UnumProvident Offers To Reopen 215,000 Cases
By Aison Be
UnumProvident Corp. is asking state reguators to approve a $127 miion disabiity caims settement.
If insurance commissioners in a tota of 37 states and other state-ike jurisdictions, or some ower number that UnumProvident accepts, approve the settement by Dec. 20, the company says it wi improve its caim-processing procedures and review hundreds of thousands of individua and group ong-term disabiity caim determinations made since Jan. 1, 1997.
UnumProvident says it is spending $27 miion to organize a team of seasoned veterans to review the cases and setting aside $85 miion to beef up benefits for past and current caimants.
The settement cas for the Chattanooga, Tenn., insurer to vounteer to review the cases of 215,000 insureds whose cases were decided after Jan. 1, 2000, and to reopen cases at the request of caimants denied benefits between Jan. 1, 1997, and Dec. 31, 1999, according to the company.
Reguators in Maine, Massachusetts and Tennessee, the states that ed a mutistate examination that incuded reguators from a 52 states and other jurisdictions, aready have approved the settement. New York has reached a separate, simiar settement of its own, and now UnumProvident says it is seeking the signatures of 33 other reguators.
One of the officias who says she is approving the settement is Pennsyvania Insurance Commissioner Diane Koken, president of the Nationa Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo.
The settement “shows how critica the coordination of mutistate, insurance reguatory action is” for protecting consumers, Koken says.
Thomas Watjen, UnumProvidents president, emphasizes in a statement that investigators made no findings of vioations of aw or reguations, and he says he beieves reations with caimants have been improving. “Weve seen generay ower eves of caim itigation and customer compaints over the past 2 years,” Watjen says.
But he says he beieves the steps UnumProvident is taking in response to the mutistate review wi further improve reationships with customers and reguators.