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Uh Oh Unum

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

We often wonder why insurance companies don’t simply state outright that they are financial investment companies, with an ancillary business of insurance on the side. That’s how they behave, that’s how they do their quarterly reports.

Unum Group Inc. is the dominant force in disability claims in the United States and the United Kingdom, and recently released fourth quarter earnings reports that were just as much about the impact of low interest rates hurting their investment returns as about disability insurance claims.

Their business model is that the disability business is dependent on interest income for all those pesky disability claims that they don’t really like to pay and to cover the cost of the legal fees incurred when policy owners are bold enough to file a claim and then hire attorneys who want Unum to comply with the terms of their disability policies.

During the fourth quarter of 2013, Unum’s supplemental and voluntary individual disability sales increased 28%, to $16 million. But the group disability premium revenues fell from $514 to $55 million. And net investment income fell too.

What’s on Unum’s senior officials’ minds? They are talking with financial analysts about the impact of the new healthcare law and the rise of private benefits exchanges and increasing competition in the voluntary benefits market. They are talking about the current low interest rate environment and what a challenge that is for the insurance business.

What’s not on their minds? You.

Remember, Unum is the company that was the target of not just a 60 Minute expose and Dateline report on how their employees were rewarded by how many claims they denied or terminated. This was also the company at the center of a large class action lawsuit that embodied all of the uncaring and heartless ways that claimants were denied coverage. Courts have found that the company had a systematic program in place to deny and terminate claims. They called it a history of biased claim administration. That’s harsh.

So if you have a disability policy with Unum and are wondering about filing for a claim, we strongly suggest you consider not going it alone and retaining an experienced disability insurance law firm. The disability insurance claims area is littered with complex and deliberately difficult pitfalls that are stacked against the claimant.

Before you file a disability insurance claim:

Locate your policy – the original one.

Read it carefully.

Look for time restrictions – from the time that you file a claim, the clock starts ticking on a number of deadlines that are very strict. If you miss a deadline, you may lose the ability to appeal your claim.

Alert your primary care physician that you are going to file a claim, and find out if he/she has worked with any other patients who have filed a claim. There are many subtle and not so subtle bits of information that must be in your medical files that can break or support your claim.

Stop posting on social media. Instagram, Pinterest, old-school media like Facebook… whatever you are doing in your private life needs to be private.

If you have questions about the claims process for Unum, or any other disability insurance company, call our office at 1-877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524). You don’t have to do this alone.

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Sorry, we do not handle SSDI/Social Security claims.

Frankel & Newfield does not currently handle any Social Security Disability Insurance claims.

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This is about a Social Security Disability claim.

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