The Standard Disability Insurance Company paid one doctor $577,000 to review 1,939 files over 2 years

In a recent long-term disability case against The Standard Insurance Company the court granted specific discovery request in order to further explore The Standard’s potential conflict of interest. The Standard objected to all questions that the claimant’s disability attorney had asked with regard to The Standard’s potential bias and conflict of interest. Prior to granting the disability claimant’s specific interrogatories sent to The Standard, the federal judge noted previous information which showed a bias in the working relationship between the Standard and the physicians that they hired to review long-term disability claims.

The judge specifically noted that previous discovery:

“revealed that Dr. Zivin reviewed 398 files for Standard from 2003 to 2005, and Standard paid him $ 115,228 during this period.” Discovery also disclosed that “Dr. Dickerman reviewed 1,939 files for Standard from 2003 to 2005, for which Standard paid him $ 577,000.”

Our law firm has reviewed numerous claims handled by The Standard in which both Dr. Zivin and Dr. Dickerman rendered opinions that the disability claimant was not disabled. It is not surprising to see how much The Standard was paying these doctors.

The court reviewed the interrogatories sent to The Standard and ordered The Standard to answer the following questions which relate directly to the conflict of interest issue:

  1. Did you impose management checks that penalize inaccurate decisionmaking, regardless of whom the inaccuracy benefits, which applied to Kathleen Hackett’s claim?
  2. Produce all documents which evidence whether you imposed management checks that penalize inaccurate decisionmaking, regardless of whom the inaccuracy benefits, which applied to Kathleen Hackett’s claim.
  3. Since 2000, have you penalized any employee for making an inaccurate decision that favors Standard?
  4. Produce all documents which evidence any penalty you have imposed since 2000 on any employee for making an inaccurate decision that favors Standard.
  5. Since 2000, have you penalized any employee for making an inaccurate decision that favors an insured?
  6. Produce all documents which evidence any penalty you have imposed since 2000 on any employee for making an inaccurate decision that favors an insured.
  7. From 2003 to 2005, how many times did Dr. Zivin provide an opinion supporting denial of disability benefits under the “any occupation” standard?
  8. From 2003 to 2005, how many times did Dr. Zivin provide an opinion supporting allowance of disability benefits under the “any occupation” standard?
  9. From 2003 to 2005, how many times did Dr. Dickerman provide an opinion supporting denial of disability benefits under the “any occupation” standard?
  10. From 2003 to 2005, how many times did Dr. Dickerman provide an opinion supporting allowance of disability benefits under the “any occupation” standard?

The court limited the scope of the time period for the answers to between 2000 and 2006. It will be interesting to see how The Standard answers these questions. It is great to see that a federal judge is holding The Standard’s feet to the fire and exposing their potentially unreasonable claims handling tactics.

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Our disability insurance lawyers help policy holders seeking short or long term disability insurance benefits from Standard. 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 Standard.

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

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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.

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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.

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Michael F.

Having had several lung surgeries including a wedge resection, lobe removal and pleurodesis as well as MAC lung disease, I was diagnosed with stage vi (end stage) COPD in October 2012. With my lung function at 23% it was becoming very difficult to manage my daily life let alone continue working in my management role at a large healthcare company. After meeting with my primary physician and my pulmonologist, it was agreed that I should stop working and submit a claim for disability. I was 52 at the time. My short term disability plan with Mutual of Omaha paid my claim for 3 months at which time it was converted to my long term disability plan with no issues. I continued to collect my LTD benefit from February 2013 until November 20th 2014 when I received a letter saying I could return to my previous position and there was nothing in my medical records to indicate disability. I was shocked to say the least, as my condition is chronic and progressive and in fact my condition had continued to decline. I didn’t know what to do and knew I did not have the knowledge or experience to appeal their decision. I was very afraid as we depended on this income to pay our bills, that’s why I held the policy for many years, to protect my family. I want to add that I applied for and was approved for Social Security disability benefits shortly after diagnosis.

I immediately started to search for attorneys that handle disability claims and found literally hundreds that handled SSDI claims, but few that handled employer/private policies. I found Dell & Schaefer and filled out their quick online form and almost immediately received a reply from Gregory Dell (yes, an actual person responded!) who let me know that he asked Rachel Alters to call me. I don’t think it was more than a half hour before I received a call from her. I immediately felt a sense of relief as she explained the process and what she would be doing for me.

From that day forward, I have been met with OUTSTANDING customer service from Rachel Alters and Kathleen Bordes. Any time I reached out with questions or concerns they were very responsive and always left me feeling satisfied that I had the best in my corner. The process took many months and a lot of leg work on Rachel and Kathleen’s part. When I was finally sent a draft of the appeal, I completely understood why it takes so long. The level of detail was unbelievable. I actually feel like I better understand my disease after reading it! The appeal was filed timely and my denial was overturned very quickly. When I learned it was overturned, I have to admit I had tears in my eyes. I want to add, that even if the appeal didn’t have the positive outcome that it did, I would feel exactly the same about the exceptional job done on my case. I’m not sure I can ever truly express how grateful I am, and how blessed I feel to have found Dell & Schaefer and especially Rachel and Kathleen!

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