There seems to be a trend recently in which the Hartford disability insurance company is closely scrutinizing long term disability claims regardless of how long a claimant has been on claim. In the past 7 days I have been contacted by two separate claimants that have been on claim with Hartford for over 20 years and are having issues with Hartford. We usually see problems develop with long term disability claims when a new claims adjuster is assigned to a disability benefit claim. In my opinion, Hartford is one of the most difficult and unreasonable long-term disability insurance companies to deal with. I based my opinions on long-term disability claims my firm has handled and the numerous lawsuits around the country that discuss the conduct of Hartford.
A woman recently contacted me and she asked that I share her experience with Hartford so that other disability claimants can be aware of Hartford’s claim handling tactics. This woman stated the following:
"The Hartford sent us a letter demanding that we sign a bunch of papers allowing them access to ALL doctors previously seen, All bank accounts, several questionnaires or they would cut off all benefits (which they did). I spoke to a paralegal at a local law firm that told me to sign all papers unless I had something to hide. We reluctantly signed the papers (I didn’t feel that they needed our bank account info amongst other info not pertaining to this claim). My wife has been on disability with Hartford for 13 years and she has seen many doctors. Her primary doctor has recently filled out a letter stating that there was no time table for her return to work ( she just had an epidural in her spine last week). The Hartford has just sent us a letter stating that they have basically annoyed several other doctors that my wife has seen recently (she has renal issues also) trying to get them to give information but they are blackmailing us as they did at the beginning by saying you MUST tell your doctors to send them the information within 21 days or we will shut off your benefits. They have continually tried every angle to cut off my wife’s benefits with these harassment techniques. We didn’t want to sign any of these papers but we did. We think we should tell them that we are revoking their right to contact everyone. (My wife also gets social security because of this injury and we fear The Hartford will destroy that also leaving us in ruins). Now the doctors that my wife sees are being tormented which will have an effect on the care my wife receives AND now they are resorting to another type of blackmail as they expect us to do their work contacting these doctors to force them to give in to their demands or they will cut us off. I don’t believe we signed up for that duty. I originally thought that they were going to negotiate a payoff settlement but instead it appears that they are trying the bullying tactic so they can stop paying."
This woman’s experience and frustration with Hartford is consistent with the hundreds of Hartford disability claim emails we receive each year. In this scenario, a claimant should never revoke Hartford’s ability to contact a treating doctor, however Hartford does not have a right to receive whatever information they feel like asking for.
About the author: Gregory Michael Dell is an attorney and managing partner of the disability income division of Attorneys Dell & Schaefer. Mr. Dell and his team of lawyers have assisted thousands of long-term disability claimants with their claims against every major disability insurance company. To request a free legal consultation call 800-411-9085.