Give a Little TLC

In our work, we read a lot of case reports, articles, blogs and treatises on insurance. Most concern the latest legal decisions and what they mean to insurance litigation; many concern settlement procedures, buyouts and other practical aspects of pursuing claims against insurance companies.

But, very few, if any, are written from the point of view of the plight of the actual policyholder – the person whose righteous claim has been denied. What goes on in the mind of the person who truly believes he or she has met the requirements to obtain benefits, but is blindsided when the insurer turns down the claim?

And, when we say “met the requirements”, it means that some kind of personal disaster has befallen the policyholders, usually affecting the very basic elements of their lives. After all, people usually don’t buy personal insurance except for life, health, disability income and similar life-altering happenings.

How do these people cope?

First and foremost, if they have a disability which prevents them from working and bringing home a paycheck, they need financial support for food, medication, ordinary living expenses for their families. This should be understood by everybody. All of an insured’s time and energy go into keeping body and soul together for the family.

The stress created by such a situation can be overwhelming even for a healthy person. For people suffering from a physical or mental disability severe enough to prevent them from earning a living, the stress is devastating. Pile a questionable insurance company claim denial on top of this package of woes and the outlook is even grimmer for the claimant.

The point we are driving at is that everyone involved on the claimant’s behalf must be very aware that the claimant needs some TLC from the people in their corner, even if those people are not in the habit of offering TLC.

Doctors and lawyers are accustomed to being deferred to in their everyday practices and are, maybe, due some acknowledgement for their importance in many people’s lives. But, when it comes to denied insureds whose very financial future and wellbeing are threatened, they must find some extra TLC to help carry the people they serve through the crisis.

As busy as professionals are, we have to find that little extra bit of time to take a call personally and talk to a client or patient when the world seems at an end to them. Such a sign of their doctor’s or lawyer’s particular interest in their case may do much to help give them the strength to go on.

From the denied claimant’s point of view, the situation is extreme. No job, no money and only one hope – that the lawyer and the doctor will be able to get the insurance company denial turned around. This is a large responsibility calling for skill on the part of the professionals to get the job done.

The extra effort we are calling for here is not in a professional sense. Doctors and lawyers, as a class, go all out professionally for their clients and patients in all matters. The extra effort required for denied insurance claimants is for the professional to be understanding and supportive through the claimant’s tough time. Find the time and energy to give a little TLC.

Being aware of the stress your client or patient is suffering is half the battle. Doing what you can to alleviate the stress is the other half.


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