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November 2017 Archives

The Eleventh Circuit Overturns a Grant of Summary Judgment to United of Omaha in an ERISA Long-Term Disability Claim, Determining That Muscle Spasms and Back Pain Are Not Pre-Existing Conditions.

In a recent case, Horneland v. United Of Omaha Insurance Company,
No. 16-16935, __F.App'x__, 2017 WL 5508496 (11th Cir. Nov. 17, 2017), the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal district court's grant of summary judgment to United of Omaha ("UOO") in an ERISA governed disability insurance claim. Approximately fourteen (14) years prior to becoming employed as a real estate manager for Thornton Real Estate, Kristian Horneland fractured his thoracic spine in a slip and fall accident. With rehabilitation and pain management, following the accident Kristian was able to live a largely pain free existence. After becoming employed at Thornton Real Estate, Kristian became covered under a long-term disability policy with UOO which excluded Pre-Existing Conditions that manifest within a certain period of time and defined this as:

Hartford Will Purchase Aetna's U.S. Group Life and Disability Business for $1.45 Billion Cash

Hartford Financial Services Group just announced that it will purchase Aetna Inc.'s U.S. group life and disability business for $1.45 billion cash. Reuters reports that Hartford will use $273 million it has outstanding from its 2017 equity buyback program for the transaction, as well as dividends. It will not issue debt or equity for the purchase. "Hartford is financing the deal by dividends and clearly mentioned that it will not authorize an equity repurchase plan for 2018, driving the shares down," Atlantic Equities analyst John Heagerty said. The transaction will make Hartford the second-largest provider of group life and disability insurance in America with more than 20 million customers. It will also give Hartford access to Aetna's digital assets to improve its workers' compensation and disability claims processes. The assets include an integrated absence management platform.

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