A Letter to Cigna CEO Following Denial of Disability Benefits to a Wheel Chair Bound Woman

It is not often that we send a letter to the President / CEO of a disability insurance company, but the conduct of Life Insurance Company of North America / CIGNA by denying disability insurance benefits to our client required us to do so. We hope Cigna will respond, but despite a $77 million dollar regulatory Settlement in May 2013, Cigna continues to engage in their same unreasonable claim denials.

Below is a November 15, 2013 letter written by Gregory Dell to David Cordani, Cigna insurance company’s Chief Executive Officer and President:

Cigna Corporate Headquarters
Attention: David Cordani (CEO)
900 Cottage Grove Road
Bloomfield, CT 06002

RE: Life Insurance Company of North America (Cigna) Long Term Disability Denial

Dear Mr. Cordani

I have reason to believe that you are the CEO of Cigna. I know you are a very busy person and probably have no interaction with your long term disability claims division. The LTD division at CIGNA is in desperate need of your guidance. Despite recent penalties and fines from the Department of Insurance in multiple states, your company continues to operate in an unreasonable manner. I have attached for your review a recent long term disability appeal that we submitted on behalf of our client so that you can have first-hand knowledge of the conduct your company engages in. Our client is a 5’4 270 pound 58 year old woman that is wheelchair bound and has been taking morphine and oxycontin since her date of disability in June 2009. Five employees at Cigna reviewed her file and determined that after 4.5 years of disability she now has the ability to work in a sales position earning over $70,000 annually. It defies common sense that five employees of your company could truly believe that a person in a wheel chair taking numerous narcotics actually has the ability to work. Would you possibly employ someone while they were prescribed and taking narcotics such as morphine and Oxycontin? Obviously you would not. I advise you of this particular claim so that it does not come as a surprise to you when it is a national news story. I also hope that you can do something to better train your employees so that unreasonable claim denials such as this case do not take place. I am assuming you are aware of the troubles your disability insurance division is having following the $77 million 2013 Regulatory Settlement Agreement that was entered into with the State Departments of Insurance for California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Please contact the undersigned to discuss the hideous conduct and outrageous denial of benefits that took place on this disability claim.

Yours truly,

Gregory M. Dell

Comments (11)

  • Robert, yes. I can help with your appeal. Please e-mail me at Rachel@diattorney.com and attach your denial letter with a number I can call you on.

    Rachel Alters Oct 18, 2020  #11

  • I have spinal stenosis and spinal myelopathy, I have had cervical fusion C4-C7 and lumbar fusion L3-L4. I have since experienced SI pain and am unable to sit or stand for more than 10 minutes maximum.

    Cigna’s medical review board denied my long term disability, suggesting I can work by alternating between standing and sitting. I had a Kangaroo Desk Top that I used for a few months. Once the Sacroiliac pain started, in Novemberof 2019, I am now only comfortable in a recliner. I sleep in my recliner, because I have pain lying in a bed. I sit, and eat in my recliner, as that fully reclined position is almost a zero gravity feel and relieves the spinal and Pelvic pain from the Sacroiliac. I have not worked since November of 2019 and was subsequently terminated from my position because I was absent due to my back, but it was unauthorized as I was appealing my Long Term denial. Can you help?

    Robert B. Oct 18, 2020  #10

  • I was also denied claim in the same month I had neck surgery. They were forcing me to try and get on social security benefits. This was to see if I would be accepted knowing I would be returning to work next month. This was told to me by an employee of Cigna. They were trying not to pay me after I had been paying in for the insurance through work. This company is ridiculous. Why do we have to fight for what is rightfully ours?

    Bill Jul 5, 2020  #9

  • Please keep up the fight for justice with these large unethical insurance companies. I know there is a great deal of fraud from individuals but these insurance companies don’t use any common sense to try and separate fraud from valid claims. They want to deny everything they can regardless of the merit of the claim. Congress has even given insurance companies ammunity from prosecution no matter how decietfully they behave under ERISA. If I could get “METLIE” in front of a jury I would be set for life. Instead I am left to wonder if I will get my benefits or when they will arbitrarily stop paying for some made up reason as they have twice. All the money I pay to fight them is just lost because all a judge will do is make them pay what they should have in the first place. Something must change. Please keep fighting for those that cannot. You David and Goliath into Good Goliath vs Bad Goliath. Thank you.

    Scott - Georgia Nov 20, 2013  #8

  • David,

    Rest assured that we will continue to fight. Thank you for your kind words.

    Gregory Dell Nov 20, 2013  #7

  • Billy,

    I am sorry to hear of your battle. It would seem that any applicable statute of limitations would have expired if the denial was in 2002 or 2004.

    Stephen Jessup Nov 20, 2013  #6

  • Could you guys write Snoopy at MetLife for me before the electric company turns my lights off again?

    Michael Nov 19, 2013  #5

  • Dear Mr. Dell,

    Great letter to CIGNA CEO!

    In the fiercely contentious process of securing and preserving LTD insurance benefits, your honorable reputation, powerful voice, and successful performance history on the side of the disabled is a comfort to me, my family, and, I’m sure, to all clients to whom your firm represents.

    I certainly hope the case against CIGNA is awarded in favor of your wheelchair-bound client and that, in the end, the disabled individual is made to feel as protected, relieved, and secure as you have done for me.

    Thank you,

    K.P., DDS (San Francisco)

    K.P., DDS (San Francisco) Nov 19, 2013  #4

  • I also was denied by a large disability Insurance Company in 2002. I suffered a major heart attack and underwent a heart catheter procedure which opened the affected arteries. I went back to work as a lineman for a large national Telephone company for 2 more years until I developed massive blockage of the main arteries of both legs . As a result of the blockage of my legs and ongoing heart complications I was forced to seek disability status with my employer. I applied for and received (without going before an Administrative Law Judge) Disabled Social Security Benefits . I applied for LTD disability through the insurance carrier that I had paid for 15 years . This carrier was presented to me as a reputable and honest company by our Human Resources Department. Even though I was awarded Total and Permanent disability with Social Security, I was told by the Insurance Company Representative that, according to their definition of disability, I wasn’t disabled at all and with that, they denied my claim. I inquired about appealing their decision but they said I couldn’t appeal. I tried, at the time, to find an attorney who would represent me with my claim but none would take on this Insurance Giant. If I were awarded today for backpay, it would be a very large sum. This company has yet to be exposed as the thieves they are.

    Billy D. Smith Nov 19, 2013  #3

  • The power that insurance companies have and the deplorable way they wield it is a sad state of affairs. And the doctors that accept money to support these ridiculous decisions should not have licenses!

    I too have been the victim of an insurance company regarding a disability claim. It didn’t matter that I was truly ill and deserved the benefits. The insurance company’s ability to get away with it is what ruled in the end. Had I not accepted the settlement and gone back on claim, I would have ended up fighting them again and again…..a no-win situation.

    Insurance companies should not be allowed to ruin peoples’ lives because the bottom line has become more important than honesty. Outrageous denials in the name of “good business” force eventual government involvement to regulate the decision making process. I realize that insurance companies are trying to prevent claimants that aren’t really disabled from receiving benefits………those people that have ruined it for the rest of us. But to carry it to this extreme is unconscionable. I really don’t know how the people that make these decisions can sleep at night.

    Everyone complains if the government gets too involved in business, but if they don’t, look at what businesses do! This is what destroys the idea of free enterprise.

    The doctors involved in these cases should also be ashamed. I have notes in my personal file that demonstrate a doctor trying to twist the medical records so he could help the insurance company avoid even paying me a settlement! And the doctor that did the independent medical exam is equally to blame. He saw me for 15 minutes and decided in favor of the insurance company. He got paid….that’s all that mattered!! What a sad state of affairs!!!!

    I try never to wish ill on anyone but the people doing this need to experience the same injustice in their financial lives, and do it while their physically not at their best, so they know first hand what it’s like. I bet they would shout much louder than I have!!!!

    Ally Nov 19, 2013  #2

  • Bravo, Mr. Gregory Dell. Keep up the great work, fighting for the rights of the disabled. Your firm did a great job for me as well, helping me to prepare my own long-term disability claim. So far, there have been no problems at all with receiving my payments, and I remain grateful for the excellent advice of Mr. Steven Dell.

    David L. Keller Nov 19, 2013  #1

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