Archive for the ‘Privacy Issues’ Category

ScaryI think it is exactly the appropriate time of year to talk about Unum’s “scary, spooky and shady” claims practices that are heralding 4th quarter profitability and causing insureds a great deal of grief.

Unum’s investigations appear to be over the top scary to say the least. I received a call this week from a Unum insured who suffered a brain injury as a result of an accident. He has been on claim for the past 12 years and hasn’t had any problems with Unum until recently.

According to this insured’s report Unum’s investigators were observed following his wife, which of course, scared her enough to return home in tears. In addition, he noticed his neighbors stopped talking to him about the same time he noticed surveillance equipment facing his house but attached to his neighbor’s roof. “Can Unum actually conduct surveillance from my neighbor’s house and property?”, he asked me. “Of course they can”, I replied, as long as they have your neighbor’s permission. Seems to me though a warrant might have been needed in this instance.

Approaching his neighbor for clarification, the insured found it impossible to have a conversation since she responded, “I don’t have to talk with you about this.” I’ve heard that G4S and HUB investigators were conducting “activities checks”, talking with neighbors, but I had no idea it was this bad, or underhanded.

Maybe some of the attorneys who read this blog might chime in, but disclosing any information to neighbors, in my opinion, would be way outside of Unum’s privacy policy. And, disturbing the neighborhood peace is just plain nasty and mean. There’s no proof the insured IS NOT disabled and therefore anything said to neighbors is conjecture and hearsay.

Likewise, Unum’s claims handlers are running amuck deliberately misrepresenting policy provisions.  Claims handlers are obviously led by the nose by managers looking to roll in excessive profits and gain brownie points with the VPs. What little claims handlers know about policy adjudication these days convinces me they wouldn’t know WHAT provisions to misinterpret successfully. There are ghosts behind the madness.

Attorneys aren’t particularly helpful either when they advise insureds to “go with the flow otherwise Unum will deny your claim.” An attorney I’ve had some encounters with in the past, who usually restricts her business to wealthy insureds, won’t defend her client entirely unless he can come up with $10,000 retainer. My guess is this attorney and others like her will gradually take all of the insured’s money he has until the claim is denied. If he can’t pay her the $10,000 she’s asking for she will likely refuse the appeal and future litigation  Very questionable ethics if you ask me. Attorneys are often the problem, not the solution.

In any event, insureds can always depend on Unum for the “trick” and not the “treat”,  a fact that Unum insureds would do well to remember. A horrible way to do business that no one seems to want to do anything about.






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Privacy PolicyHas anyone read Unum’s “Our Commitment to Privacy” form included with Authorizations lately? Although Unum begins by saying, “We understand your privacy is important”, the remainder of the form discloses exactly where your “nonpublic personal information” (NPI) goes and who has access to it.

NPI includes information such as your telephone number, address date of birth, occupation, income and health history. Unum obtains this information from your applications for benefits, forms, medical providers, other insurers employers, insurance support organizations [private investigation, GENEX, auditors etc.]

Unum tells you on this form that it is permitted by law to share your NPI with other insurance support organizations, group policyholders, parties to a proposed or final sale of insurance business [reinsurance], or for study purposes.

What is somewhat worrisome is that Unum also informs, “Our practices apply to our former, current and future customers.” Former customers?

Further on Unum’s form also states, “We may also share with companies that help us market our insurance products and services, such as vendors that provide mailing services to us. We may share with other financial institutions to jointly market financial products and services.” 

Those who have expressed concern over Unum’s overly broad Authorization should consider the fact that Unum is already releasing and sharing NPI information in an exponential way. Once the information is released, it can then be released, and released, and released. Before you know it, you’ve actually lost control over your personal information, and like feathers in a pillow it will be impossible to re-gain control over who has the information and who does not.

Release of information also includes the MIB Group, Inc., a member-owned corporation that operates on a non-profit basis in the United States and Canada. Members of MIB (insurance companies) provide MIB with underwriting information to determine “errors, omissions, or misrepresentations made on insurance applications.” MIB alerts insurers when those applying for insurance aren’t truthful, or omit information during the underwriting phase of the policy.

As a nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, MIB must disclose to you any information it has on record. You may request this report free of charge online. Information relative to group insurance is limited, but I strongly suggest that DI insureds obtain copies of the MIB reports.

I think it is extremely important for insureds to read information Unum provides and have a clear understanding that once a disability claim is filed there is no expectation of privacy.


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