A Chattanooga, Tenn., disability insurer says it has won broad approval for agreements designed to resolve disability claim disputes.[@@]
The insurer, UnumProvident Corp., announced in November that it had agreed to pay $15 million in fines and spend $112 million to reassess as many as 215,000 old long-term disability insurance claims and improve benefits for many past and current claimants.
Regulators from Maine, Massachusetts, Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Labor had approved a proposed multistate settlement agreement, and New York regulators had approved a second, similar agreement. UnumProvident said it would start to implement the agreements once two-thirds of the insurance regulators in the remaining states and other state-like jurisdiction, such as the District of Columbia, approved the agreements.
Several law firms that represent disability insurance policyholders, such as Bourhis & Wolfson, San Francisco, have campaigned for regulators to reject the proposed agreements. Critics of the proposals say they put too much of the burden for making a case on the claimants and require claimants to sign away their rights to collect punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.