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October 2012 Archives

Do You Have the Right Information to Be Successful in Your Application for Benefits Under or Appealing a Denial of Your ERISA Disability Insurance Claim?

Most group policies that you obtain as a result of your employment are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"). ERISA is a federal statute that provides extremely strict deadlines and guidelines for claimants and insurance companies to abide by in the processing of a claim, submission of an appeal, and ultimately the determination of eligibility for benefits under a disability insurance policy. Most significant, ERISA creates an unequal claims process, placing strict obligations on individuals pursuing benefits that make maneuvering a claim difficult and frustrating for unaware claimants at a time when they should be focusing on their recovery. If you are applying for benefits or have been denied benefits under an ERISA governed Plan, you should be aware of your obligations in proving your claim and the strict deadlines you are working under.  The question is, do you have the right information to be successful when applying for benefits under or appealing a denial of your disability insurance claim? 

Unum Reports that More Breast Cancer Survivors are Returning to Work After Short Term Disability Leave

On October 4, 2012, **Unum announced that more than twice as many people who have battled breast cancer are returning successfully to work after short term disability leave.  Unum explained that in 2009, nearly 64 percent of people on short term disability leave due to breast cancer returned to work, which has increased from 28.8 percent in 2001.  Unum admits in its release that cancer is consistently the leading cause of Unum long term disability claims, reporting that about 15 percent of all disability claims each year are cancer claims.  Of those disability cancer claims, breast cancer is the leading type and accounts for about 22 percent of cancer claims.  Breast cancer is also the leading type of cancer prompting short term disability cancer claims, at 17 percent. 

Long Term Care and Home Health Care Policy Issues

It appears that many companies that sold long term care and home health care insurance had little idea of what a claim would involve or that at some point they would be resonsible for the payment of so many claims. Over the last several years, many companies have attempted to avoid the payment of benefits by either misinterpreting, narrowly interpreting, or simply ignoring policy terms and/or benefit options.

Unum Names New Head of Individual Disability Policy Block To "Improve ... business."

Unum announced that Jack McGarry, will be taking over Unum's closed block of business in the United States. Unum's closed block of business includes Unum's individual disability policies issued almost two decades ago. It is important to understand that Unum no longer sells these types of policies, which are often referred to as "Cadillac" disability policies due to the liberal language they contain. The reasoning behind Unum's decision to have McGarry manage its closed block of business was explained by Thomas Watjen, Unum's Group CEO:

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