Nationwide Leaders in Disability Insurance Law
The disability attorneys at Frankel & Newfield have represented many Sun Life disability insurance policyholders whose claims have been denied, delayed and terminated. If your Sun Life disability claim has been denied, or if your claim has been terminated, call Frankel & Newfield at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524) to find out how we can help.
A common tactic we have seen with Sun Life claims is to first deny the claim, and then seek to negotiate a settlement that takes advantage of a frightened and disabled person. If anyone has spent any time researching Sun Life disability denials on the web, they know that this is coming, and are better prepared to protect themselves. But if they do not know that this is “business as usual” for Sun Life, they are usually steamrolled and taken advantage of.
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Don’t be intimidated. This is a tactic used by Sun Life on a regular basis. And don’t accept any Sun Life settlement offer unless you have met with an experienced disability insurance attorney who works through the real numbers with you. You may be stunned at the real value of your claim, and then angry at the company for providing a low ball offer. Because most of the claims are governed under ERISA, Sun Life feels emboldened to be aggressive toward claimants.
Another tactic is a passive-aggressive one where the people who are handling claims appear to be so inept that we wonder if it’s not a deliberate ploy. Papers go missing, faxes are never received, information requests are sent to the wrong doctors, and doctor’s reports are lost, never to be found. And it doesn’t seem to matter if the claim is for short-term or long-term disability insurance. How can a company that must be service-based have such poor customer service?
One way that you can protect yourself is to thoroughly document every interaction that you have with Sun Life. Never send original documents unless you are required to, and be sure to make a copy of everything that you send to Sun Life. Chances are good you will have to send them again. Be very mindful of anything you say to representatives. Write down the date of your conversation, the name of the representative and everything they say to you. If you don’t understand what they are asking, ask them to explain it until you do.
Print out all email exchanges with representatives so you have a paper trail of your digital communications. Don’t rely on your computer or phone to preserve communications and information from Sun Life.
If you are unable to manage the interaction with Sun Life, you may want to consider having a trustworthy family member or friend do so. However, a disability insurance attorney will also be able to take over this responsibility for you. This is something that Frankel & Newfield does for our clients. We take over the entire matter, so that our clients can focus on taking care of themselves.
In many instances, it takes the involvement of a disability attorney for the company to pay attention to claimants. The insurance company representatives understand that when an attorney is involved in the case, their actions are being monitored and will become part of a legal proceeding.
Sun Life uses another tactic: time. If your disability policy is part of your benefits package from your employer, it is known as an ERISA policy and is subject to extremely strict time limits. Once you receive notice of Sun Life’s denial of claim, the clock starts ticking. Don’t delay. Immediately contact an experienced disability insurance lawyer who can help you prepare your appeal so that you do not miss the deadline. Once the deadline is missed, you may have lost your right to fight back.
If you want to appeal Sun Life’s disability claim denial, in most cases you have 180 days to do so. This time limit is not three months, it is exactly 180 days. Then the company has a time limit in which to make a decision – 45 days. Not a month and a half, but precisely 45 days. Sun Life is permitted one extension of 45 days in making a decision. You do not have any extensions.
There have been lawsuits with disability insurance companies about whether missing a deadline by a single day that happened to fall on a weekend or a holiday should cause the claimant to lose the right to have their appeal considered. This indicates the nature of the time limits and the seriousness of the disability insurance company to push back against claimants.
At Frankel & Newfield, we have represented enough Sun Life disability claimants to be familiar with the many strategies used by Sun Life to deny, delay and dispute claims. The tactics aren’t that different from those used by other disability insurance companies, but they are still wrong:
This last strategy is one that we, as lawyers, find particularly repugnant. Every claimant has the right to fight back for their disability coverage, and often the only way to do that is with an experienced disability insurance attorney. Telling someone they don’t need legal representation when there is a claim at issue that will have an enormous impact on their family and their lifestyle is taking advantage of disabled claimants.
Justin Frankel and Jason Newfield have represented many Sun Life Disability Insurance claimants, and we are knowledgeable about the tactics used by this company. Call our office today at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524) to learn how we can help you during this most challenging time.
Justin C. Frankel - Disability Insurance Attorney
Justin Frankel is a founding partner of the disability insurance law firm Frankel & Newfield and is a highly skilled litigator and advocate. He has published numerous articles on the challenges facing clients with private or individual disability insurance policies and those who own group or ERISA disability insurance policies.
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