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Disability Lawsuit filed, Others say ‘Bah Humbug’ to Unum

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Chattanooga, TNWhile Unum Insurance has been working to shore up both its reputation and its business strategy from its headquarters in Chattanooga, Unum disability claims are still coming. The latest is an Unum lawsuit filed earlier this month in the State of Florida.

According to the Florida Record (12/28/16), the plaintiff is Vera Viamontes, a Sunshine State resident who alleges in her Unum disability insurance lawsuit that Unum Life Insurance Company of America denied her claim for disability benefits without just cause.

Viamontes alleges breach of contract, amidst other claims.

According to lawsuit details as provided in the Florida Record, Viamontes carried disability insurance with Unum. When the plaintiff became disabled and applied for disability benefits under the terms of her Unum disability policy, her application was denied. On appeal, the insurer once known as Unum Group and Unum Provident upheld its denial of benefits, which Viamontes asserts is a breach of the terms of her policy with the insurance provider.

While initial denial of benefits is a strategy practiced industry-wide, Unum has been saddled with more than its fair share of bad press over the years with regard to denial of benefits deemed appropriate according to the terms of a policy, or so numerous plaintiffs have alleged.

Unum has been working to get beyond such headlines. However, lawsuits against Unum and other insurers alleging improper denial of benefits continue to pour in.

A particular strategy revealed earlier this month in The Chattanoogan.com (12/22/16) appears to have displeased many in the Tennessee community that Unum calls home. According to the report, which quotes unnamed employees, Unum is moving towards more outsourcing of jobs that is expected to have an impact on 10 percent of the Unum workforce.

The report referenced an announcement by Unum in September that some “high-volume, transactional processes,” were to be outsourced, leading to the elimination of some financial positions. Unum is reported to have contracted with EXL, a firm based in New York City but with employees throughout the globe, including India.

The outsourcing doesn’t sit well with one resident of Chattanooga, who editorialized in The Chattanoogan.com also on December 22 that Unum should not be outsourcing jobs after having achieved previously, two PILOT agreements with regard to property tax exemptions from both the City of Chattanooga and the County of Hamilton in exchange for job creation and retention. A PILOT agreement stands for Payment in Lieu of Taxes, and is meant to extend a financial break to a corporation in exchange for growing the local work forces to the benefit of all concerned.

The author, who offered a ‘Bah Humbug’ to Unum for the Yule season, wondered openly about the appropriateness of extending tax breaks to a company that intends on outsourcing, and cutting jobs.

Meanwhile the Unum disability lawsuit in Florida is Vera Viamontes v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, Case No. 9:16-cv-81955-KAM in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

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