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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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