Don't Let Them Snow You

While looking out of the window at another snowstorm today, it occurred to us that the weather we are having in the New York Metro Area this Winter is much like pursuing a disability income insurance claim – never-ending, frustrating and requiring a BIG shovel to get through all of the bull___ thrown at you, even though all you want to do is get on with your everyday life.

If you are unfortunate enough to get caught up in the world of disability income insurance claims, you had better know what you are doing. Most people would think that the insurance company on the other side of your claim will play fair and give you an even break – WRONG!!!

The ordinary claimant is just “plain folks”, a person who has worked all through life and is now stricken with a crippling illness or injury which makes it impossible to continue working. On the other hand, insurance company claims-deniers do little else but deny, deny, deny and receive applause from their superiors for doing so. The more they save the company, rightfully or wrongfully, the more they are held in esteem for the work they do.

And, ERISA cases can be particularly galling to claimants because the Supreme Court added brass knuckles to the fists of insurers by handing them the doctrine of deference in Firestone v. Bruch, 489 U.S. 101 (1989). Not only do the companies get to dip into their unsavory bag of tricks, the Supreme Court says that Federal Courts have to give deference to their denials.

Trying to establish a disability income insurance claim gives you the same feeling you get when you look out of the window and see the snow tumbling down week after week. More shoveling, more slipping and sliding, more cold and less sunlight. It puts you in a depressed winter mood. You feel as if you want to give up.

That is exactly the mood an insurance company wants you to be in when you are pressing a claim. They want more and more information and regard it with less and less attention. They deny and delay, knowing that you are not working and therefore not able to properly support yourself and your dependents. Why shouldn’t they take their time?

Not only do you have to know what, when and where the insurance company is taking advantage of you, but you also have to know that they are counting on you to fold your tent and slink away because of the legitimate pressure they can put on you. Denying claims is second nature to most insurers and they seem to wield this power without remorse. Insurers hold all of the cards (and the money) while you struggle to get them to fairly evaluate your claim.

Disability income claimants need someone in their corner to point out the objective of insurer tactics and to help counter them while standing by to encourage claimants to obtain what is due under the terms of their policy. Claimants not only need knowledgeable help to properly press their claim, they need someone who has the experience to encourage them to stick to their guns and not be discouraged by insurance company tactics.

Part of the insurance company claims strategy is to keep you and your family “barefoot” for as long as possible so that you get disgusted with the whole system and walk away from your claim or settle for much less than it is worth, just to be out of the grinding process of pursuing an income disability claim.

Either way, they win and you lose. From the insurer’s view, this is the Perfect Storm.



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