Dave was fired from his job—ironically, he sold insurance—and suffered a severe depression, so much so that it took him four months to file a claim. That was in 2008, but he bought the Unum Provident policy back in 1986.
"I couldn't get out of bed, I could barely function," says Dave. "I was so depressed that I couldn't even file for unemployment. I just lay about curled up on my couch for most of a year." Although Dave was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 10 years ago, his policy is 20 years old, which means that he bought Unum long-term disability insurance before he had any mental disabilities.
"I have one of those old individual First Unum policies with no exclusions—so mental disability is covered," says Dave. Or, so he thought.
"Initially, a representative called me right after I filed for Unum disability," Dave explains. "She tried to tell me that mental disability was not covered and I would find an endorsement to that fact in my policy. I never saw any such endorsement and I have the original copy of my Unum disability insurance policy. They tried to slip another exclusion endorsement in my policy for a bad back and my signature is not on that either.
"Unum says there was an endorsement on my policy in 1991 excluding any injury, disease or disorder of the lumber region. And excluding any disease or disorder of the left wrist—I don't know where they got that from!
"I hurt my back in the mid 90s but it wasn't bad enough to keep me from my job. However, when I filed the claim in 2008, I included a claim for herniated and dissolved discs. I am in chronic pain, including rheumatoid arthritis.
"Anyway, the Unum rep asked a lot of questions and said I would be interviewed in person—someone would come to my home. Before seeing the Unum field consultant, I sent all my medical records to Unum. My doctor outlined all of my problems and it should have been a 'slam-dunk.' Instead I was transferred from one adjustor to another; I never spoke to the same adjustor.
"On May 19, 2009, I had a meeting with the Unum field consultant, which lasted about 45 minutes. He was supposed to write a report stating that I was incapacitated. I never heard a word from anyone at Unum after this meeting, so they never denied or accepted my claim.
"I quit calling Unum about one year ago. I probably called about 50 times, always leaving a message, either with a human or voice mail. Of course this has made my mental disability worse. I know that in the near future I won't be able to function at all. I applied for social security, but was told that I could work as a Wal-Mart Greeter and I didn't qualify for social security benefits.
"But the Unum policy was the best coverage available on the market, ever. It said that if I couldn't do insurance work, then I would qualify for long-term disability, and if you are suffering from severe depression, you cannot be an insurance agent. I certainly can't continue in sales: I can't call anyone…
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"Unum is writing these policies but they won't deliver. I'm trying to start over again and I'm on lots of meds but it's a tough road. I'm into my savings of more than $200,000. Unum should have just written me a check. These guys at Unum are so sleazy and I am still paying my premium; I have been paying about $2,000 per year into this policy since 1986—that's a big chunk of change. I would be happy if they just paid back my policy."