Disability insurance disputes can vary considerably, depending on the insurance policy at issue and the carrier involved in the dispute. For example, if you purchased a private disability insurance policy in which the definition of a disability under the policy is “own occupation” based, then you will likely have an easier time proving that you are entitled to disability benefits as compared to a policy where the definition of a disability is “any occupation” based.
Similarly, insurers may differ in terms of how they approach the dispute overall. Some insurers have poor track records with regard to the fair application of coverage and exclusions, while others have a reputation for approaching disputes in a hostile manner, so as to discourage others from engaging in lawsuits.
If you have had your disability claim denied or otherwise mishandled by a private disability insurance carrier, then you may be entitled to recover the benefits that you’re owed (and various other damages and costs) with the assistance of a qualified attorney.
At Bryant Legal Group, PC., we encourage you to get in touch with one of our skilled Chicago private disability insurance lawyers for further guidance on how to proceed with resolving your dispute. We have extensive experience negotiating with private insurance carriers and — in the event that negotiations break down — litigating claims and securing favorable results for policyholder-clients.
Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation. We will evaluate your dispute and work with you to develop a strategy for moving forward with litigation.
Popular Disability Insurance Carriers
In Illinois and throughout the United States at-large, there are a number of private insurance carriers who offer a range of comprehensive disability policies — short-term and long-term plans — with varying disability definitions, coverage exclusions, and offerings that may include partial or residual benefits.
Consider the following:
Unum provides long-term disability insurance (LTD) and short-term disability insurance (STD) for individuals and businesses, with customizable options depending on the particular needs of the policyholder. Unum is the largest LTD disability insurance carrier in the United States, and in fact, has been embroiled in litigation involving bad faith acts relating to Social Security Fraud (specifically, requiring policyholders to submit Social Security Disability claims despite knowledge that the insureds are not eligible for such benefits).
Unum Group — formerly known as UnumProvident — is an insurance group which includes insurance carriers such as Unum and Colonial Life, and involves underwriting insurers such as Paul Revere. Unum Group is the largest disability insurance provider in the United States, but has been associated with a number of controversies regarding its corporate decision-making procedures for determining whether to award benefits to disability claimants.
The Paul Revere Corporation is a Massachusetts-based insurance provider founded well over a century ago — in 1895 — that serves the US and Canadian markets, offering a range of insurance products, from disability insurance (individual, non-cancelable policies) to life insurance and annuities. Paul Revere disability insurance has long since been folded into the Unum Group, however.
It’s worth noting that Unum entered into regulatory agreements with the majority of states relating to the payment of disability benefits that were wrongfully denied in the past. If you have a Paul Revere disability policy, it’s likely that you were promised a significant dollar amount in terms of benefits. Your insurer is therefore incentivized to engage in strategies that are designed to restrict your ability to secure the benefits that you’re owed.
John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company — later acquired by Provident Life & Accident Insurance Company, which was then acquired by the Unum Group — was founded in 1862, and offers a range of insurance and financial products, including long-term disability income insurance targeting businesses (i.e., group disability plans).
MassMutual provides various disability insurance products on an individual basis and as part of employer-sponsored group plans, including LTD insurance offerings and supplementary products designed to bridge the income gap between real wages and benefits provided by the normal LTD coverage offering. As such, disputes involving MassMutual insurance plans may involve ERISA regulation, depending on the nature of your coverage.
Northwestern Mutual — a Milwaukee-based insurance company — was founded in 1865 as Mutual Life Insurance, and later grew to encompass a range of insurance and financial products, including disability offerings such as LTD, STD, interim disability, and overhead expense coverage, for individuals and businesses. Given the variety of insurance products available through Northwestern Mutual, it is less likely that they have solid procedures in place for making clear, objective decisions regarding the award of disability benefits. The possibility of a dispute is therefore quite a bit higher than it might be with an insurance carrier who specializes in a particular category of disability insurance.
Guardian is a New York City-based insurer founded as the Guardian Life Insurance Company in 1860. Unlike many other insurers, Guardian is partially-owned by its policyholders. Guardian offers a range of insurance and financial products, and in the disability insurance context, offers LTD, STD, and supplemental coverage plans.
Berkshire Life Insurance Company is a Massachusetts-based insurance provider with a wide range of life, health, and disability insurance offerings, including STD and LTD coverage plans for individuals and businesses. Berkshire was acquired in 2001 by Guardian, and now underwrites and issues many of Guardian’s disability policies.
MetLife is a large, New York-based insurance and financial services company with a focus on the United States and Canadian markets. MetLife offers a range of insurance products, from disability insurance to life insurance and property insurance, and within the disability insurance product category, sells both LTD and STD options. It’s important to note that MetLife no longer sells individual disability policies — only group disability policies are available through MetLife.
Principal Financial Group was founded in 1879, and continues to operate independently. It has yet to be acquired by larger insurance and financial service companies. Principal sells financial and insurance products to various individuals and businesses, and tough Principal is primarily a financial services provider (i.e., retirement, investment, and banking solutions), they also sell LTD and STD insurance policies.
Standard — based in Portland, OR — has been a prominent insurance provider (disability, life, dental, vision, etc.) for over a century, and is among the largest providers of disability insurance policies to both individuals and businesses, with a focus on “income protection” in broad circumstances, and as such, their insurance coverage is marketed as somewhat less exclusionary in comparison to their competitors. They offer a variety of LTD and STD coverage options, along with more specialized policies that account for rare, but catastrophic situations such as dismemberment.
New York Life
New York Life was founded in the 1840s, and offers a wide variety of investment and insurance products — they offer the typical disability insurance products, such as LTD and STD coverage plans. Disability insurance is not the “primary” business of New York Life, though it is a significant player (latest estimates state that New York Life covers 60,000 employers and over 750,000 individuals through those group policies). In the disability insurance context, it’s worth noting that they exclusively target businesses and offer solutions that are uniquely designed for group/employer-sponsored plans.
Hartford is comprised of various sub-groups (e.g. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance and Hartford Life), and through these groups, provides a variety of insurance and investment products. Hartford is primarily a life insurance provider, though disability insurance is also a prominent aspect of its business. Hartford offers the typical range of disability insurance policies to both individuals and businesses, with the standard LTD and STD options available to policyholders, though “flexibility” is emphasized in their marketing. Hartford also sells plans that incorporate partial and residual benefits, ensuring that policyholders can secure some benefits in situations where they are not rendered totally disabled.
Prudential — based out of Boston, MA — is one of the largest insurance and financial service providers in the United States, ranking in the top 50 of the Fortune 500, generating over $40 billion in annual revenue. Prudential offers various LTD and STD solutions, along with various customizations (such as partial disability riders, cost of living adjustments, premium waivers, and more). Though Prudential tends to focus on the provision of employer-sponsored insurance plans, they do offer individuals the opportunity to purchase coverage through one of their insurance brokers.
Over the years, Prudential has come under fire for its mishandling of disability claims, and in fact, it recently lost a large class-action lawsuit for its role in wrongfully denying disability benefits to military service-members and their families. It should therefore come as no surprise that Prudential might be willing to act maliciously in denying your rightful benefits for their own gain.
Cigna was founded in 1982, and is a major health insurance and life insurance provider in the United States and abroad (it’s worth noting that Cigna has become a major player in various international markets), though they also provide accidental death, property, and disability insurance products. In the disability insurance context, Cigna targets businesses exclusively, though they provide a range of innovative products — Cigna has developed insurance solutions designed to integrate LTD, STD, and Workers’ Compensation benefits, for example, as well as Mid-Term Disability plans that are meant to serve as an effective alternative to bridge the gap between STD and LTD plans. Cigna also offers various voluntary coverage options by which employees can take on 100 percent of the premium cost, and riders (such as catastrophic disability coverage).
Lincoln Financial Group
Lincoln Financial Group is an Indiana-based insurance group (founded in 1905) that is comprised of various sub-units, such as Lincoln National Life Insurance. Lincoln Financial is primarily a life insurance provider (one of the largest in the United States, in fact), though it also sells various disability insurance products. Lincoln financial offers the standard range of disability insurance products (i.e., LTD, STD, etc.), but targets employers.
Dearborn National was founded in 1969, and serves over 3 million customers, making it one of the largest insurers in the United States. Available insurance products range from life insurance to health insurance, vision, accidental death, and disability insurance coverage (LTD and STD products, along with partial disability options and other customizable riders).
Mutual of Omaha
Mutual of Omaha was founded in 1909 and offers a wide variety of insurance and financial services products. In the disability insurance context, Mutual of Omaha offers LTD and STD insurance coverage, along with some “accident only” plans. Mutual of Omaha sells disability insurance coverage to both individuals and businesses.
Consult Our Team of Experienced Chicago Private Disability Insurance Lawyers for Assistance
Here at Bryant Legal Group, P.C., our attorneys have decades of experience advocating on behalf of policyholders and insurance claimants in disputes with private disability insurance carriers. We have extensive experience handling both ERISA-governed and non-ERISA insurance disputes, and a long and consistent track record of success in securing favorable verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. Over the decades, we have obtained millions in benefits for our clients in a wide range of private disability insurance disputes, from wrongful denials to bad faith delays and more.
Unlike many other insurance litigation firms, Bryant Legal Group, P.C. is committed to the provision of individualized legal representation — from the beginning of our engagement process, we maintain a close and transparent relationship with clients to ensure that we have the information necessary to advocate in a manner that is personalized to the particular dispute at-issue.
Curious about your claim and how to proceed?
Call us today at (312) 561-3010 or submit an online case evaluation form through our website to speak to one of our experienced Chicago private disability insurance lawyers for further assistance with your dispute. We will evaluate your case and determine the next steps necessary for securing the benefits that you deserve.