Carrot & Stick Awards

Carrot and StickNot surprisingly DCS, Inc. is giving its top “Stick” to Unum Group for its overwhelmingly deliberate chaotic claims review process where there is every indication the company is managing claims to “deny” rather than “to pay.”

It has become increasingly evident that Unum lost control of its claims process by outsourcing and indiscriminate firings to save costs. Unfortunately, Unum’s regular firings have resulted in a highly negligent claims process using old technology and ill trained claims personnel. Therefore, Unum remains DCS’ “top stick” for unfair claims review based on its own ignorance and mismanagement.

During the last year Reliance Standard’s hands have been slapped by the courts for engaging in unfair claims practices. Having worked through Reliance’s claims process on many occasions, and having written several consultant’s reports for attorneys on appeal, I can reliably state that Reliance is not a company that should ever be “relied upon” to say the least. The company seems to have and make up its own rules particularly when ERISA disclosures are required. Reliance Standard is definitely our second pick for a DCS stick award.

Mass Mutual, a formerly “not so bad” claims reviewer, is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of insureds looking for timely decisions. The company’s misrepresentations of its own policies in combination with untimely decisions makes Mass Mutual a top “stick” when it comes to paying its own stockholders. It is sad to watch a “mutual” company treat its owners the way it does.

In addition, Mass Mutual is using the IME process to “stack the deck” against legitimately impaired insureds. It is not uncharacteristic for insurers to hire top medical hacks to discredit claims. Mass Mutual is our top pick for using IMEs bought and paid for to deny claims.

Although there are no real “carrots” in the private disability industry anymore, baby carrots are awarded to Northwestern Mutual and Principal for at least trying to pay claims fairly. These are the only two carrots among the sticks that seem to stand out from the packs of wolves circling the forest.

In fact, DCS, Inc. is still recommending Northwestern Mutual and Principal over Berkshire/Guardian for those searching for IDI professional disability coverage.

Sadly, there are no group STD/LTD insurers that are recommended for group insurance at this time. They are all equally bad.