On November 18, 2004, UnumProvident was compelled to agree to a settlement that was intended to protect disabled workers. The result was that Unum was required to reassess over 200,000 claims that previously had been rejected. The settlement required Unum to restructure its claim handling procedures to ensure objectivity and fairness. However, the settlement has a loophole.
I represent a claimant who was victimized by the precise type of tactics that the settlement was designed to eradicate. My client was found totally disabled and unable to do any type of work by Social Security, and the settlement required that the Social Security decision be given significant weight.
The settlement does not revive a victim’s right to sue in federal court, leaving Unum to police itself under the reassessment if the claimant’s statute of limitations has expired. My client’s claim was wrongfully denied before the 60 Minutes and Dateline NBC exposes made Unum’s bad faith tactics common knowledge, which is why she did not sue Unum. The reassessment failed to treat my client’s reassessment claim fairly because she could not proceed to federal court.
Neither the New York State Insurance Department nor Governor Spitzer’s office did anything to help my client. However, the Maine Insurance Department, the lead regulator responsible for monitoring Unum’s conduct in connection with the reassessment, was instrumental in getting Unum to reevaluate its reassessment decision. According to a telephone call today from Unum, the result of that final review is that my client’s benefits have been approved from April 2002, the inception of her disability, to the present.Previous Next
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