You should ensure your long term disability claim is ship-shape prior to filing it amidst this perfect Coronavirus storm. Long term disability insurance companies like Unum Group, Prudential Financial, The Hartford and Lincoln Financial have witnessed historic stock drops of 50% or more within the past 60 days. Since February 3, 2020, Prudential Financial’s stock has dropped from $91.50 to $46.87, Unum Group’s stock dropped from $27.03 to $13.098, the Hartford’s stock fell from $60.14 to $33.53, and Lincoln Financial’s dropped from $54.42 to $23.85.
Insurance companies make their money by collecting premiums and investing those premium dollars in the market. In a normal economy, those invested premium dollars far exceed the losses created by claims made by insureds. As a result, insurance companies are profitable. Now that the market has sunk so dramatically, long term disability insurance companies will return to their tried and true practices to right their sinking financial ships during this perfect storm. They will delay new claims, deny new claims and find ways to extinguish existing claims. We have witnessed this practice during every economic downturn over the past quarter-century.
At the same time as their precipitous stock price drop, industry sources reveal those very same insurance companies are experiencing a historic flood of new claims, as more people fall ill to the COVID-19 and its ancillary effects.
If you are filing a long term disability claim with a policy you obtained through your employment, the following steps will help you avoid the delay and deny tactics that will be employed by the insurance companies against you:
- Make sure that you can prove that you were still an active employee, eligible to participate in your employer’s long term disability plan at the time your disability commenced;
- Ensure that your physician or other medical professional is willing to support your claim;
- Ensure that your doctor supporting your claim completes the attending physician statement accurately and completely;
- Chances are your employer will have to complete a claim form. Obtain the name and contact information of the human resources person responsible for completing this form if your office is shut down;
- Begin the process of obtaining all of your own medical records as soon as you can. An inability to obtain medical records is a common delay tactic that insurance companies use to avoid promptly paying a claim;
- Keep copies of and document the dates of all correspondence and claim forms sent to the insurance company; and
- Follow-up. Follow-up immediately. If the insurance company states that they are unable to make a decision due to the lack of medical records, follow up with the institution responsible for those records and ensure they are promptly provided to the insurance company.
If the insurance company advises that it is delaying the decision on your claim because they have not received an “Employer’s Statement,” follow up with that human resources person and ensure he or she provides it to the insurance company without delay.
There are other steps you can take to ensure that your valid long term disability claim is not delayed, denied or terminated during this unprecedented time. If you have questions, the experienced attorneys of Schwartz, Conroy & Hack, P.C. are here to assist you in all aspects of your long term disability claim. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Evan S. Schwartz
Founder of Schwartz, Conroy & Hack