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Two Unum Lawsuits Filed Within Days of One Another Claim Unfair Denial

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Los Angeles, CATwo lawsuits against Unum Group within days of each other both allege unfair denial of disability benefits. The Unum disability insurance lawsuits are yet another reflection of tactics allegedly employed by Unum, and the insurance industry overall, aimed at denying benefits to consumers that are contractually their due.

According to court documents obtained by the Northern California Record (07/05/17) plaintiff Marta Bonnin filed her Unum lawsuit against the insurer June 19 after her benefits were abruptly terminated. According to Bonnin’s Unum disability insurance lawsuit, the plaintiff stopped working in December, 2014 and applied for disability benefits through Unum Group. While she received benefits from the insurer for a time, those benefits were abruptly stopped in August of last year.

Bonnin claims in her action that the defendants – Unum Life Insurance Co. of America and Hinderliter, Dellamas & Associates Plan – failed to provide a reasonable explanation as to why her benefits were terminated.

Bonnin’s Unum lawsuit is Case No. 2:17-cv-04513-JAK-JC. She filed her Unum disability claims lawsuit in US District Court for the Central District of California.

Mere days after Bonnin filed, another disgruntled Unum plaintiff filed his Unum long term disability insurance lawsuit in the same court. Plaintiff in the action is Scott Torrens, a former camera operator with CBS Corp. who alleges to have become disabled in 2013. According to court documents, Torrens applied for Unum disability benefits due him through his coverage with Unum, only to be denied.

Torrens appealed the denial, yet Unum is alleged to have upheld their original decision to deny, in spite of the availability, according to the plaintiff, of sufficient medical records supporting his claim.

Torrens claims, in his Unum lawsuit, wrongful denial of Unum disability insurance benefits as well as violations to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA, as amended 1974). As such, Torrens’ Unum lawsuit doubles as an ERISA claim.

Torrens’ Unum lawsuit is Case No. 2:17-cv-04592-GW-AGR, which he filed June 22 of this year.

Unum Life Insurance Co. of America, known variously as Unum Provident and First Unum, has been fighting allegations of bad faith insurance for some years. Based in Chattanooga, Unum’s reach is global. While the disability insurance industry overall appears to adhere to a mantra of deny first and ask questions later, Unum appears to have been singled out at one time as being particularly harsh when it comes to stonewalling policyholders. While Unum has been working to reverse that reputation, the lawsuits keep coming.

That said, Unum is not unique. A large collection of insurers also face lawsuits from disgruntled policyholders over denials of benefits. While it is true that insurers need to protect themselves from n’er do wells who attempt to pull a fast one with their insurer despite being perfectly healthy, the vast majority of claimants have legitimate, and medically-supported claims that continue to be denied in spite of spotless payment records.

In the end, insurance companies appear to enjoy accepting premiums for ‘what-if’ coverage – but not so happy to pay out when a legitimate disability happens.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
After jumping through hoops and providing detailed medical reports from my doctor, Unum approved me for LTD. I was informed by a Unum agent in writing that I qualified for LTD and would received disability payments for 24-months. Twelve months into the payment period, Unum terminated my LTD and denied further payments. The reason they gave me was that I was over 70-years of age. "Aged Discrimination?" I think so.

To-date, they have not given me a clear answer for the denial. I find no age limitation under ERISA rules.

How can I join a class action suite?

Posted by

on
I recieved disability ins thru Unum for about 10 years then they cancelled me. I am on SSD for RA superior vena cava syndrome, atrial septal aneurysm, a blood clot in my right jugular vein from the superior venacava syndrome because of treatments for my rheumatoid arthritis. But Unim says i can return to work and cancelled my $303.68 a month even though my primary care doctor says not going to happen! Unum said i could appeal their descision....i do not have the $ to give the doctors for them to fill out the books for unum at $10 a page!

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