If you’ve recently received a disability insurance denial letter from Principal Disability or are worried that your claim for long term disability benefits is about to be denied, you may be wondering about your next steps. Here at Dell & Schaefer, we’ve helped thousands of disability claimants overcome an initial denial to eventually secure the long term disability insurance benefits they deserve. Learn more about some of the options available if your Principal long term disability insurance claim has been denied.
The options for a long term disability denial will vary based upon whether you have an ERISA employer-provided policy or an individual disability policy purchased from an insurance agent.
Not all long term disability policies are the same – the differences between a group or ERISA policy (purchased through an employer) and an individual policy (purchased through an agent) can be significant, and the classification of your policy will dictate how your claim proceeds.
If you receive a denial letter for an ERISA claim, you’re required to go through a mandatory administrative appeal. Essentially, you’ll outline all the ways in which you disagree with the denial, attach supplemental evidence, and then return the claim to Principal for further review. Individual policies, on the other hand, don’t have any appeal requirement – instead, once the claim is denied, you’re free to file a lawsuit in court.
Principal does more detailed reviews than most disability companies so the ability to reverse a disability benefit denial is often more challenging.
Although Principal is a large insurance company, it’s not one of the largest—and this size permits Principal to conduct a thorough review without taking too much of a rubber-stamp approach. Principal tends to really take its time when reviewing a claim, which means it’s even more important to mount a strong case on appeal.
Why is 180 days often needed to submit a strong appeal?
Claimants need to gather quite a few documents to create a strong claim. The claim packet begins with the denial letter, which explains why the claim is being denied. Claimants also will need to attach a copy of their disability policy, which shows the terms and conditions Principal is required to abide by when reviewing a claim. Finally, claimants will need comprehensive medical records and an attending physician statement that explains the claimant’s symptoms and limitations.
Trying to rush a claim to get it to Principal before the 180-day deadline can increase your odds of being denied. And for ERISA claimants, the high threshold you’ll need to meet in court means you essentially just have one bite at the apple – a halfhearted appeal won’t preserve the issues you need to raise to prevail in court.
With a private disability denial, it usually is a good idea to submit a strategic appeal prior to filing a lawsuit.
Although private disability claimants aren’t required to file an appeal with the disability insurance company before filing a civil lawsuit, an administrative appeal can often be a strategic way to boost your chances of a good outcome. Not only does this appeal give you more time to get your ducks in a row if the case winds up in court, but it can also encourage Principal to settle to avoid an expensive and time-consuming courtroom showdown.
99 percent of litigated Principal disability denial lawsuits end with a lump-sum settlement.
As we mentioned, very few Principal disability insurance claims wind up in a courtroom. In the vast majority of litigated cases, Principal eventually offers the claimant a lump-sum buyout in settlement of the disability insurance claim. However, the amount offered in settlement can vary dramatically, and it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney before accepting or rejecting such an offer.
At Dell & Schaefer, we have extensive experience in handling disability insurance claims with more than 30 different disability insurance carriers, including Principal. Don’t go into this process alone – let one of our experienced attorneys help you navigate this sometimes convoluted process. Just give us a call today to schedule your FREE consultation with a member of our team.