According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff waited almost a year between the time her husband died and the time that she received payment from Unum. The plaintiff claims that during that time she suffered financial hardship. The suit, which seeks compensatory and punitive damages, was filed in February.
Back in 2005, John Garamendi, California Insurance Commissioner was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying, "UnumProvident is an outlaw company. It is a company that for years has operated in an illegal fashion." The quote came while talks were going on between UnumProvident and the State of California in order to reach a settlement regarding UnumProvident's illegal activities. UnumProvident violated state law in almost one-third of the 1,000 claims investigated by officials. It was also investigated by, and reached settlements with, many other states.
Among UnumProvident's questionable practices that were investigated by Garamendi:
- A 24-month limitation on benefits for mental and nervous conditions, which resulted in UnumProvident wrongly putting claimants in those categories to reduce its payments;
- Knowingly applying the wrong legal definition of disability when denying claims;
- Purposely targeting high-cost claims for denials; and
- Misuse of claimants' medical records.
Furthermore, policyholders claim that their benefits were unfairly cut off or targeted for cancellation by Unum in order to increase the company's profits. These are all examples of bad faith insurance practices, practices in which an insurance company unreasonably denies a policyholder's benefits. Essentially, bad faith insurance happens when a company simply looks for reasons not to pay a claim, rather than thoroughly investigating the claim.
READ MORE LEGAL NEWS
If you have had an insurance claim from Unum (or UnumProvident) denied and you feel they were practicing bad faith insurance, try to get as much in writing from Unum as you can, and take detailed notes of any communication you have with the company. That includes times, dates, and the names of people you communicated with. Talk to a lawyer to discuss your options.