If you’ve recently tried to work through the menus, or customer service lately you know how disrupted and chaotic the claims process really is. It’s no longer an issue of “lateness” or “waiting in line”, but issues surrounding the accuracy of information provided, or not being provided with information at all.
Most insurers no longer have a centralized facility housing claims review personnel. Nearly all insurers’ workers now work remotely from home and have minimal supervision, resources and training. My own experiences in trying to work through the various procedures to speak to warm bodies lately indicates that insurers are hiring immigrants who cannot speak English, and who have absolutely no knowledge of how to adjudicate disability Plans or policies. Normally, although most businesses hire offshore workers they do speak English.
Insurers are also not able to organize the paperwork they receive, and often allege “they never received it.” Truth is, in an industry that is operated heavily with paper to begin with, insurers now find themselves in an impossible back-log mess they can’t seem to get out of. Insureds tell me they are faxing and sending information many times because their insurers can’t keep track of incoming paperwork. I did hear through the grapevine that Unum’s communication center was shut dow for a few days.
I suspect that because workers can only muddle through and understand “forms”, there are many more requests for “form updates”. Apparently, the new claims handlers are able to read “forms”, and therefore that’s basically what they’re doing – requesting forms, which they eventually lose or can’t locate in the long run.
Some insurers, such as Lincoln, have hired what they believe to be “bad ass” claims specialists (sorry if I offended), who have given “meanness” a brand new meaning. I’ve had several conversations with claims handlers from Lincoln who communicate no caring or sympathetic attitudes, or express efforts at cooperation about anything. There is no “niceness”, or willingness to assist in anyway – only cold arrogance, and a “bow, heel, kneel attitude to “you better do what I say or else.” In other words, Customer Service has gone out the window.
From an Administrative perspective, the insurance industry is a MESS. I am unaware of the extent to which people actually believe me, but whatever sane or rationale processes were in place before COVID, no longer exists. One insurance company actually told their claims handlers NOT to return or answer calls because they didn’t have time for it. Lincoln refused to give me a manager’s name of someone in charge I could speak to. While in the past, insurers at least demonstrated a semblance of customer service they now do not provide it, and frankly don’t give a damn.
This means that claimants and insureds need to pick up the slack on how they manage their own claims. I’ve been through several phone menus that just don’t work. “Press 2 for Claims” options appear to be broken and unavailable; is this coincidental?
If you came to Portland, Maine and wanted to visit a Unum facility I’d be hard pressed to find one. The Unum building is gone from outer Congress Street. The insurer now exists as the culmination of remote foreign workers with minimal supervision or training. And, Unum Group is not the only insurer who has disappeared from sight. These insurers have taken the ability to manage their business in an organized and rational manner with them. There are no longer any organized processes of claims management, or customer service available to insureds. It’s a mess!