Select Page

Unum Disability Claim – A history of denying valid claims

Long-Term Disability (LTD) insurance providers have long had a reputation for denying legitimate claims.

Unum DIsability Claim

Unum Disability Claim – Long-Term Disability (LTD) insurance providers have long had a reputation for denying legitimate claims. In 2002 Unum was investigated for unscrupulous practices.

In 2002, CBS 60 Minutes broadcast a special on Unum’s unscrupulous practices.

The program interviewed an eye surgeon with Parkinson’s whose claim was denied, an Unum employee who was given quotas of claims to deny, and a doctor who was pressured to present medical opinions in favor of denying claims. Around the same time, Dateline also released a special on disability benefits where they interview Unum employees discussing how they were pressured into denying as many claims as possible.


Claims Denied to Retain Reserves

Investigation into Unum’s history and practices revealed indications that starting in the 1990s the company began a policy of denying claims in response to the growing number of claims filed by customers who held “own occupation” policies. Such policies insured individuals with occupational specialties against disabilities arising from their particular occupational specialty.


The high demand for benefit payouts was compounded by the era’s low interest rates.

It is suspected that as a strategy to retain its financial reserves until a more fortuitous financial climate arrived, Unum began to deny long-term disability claims in many states including Texas by applying a set of stringent review initiatives that included heightened scrutiny of psychiatric claims; more frequent covert surveillance of claimants; insistence on having the claimant undergo dubious independent medical examinations; and:

  •   Changing policies without the authorization or knowledge of claimants
  •    Improperly investigating claims and relying on opinions from unqualified experts
  •   Refusing to acknowledge a disability
  •   Asserting the disability was a pre-existing condition
  •   Applying delaying tactics aimed at exhausting the claimant and ensuring a lower settlement
  •   Paying only partial benefits for a total disability


In the years that followed, Unum Provident lost many important lawsuits, costing them millions of dollars.

After investigations into Unum Provident, it became clear CEO, Harold Chandler, and Senior Vice President of Claims, Ralph Mohney, highly incentivized denying claims for profit. The lawsuits and investigations culminated in an agreement between Unum and the insurance regulators of each state. The agreement stipulated that Unum and their subsidiaries would improve their claims handling practices. The settlement occurred after a lengthy investigation by the regulatory agencies of Maine, Massachusetts, and Tennessee found Unum to be engaged in systemic unfair claim settlement practices.


The agreement lays out a plan of corrective action.

The plan involves dramatic changes to how the company is run. Unum was required to add three independent directors to their Board of Directors, one of which is to be in charge of an audit committee while the other two form a Regulatory Compliance Committee. Additionally, Unum was required to create a Regulatory Compliance Unit in charge of monitoring compliance with ERISA requirements and the agreement itself. Unum was asked to create a Claim Reassessment Unit tasked with re-assessing claims denied on or after January 1, 1997. However recent reports suggest that only 10% of required claims were ever reevaluated.


If you have a Unum disability claim denied or any other long term disability claim denied you may still qualify for benefits. Contact an experienced Long-Term disability lawyer at 512-454-4000


Today, Unum still regularly denies even legitimate claims, but at no significantly greater rate than any other LTD insurer.

While they have made some reforms, their original abusive practices created a bad precedent for the industry that still has not completely faded.


In a recent case Lonnie Roach of Bemis, Roach & Reed argued before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the court found that multiple mistakes committed by Unum reviewing doctors affected those appellate reviews to the extent that they could not be considered substantial evidence in support of Unum’s decision to deny benefits.

If your claim and appeal have been denied by Unum, it is therefore crucial to go through the entire administrative record carefully in order to locate any mistakes committed by Unum review personnel. These mistakes can often be used to overturn a wrongful denial of benefits.


Lonnie Roach ERSIA lawyer


For most people, their ability to work is their ability to live.

Roughly half of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck; only 45% of households have enough money to cover a month of lost income. If a breadwinner becomes injured or ill and can no longer work, the effects on a household’s financial stability can be devastating. While Social Security helps cover some of the difference, the average Social Security benefit is only $1,461/mo (2019). This is well below the roughly $3,700/mo the average American earns. Also, an individual is only eligible for Social Security if they are entirely disabled. Many people suffer from an injury or illness and cannot do the job they once did, but are still functional enough to perform a more menial (and lower-paying) position. Many workers choose to carry Long-Term Disability (LTD) policies to protect their ability to earn.


Long Term Disability Lawyers

LTD policies generally pay a percentage of lost income, usually much more than is covered by Social Security. LTD benefits can be an essential life-line to those who have lost a job because of injury or illness. It can be devastating if an individual doesn’t receive the benefits they paid premiums for. If your Unum disability claim has been denied, contact the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed for a free consultation. We handle claims against most Long-Term Disability Insurers. We have the experience and knowledge needed to appeal your claim successfully. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.

5 star disability lawyers

"Words can not truly express the gratitude that I feel toward Mr. Lonnie Roach and his professional team. I give them an A+++. Very compassionate and prompt. Their priorities are first and foremost helping you succeed at your case. When you feel helpless, feeling like someone is on your side can mean the world to you. Thank you for working for the people."
-Amy K.


Top SS disability lawyer
top disability attorney

Blog Feed

Suicide concerns and prevention for those with disabilities

Suicide concerns and prevention for those with disabilities

Anyone can be at risk for suicide but for the disabled life can be particularly challenging. Suicide prevention begins with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously.

ltd assistance denied

best disability lawyer

board certified attorneys

Your Free Initial Consultation

At Bemis, Roach and Reed, if we can't help you, we will try to find the right attorneys for you.

We offer each of our prospective clients a free no obligation one hour phone or office consultation to see if we can help you and if you are comfortable with us. We know how difficult a time like this can be and how hard the decisions are. If we can be of assistance to you and help you find a solution to your issue we will even if that means referring you to another attorney.

Or simply call 512-454-4000
to schedule your
Free Consultation

Let's get you Started:

If you could provide us with some basic information about your claim we will get right back with you with a free case evaluation and schedule your Free Consultation Today.

Fields marked with an * are required

Call now for a FREE initial consultation
(512) 454-4000