CIGNA / LINA fined $600,000 and required to reconsider prior disability denials

Recently, the California Department of Insurance settled with LINA, a daughter company of CIGNA – to the tune of $600,000. What was this penalty for? According to California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, LINA was apparently ignoring certain claims that might have been valid disability claims.

Between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2007 – LINA improperly handled insurance claims.  It seems that not only did LINA deny many cases before ever receiving the medical proof those clients were entitled to their insurance payouts – but LINA ignored important information that may have reversed the denied claim on a number of accounts.

This means that individuals who had been paying their insurance premiums incase they were ever labeled ‘disabled’ and were unable to work and care for their families were now left with nothing to turn to.  Even if their claims were 100% valid and legitimate, LINA may have simply turned a blind eye to their case.  For this, LINA has paid the penalty and has agreed to reopen each of the cases reviewed between January 2005 and December 2007 to determine whether any of those cases should have been approved when they were denied.

LINA has a completely new set of standards they must use when reviewing these cases, however, policyholders have a right to be more than a little worried or upset. Because contracts are complicated, policyholders need to have the proper representation to help them receive the benefits they deserve. Often times, because contracts are so complicated, insurance companies have a multitude of chances to slow down the process or pause it completely.

Individuals who were denied by LINA or CIGNA between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2007 (must have letter of denial with LINA or CIGNA logo on top) should seriously consider hiring an attorney to ensure that their best interests are being taken into account. Normal individuals are not trained in contracts and law, so most people will have a difficult time understanding the many facets and confusing twists of a contract.  An attorney puts normal individuals on the same level with insurance companies who have studied contracts and laws  so that a fair decision can be made.

According to long-term disability attorney Gregory Dell, “Disability Income policies are drafted with ambiguous and confusing contractual terms. This provides insurance companies with multiple reasons for delaying and denying disability income benefits.” This means that while normal people may have a difficult time understanding contracts, attorneys can easily explain the intricacies and help their clients and keep insurance companies on track to a payment of benefits.

By hiring an attorney, individuals can ensure that their best interests are being taken care of.  The policyholders who are clients of CIGNA/LINA and will be facing reassessment should consider legal representation in order to ensure that they receive what is rightfully theirs. This could result in some clients being paid the benefits that they were originally denied, and in some cases, with interest.  Using the new standards, LINA must evaluate each and every case that was denied between those two years, and the individuals who have an attorney are more likely to prevail.

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Do you work in my state?

Yes. We are a national disability insurance law firm that is available to represent you regardless of where you live in the United States. We have partner lawyers in every state and we have filed lawsuits in most federal courts nationwide. Our disability lawyers represent disability claimants at all stages of a claim for disability insurance benefits. There is nothing that our lawyers have not seen in the disability insurance world.

What are your fees?

Since we represent disability insurance claimants at different stages of a disability insurance claim we offer a variety of different fee options. We understand that claimants living on disability insurance benefits have a limited source of income; therefore we always try to work with the claimant to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible.

The three available fee options are a contingency fee agreement (no attorney fee or cost unless we make a recovery), hourly fee or fixed flat rate.

In every case we provide each client with a written fee agreement detailing the terms and conditions. We always offer a free initial phone consultation and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining payment of your disability insurance benefits.

Do I have to come to your office to work with your law firm?

No. For purposes of efficiency and to reduce expenses for our clients we have found that 99% of our clients prefer to communicate via telephone, e-mail, fax, sessions, or Skype. If you prefer an initial in-person meeting please let us know. A disability company will never require you to come to their office and similarly we are set up so that we handle your entire claim without the need for you to come to our office.

How can I contact you?

When you call us during normal business hours you will immediately speak with a disability attorney. We can be reached at 800-682-8331 or by email. Lawyer and staff must return all client calls same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.


Bruce R. (Arizona)

Steve Dell has done an exceptional job with my disability application process. The firm is extremely well managed. They have acquired an incredible amount of experience over many years. I recommend them for disability insurance claims without reservation. 

Don (Florida)

I called this firm a few months ago completely disparaged due to a company cutting off disability benefits at a time that nearly caused me to lose everything.

Attorney Alex Palmera and Danielle worked hard to reach an amicable settlement and my case was settled a few months later. This is a good firm and the specific expertise in disability claims saved me countless hours of hassle at a time when an already fragile state existed.

Thank you Mr. Palamara and Danielle.

Sandra B. (Arkansas)

I have nothing but good things to say about how my buyout was handled with my disability claim. The level of professionalism was amazing. All of my questions and concerns were answered either by Danielle L. or Alex P. in such a timely manner and with such care I would recommend them in a heartbeat to anyone needing to approach their provider with buyout options.

They did a fantastic job communicating between the provider and me, always keeping my best interest at heart and always answering my many many questions. They really did take most of the stress out of this whole situation. I would give them a 10 out of 10 for every step of this crazy journey. Thank you so much for helping me through this.

Brenda R. (New York)

I needed assistance with an appeal for a LTD claim that was initially denied. Stephen understood what needed to happen to win the appeal and he did win the appeal for me.

Michael C. (Virginia)

Greg Dell and his assistant Anneli have been extremely responsive and helpful, not only our initial consultations, but in follow-ups 1 and 2 years later with the insurance company to ensure that they comply with their agreements (which they did), as well as a separate and only slightly-related inquiry about our health insurance. I always hear back from them very quickly, which is rare and greatly appreciated.

Jeff P. (Oklahoma)

After a very long and frustrating ordeal to keep my LTD payments coming I decided to seek assistance from and attorney. After much research and asking those in the legal profession Dell & Schaefer seemed to be the top choice. I reached out and Alex Palamara was the attorney assigned to my case. All I can say is the experience was outstanding. Both Alex and his Paralegal, Danielle Lauria were excellent to work with. They were very kind, concerned, understanding of my frustrations and treated me with the utmost respect. Communication was excellent with regular updates and telling me what I could expect in each stage of the process.

Alex was also very straight forward with what to expect and no pie in the sky promises or expectations were made. In the end we won our case and I believe it was solely due to their experience and knowledge of not only the laws but the insurance companies as a whole. I would highly recommend them and am very grateful for the help they afforded to me.

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