Disability Insurance Law TV:
A Senator’s view of ERISA disability insurance claims
This video features the testimony of Montana United States Senator Max Baucus at a Senate Finance Committee Meeting. Senator Baucus focuses his testimony on the problems with ERISA disability insurance laws and the unfair claims handling practices of disability insurance companies. Senator Baucus pays specific attention to two long term disability insurance claims that were wrongfully denied by The Standard Insurance Company and Hartford Financial Insurance Company.
Eric Wilson has brought a lawsuit in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana against Reliance Standard Insurance Company and Lincoln National Life Insurance Company because the companies have refused to reply either pro or con to his petition for disability benefits in compliance with his insurance policy contract.
A recent Sun Life disability claim by a gunshot victim ended up as a lawsuit in the Orange County Superior Court because of the reluctance of the disability insurance company to pay out any long term benefits to its plan’s participants. In Marilyn Ellis v Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, the plaintiff Marilyn Ellis with her California disability attorney contended that she was at all times a participant to a group long term disability plan with the policy number 63311 that was provided by the Sun Life Assurance Company (Sun Life). As such, she argued that she was a beneficiary of the plan and is entitled to the long term disability benefits that were offered in the plan.
In any claim for any disability benefits, the deciding factor which disability insurance companies will decide on will be whether you are what they define as being “disabled” or not. Most insurance companies however, will try to define the scope of what constitutes “disabled” as narrowly as possible to their advantage. The situation is especially compounded when a claimant is disabled due to substance abuse. Substance abuse cases involved both physical disabilities and mental disabilities…
Disability Blog & Cases:
SunLife & Aetna Life Insurance Company sued for denial of disability benefits
Here are examples of two recent cases in which SunLife Insurance Company and Aetna Life Insurance Company had a structural conflict of interest and denied disability insurance benefits. In most long term disability insurance claims which are governed by ERISA there is an inherent structural conflict of interest. The conflict of interest exist because the disability insurance company not only pays the benefits, but has the ultimate authority to approve or deny benefits. How can a disability company act a fiduciary to the insured when at the same time a decision to pay benefits will reduce the net income of the company?