Dow Chemical Employees May Always Get A Fair Review of Disability Denial

In countless articles that our law firm has published we have talked about how unfair discretionary clauses are for short and term and long term disability claimants. In the state of Michigan it is crystal clear that any policy issued after July 1, 2007 cannot contain a discretionary clause. This means that a claimant who needs to file a lawsuit will be entitled to have a judge review their claim without any deference to the insurance company. There are approximately 20 states that have passed similar laws.

Insurance companies have been arguing that any amendments to disability policies after July 2007 should not count as newly issued policies as they are simply changes in policy language. Fortunately the Michigan courts have not bought this argument and in a recent case against National Union and Fire Insurance Company a Michigan federal Judge confirmed that any revision to a disability policy after July 2007 requires a court to conduct a de novo review of a claims denial.

In the case against National Union and Fire an employee attempted to collect benefits under the Voluntary Group Accident Insurance Policy offered by Dow Chemical. The insurance company argued that the court could not conduct a de novo review of the claim denial. The court stated:

The Dow Chemical Company’s Voluntary Group Insurance Policy and Summary Plan Description (“the Plan”) is an ERISA-governed Plan. The Plan language states that it was “Amended and Restated: October 19, 2009 – Effective January 1, 2010 and thereafter until superseded.” ECF No. 10, Ex. 1. The Plan was amended after July 1, 2007, and is therefore governed by Rule 500.2202. The fact that the discretionary language included in the Plan has been in place since 1999 is, of course, of no consequence. Because the Court finds that the policy was revised after July 1, 2007, a de novo standard of review applies.

This case is one step closer to a victory for this claimant. The insurance company fought hard against a de novo review as they did not want the claimant to be on a level playing field. The judge will now be able to make a fair and reasonable decision. The question remains as to whether this de novo review applies to Michigan residents only or to Dow Chemical employees nationwide.

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Questions About Hiring Us

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.

Dell & Schaefer Client Reviews   *****

Emily H. (Massachusetts)

Rachel and team were professional, knowledgeable and competent in helping me with my disability insurance claim denial. I would not have been able to do this work myself successfully.  I had an illness best known as Chronic Lyme (I have more issues than that but that’s what I understood my diagnosis to be at the time of claim denial). This is a complex illness that is plagued with faulty testing, delayed diagnosis, inconsistent prognosis/ treatment outcomes, and vague (deniable) symptoms.

Advances in the disease’s treatment have stalled for decades due to financial & reputational conflicts of interest that exist across the healthcare/ insurance / government industries. It is a major thing to go against, and a very complex & constantly evolving issue, and Rachel was very familiar with all the chronic Lyme ‘inside baseball.’ Not many people want to get involved with anything Chronic Lyme-related if they have a choice. Finding an attorney that has expertise in this area is a rare find, and I can attest to the fact that Rachel meets this hard-to-find criteria and delivered results well beyond what I could have achieved without her.

***** 5 stars based on 202 reviews

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