Recently DCS, Inc. came under fire by those seeking total information disclosure to aid those self-advocating their disability claims. After taking a few weeks to “think through” an appropriate response I came up with the idea of discussing the history of informational based websites relating to disability claims and why Lindanee’s Blog exists at all. It’s an interesting history and I thought it might help put the Blog and its relationship to DCS, Inc. into perspective.
First of all, Lindanee’s Blog is an extension (and always has been) of Disability Claims Solutions, Inc. located at http://www.disabilityclaimssolutions.com – a fee-based consulting Maine corporation. I am retained by clients seeking expert assistance with their private disability claims for a fixed fee and have been successfully practicing as a consultant for over 10 years.
Approximately one-third of the management expertise I have about claims management is ever published on Lindanee’s Blog. DCS, Inc. has never, in any of its articles, publications, blog postings, website or any other means of communication recommended “self-advocacy.”
This is not do to some self-interest because I want people to hire me as their consultant, but because there is still enough mis-information, and lack of information out there to give self-adovcators just enough information about the claims process to do themselves in.
DCS, Inc. turns away approximately 50% of claimants and insureds who contact me when I determine they haven’t been harmed enough to solicit the assistance of a consultant. In addition, DCS, Inc. does not accept cases which are not legitimate, or where it is felt the insured is malingering and could return to work in some capacity.
The origins of DCS, Inc. are quite interesting beginning in 2002 with the enormity of no-information and misinformation available to insureds on the Internet. When I came on the scene at that time insureds were already staking their claims on the Judy Morris website, which was a rogue source of information run by a physician after Unum denied both of her disability claims. Perhaps some of my readers may recall Judy Morris and her fight against Unum.
Overcome with anger and a desire to “make Unum pay” Dr. Judy Morris allowed her website to become so insightful and vulgar that her arguments and assessments about UnumProvident, although accurate, were viewed as less than credible. Although Judy’s heart was in the right place, her judgment was often flawed especially when she took a rubber gun into a courtroom and threatened the process before a judge in Massachusetts. (Posner)
Due to Judy’s less than professional reputation, no attorney would take her case to litigate the denied claims, therefore Judy represented herself pro se against Unum. After years of harassment, conflict, and confrontation Judy eventually won her case against her enemy.
Unfortunately, Judy’s self-advocacy took its toll and after spending thousands of dollars she recovered from Unum, she took her own life. Judy Morris was a very heartfelt human being, but her hate of UnumProvident became an obsession causing her to perhaps think there was nothing more to live for after her case against Unum was won.
In the meantime, a very noble and generous man by the name of Jim Mooney began a newsletter which eventually reached insureds, and attorneys from coast to coast. Jim Mooney was one of the few individuals who reached out to me to assist him in providing insureds and claimants with accurate information rather than the word-of-mouth tidbits circulating in the industry.
For many years, Jim Mooney sent out his newsletter via a mass electronic distribution list and included a column written by me entitled “Inside UnumProvident.” In this column, I exposed Unum’s unfair claims practices and gave insureds and claimants accurate information concerning the claims process. Jim Mooney’s support of insureds such as Joan Hangartner, who was then litigating her famous bad faith case against Unum, won him nothing since after continuous promises of financial support for the newsletter, she deserted him and took a long trip to Italy.
My connections to Jim Mooney went on for many years, but failing to raise sufficient subscription fees to support himself, Jim eventually dropped the newsletter and moved west to begin a new career. Through Jim Mooney, however, I met John Metz (California) who was and still is a prestigious advocate for both disability and health insureds. John and I co-filed a qui tam case in the state of California attempting to change insurance statutes in that state allowing any private citizen to initiate lawsuits against insurance companies.
Although the lawsuit failed in the California Supreme Court John and I worked with the then insurance commissioner, John Garamendi, to bring about California’s own conduct market examination and settlement with Unum. As a result, Unum was fined $8 M as a result of documents and other information, provided to the state of California by John Metz and myself in addition to its own investigation.
In the meantime my relationship with Anderson, Kill and Olick, a prestigious law firm in New York, prompted a connection with Elliot Spitzer’s office who had then begun its own investigation of Unum leading to criminal charges. Eventually, the Sptizer investigators threw in the towel with the multi-state examiners and the U.S. Department of Labor to fine Unum an additional $15 M.
During the last 10 years, DCS, Inc. increasingly worked(s) to bring about social reforms to prevent insureds and claimants from being cheated by corporations who sell “better than sliced bread” insurance policies and then refuse to pay them. Many of the articles written on Lindanee’s Blog are intended to raise the level of awareness of the general public, hence readers may find posts relating to financial planning, and doing away with the entitlement mentality of the middle class.
Although there are those who inaccurately claim “by the time someone reads Lindanee’s Blog they are already in crisis” the middle class need not “remain in crisis” when a bit of planning for the future can prevent years of financial hardship. Not everyone tuning in to the Blog already has a disability claim.
Although not everyone is expected to agree with me, my opinions concerning social reform stem from a 10 year history of attempting to prevent insureds and claimants from unfair claims practices initiated by corporations run amuck by greed.
Inaccurate misinformation is still prevalent on the Internet and is communicated by word-of-mouth from one insured to the next. Perhaps the worst source of information is that obtained from insureds and claimants, who like Judy Morris, are so angry and obsessed with making “insurance companies pay” they will do anything in the way of complaint even though they themselves have not been harmed. It is partly for this reason DCS, Inc. and Lindanee’s Blog continues to provide information about the claims process, and will continue to provide information as long as misinformation about the process is still out there.
Finally, amidst interviews with journalists, bond investment agencies, SEC accountants, insurance scholars, DOIs, congressional senate committees etc. Lindanee’s Blog and DCS, Inc. remains a successful consulting business with high success rates. Those critics who suggest Linda Nee should “take a step back” from her own consulting firm, non-profit organization, and Blog should re-think those comments in light of the amount of involvement and experience accumulated over a decade.
Feedback I receive on a regular basis overwhelmingly supports my efforts to continue to provide accurate information about the claims process at least equal to that of the insurance companies who sell disability protection products. Further, I have never supported “romancing” insureds and claimants to gain their business. DCS, Inc. supports honesty and truthfulness regardless of whether it is insureds who are right, or insurers who are enforcing legitimate policy provisions.
It is for this reason thousands of insureds who contacted me over the years know when asked a question they get a straight answer. Linda Nee has been around long enough to be a relatively small spoke on the wheel of insurance company concern, and will likely be around for as long as disability claims are denied because of misinformation about the claims process. You can count on it!
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