percent, from 85.5 percent. Hartford has announced that disability policy pricing is going up, from 15- 18%. That also makes financial analysts and shareholders happy.
We don’t pretend to know precisely what the senior executives in the disability unit are thinking over at Hartford, but we do know the fallout from these decisions — we receive an increased number of phone calls and emails from claimants who have had their claims delayed, denied or terminated by Hartford.
We’ve battled Hartford and its representatives for years, and we’ve learned a few things along the way:
Hartford was successful in a recent United States Supreme Court case that has made the restrictive time limits on appealing a denial even worse than before. The clock starts ticking from the date the proof of loss is due – even before a lawsuit is filed.
Hartford’s denial of a claim by a woman with Multiple Sclerosis was particularly hard-hearted, even for a disability company. A Federal judge overruled Hartford’s denial of claims by a woman with MS and found that the process we see on a daily basis – finding non-existent inconsistencies in the medical records, conducting surveillance, assigning a file to a Special Investigations Unit, neglecting to have an in-person medical exam and relying on a paper review of medical records to deny her claim. The woman had qualified for Social Security benefits – which sets a higher bar than insurance companies to obtaining benefits.
Harford cases are often reported on in our blog, and they almost always involve an abuse of discretion in denying claims for individuals who are disabled. Their tactics vary, from characterizing a job as sedentary and failing to correctly read the person’s employer’s job description to picking apart medical records in searching for any minute detail that might be used against the claimant.
When people call us, they are confused, as their medical records clearly indicate how ill or injured they are. There was never a doubt in their minds that the insurance company would protect them after years, in many cases, decades of paying their policy premiums. They don’t understand why a company they placed their trust in would suddenly turn into their worst nightmare.
If you or someone you love is having trouble obtaining benefits for a disability claim with Hartford, call our office today at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524) to learn how we can help you. There are strict time limitations, so don’t delay making in this free call.