What to Look for in a UNUM Long-Term Disability Lawyer

Jan 25, 2021 | Blog |

UNUM and its subsidiaries, Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company and Paul Revere Life Insurance Company, have earned a reputation for prioritizing profits over people. The company takes an aggressive approach to its claims, often trying to force claimants into unfair settlements by delaying or denying their claims.

If you’re considering working with a UNUM long-term disability lawyer, you need to make sure you find someone who is experienced and client-focused. In this blog, we highlight several factors you should always look for in a disability insurance firm.

UNUM Has a History of Wrongfully Denying Long-Term Disability Benefits

UNUM is the largest disability insurer in the nation. In addition to its robust group plan business, the company also sells individual disability policies. It reports having more than 38 million policyholders globally, including a large closed block of private “Cadillac” policies, many of them held by doctors, dentists, and other professionals. However, UNUM’s success isn’t based on its commitment to the people it insures.

The disability insurance company has a long history of improperly denying long-term disability (LTD) claims, delaying benefit payments, and offering unreasonably low settlements. Its systemic mishandling of cases led to multi-million-dollar settlements with nearly every state insurance commissioner in the United States in 2003. However, these settlements didn’t change UNUM’s ways. The American Association for Justice named UNUM the second worst insurance company in America in 2008, due to an ongoing pattern of disregard for its policyholders and the facts.

The team at Bryant Legal Group has been standing up to UNUM for decades, so we’re well acquainted with the company’s tactics and dubious history. If the company denies your application for LTD benefits, you should not take it at its word. Instead, consult with an experienced UNUM LTD attorney who can evaluate the strength of your disability claim and look for evidence of bad faith.

RELATED: UNUM Disability Claims: 4 Things You Need to Know

4 Questions You Should Ask a UNUM Disability Insurance Attorney

If you’re in the market for an experienced disability insurance lawyer, you probably are checking out the candidate’s credentials and reviews. However, you should also add some other essential questions to your decision-making process.

1. Have You Have Handled UNUM Disability Insurance Claims Like Mine Before?

Disability insurance law is complicated, and different laws and procedures will apply to your case depending on the type of policy you have.

  • Employer-sponsored plan: a federal law (ERISA) covers your disability insurance claim. That means you must complete a company-based appeal process before you file a lawsuit in federal court—and you cannot request a jury trial or demand compensation for UNUM’s bad faith.
  • Private disability insurance policy: state law controls your case. If you live in Illinois, that likely means that you can ask for a jury trial, demand compensation if UNUM acted in bad faith, and you can file a lawsuit as soon as the insurer denies your claim.

Because the process of litigating a privately held disability insurance policy is so different from an ERISA claim, your lawyer should have extensive experience handling your specific type of case.

Similarly, you should also ask disability insurance lawyers about their familiarity with your medical condition, especially if you have a complex medical history or a relatively rare diagnosis. Medical records and a careful analysis of your symptoms and limitations are essential to your UNUM disability claim. If your lawyer doesn’t understand your condition or doesn’t have relationships with respected medical experts, you might be at a disadvantage.

In short, don’t be shy about asking attorneys about the details of their practice and track record in cases that are similar to yours. At Bryant Legal Group, our team has handled claims involving private policies and employer-sponsored plans—and we regularly consult with experts, physicians, and other professionals.

2. How Often Do You Represent Claimants in UNUM Cases?

You don’t want a lawyer who dabbles in disability insurance law or UNUM long-term disability claims. These cases require a detailed understanding of the company’s tactics and a sophisticated legal strategy. If it’s been years since a disability insurance firm handled a UNUM case, they might not be ready to take on the insurance giant again.

Our experienced attorneys frequently handle UNUM disability insurance claims, and we’re very familiar with their adjusters and defense attorneys.

3. Who Will Handle My Case?

Not all disability insurance law firms are created equally. Some of the big box, national firms will assign your case to an inexperienced associate—even if you spoke with a senior partner early on. This “bait and switch” approach can leave you at a disadvantage, especially if your new lawyer has little experience with UNUM. Just like UNUM, these firms prioritize profits over people—aiming to churn out as many settlements as possible in a short amount of time.

Bryant Legal Group is committed to our clients and providing them with a five-star experience. Because we’re a boutique firm in Chicago, Illinois, our clients enjoy consistent representation, can easily communicate with their legal team, and never get dumped off on a rookie lawyer. When you work with us, we’ll treat you and your case with respect, and we’ll fight tirelessly on your behalf.

4. Do You Think I Have a Bad Faith Claim Against UNUM?

If you have a privately purchased LTD policy, you can demand compensation if UNUM acted in bad faith during your claim. In Illinois, all insurance companies have a duty to act in good faith when they process claims. That means that they cannot unreasonably delay their decision, must follow the law and their own procedures, and keep you informed.

You might have a bad faith claim if UNUM did any of the following:

  • Intentionally undervaluing your claim’s value and pressuring you to settle for less than you deserve
  • Refusing to communicate with you and ignoring your letters or phone calls
  • Delaying or denying your claim, even though UNUM acknowledges that you are owed LTD benefits
  • Issuing an unfavorable decision before it’s adequately investigated your long-term disability claim

Identifying and proving a bad faith insurance claim requires evidence that documents the adjuster’s mishandling of your claim. Your lawyer will need to act quickly to preserve this evidence and may need to scour through countless documents to identify insurance bad faith. So, the sooner they start preparing your legal claims, the better.

RELATED: How Long Does It Take UNUM to Process a Claim? It Depends

Bryant Legal Group: Chicago’s Respected Disability Insurance Team

At Bryant Legal Group, we’ve earned a reputation for our practical, client-focused approach to disability insurance law. If you have questions about your UNUM long-term disability claim, our team can help you build a plan and educate you about your legal options. We assist people in Chicago and throughout Illinois with their disability insurance claims and appeals.

To schedule your free consultation, call us at 312-561-3010 or complete our online form.

References

UNUM. (2021). About UNUM. UNUM. https://www.unum.com/about/corporate/family-of-companies

In the Matter of UNUM Life Insurance Company of America, Regulatory Settlement Agreement (2004, November). Retrieved from https://www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance/publications_reports/exam_rpts/2004/unum_multistate/unum_regulatory_settlement_agreement.pdf

American Association for Justice. (2008, July). The ten worst insurance companies in America: How they raise premiums, deny claims, and refuse insurance to those who need it most. American Association for Justice.  https://1800uslawyer.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/AAJ_Report_TenWorstInsuranceCompanies_FINAL.pdf

UNUM. (2005, October 3). UnumProvident reaches settlement with California Department of Insurance; ‘Changing landscape’ may impact cost, availability of disability insurance in state. UNUM.   https://investors.unum.com/File/Index?KeyFile=1939934

 

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

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