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.
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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.