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Christmas GrinchThe beginning of December is hell month for Unum’s claims handlers as managers push the stress overload buttons to deny more claims. Anyone who has ever worked as a Unum claims handler will tell you it’s best to quit on October 1st and come back after the first of the year.

Unum’s claims managers are performance managed (and receive bonuses) on how well they roll in financial objectives, particularly in the 4th quarter. Therefore, you can imagine the hysteria that goes on trickling down from managers to their direct reports.

The process usually involves targeting claims at the beginning of 4th Qtr. and “risk managing” claims through the review processes to back-up denials. Increased claims are put on “Reservation of Rights” and claims handlers find themselves crying in their cubicles because of the amount of pressure put on them to locate and deny more and more claims.

Likewise, this is really not a good time for claimants/insureds who read posts like this and get an uneasy feeling all through the holidays. I wish I could spread the happier message of “sugar plums” and Santa’s reindeer, but the truth is disability claims have a 50-50 chance of staying paid through the holidays.

On a positive note, insureds can counter the claim targeting by making sure all requests from Unum have been met, medical information is specific, and complete, and that there are no outstanding issues going on at this time of the year. While its always a good idea to make sure Unum’s requests have been met (if reasonable), 4th Qtr. should be a priority.

Let’s just say: Don't grinch on my Christmas