Illinois Insurance Law Gives Claimant A Fighting Chance Against Disability Insurance Company

An Illinois district court refused to let Hartford, a disability insurance company, evade an Illinois law, which was enacted to protect consumers. The law was passed to basically “level the playing field” for insurance companies and the consumers that rarely have a fighting chance against these corporate giants.

Disability insurance policies often contain a contractual term called a discretionary clause that grants the insurance company the authority to decide if, when, and what benefits are to be paid under the insurance policy. These terms can be very harmful to a claimant whose policy is governed by ERISA. Such a clause limits the way a court can review a claim denial and makes it very difficult for a claimant to receive a fair review once denied.

That’s why a number of states – including Illinois – have passed laws that prohibit disability insurance companies from selling disability insurance policies that contain such clauses. Hartford recently tried to dodge the law in Illinois after being sued by a claimant whose Long-Term Disability benefits it had terminated. The Illinois court refused to allow Hartford get away with it.

Cindy worked at Children’s Memorial Hospital and was a participant in her employer’s Long-Term Disability Benefits Plan which was administered by Hartford. When she became disabled and had to stop working she applied for disability benefits. After exhausting her short-term disability benefits she applied and was approved for Long-Term Disability benefits.

Unfortunately, after paying Cindy Long-Term Disability payments for more than 2 years, Hartford decided Cindy was no longer disabled and terminated her claim. After exhausting her administrative appeals, Cindy and her disability lawyer filed suit.

A battle ensued over how much evidence Cindy would be allowed to show the judge to prove Hartford unreasonably denied her claim. The Illinois law banning discretionary clauses was intended to allow claimants, such as Cindy, to introduce evidence to support their claims. In spite of this, Hartford fought to convince the judge that the law didn’t apply to its disability policy.

The court rejected Hartford’s arguments and refused to allow it to circumvent the Illinois law.

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FAQ

Do you help Hartford claimants nationwide?

We represent Hartford clients nationwide and we encourage you to contact us for a FREE immediate phone consultation with one of our experienced disability insurance attorneys.

Can you help with a Hartford disability insurance policy?

Our disability insurance lawyers help policy holders seeking short or long term disability insurance benefits from Hartford. We have helped thousands of disability insurance claimants nationwide with monthly disability benefits. With more than 40 years of disability insurance experience we have helped individuals in almost every occupation and we are familiar with the disability income policies offered by Hartford.

How do you help Hartford claimants?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a Hartford long term disability insurance policy from an insurance company or obtained short or long term disability insurance coverage as a benefit from their employer.

Our experienced lawyers can assist with Hartford:

  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Appeals of Disability Benefit Denials
  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Disability Benefit Lawsuits
  • Applying For Short or Long Term Disability Benefits
  • Daily Handling & Management of Your Disability Claim
  • Disability Insurance Lump-Sum Buyout or Settlement Negotiations

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, GoToMeeting.com 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.

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Gail T.

I contacted Dell & Schaefer after my insurance provider stated that they were coming to visit me at my home to see how I was doing. I was so worried about what this meant after being on claim with them for three years. I always felt like I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop with them after going through a very stressful claim application process. Gregory Dell promptly jumped in and got to work at creating a solution to streamline and ensure my claim was not in jeopardy.

The staff has worked with me every step of the way to make sure that the process of receiving my benefits is a positive one for me. I no longer dread dealing with my insurance claim representative as they handle everything for me. They clarified that I could also apply for SSDI and with their help I started receiving SSDI benefits within months. This firm has been a great advocate for me and I highly recommend them.

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