No One Knows Anything Anymore……

One of the things that has become increasingly clear lately is the absolute degree of “stupidity” that is taking place within certain insurers like Unum, The Standard, MetLife and Aetna. Claims handlers, managers, field reps, HUB investigators and Customer Service Reps all seem to have been infected with NOT KNOWING the jobs they are actually performing.

As a consultant, I speak to claims handlers and managers on a regular basis and “No one seems to know anything anymore.” At one time, Unum’s claims handlers had solid training on ERISA, but as The Standard’s claim rep told me yesterday, “You can ask my manager about that”, and I did. She didn’t know anything  either.

In fact, the “stupidity gene” is so rampant among insurers these days that I’m almost tempted to conclude it’s deliberate and deceptive. We now know Unum’s management has been dumbing-down its claims personnel for a long time. All you have to do is read a Unum deposition transcript with all of the “I don’t knows” documented in it to conclude the claims process at Unum is managed by a bunch of U-numbies – and that’s a fact.

Former employees tell me Unum’s training is mostly brainwashing “A type” personalities to presume all applicants are attempting to cheat the company. Do they know about the difference between and ERISA Plan and an IDI policy? Probably not, but they sure know how to identify “cheaters.”

In order for claims handlers to manage claims appropriately, they DO have to know certain things. Why wouldn’t The Standard’s claims handlers know about ERISA time lines when it is regurgitated in its letters to claimants time and time again? I recently saw a MetLife letter sent to a claimant that was devoid of spaces….all of the words ran together. Who looked at this letter before it was sent out and decided it was OK? Makes you wonder doesn’t it?

Although I’ve had multiple conversations with at least one of Unum’s reps, and appreciated working with him, most others are devoid of valuable information and have nothing for me. As one HUB investigator told me today, Unum’s reps are robotic, and interested only  in slamming its insureds to the wall.

In a way, insurance stupidity may not be a bad thing in that it is always preferable for private disability insureds to know more than the companies who process claims. I have always claimed that “knowledge is power” and have published information for nearly 16 years to better educate those who file claims.

So, keep the faith, and realize that a dumbed-down insurance process may not be a bad thing.  It is always better to manage claims from a position of superiority rather than equal dumbness.

Insurance claims handlers are at the bottom rung of authority for a reason.