The longer the current low interest rate environment continues, the harder the pinch that long term disability insurance companies are feeling. It’s all relative, but our concern is the impact that it has on claimants. Unum Group executives recently held a conference call with securities analysts to review first quarter earnings for 2014. The massive insurance company’s group disability unit produced $69 million in operating income, on $675 million in premium revenue, compared with $78 million in operating income on $693 in premium revenue for the first quarter in 2013.
Despite increases in LTD sales from $11 million to $12 million, the pressure from investment income in this low interest rate environment is eating away at the company’s operations budget. As commented earlier, it’s all relative.
Unum has a particularly nasty history with dealing with claimants, including a series of national television segments about a class action lawsuit that uncovered a corporate culture which rewarded claim denials and punished generous benefits. Sadly, online forums concerning the company continue to report heartless handling of claims, baseless denials, inordinate delays for claim approvals and a general failure to live up to the fundamental practice of insurance companies – you pay the premiums, they provide coverage as per the contract that you sign with them.
Long term disability claimants are usually taken by surprise when the convoluted process of delay and denial begins. Having dealt with auto insurance, homeowners insurance and health insurance, they know that there will be some obstacles in place once a claim is filed, but as the process winds along – and the disability insurance claims adjusters are pros at extending the process – they expect some resolution at some point.
What claimants don’t expect is to find that their medical records are insufficient documents, when they are so ill that they are unable to get out of bed to go to work. They never expect that their social media and even emails will be examined and that any minute item will be twisted to prove that they are not really disabled. And finally, they don’t understand why a company that they paid premiums to for years, in many cases, for decades, suddenly turns a deaf ear to a deeply personal and debilitating experience that threatens their lifestyle, marriage and home ownership.
Frankel & Newfield advises Unum policy owners to consult with our office at any stage of a claim. We also represent policy owners with Unum subsidiaries and related companies, including Unum Provident, Paul Revere, Provident Life, and others. If you are about to file a long term disability insurance claim with Unum or any of its related companies and are concerned about whether your claim will be fairly treated, we strongly suggest contacting our office to learn how we can help. If you are on claim and are having a problem – checks are not being sent out on a timely manner, or you are being asked to provide additional information – it is possible that Unum is considering terminating your claim. You will want to work with a skilled and experienced disability attorney to protect yourself.
Call our office today at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524) to protect yourself and your family. There are strict time limits to protect your claim, so don’t delay making the call.