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The Top 10 Large-Group Short-Term Disability Insurance Companies

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A common benefit offered by many employers—group short-term disability insurance—is an affordable way for employees to protect their incomes in the event of partial or total disability. Generally speaking, short-term disability insurance will cover about 60 percent of your income, and it usually kicks in to provide coverage within 14 days. Short-term disability coverage will then pay benefits for anywhere from three months to two years, depending on the policy terms.

This may sound great, but the claim process is an uphill battle, with insurance companies often wrongfully delaying or denying valid individual or group disability claims.

Here are some of our experiences in dealing with the top 10 short-term disability insurance companies.

  1. CIGNA. CIGNA is the largest disability insurance company in the United States. In 2013, CIGNA entered into a $77 million settlement agreement with multiple states resulting from allegations that the company had improperly handled thousands of disability claims from 2008 through 2010. The states’ investigations revealed that CIGNA had improperly delayed and denied valid claims by ignoring available information that was available to the company in evaluating the claims.
  2. Unum. Unum provides disability insurance to people in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and includes various sub-entities. In 2005, Unum settled a lawsuit filed by insurance regulators in all 50 states and American Samoa regarding questionable claims practices. The lawsuit also coincided with an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor. The settlement required Unum to change its practices regarding reviewing claims, reassess claims denied as far back as 1997, and pay millions of dollars in fines.
  3. MetLife. MetLife, a Fortune 500 company, was also in litigation involving its claims practices. In Metropolitan Life v. Glenn, MetLife was sued by a policyholder after denying her valid disability claim that they had previously approved. MetLife litigated the case all the way to the United States Supreme Court, where the Court found that MetLife had a conflict of interest in denying the valid claim, since they both fund claims and make the determination as to whether a claim is valid.
  4. The Hartford. The Hartford, just like any other disability insurance company, must comply with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a federal law that applies to various employee benefit plans. The Hartford is presently facing ERISA claims across the country alleging that it wrongfully delays and denies disability valid claims as a matter of routine. In 2005, The Hartford settled a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of 21,000 policyholders for $72.5 million.
  5. Lincoln Financial Group. Another huge insurance company, Lincoln Financial, was investigated by the New York State Department of Financial Services in 2015. The regulators discovered that Lincoln Financial had routinely engaged in unfair claims settlement practices, and found that the company had therefore violated New York State insurance law. The investigation centered on how the company failed to take corrective action after learning in 2008 that the company made significant errors in how it handled disability claims. Due to the inaction of its senior executives, Lincoln Financial Group wrongfully delayed or denied hundreds of valid claims for the next seven years.
  6. Prudential. Another Fortune 500 Company, Prudential carries more than $100 million in insurance coverage. In addition, Prudential was the subject of litigation due to wrongfully denying claims. In a 2012 lawsuit, Prudential was found to have wrongfully denied a policyholder’s disability claim by finding that he was not “totally disabled” despite the voluminous, compelling medical evidence and proof to the contrary.
  7. Reliance Standard. Perhaps not as well-recognized as many of the other companies on this list, Reliance Standard is another nationwide disability insurance company. In a 2018 case, Reliance Standard was sued by one of its policyholders after denying her disability benefits. In reviewing the question of whether Reliance had a conflict of interest similar to the MetLife case above, the court identified a pattern of arbitrary claim denials and other bad-faith actions that extended across decades.
  8. Liberty Mutual. Liberty Mutual is a well-known insurance company, trading on the image of the Statue of Liberty to engender trust. Unfortunately, the American Association for Justice named them as one of their 10 worst insurance companies in America thanks to a history of anti-consumer practices, including Liberty Mutual’s penchant for wrongfully delaying or denying valid disability claims.
  9. The Standard. The Standard carries more than $85 million in disability insurance policies. They have faced hundreds of lawsuits filed by policyholders due to wrongfully denying valid disability claims. The company has a reputation for closely scrutinizing every claim before making a decision.
  10. Mutual of Omaha. Mutual of Omaha is a well-recognized insurance company, and provides both short-term and long-term disability insurance. Mutual of Omaha has faced many lawsuits alleging bad-faith denials of valid disability claims. In one recent case, they were found to have wrongfully denied a policyholder’s valid claim without properly investigating it. In another case, a court found that Mutual of Omaha had wrongly cancelled disability benefits to the policyholder after paying them for a year.

These are just the top ten disability insurance companies, but our experience is that all of the other companies that sell individual and group short- and long-term disability coverage engage in the same questionable practices. The bottom line is that insurance companies often value their own profits at the expense of your valid claim.

You Need an Experienced Short-Term Disability Insurance Attorney at DarrasLaw

Too many people don’t receive the individual or group disability benefits they are entitled to because they don’t understand the claims process. People also tend to wrongly assume that their individual or group disability insurance company will do the right thing. When they finally realize that the company wrongfully denied their valid claims, it’s often too late to do anything about it. This is the game that insurance companies play. You need someone on your side to fight for the individual or group disability benefits you rightly deserve.

Contact DarrasLaw for Help With Your Short-Term Disability Claim

DarrasLaw is an award-winning and nationally pre-eminent litigation firm that specializes in short-term and long-term disability law and ERISA litigation. Our award-winning disability attorneys and top-rated ERISA lawyers have over 100 years of combined litigation and claim experience in helping our clients timely file valid claims and fight wrongful delays, denials, and terminations of insurance coverage. We know how to get the individual or group disability benefits you deserve, and stand by our clients every step of the way. If you would like a completely free policy analysis and free claim consultation, call us at 800-898-7299 or email us.

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DarrasLaw is Americas' most honored and decorated disability litigation firm in the country. Mr. Darras has seen more, evaluated more, litigated more, and resolved more individual and group long term disability and long-term care cases than any other lawyer in the United States.

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