Most insureds I’ve had the chance to speak to are treating updates and demands from insurers for other things as if the system has entirely returned to normal.
I called MetLife yesterday on behalf of a client and it took me twenty minutes to find out that my claims handler’s extension wasn’t working and customer service had no idea why it wasn’t. No one seemed to be able to connect the call, nor did the company actually know where the claims handler was.
Other insurance companies haven’t a clue either. Someone from Prudential called me this week to verify that a client would be attending an IME in October. My response, “Please call me in October and I’ll let you know.” That one was pretty silly. Mass Mutual Long-Term Care sent out a letter that was entirely false indicating to me that even a manager wasn’t able to adjudicate “an indemnity rider.”
No, everything is NOT back to normal and claimants/insureds would be making a big mistake to assume that it was. Most claims handlers are still working from home, and in an industry where paperwork is key, communication receiving centers are so backed up it’s doubtful most information will get where it needs to be.
The bad thing about the administrative mess insurers find themselves in is that insureds are receiving letters, some accurate but most are not. Files aren’t being read to any great extent while claims handlers find themselves referring claims to company resources such as IMEs and conducting surveillance. After all, claims handlers have to DO something to get paid, don’t they?
The disability claims process is not likely to return to its normal state of disorganization anytime soon, if ever. Therefore, new norms have to be made in order to manage through the system. Shortly after the beginning of the year I wrote several blog articles about the “new normal”, and I’m sorry to say, this is it!
The outlook for processing of claims continues to be one of total disorganization, miscommunication, and over use of risk management resources. Today, the shortest distance between two points appears to be not receiving paperwork when it was already sent, and having to deal with newly hired claims handlers who have no training on what they are doing.
Therefore, please be aware that nothing has returned to normal and won’t be for quite some time. For now, insurers continue down the paths of inefficiency and “village idiocy” that is sometimes harder to manage in the long run. Insureds need to have the patience of Job in order to forge a path through the disorganization that’s out there.