Unum Claims Handlers – Incompetent And Annoying

Have you ever wondered why Unum Group always seems to be 13 eggs short of a dozen?

Documentation lost, late letters, wrong templates used in letters that don’t pertain to insureds, failure to read the files, and on and on. What used to be a well-known characteristic of CIGNA and Aetna, both bottom feeders by my standards, has quickly become the sign post for Unum Customer Service.

Neither Unum Life nor UnumProvident lacked good customer service since management pushed an “Exceeds” standard upon its claims handlers. In fact, management once said at a company meeting, “We want most customers to say they don’t agree with our denial decision, but they understand why we did it.”

Well, that might a bit far-fetched, but Unum’s management actually believed they could convince their insureds the company did the right thing by denying their claims. Unum Life wasn’t successful, by the way, they were taken over by the Provident companies in 1999.

Today, Unum’s lack of competence obviously comes from untrained claims handlers who are deliberately “dumbed-down” to not know anything. It’s very hard to keep employees dumb while at the same time expecting they know how to adjudicate contracts. Inside sources tell me new employees are trained to presume everyone is malingering and to apply the lion’s share of risk management activity.

Remember the conversation my investigators found on a Unum manager’s Facebook page? “Insureds are like Slinky’s, they aren’t worth very much, but you like to see them tumble-down the stairs every now and then.” In my opinion, this has been the philosophy of Unum claims handlers for quite some time – not exactly fair and equitable claim review is it?

It also occurs to me that something could be remiss with Unum’s data center in Columbia, SC where all of the mail is received and processed. It could also be that the “frequent firings” have downsized staff to the point of not being able to handle Unum’s business.

Whatever the reason, in my opinion, Unum isn’t functioning very well. If you are a Unum insured and have found that communicating with the company is like trying to nail Jello to a tree, then you know what I’m talking about. Unum is a prime example of how a company can go from a “Lighthouse” (Unum Life’s logo) to an “Out House” in little more than a decade.

Incompetence is clearly annoying, but has become the standard for processing a Unum disability claim.