Disability insurance companies are like every other insurance company – they live or die not just on how many policies they sell or deny, but on interest rates and stock prices. Right now, we are seeing an uptick in people calling the firm because their UNUM claim has been denied, or delayed. A quick look at the stock’s recent performance provides strong insight as to why UNUM is acting this way, and what’s coming next. UNUM policyowners, be prepared for the possibility of your claim being re-examined, a request for a medical examination or an outright denial.
Understanding how the business forces impact disability insurance claims may seem like something that disability insurance lawyers don’t need to know, but we believe it’s very useful for our clients.
We follow insurance company news as much as we do the legal news of the disability world, so our perspective is far ranging, and we can anticipate trends in claims management, delays and terminations.
For UNUM, this is not new.
UNUM, like most insurance companies of their size, is a publicly traded company that relies on a complex series of calculations to manage its finances. A historically low interest rate environment, like the one we are in right now, means that its interest-sensitive investments are not performing well. A volatile stock market means that its own stock is under pressure. This combination creates problems for people who are on claim with UNUM.
What can you do to protect yourself and your claim?
We recommend that you call our office at 877-583-2524 and talk with us about your claim. We’ll be able to give you some insight into whether or not may be targeted by Unum for a denial and what you can do to prepare for what the near future may bring.
UNUM is known for tactics that include the following:
Demanding medical examinations when there has been no change in your condition. This may include an “IME” – the inaccurately named “Independent Medical Examination” that is conducted by a physician who is paid by the insurance company. It is really a PME (Paid Medical Examination). It’s hard to be truly independent when your main source of income is not a medical practice or a hospital position but an insurance company that pays you hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to examine patients and then write reports that support the insurance company’s position.
Conducting surveillance using social media and video. We like to think that our lives are private, but anyone who is active on social media and uses a smart phone is generating data about their location and activities. In the past, surveillance included people in vans or cars parked near homes, but today surveillance can take place without people—video equipped vehicles, even drones, are used to monitor activity levels.
Pandemic party at your house? You may not have seen loved ones for months, especially if your disability includes respiratory or immune system illness. One gathering of a small group outdoors at your home may lead to a lot of questions by a field investigator.
UNUM policyowners who are on claim are invited to call our office at 877-583-2524 to learn how we can help protect you, your claim and your family.