Quite a few people still ask me why the majority of information on Lindanee’s Blog is about Unum Group. The simple answer is that while all disability insurers engage in the same claims practices Unum crosses the line more so than most. Of course, it never is THAT simple.
For example, a call came in from someone who attended a Unum IME with a physician in Chicago is what appeared to be a 10 x 10 closet with stacks and stacks of paperwork and documents 3-4 feet along the walls. Why in the world would a forensic psychiatrist conduct IME evaluations in a closet? The insured was told this particular IME physician had not had a secretary in a long time. You may remember another client last year reported being driven to an IME in a smelly old yellow cab.
It wouldn’t be unreasonable to conclude the credibility of an IME physician, interviewing insureds in a closet may not be the best. This is why Unum Group is in my news so often.
Another client received a letter from Unum this week demanding the repayment of over $25,000 the company overpaid from 2008 to present. Unum has a financial history of “interpreting” earnings and financial information in such a way as to favor itself when it needs money.
In 2009 Unum actually constructed an entire Aesop’s Fable claiming an insured owed $270,000 back because his earnings were over 80% of pre-disability income. In actuality, the insured never worked. How can an insured have earnings over 80$ of pre-disability income when he never worked and never earned anything?
I know it may be hard to believe, but Unum actually “made up” an entire scenario, ” ….if the insured had worked….and if he worked he would have made this much per hour……making $ per hour he would have made $ per month” and so on. At least in my book “would have worked” is NOT the same thing as “worked.” In addition, the moment Unum asked the insured to repay the $270,000, it committed fraud by demanding the payment of money under false pretenses.
These are the kinds of strategies the public has the right to know – and insurers who commit such acts deserve to be held publicly accountable. If insurance products were treated the same as any other retail transaction subject to consumer protection, fines etc. Unum and other like companies would be put out of business. But, because major US insurers are protected by state regulators and law enforcement (as Unum is in Maine), there never are any consequences to attempts to cheat someone out of $270,000.
So………..why is Unum mentioned so often on Lindanee’s Blog? Unum Group targets claims for the purpose of denying payable legitimate benefits. The company’s strategy is to “stack the deck” against insureds with internal medical reviews, ignoring any and all information provided by the insured’s own qualified physicians. Unum employs a large amount of attorneys (Pierce Atwood in Maine) which defend Unum’s right to not pay legitimate claims.
Therefore while Unum has all the support it needs from local regulators to do harm with no accountability, I happen to think the company fully deserves the public mentions it receives from Lindanee’s Blog. The public has the right to know and obtain accurate information about insurance companies who sell insurance products. This includes how companies conducted their business in the past and present, and what the likelihood of having a claim paid in the future would be if an unforseen disability occurred.
Insureds and potential buyers of Unum polices have a right to know the integrity of the company (or lack of it) before purchasing a disability policy.
There is absolutely no malice on my part intended, but if Unum continues to conduct its IMEs in closets, transports insureds in smelly yellow cabs, and continues to “stack the deck” against its own insureds and claimants, well….seems to me the company deserves a few public mentions.