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"UnumProvident isn't Fair," says Denied Policy Holder

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Chattanooga, TNCarolyn was diagnosed with a lung infection in 1991; fortunately her employer enabled her to work part-time from home. In 1999 she become too sick to work and applied for disability benefits from Unumprovident. Unfortunately Unum denied her claim and during that time she was too sick to appeal.

Unum Victim"I first decided to apply for social security disability and it was approved without an appeal, "says Carolyn. But Unum was another story. "When they denied my claim I just didn't have the strength to file an appeal—I was having a severe case of vertigo and my condition was getting worse.

"Time went on and one day I got a letter from Unum saying they were reviewing some of their denials and they asked for more information. I sent whatever I could find and they wrote back, saying they reviewed the initial denial and upheld it.

They said I was not eligible because my medical records didn't document a worsening of my condition; in fact Unum said my condition was improving. I wrote a letter back, stating that I turned in my resignation at work because my hearing loss was a real problem and I couldn't see very well—I couldn't even drive to work.

How could I work? I was a program manager with Child Support Enforcement and when you can't hear, you are in big trouble. When people call or go to court and I can't hear them, that isn't fair for anyone. I worked through some of this but it got too bad. The director of the agency understood that I couldn't continue. So why couldn't UnumProvident?

I called them back. My claim representative said she was in receipt of my letter and "no additional review of the claim would be made." The Unum rep asked why I didn't file sooner, but when you are fighting for your life you don't feel like fighting an insurance company. Then time just ran out.

I didn't hear about or think about Unum until 2006: I read an article in the local paper about Unumprovident and how social security wouldn't be around for much longer and that we need to buy disability insurance from Unum. I believe the insurance company was using a scare technique with their new campaign because in 2004, only 37 out of 100 initial applications for long term disability were approved--one should look very closely at private insurance.

I was really irritated that the Chattanooga Newspaper would publish this story, making that statement about social security and favoring private insurance. I wrote to the author of this article and said if it were not for social security, I would be in trouble because social security approved me without an appeal, unlike the insurer where I held a policy for many years.

And my counterparts at work were surprised that I was treated this way because I used to let Unum come into some of my staff meetings: I wouldn't welcome them now.

My husband and I retire to Florida in the winter and when we came home last May, my neighbor told me that Unum was doing another review of denied policies and I should apply again. Then my husband went online and found your website and we filled out the complaint form against Unumprovident, otherwise I wouldn't have known about the lawsuit against it. I paid a lot of money to Unum over the years and it isn't fair."

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