The value of making sure all necessary proof of disability is obtained and clarified prior to filing a claim for disability benefits is imperative to the success of any claim, whether it is filed under a group policy, an individual policy, or multiple policies simultaneously. When filing a claim with multiple carriers, making sure the information submitted to each is well-supported and identical can be the difference between claim approval and claim denial under all policies, as most insurance companies require the claimant to identify all potential sources of disability income so they can share information.
For years, insurance companies have aggressively marketed their disability insurance coverage to physicians, specifically targeting "specialists" with attractive "Own Occupation" protection. They induced physicians to purchase disability insurance with liberal definitions of Total Disability, such as "the inability to perform the material and substantial duties of Your Own Occupation," explaining that if they could perform the duties of an alternative occupation, even one within the medical community, but could not continue to engage in their previous occupation, they would be eligible for benefits. The most coveted of these policies specifically protects the ability to engage in the physician's actual specialty. However, many physicians have found that the promises made to them when they purchased the coverage were not honored when they actually became disabled.
When applying for disability insurance benefits it is extremely important that the application for benefits is properly completed and that there are no ambiguities that can be misrepresented or misinterpreted by the insurance carrier. The application is the insured's opportunity to tell his or her story and provide detailed information about their medical condition, limitations, and inability to perform the duties of their occupation.
While many insured's believe that medical evidence of a disability is enough to obtain disability benefits from their disability insurance carrier, this unfortunately, is not the case. A successful disability insurance claim begins with the application process . The information contained within the application for benefits is essential, and if insufficient, can cause extensive delays in the approval of the claim or even a denial of the claim for benefits. The following case is typical of the delays and difficulties experienced by many of our clients who applied for disability benefits on their own.