While a car accident itself may not be a reason to file a disability claim, many disability claims result from injuries sustained in a crash or other type of accident. While you may not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance if the injuries don’t totally incapacitate you for more than 12 months, many individual and group long term disability policies cover the inability to work due to these incidents as well as almost all short term disability policies. From back problems to broken bones to “whiplash,” there are many different types of injuries that can result from even seemingly minor vehicle accidents, including some that may not become apparent for an extended period of time. Today’s blog post is going to review some of the different types of injuries that may result from these accidents and how to obtain the disability benefits you deserve while recovering from these injuries. Continue reading
At our firm, we have many clients who contact us quite a while after they’ve become disabled and stopped working. These clients are desperate for income to support their family and need their disability benefits approved immediately, which is challenging at best when dealing with an insurance company. In order to avoid such desperate situations, it’s important to begin the process of preparing and filing your disability claim as soon as the doctor diagnoses you and tells you to stop working. This list provides 10 reasons that people delay filing their disability claims and how to prevent these problems from happening to you. Continue reading
While most sufferers of chronic back pain are able to recover and return to work in varying capacities, there are many people who experience such severe and debilitating pain that they will never be able to hold a normal job again. Claimants who suffer from such severe conditions are initially approved for their disability benefits, but this may be just the beginning of a long and winding road for claim investigations that can be opened and reopened for years on end. Insurance companies won’t acknowledge what total and permanent represents and require regular and appropriate care for the conditions causing the pain throughout the duration of the claim and can also require other documents ranging from tax returns to activity logs. Insurance companies can also reopen investigations at any time and restart the review process all over again. If you have been approved for benefits and don’t expect to return to work anytime soon, there are several issues you should consider to help reduce the stress going forward in the claims process.
Three of the most common issues we hear about from claimants in this situation are surveillance, settlements, and what the insurance company considers to be appropriate care for the condition. I will touch on each of these topics as well as a few other key issues prevalent in these types of claims. Continue reading
We have encountered several cases where claimants have been denied their benefits not because of incomplete or inconclusive evidence of their medical conditions but solely because their conditions kept them from working longer than the guidelines used by disability insurance claim departments. When evaluating disability claims, claims examiners rely on industry developed resources to determine the expected duration of the claim, regardless of the specific circumstances. Based on these claim management practices that have been put into place by most insurance companies, we’d like to shed some light on the process used to assign expected return to work dates for claims and the extra steps that claimants need to take to protect their benefits if they’re disabled beyond these arbitrary dates. Continue reading
We’ve often mentioned insurance company investigators and their tactics as extremely adept at developing reasons to deny legitimate disability claims. Insurance companies like to hire former FBI agents and police detectives who have been specifically taught to treat their targets as adversaries and be cynical of any answers – which they innocently refer to as being professional. These investigators have undergone specialized training on how to dig up information and how to conduct interviews that can be twisted against claimants and used by claims examiners to deny disability claims. Due to our connections, our firm has seen some of the confidential training materials used by disability claims operations that help provide insight into the investigative techniques and methods used to interview claimants. This information can be invaluable to claimants, allowing them to more properly prepare for the interview, whether it’s a scheduled appointment or an unannounced visit. Today’s blog is going to breakdown and summarize some of the key points to help you handle an interview and understand the underlying purposes for the questions. Continue reading
We have talked previously in our blog about the dangers social media can pose for your disability claim. As summer kicks into gear and many people enjoy outdoor activities and vacation traveling, it’s important to revisit some of the social media points we’ve made in the past and provide some new insight into how different Internet sites may be able to help your claim and improve your odds of obtaining the disability benefits you deserve. Continue reading
Cigna has agreed to a wide-ranging re-evaluation of its disability claim denials from 2008, 2009, and 2010 in California and from 2009 and 2010 in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
The settlement affects certain long term disability claims in all of Cigna’s units – Life Insurance Company of North America, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, and Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company.
After multiple complaints to the insurance commissioners in these states, regulators found that Cigna ignored Social Security decisions, discounted the findings of independent physicians, and didn’t consider workers’ compensation records when evaluating claims. These practices forced Cigna to set aside $77 million for payments to current and past claimants who were improperly denied their disability benefits as well as to pay fines to the states. In addition, the settlement requires Cigna to:
- Establish a remediation program in which the companies’ enhanced claim procedures will be applied to certain previously denied or adversely terminated claims for residents of California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, or Pennsylvania.
- Enhance claim procedures to improve the claims handling process to benefit current and future policyholders.
- Participate in a 24 month monitoring program conducted by the insurance departments of each state, involving random sampling and on-going consultations.
- Undergo a re-examination upon completion of the monitoring period.
- Pay fines and administrative fees totaling $1.7 million.
“This regulatory action is intended to provide long-awaited relief for consumers who have a right to expect that their carrier will make good on contractual promises. As regulators, we hold carriers accountable for adhering to laws and regulations of each state in which they conduct business. This settlement resulted from market conduct exams and encompassed issues of serious concern. It is a solid example of regulatory cooperation in protecting the policyholders of Connecticut and other jurisdictions.” said Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Thomas Leonardi.
For the official press release from the California Department of Insurance, click here.
For a copy of the Maine market conduct examination, click here.
The full regulatory settlement can be found here.
Although not quite the magnitude of UNUM’s market conduct settlement a few years ago, Cigna’s agreement can have a great impact on those claimants who were improperly denied their disability benefits.
If you think you may be eligible to have Cigna’s denial of your long term disability claim reviewed or have any questions about this settlement, please feel free to contact our offices toll-free at (855) 828-4100 or visit our website to sign up for a free consultation.
Every once in a while, we like to feature a story from one of our clients about their personal experiences with the disability claim process. Today’s story is an especially touching one. We spent a lot of time with working with Robert and his wife, and he ended up getting the disability benefits he deserved. The nature of his disability and the circumstances of his claim presented some unique hurdles that we had to work together to overcome, but we were able to provide the level of service he needed to satisfy the demands of his claims examiner and move on with his life. Here’s his story, in his own words:
My consultant, Fred Gosman, really helped with my disability claim! After I suffered a broken ankle, I found myself no longer able to work when the injury took a turn for the worse and turned into Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. This is when I decided to file for disability benefits. Being an insurance agent, I thought I’d be able to easily complete the claim forms. But after attempting it alone, I realized the enormity of my situation and decided to find help.
I hired a claim consultant who promised lots of help, but instead she became abrasive and overbearing, angering my doctors and not helping my claim. I had to quickly terminate that relationship and start over. Once I found Royal Claims Advocates, my experience completely changed. Fred helped me and my wife from the beginning, making sure I understood what was needed and helping gather all of the information. He helped make sure my claim forms reflected my situation and worked with my doctors (They loved him!) to ensure they understood what was needed by Reassure America for my claim.
He has helped make sure Reassure America was treating me fairly. They asked for lots of records that didn’t apply to me or my claim, but he helped us correct their misunderstandings and provide the information they really needed.
I’ve struggled through some rough parts of my disability, and Fred was flexible when I needed it. Everything he’s done helped us move closer to filing my claim with support and documentation. His knowledge of disability insurance and claims helped my claim go smoothly.
Once we submitted my claim, my benefits were approved and paid within weeks, far quicker than I imagined. Fred and his team at Royal Claims stayed with me to support and guide us through this challenging time. Their help really has been invaluable to me and my wife. As a former insurance agent, I appreciate the depth of their knowledge and the quality of their work. It’s allowed me to focus on my recovery instead of fighting the insurance company for my benefits!
– Robert S., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Thank you Robert for your kind words! Stories like these are the purpose we created our firm and the reason we fight so hard to ensure our clients get the disability benefits they deserve.
We’ve helped many others receive their benefits as well. If you or someone you know is in need of help on their disability claim, please contact us. You may call us toll-free at (855) 828-4100 or visit our website to sign up for a free consultation.
Although we’re not lawyers or a law firm, paying attention to recent court cases and rulings helps us keep up with the constantly changing rules and regulations of disability insurance claims. In the recent past, we’ve seen two cases taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court as well as a few other cases that affect the way the disability insurance companies treat insureds and their claims and the options to be considered by claimants. These court rulings set precedents and rules for many future claims and help form the disability claims process almost as much as claims examiners or company policies. Today’s blog post is going to explore a few of the more relevant cases and their effects on disability claims. Continue reading
What a difference a year makes! Where does the time go?
We’ve been writing articles for this blog for over a year, and we’ve learned as many things from our readers as we hope you’ve learned from us. As our topics have grown and more readers have found us, we wanted to make sure that some of our posts don’t get lost in the noise of the Internet and buried deep away where claimants would less likely be able to find help. In the spirit of the NCAA basketball tournament, we’re going to go through our most popular blog posts as well as highlight some posts that we think include topical, valuable information that may be helpful in your disability claim. Thanks again for reading our blog over the past year and making us one of the top-rated destinations for disability claim advice and help. While we hope you never have any problems with your conditions or your claim, we’ll continue to be here to read, just in case, for years to come!