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UnumProvident Long Term Disability Insurance Scandal Continues

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

UnumProvident, the nation’s largest long term disability insurance company, has been ordered to pay an $8 million dollar fine and change the way it evaluates long term disability claims in California in a settlement announced today. On the heels of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s wide ranging Unum settlement last year and a recent stinging LA Times article highlighting the problems in the entire disability insurance policy industry, UnumProvident has suffered another embarrassing blow. Now, residents of California have the best protections in the US against unscrupulous disability insurance company practices. No more “pizza parties” for employees who deny the most disability claims. Employees will now have a fighting chance to get the disability benefits they paid for and desperately need.
Hopefully, the California reforms will spread to all 50 states. If not, Congress should step in to reform ERISA, the federal statute that regulates group long term disability claims. To Unum’s credit, based upon the experiences of my clients, UnumProvident does seem to have cleaned up its act recently. This settlement insures that such reforms shall continue. Now all we need is to have companies like MetLife, Cigna, and Disability Management Services jump on the reform bandwagon. Don’t hold your breath!

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