Unum (formerly known as Unum Provident and First Unum) has systematically denied Unum disability insurance to thousands of policy holders in the past two decades. Unum and its subsidiaries, including Provident Life, The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company and Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company have been subject to numerous lawsuits for illegally refusing to pay valid disability claims.
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Unum Denied Disability Benefits
Unum has written disability insurance policies for approximately 17 million Americans, making it the largest disability insurance provider in the US. And it has denied countless insurance claims. Unum policyholders have filed disability lawsuits—personal injury cases—against the insurance company for practicing bad faith insurance and denying their Unum long term disability insurance.
Unum Denial—Am I Eligible for Benefits?
If you have had your claim denied, or if your claim was granted and then later terminated, you may be eligible for substantial additional benefits.
Under investigation and pressure from the Department of Labor (DOL), Unum Provident's family of companies offered to reassess approximately 200,000 claims denied or closed since January 1, 2000 for reasons other than settlement, death, or reaching benefit maximums. They were ordered to allow for reassessment, upon request, of claims similarly denied or closed between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 1999. According to the settlement, Unum accepted and reevaluated claims, whether or not the claimant was still disabled, until December 31, 2006.
If you have made a claim under a long-term disability policy provided by or administered by the following companies and have had your claim denied, or if your claim was granted and then later terminated, you still may be eligible for substantial additional benefits:
First Unum Provident Corp.
Unum Life Insurance Company of America
Paul Revere Life Insurance Company
Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company or
Provident Life & Accident Insurance Company
Unum Denial Tactics
Some examples of Unum's Denial Tactics include:
Changing policies after claims are filed (and without the authorization or knowledge of policy holders)
Improperly investigating the claim and obtaining opinions from unqualified people/supposed experts
Misreading medical records, often by their independent medical examiners
Demanding repeated requests for independent medical examinations or denying a claim without any medical examination
Refusing to acknowledge their disability, especially mental disorders, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome
Denying a claim with the intent to wear the claimant down to a lower settlement
Partially paying a claim for total disability
Use of detectives, friends, co-workers and neighbors in an attempt to discredit the disability
UnumProvident (formerly "the Unum Group," a large Fortune 500 insurance company based in Chattanooga, TN) and its subsidiaries offer individual and group insurance programs such as long-term disability income protection, short-term disability income protection, life insurance, long term care insurance (LTCI), and voluntary critical illness insurance. Unum Provident insures more than 25 million people worldwide.
Disability income protection insurance provides financial benefits to employees when they are unable to work due to a disability caused by a covered illness or injury, regardless of whether or not that illness or injury is work-related.
Lawsuits filed against Unum or Unum Provident allege the company committed fraud and breach of contract. Many lawsuits stem from denial of legitimate Unum long term disability insurance claims—where the insurance company unfairly and improperly fails to compensate the insured for a loss covered by their policy, or unreasonably delays making payments due under the policy.
A federal court jury ruled in favor of John Tedesco, a former ophthalmologist who claimed the insurance company denied his disability claim even though he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and a herniated disc. Tedesco was awarded $36.7 million.
The 60 minutes program broadcasted that Unum's policies led to nearly 3,000 lawsuits in the previous five years. Between 1992 and 2002 an estimated 10,000 lawsuits for denial of claims were filed against Unum Provident.
Former Unum "customer care specialist" Linda Nee brought about a whistle-blower lawsuit against UnumProvident Corp., claiming she was fired after bringing reports of wrongdoing to the attention of her supervisors. The suit alleged that Unum engaged in a pattern of delaying, denying and terminating benefits without regard to the merits of the claims.
Unum Provident declared it paid $4.2 billion in disability benefits and reserved $25 billion for potential claims.
The Department of Labor mandated that Unum Group is unfair and unjust and that Unum needs to resolve its bad faith practices, but many insurers have still been illegally denied their disability benefits and likely have a viable legal claim against Unum.
After investigating alleged unfair claims-handling practices, New York State Attorney General Elliott Spitzer granted an Unum lawsuit class action status. A multi-state investigation was resolved and the settlement required Unum: (1) to reassess approximately 200,000 claims that previously had been denied; (2) to completely restructure its claims-handling procedures to ensure objectivity and fairness; and (3) to pay a $15 million fine.
A federal judge in San Francisco upheld a jury's $7.67 million verdict against Unum Provident in a suit filed by former Berkeley chiropractor Joan Hangarter, saying the company had engaged in a wide range of questionable activity to avoid paying legitimate claims and ordered it to "obey the law."
A class-action suit filed in New York charged that UnumProvident operates "disability denial factories," wrongly denying disability claims by UnumProvident policyholders with mental disabilities. The class action alleges that UnumProvident "has illegally victimized, and continues to victimize, many thousands of disabled Americans." It seeks unspecified damages and asks the courts to order the company to re-evaluate all of the claims it has denied in recent years.
Unum issued a statement saying it insures 25 million people and has a complaint rate below the national average. It says it denied "only 1.5 percent" of 421,000 disability claims filed this year.
A class action suit was filed against UnumProvident/Unum alleging it had had engaged in a bad-faith plan for years to illegally deny or terminate the long-term disability claims of thousands of disabled American workers.
A California jury awarded a $31.7 million damage verdict against Unum Provident after it refused to pay Dr. Randall Chapman's $11,600 monthly benefits called for in a long-term disability policy that he purchased in the 1980s. Chapman developed a phobia that caused him to shake and could no longer perform eye surgeries.
Unum processed almost 400,000 disability claims and paid out more than $4 billion in benefits. According to the New York Times, Unum reported revenue of $10.5 billion. Operating income was reported up 31 percent.
Unum Group agreed to a $40 million settlement in a federal class action lawsuit that claimed the Unum Group (as UnumProvident) made misleading statements to investors in 2000–2003 to artificially inflate its stock share price. The lawsuit further claimed that Unum Provident used certain improper claims-handling practices.
Two qui tam (whistleblower) lawsuits were brought against Unum and Cigna Corp under the False Claims Act on behalf of whistleblowers. Attorneys alleged that the insurance industry sent tens of thousands of dubious disability claims to Social Security, costing the system hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade.
A Boston jury found that Unum defrauded the US by forcing its customers to submit false claims for disability benefits to the Social Security Administration (SSA), when Unum knew that they were not eligible for government benefits. Unum forced some of its policyholders seeking disability insurance to apply for Social Security disability benefits even though they were not eligible, and thereby playing a major role in Unum bankrupting Social Security, which has much stricter criteria for disability benefits than private insurers such as Unum. In an attempt to gain more profits, Unum told thousands of claimants that it would cut their private disability benefits in half -- or more -- if they did not comply with Unum's directive that they must apply for Social Security disability benefits.
Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to Unum and eight other private disability insurers asking for detailed information about the very practices that have now been deemed illegal.
A federal court in Kansas held that Unum was arbitrary and capricious to deny benefits based on a policy exclusion that the claimant's ("Kathy") fibromyalgia was a self-reported condition. The court agreed to vacate the record of its decision against Unum that it had improperly discontinued Kathy's long-term disability benefits in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Unum settled with Kathy for an undisclosed amount.
Unum Group (NYSE: UNM) reported net income of $199.4 million ($0.60 per diluted common share) for the fourth quarter of 2009, compared to net income of $41.8 million ($0.13 per diluted common share) for the fourth quarter of 2008. A spokesperson for Unum said, "The Company had another solid quarter and we closed the year well positioned for the year ahead… The Company is maintaining its previously stated outlook for full year 2010 and anticipates operating earnings growth for the year to be in a range of four percent to six percent."
Statistics show that plaintiffs generally win higher settlement awards if they work with an expert insurance attorney. To find out whether or not you have a legitimate claim against Unum, you should speak to an Unum lawyer that specializes in disability denials.
UnumProvident Disability Legal Help
If you have had a disability claim denied, or if your claim was granted and then later terminated, from one of the companies listed above, you may qualify for compensation, even if the statute of limitations has expired. Complete the form below for a free case evaluation.
Charleston, WV: Jake figures that he cannot appeal his case a second time against Unum: the insurer denied his benefits more than 20 years ago. But Jake welcomes this opportunity to tell others how Unum - and his crooked attorney - treated him [READ MORE]
Raleigh, NC: It’s been more than a decade since Unum, or First Unum was ordered by the Department of Labor to resolve its bad faith insurance practices. Judging from the number of policyholder complaints, however, it appears that Unum’s mandate is profits by way of denying benefits [READ MORE]
Chattanooga, TN Yolanda received short-term disability benefits from Unum, or Unum Provident after suffering a back injury, and her benefits should have rolled into long-term disability benefits. Yolanda should know - she was a Unum disability specialist for five years. But Unum doesn’t even look after its own.. [READ MORE]
I went on disability in March 2003 with UNUM. They try every year to stop my benefits regardless of what SSDI and my doctors say.
What really bothers me is that I paid them a premium for 8 years, based on my salary, to get 70% of my income if I became disabled they have never paid the 70% because they deduct my SSDI benefit of $1043 each month. Isn't this a breach of contract issue. I would love to find a lawyer to challenge them on this. I paid for both coverages, why can't I collect both.
Posted by David Swan
I was receiving benefits from UNUM for approximately 8 years when they stopped paying my benefits with statements that were flat out lies and manipulation of the data to fit their view. Similar to the Social Security and DoD tactics. I had to appeal within 6 months which is a delay tactic for them. They hope you give up! Don't!! You have to file a Federal Lawsuit which really is only a negotiation to settle for less than they owe you by law. Don't settle for less than your full amount!! It's the only action you can take against them!! Believe it or not, they can cause someone to be suicidal and they aren't held accountable in any way other than get as much as you can. Make them and their lawyer drive to the court or negotiators location as many times as possible. Make them pay any way you can. My lawyer has taken Unum to the Supreme Court and won before. I'm not settling for less than the full amount they owe me. They try to get you to negotiate many times before you reach a courtroom. Feel free to contact me if you need any information on what actions I've done to make them settle. They actually are trying to use my Social Security Award against me. Be careful what they ask from you. Treat them like the enemy because they want to stop paying you at the first opportunity they get. Even the judge you get for your lawsuit is a crap shoot. I got lucky with a good patient oriented judge who knows the tactics Unum's uses and doesn't like them. They know the law is not in the patients favor, even though it's federal. There are no repercussion's to UNUM for any action they take. No consequences and a company that rules over the outcome of all appeals, is ripe for abuse!!
GOOD LUCK in your action against Unum.
Posted by Sophie Tucker
I bougth a policy at work, when Colonial Life agents came to work and bought a short term disability policy. Recently, I got hurt at work and called Colonial to check if my policy would cover it and they said no because the policy is for out of work injuries and they are correct. The agent also said they try and steer people away from getting policies that cover at work injuries. (???BECAUSE THEY WILL HAVE TO PAY???) I called today to add a policy that will cover me at work and I was told I cannot buy one because I don't have my payment deducted from payroll. HUH????. I bought this policy from an agent that came to my place of employment. Everyone switched to AFLEC at my place of employment, I think they were right to do that.
Posted by Shannon Leslie Nichols
I don't have a very Steady or Stable Work History mainly due alot to my AdHd I didn't finish High School as well. I have never been able to keep a Long Term Commitment basically from this disability along with several other Mental disabilities along with many Multiple Physical Disabilities that No Corporation like the Company I'd been Employed at for the 6 Months prior to Me having to Quit do to I couldn't handle the Long periods on my feet for any longer than 15+ minutes my ciatic down both legs would give out and In anycase as mine us really considered an High Risk for many Accidents to Myself, other Employees or Patrons especially. But during my 6 month employment at Darden Corporation Restaurant Olive Garden I had made enough in that Quarterly to Apply for Both of the Dsi & Ssi which I believe to be in the Denial with out even the opportunity for my attorney to get me even an Appeal for my denial they denied me to not even get appeal at all!! So since I hadn't worked during this duration of fighting I'd not worked as well as I lose all that time of back pay from the date of my first denial on and No having to pay Ssi & Dsi. So when my attorney suggested re-apply and do it all over I'd thought this is Ludicrous since I've had neighbours and Acquaintances that don't have anything but mental not even physical not even all or half of my mental alone and were approved on the first hearing!! But they also only applied for One claim unlike mine was for the both.. I have Degenerated disc disease with Burrs in all areas of my bones of my body from lack of fluids in my sacks which causes those bones to rub together til they are not smooth and cause Snapping, and popping that feels like your being shocked by an Electrical shock that's Unbearable!! Along with other issues like Bulged disc with Ciatic that occurs down both legs spine had disintegrating results % amount not sure by each Mri which is 2 to 4 a year.. Torn rotary cuff in left shoulder that id gotten the first month of working at Olive Garden carrying they're Large Heavy Trays.. I also have dislocated knee had surgery on grill prior injury from old employers... etc. Etc. I have AdHd with Anxiety, Bipor/ Manic and Depression along with OcD and History of The Disease of Addiction!! Plus much more as well!! I really feel like this is been a Situation like many of them of the Victims from this Insurance Companies Ignorance and Plain Greed!! If you feel this maybe something worth looking into I'd really appreciate it please?? I'm not sure who the Insurance Company was but I do have all my Records of all including my first denial info from 2 other past denials before this one I've fought since 2012 Thank You,
Posted by rick pittman
Why is it right pay for insurance and in the end becuase a person is disable and has to go on socicail sucurty.they dont have to pay what you paid for ? And only give little what you paid for. Not rite
Posted by Anonymous
I have been out of work for a month due to shoulder surgery and have been dealing with Colonial life Ins short term disability. I feel they have been very difficult to deal with and purposely try to confuse you. When they finally sent me any money they paid me as if I was on workman's comp, even though it has been been maid very clear to them that I was inured at home and not at work and am not on Workman's Comp. all my paperwork has been turned in correctly and they even acknowledge that they have received notification from my job that I was not injured at work. They still refuse to pay me the rest of the money they owe me saying that they need more information from my surgeon's office. I'm not a lawyer, but I am very confused that they sent me any money at all if they felt I did not deserve it. I am also confused that my medical records have anything at all to do with whether or not I was injured at work. Every time I call to check thy say they are still waiting and my surgeon's office , so far, says they have never received a request for my medical information. I am starting to wonder if i should seek legal counsel on what to do.
Posted by john rogers
unumcalled me and told me they will send me 3 mo. ckeck and then i will be stop with my long term disability
Posted by Brad
This company is evil. Plain and simple. They do everything they can to wear you down so you will give up. I have had two surgeries in the past year and both times they treated me like a criminal. I have had four doctors who performed various exams and treatments, and EVERY SINGLE TIME one of the doctors sent Unum a document, they claimed they didn't receive it. Every single document, every doctor, every time. I can understand if one or two of the faxes didn't go through, but it was an excuse I got every single time. So even though I was sick and recovering from the surgeries, I was forced to be on the phone day in, day out trying to make sure the documents were sent and re-sent and re-re-re-resent until FINALLY, Unum would admit they got them. Then, of course, they would say the information wasn't sufficient. They always say the doctors didn't put the correct information in the letters. Come on. Doctors are not idiots. They know what to say in a medical letter. They also prematurely cancel claims. I could go on and on and on about my horrifying experiences with Unum, but what I'm really on here to do is to warn people to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE think twice before giving this company your trust and your money. The ordeal you will face is not worth it. You will regret it. Unum is the worst company I have EVER dealt with. And whenever you call them, expect to get the run-around, and expect to feel like you are talking to a robot. None of the agents that I EVER dealt with treated me with one iota of human compassion. It was always like talking to a machine. PLEASE, I BEG YOU, DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by Darlene Lawson
Unum denied my claim as I recovered from a procedure which did not have to do with my claim. My claim was for lower back pain, fibromyalgia, insomnia, and depression. I had a total hysterectomy during my claim and when my OB/GYN released me from his care UNUM denied my claim. Even though my claim was with my MD not my OB/GYN. My MD sent in a letter of appeal specifying this and UNUM remained denied.
Posted by Anonymous
i was at work one day and went to file some folders and the file cabnet fell on top of me . The file caabnet was to heary in the frist place. Everyone was walking around with back problems. I went to my boss and told her that it was to heary before it fell on me and I even volunteered to come in on the weekend without no pay to rearrange the folders.
sHE TOLD ME NO SEVERAL DAYS OR WEEKS LATER IT FEEL ON ME DAMMIT. i HAVE A LOWER BACK INJURY AND HAVE NOT WORKED SINCE THEN 12/10/97. ii NEVER RECIEVED ALL OF MY MONEY FROM fIRST UNUM WHOM MY COMPANY WAS INSUREED WITH.
aS i READ ALL OF YOUR INFORMATION i PAID FOR STD AND HAD LTD. aCTUALLY i WAS WORKING AT THE LEARNING DISABITIY COMPANY. i HAD TO SIGN UP FOR SSd. aND THE INSURANCE COMPANY TOOK THE SETTLEMENT MONEY FROM SSD AND i LIVED OFF NOTHING FOR A LONG TIME. oNLY REASON i SURVIVED IT WAS BECAUSE OF GOOD FRIENDS AND LIVING IN pUBLIC HOUSING ALTHOUGH SEVERAL TIMES I WAS CALLED INTO THE RENTAL OFFICE IN REFERENCE TO MY RENT BEING LATE.
aCTUALLY WHAT i UNDERSTAND IS THAT THEY PAID ME MONEY AND THEN TOOK MY SSd/ WHAT i CAN'T UNDERSTAND HOW COULD THE GOV'T JUST GIVE THEM OUR MONEY WHICH THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN PAYING ME. i AM STILL LIVING OFF LITTLE OR NOTHJING AND i WORKED 33 YEARS. tHEY CHEAT YOU THE GOV'T CHEATS YOU. wHY WORK. wHAT MAKES IT SO BAD i HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE OF WORKING EVER FILED A CLAIM UNTIL THIS BACK INJURY. sAD BAD WORLD INSURANCE IS A HUGE RIP OFF TO OUR SOCIETY. sHAME UNUM SHOULD HAVE TO PAY EACH AND EVERYONE OF US THEY GOT RICH OFF OUR ASSES BIG RIP OFF.