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One Point for Unum

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Los Angeles, CAThis reporter has been writing about Unum, or Unum Provident disability insurance for more than eight years regarding its denials of benefits to policyholders. For the first time, there is something positive to say about the giant insurance company.

Todd Jenks, a former associate attorney at DLA Piper LLP, sued the multinational law firm in state court after he was terminated several years ago. The court ordered arbitration and Jenks was awarded more than $96,000. The arbitrator concluded that DLA Piper had shortchanged him on short-term disability benefits. At that time, Standard was the insurer. In another lawsuit filed in January 2015, Jenks complains again about short- and long-term disability coverage provided by his employer. DLA Piper’s disability policy is currently with Unum.

According to Jenks’ latest lawsuit (January 16, 2015), Unum does not dispute that his health issues prevented him from performing his duties. And Unum classified him correctly, even though benefits manager Stephanie Riedel at DLA Piper “engaged in a series of maneuvers with insurer Unum to make sure he was paid under a lower-ranked classification,” according to Law360.

Jenks received a letter from Unum in 2007 stating they had evaluated his monthly coverage. Unum determined that he should be classified under a different category than indicated on the older document Riedel had sent the insurer. Unum said Jenks’ monthly coverage limit would be raised to $20,000 from $10,000. Actually, that is two points for Unum.

In his California federal lawsuit, Jenks accuses DLA Piper of preventing him from receiving long-term disability benefits and that Riedel misclassified him on purpose to receive a lesser disability amount. Further, she also concealed information about his long-term disability coverage, dragging out his claims process and finally shredding information as to what Unum agreed to pay out.

It will be of great interest to watch this case unfold. Would Unum testify against DLA Piper? Will Unum act as witness for the plaintiff? Unum hasn’t yet replied to a call regarding the case: M. Todd Jenks v. DLA Piper LLP et al., case number 3:15-cv-00254, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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