Unum Life Insurance Company of America is one of the largest group disability insurance companies in the country. Unum has a long and well documented record of fraudulent, unfair, and bad faith claims practices. It appears to us that Unum has another unfair, bad faith practice by which it victimizes long term disability recipients.
In the past few years we have seen three cases with the following pattern: the person became disabled; the person was paid “own occupation” long term disability benefits for two years by Unum; the person was approved for “any occupation” long term disability benefits and was paid those benefits by Unum for years. For many years Unum only requested an Attending Physician’s Statement once a year or once every other year concerning the claim and payments are made every month without question. Then, Unum offered a buyout of the claim to the person receiving benefits. That is, Unum called and wrote the person receiving long term disability benefits, stating “we would like to pay you out now. We value your claim at a certain level and we will pay you a portion of the amount that we value your claim.” The value Unum placed on the claim was substantially lower than its actual value and did not equal the money the person would receive if he or she continued to receive long term disability benefits for the balance of the policy term. So, the person refused the buyout offer.
About one year later, Unum aggressively starts to investigate the claim again. It demands forms filled out; it demands attending physician statements; it demands medical records; it interviews the recipient; it obtains a medical review. Then, the person’s benefits are terminated.
One of our clients had been receiving long term disability benefits from Unum for 16 years when those benefits were terminated – about one year after that client rejected a lowball buyout offer.
Another of our clients had been receiving long term disability benefits from Unum for 12 years before that client’s long term disability benefits were terminated about one year after that client rejected a lowball buyout offer.
Another client was offered two separate buyout offers about one year apart and rejected them both. Then about one year after rejecting the second buyout offer that client’s long term disability benefits were terminated.
A buyout or commutation of benefits may or may not be the right choice for a long term disability benefits recipient. But it is always good business for an insurance company. It seems to us that Unum is retaliating against long term disability benefits recipients who reject its lowball buyout offers by terminating those persons long term disability benefits.
If you were receiving long term disability benefits from Unum and your benefits were terminated after you refused one of its lowball buyout offers, call the ERISA Law Center. We know what Unum is doing and can help you fight its bad faith and fraudulent practices, and help you get your benefits back.