As we all know it has been quite a realignment change ,,to manage disability claims during these challenging times. The last two weeks I’ve spent most of my time communicating with insurers concerning insureds’ inability to submit forms and other information as requested. In addition, there have been some disability claims “on-the-line” depending on which insurance company I’ve been dealing with.
Surprisingly, Unum Group is at the top of the list of cordiality, offering assistance, and making phone calls to let claimants, (or my clients), know they are willing to wait, or provide any help needed. Unum always seems to come through during disasters since the company did the same thing for 9/11 victims. Therefore, I have to say that Unum, and its claims handlers, are taking the high road on working with its insureds during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Ohio National should also be given public mention for acknowledging our current situation with COVID-19 by allowing paperwork to be submitted when “it is possible.” Although I’ve found Ohio National a somewhat difficult company to deal with in the past, it has been very cooperative with insureds when paperwork is not attainable.
MetLife, however, doesn’t seem to be paying claims at all. This trend started before the virus outbreak, but is now worse than ever. The company is holding individuals to deadlines and continues to “risk manage” claims at a time when information in support of claim is hard to come by.
MetLife has never been on my “carrot list” of good companies since it is obvious that one department at MetLife has no idea what another departments are doing even when the separate claims handlers are dealing with the same claimant. Misinformation appears to be a general trend making it harder for claimants managing their own claims to know exactly what to do. I have found MetLife to be extremely demanding during recent times and often not willing to acknowledge situations as they currently exist.
Within the last two years, MetLife’s strategies and tactics have involved misrepresenting policy provisions, and using every argument they can find to not pay claims. In my opinion, MetLife is now one of the top “No” companies in the United States, forcing prospective buyers of IDI insurance to take second and third looks before signing on with MetLife.
Guardian seems to have problems with general administration, such as receiving and updating paperwork. Like most insurers, Guardian’s administrative personnel receives incoming mail, electronically preserves it, and then forwards to claims handlers.
Of late, Guardian seems to be alleging “we didn’t get it”. In at least one instance I inquired as to whether a claims handler could obtain a CD sent by an insured to view himself to which he replied “No.” This seems a bit strange to me, but again I attribute this to a chaotic system of remote reps, with very little moving of paperwork to where it is supposed to go. Understandable, but a nuisance to insureds who find themselves having to fax or send the same information more than once. The result of chaotic administration is ultimately untimely decisions.
So, where do claimants and insureds go from here? The answer is good communication with insurers letting them know, (in writing only, of course), that doctor’s offices have shut down, or any other particular state shut-down notifications that exist. My clients need only let me know what the situation is and I will notify insurers on their behalf.
Those with MetLife claims should particularly document for the record what is happening. Same with Guardian. DO NOT COMMUNICATE ON THE PHONE. Put everything in writing as to why you are unable to meet the timing demands of your insurer.
MetLife, in particular, should be held accountable for its actions during this time of crisis.