Reliance Standard denies Diversified’s Director of National Account Sales long-term disability benefits despite long history or cardiac problems

Arthur “Skip” Cross was the Director of Diversified’s National Account Sales. Because of an aortic valve abnormality and problems stemming from that abnormality, Mr. Cross’s doctor indicated on April 3, 2002, that Mr. Cross was never expected to return to full- or part-time work. His cardiologist, in a letter to Reliance dated June 23, 2004, stated that Mr. Cross was permanently disabled.

Reliance then had its own cardiologist review Mr. Cross’s medical records. This cardiologist concluded that there had been no change in Mr. Cross’s cardiac condition that would have caused him to be disabled in June 2004, and denied Mr. Cross’s claim on September 24, 2004.

Mr. Cross appealed this decision, but Reliance made a final decision that he was not entitled to long-term disability benefits. This decision was based on a number of factors. One, Reliance concluded that the significant job stress caused by Mr. Cross’s boss did not cause him to be unable to physically perform his job, even if it did cause high stress. Two, Mr. Cross went nearly six months between visits with his cardiologist. Three, Mr. Cross was continuing to look for gainful employment during his period of total disability, and sent his last resume on June 22, 2004, the day before his cardiologist declared him totally disabled.

The court held that Reliance’s decision was not arbitrary and capricious, and had reasonably relied on the information available to it in Mr. Cross’s administrative record. Moreover, the facts in the record did not support Mr. Cross’s argument that Reliance was acting under a conflict of interest when coming to its decision to deny Mr. Cross long-term disability benefits.

See Cross v. Reliance Std. Life Ins. Co., No. 07-30473, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 294 (5th Cir. January 8, 2008).

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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.

Chad B. (Illinois)

I originally spoke with 3 other long term disability lawyers about my case before contacting Dell and Schaefer. None of those law firms would take it. They said the chances of me winning was not good. After finding Dell and Schaefer online I spoke with one of the attorneys that has since left. He did take my case but later it was picked up by Rachel Alters. Rachel is amazing and a very intelligent attorney. She not only won my case but also was able to get my back pay for 6 months.

I also cannot say enough about Sonia Nogueira. Sonia was always quick to answer any of my questions. I would usually hear back from her within hours of sending her a email. I do not know where I would be if I hadn’t contacted them. My family and I cannot thank them enough. Don’t let an insurance company tell you they are not responsible for paying you. I paid them for 20 years monthly and they looked for any reason they could not to have to pay me when I needed my benefit. Thank you Rachel and Sonia for all you guys do.

Paul L. (New York)

Words can only scratch the surface regarding my experience working with Attorneys Dell & Schaefer. It’s a very emotional experience making the decision to utilize disability insurance. The unknowns were/are scary. From the very first phone call, the support staff was/are very professional and reassuring. I have been working with Attorney Steven Dell for approximately 10 years. He is confident, reassuring, listens to and addresses all my concern, and is extremely dilligent in understanding my specific policies for how they impact me. It is very reassuring that Steven handles and deals with the insurance company on my behalf. Attorney Dell’s team, and specifically Merlin, Attorney Dell’s assistant, is simply fantastic. Her professionalism and attention to detail have made all my communications with the office seamless.

Simply put, my experience with Dell & Schaefer made the emotional rollercoaster experience of my neck surgery seem like a walk in the park.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, to both Attorney Steven Dell and to Merlin for how you have helped me over these past 10 years.

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With 10 years experience with working with Dell & Schaefer, taking that step to call Attorneys Dell & Schaefer was one of the best professional and personal decisions I have ever made.

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