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Unum—The Outlaw Insurance Company

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Seattle, WAIn 2008 the American Association of Justice (AAJ) named the "Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America" and explained how they raise premiums, deny claims and refuse insurance to those who need it most. No surprise that Unum ranked second. And judging from the number of First Unum policy holders who have been denied their long-term disability benefits, it has likely trumped Allstate by now for the Number One spot.

Unum is particularly insidious; it should be in first place simply because it denies people who need it the most—those people who are disabled.

Unum is consistent. Even though it got severely reprimanded back in 2005 for its claims-handling practices (i.e., bad faith practices), this company ranked second place because, even to this day, it unfairly denies and delays thousands and thousands of claims. Despite settling with insurance commissioners to the tune of $15 million and agreeing to reopen more than 200,000 cases, it continually practices bad faith. In fact, this company, which is one of the nation's leading disability insurers and by all accounts one of the most profitable (Profits: $679 million in 2007; assets $52.4 billion), admitted to only reviewing 10 percent of those 200,000 cases eligible for reopening that it had agreed to three years earlier.

Policy holders in California are the worst-off. Because one in every four claims are denied, in 2005 the California Department of Insurance launched an investigation into Unum and found "widespread fraud" by the company, which prompted California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi to describe Unum as an "outlaw company."

Given the number of complaints that LawyersandSettlements has received over the years, Unum (formerly called UnumProvident and First Unum—in an attempt to change its negative image) employs a number of tips and tactics to deny claims.

Disagreeing with a doctor's diagnosis is one excuse for not paying long-term disability benefits—and if you are diagnosed with a mental disorder, chances are slim that Unum will pay. Back in 2008 Angie Summar was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder; Unum covered her for a short time, then cut her loose.

In Tracy's case, Unum denied her illness based on its own independent examiner's diagnosis, regardless of her own medical reports—Tracy suffers from fibromyalgia, a disease recognized by the medical community and social security.

Unum used its "stall tactic" on Sharon; she finally gave up and applied for social security benefits, which she received within a few weeks. "In retrospect I wish that I had taken the appeal to court," Sharon said. "I believe the judge would have made Unum step up to the plate and do the right thing..."

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
Unum denied me on two policies and I filled out ur website form over a month ago and nobody responded back to me. Please note I have doctors that agree with me and are willing to testify if necessary so please contact me thank you

Posted by

on
Actually, Unum should not be the second worst as they are the absolute worst. Many class actions have been filed against them and they continue to steal from the disabled. I had UNUM insurance through my employer for over 15 years and still when I became disabled, UNUM denied the claim and they denied it for no reason. Yes, they had to really dig to come up with reasons. I discovered later that UNUM routinely denied any claim exceeding $3,000 in monthly benefits to any disabled person. This became their WRITTEN policy, so they would have some young women clerks call, who routinely lied, just to cheat the disabled and this company had my medical records so that they knew I was so loaded on pain killers I had no idea what should be done. Their routine was to deny the physical claim and try to identify a mental claim, which they could also later deny; however, if they got stuck paying for the mental claim, it would only be for several years compared too the lifetime benefits of the physically disabled. I hope they all die a horrible death and rot in hell. To steal from the sick and disabled is inexcusable and unforgivable. They left me unable to work, a recent widow, with no income and no insurance and I lost everything. Yes, everyone of these rich fat cats should be publicly stoned for even working for such a sleazy company, which is sleazy because of their OWN actions. As for the lawyers, even though I could prove I had benefits and prove that I was and have been physically disabled, no lawyer would take the case unless I could pay them upfront. I wonder where I was to get that money? Guess maybe from my social security disability since that is all I get. No, I will never forget UNUM, nor will I ever, ever forgive those greedy bloodsuckers and with any luck at all, they should all be choking on their very expensive lunches since they have stolen from the food right from the disabled and poor.

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