Unum Group Corp. to pay $676 million in extra benefits to claimants

Unum Group Corp. has paid about $676 million in extra benefits to claimants in connection with a review of past claims decisions, officials say.

Unum, Chattanooga, Tenn., has paid the benefits in the course of completing a claims reassessment process required by the state insurance regulators that have been participating in a large, multi-state examination of the company’s handling of disability claims.

In addition to reviewing past claims, Unum “has instituted policies and procedures to ensure its claimants are treated fairly going forward,” Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Nonnie Burns says in a statement.

Massachusetts has been one of the 4 states helping to lead the multi-state exam process. The other lead states are Maine, New York and Tennessee. Those states and the U.S. Department of Labor negotiated the multi-state settlement agreement with Unum in 2004.

The agreement, endorsed by 48 states and the District of Columbia, required Unum to review claims processed between January 1997 and 2004, improve procedures for handling future claims and strengthen quality control systems.

Examiners believe Unum has complied with the terms of the agreement, Massachusetts officials say.

The claim reassessment process reversed, in whole or in part, about 42% of the claims reassessed, according to officials in Maine.

The case “is an excellent example of effective state-based insurance regulation for insurance consumers,” Maine Insurance Superintendent Mila Kofman says in a statement. “Regulators identified a problem and worked together to effectively address it.”

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

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The process has been exactly how I had hoped it would be. Disability is a scary, unfriendly process, even for those of us who have worked in the claims administration area. It seems to be designed to deny benefits with complicated rules, burdensome documentation requirements, and constant requests for information to the beneficiary and my doctors. As a patient/beneficiary, you can feel like you are all alone and that you spend too much time jumping through hoops for the disability provider.

After a few months of doing it myself, I realized I wanted an advocate who could advocate for me with the provider and answer all of my questions on the Erisa process and rules. I interviewed one attorney in Maryland who was actually adversarial with me (his future client) so it was an awesome breath of fresh air when I interviewed Stephen Jessup. He was polite, extremely knowledgeable, upbeat, and calm! He helped me to understand the process and where I stood in it.

He and Vanessa communicate and keep me apprised of events within my case and make recommendations on actions I should take to proactively help my case win approval (e.g., Functional Capacity Evaluation). They are truly my safety net and well worth every penny because they help manage the disability provider and my doctors as well as ensuring I am on track in the process. I don’t think I would have survived this without them.

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