Lincoln Financial Disability Appeals: Avoid These Common Mistakes

Sep 17, 2019 | Blog |

If you’re like many Illinois residents, you have employer-sponsored benefits from Lincoln Financial Group — and you may be running into red tape or other difficulties with your insurance adjuster. At Bryant Legal Group, we have extensive experience handling Lincoln Financial long-term disability (LTD) claims, and we want to share our unique insights.

Keep reading to learn more about Lincoln Financial Group, its history of delaying claims, and how you can improve your chances of a successful LTD appeal.

Lincoln Financial: One of the Largest Disability Insurance Companies in the Country

Founded in 1905, Lincoln Financial Group offers a variety of insurance options to businesses and consumers — including long-term disability and life insurance coverage. In 2018, the company acquired Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, making it the largest provider of Fully Insured Disability policies in the country.

According to the company’s 2018 Annual Report, roughly 23% of its total revenue was from group protection policies like long-term and short-term disability plans. In 2018, Lincoln Financial earned more than $16.4 billion in total revenue.

The Company’s History of Lost and Delayed Claims

In 2015, the New York Department of Financial Services began investigating Lincoln Financial’s handling of life insurance claims. They discovered that during a merger, the company mishandled and lost at least 4,000 claims. While the company identified the problem in 2008, it failed to properly address the issue for an astounding six years.

During this time, thousands of people were left waiting for information about their claim and the benefits they deserved. Lincoln Financial Group’s backlog of pending claims skyrocketed, but they failed to fix the problems or even report them to state regulators.

Eventually, the insurance company agreed to a Consent Order in 2017, paying a $1.5 million fine to the State of New York and $50.7 million in restitution to policyholders and beneficiaries.

RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Essential Questions You Should Ask a Disability Insurance Lawyer

Avoid These 4 Mistakes in Your Lincoln Financial Disability Appeal

1. Always Follow Up About Your Claim

Lincoln Financial has not always been diligent about its claim processing. While you should never harass or threaten an insurance adjuster, you should carefully monitor your claim’s progression.

Under ERISA, a federal law that applies to most LTD claims, a long-term disability insurance company typically has 45 days to either approve or deny your claim. Under certain circumstances, the insurer can get up to 105 days to review a claim, but it must notify you of the delay and why it needs more time.

2. Don’t Rely on Lincoln Financial Group’s Adjusters for Your Evidence

Even if Lincoln Financial’s insurance adjusters seem polite and professional, it’s important to remember that they are company representatives. They will not advocate on your behalf or double-check your submissions.

When we review administrative records from Lincoln Financial, we commonly find huge gaps and missing medical records.  Even though you may have signed a medical release authorizing the adjuster to access your medical records, you’re better off taking a more active role in your claim. Don’t hesitate to submit your medical records and other supporting evidence.

This is particularly important in claims for employer-sponsored long-term disability benefits. Under ERISA, you have a limited time to submit evidence. Once Lincoln Financial Group issues its final decision in your claim, you can no longer supply additional information to the record.

3. Never Miss Filing Deadlines

Every LTD policy has strict filing deadlines. For example, you typically have 180 days to file a long-term disability appeal. If you miss a deadline, you could lose your right to disability insurance benefits. While Lincoln Financial Group has to notify you of these timelines, don’t expect them to send reminders.

Instead, you should carefully note these deadlines on your calendar and schedule multiple reminders beforehand. Even better, consult with a skilled and experienced disability insurance lawyer who can oversee the entire process.

4. Don’t Handle Your Complex LTD Claim on Your Own

Long-term disability claims require a highly technical analysis, and it’s easy to make mistakes. This is particularly true with Lincoln Financial disability appeals, which tend to fall under ERISA’s strict rules and procedures.

When you work with one of Bryant Legal Group’s skilled and experienced long-term disability lawyers, we will help you navigate procedural hurdles, provide medical, legal, and vocational analysis, and craft practical and results-driven strategies.

RELATED ARTICLE: Do You Know the Deadline for Filing Your ERISA Claim?

Bryant Legal Group: Guiding Clients Through Their Lincoln Financial Disability Claims

At Bryant Legal Group, we provide personalized advice and legal strategies for our clients’ Lincoln Financial disability insurance claims. We’ve earned a reputation as one of Illinois’ premier ERISA law firms, and we’d love to help find a solution to your disability insurance issues.

To request your free consultation, please call 312-561-3010 today or complete this brief online form.

References

2018 annual report to shareholders. (2018). Lincoln Financial Group. Retrieved from https://www.lfg.com/wcs-static/pdf/2018%20LNC%20Annual%20Report.pdf

29 CFR §2560.503-1. Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/29/2560.503-1

Consent order. (2017, March 7). New York State Department of Financial Services. Retrieved from https://www.dfs.ny.gov/docs/about/ea/ea170307.pdf

DFS announces Lincoln Financial Group has paid $50.7 million to beneficiaries of New York policyholders for lost insurance claims. New York State Department of Financial Services. Retrieved from https://www.dfs.ny.gov/about/press/pr1703071.htm

Lincoln Financial Group signs agreement to acquire Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston. (2018, January 19). Lincoln Financial Group. Retrieved from https://newsroom.lfg.com/press-release/corporate/lincoln-financial-group-signs-agreement-acquire-liberty-life-assurance-compa

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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