Class action suits are an effective way for ordinary people with similar legal complaints against a single company to pool their resources and take on a giant corporation. Instead of representing a single client, a disability insurance lawyer may represent hundreds of clients.
Take the insurance company Unum, for instance. They’re one of the largest providers of employee group disability benefits policies in the United States. They have a bad reputation for unfairly delaying and denying disability benefits to policyholders who become too ill or injured to work. Their underhanded tactics have resulted in numerous lawsuits and class actions filed against the company.
In addition to facing thousands of individual lawsuits filed by policyholders who allege their disability claims were wrongly denied, the company has been the defendant in numerous class action lawsuits for insurance bad faith practices since 2002.
In an Unum class action lawsuit, a group (class) of people claiming a common grievance collectively brings a claim (action) against Unum. Disability insurance lawyers act on behalf of the group, and the judgment of the lawsuit is for all members of the group.
Investigation Leads to Class Action Lawsuit
In the Unum class action lawsuit that’s been called “The Unum/Provident Scandal,” Unum (known then as Unum/Provident) was alleged to have denied or terminated thousands of legitimate disability claims starting in the 1990s and continuing until 2002.
The Unum class action lawsuit came about after an investigation by the Department of Labor that put the long history of Unum claim denial under the microscope. The investigation also looked into Unum’s subsidiary companies, which at the time were Unum Life Insurance Company, Paul Revere Life Insurance Company, and Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company.
Their conclusion? The Department of Labor found the company was acting “unfair and unjust” by deliberately resorting to fraudulent tactics of claim denial as a cost control measure. The claims involved employee group disability policies. In an investigation that involved insurance regulators from 48 states, lawsuits against Unum were granted class action status for violation of ERISA laws.
ERISA are the federal laws that govern most employee group short term and long term disability insurance policies. Although ERISA provides policyholders with the right to appeal a denial of disability benefits, insurance companies often use its complex rules and regulations to take advantage of disabled workers with legitimate claims.
Under court order, Unum was directed to reopen more than 200,000 denied claims, and to reevaluate the claims based on their merit. To ensure fair and just review and handling of all further policyholders’ claims, Unum was charged with overhauling the methods by which they evaluate and process claims. Unum was also ordered to pay a fine of $15 million to several states.
Lesson Not Learned
After such legal actions and repercussions, you’d think Unum would have learned a lesson and curbed their claims-handling abuses and learn to play by the rules.
Well, according to a publication by the American Association for Justice entitled The Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America, as of 2007, Unum confessed that only 10 percent of the claims earmarked for reopening under the terms of the previous legal settlements had been reviewed.
How has Unum revamped their claims handling process? Read on about further Unum class action lawsuits.
Unum Class Action Lawsuit Attorneys
Marc Whitehead & Associates have helped thousands of clients who have had their disability benefits claims unfairly denied by Unum and other insurance companies. They possess the experience, skills and resources to effectively protect your rights in a dispute with a big insurance company.
If you feel you’ve been unfairly denied disability claims by Unum, don’t wait too long to get in touch the disability denial appeal attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates. The sooner we get to work on the case, the greater your chances of success in having your denial of benefits reversed.