In Wake of Settlement, Can You Have Your Cigna Long Term Disability Denial Overturned?

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The national law firm of Disability Attorneys Dell & Schaefer offer detailed information about the May 2013 Cigna Disability Insurance Settlement Agreement with five states and warn claimants that they should not attempt to seek benefits during the reassessment until they have consulted with a disability insurance attorney. Long term disability claimants need to take immediate action to preserve their claim reassessment rights.

The Cigna Settlement is a big step in the right direction for disability insurance claimants and it is wonderful that hundreds of claimants may receive benefits that were wrongfully denied by Cigna.

As a disability insurance law firm that has handled thousands of long term disability claims, it gets lonely battling Cigna without the help of the government. Now the Department of Insurance from five states have completed a multi-year investigation of Cigna Insurance Company’s long term disability claim handling procedures and entered into a Regulatory Settlement Agreement (“Cigna Agreement”) as of May 13, 2013.*

Gregory Michael Dell, a disability insurance attorney representing disability claimants nationwide believes that this agreement is a confirmation that Cigna / Life Insurance Company of North America's procedures for the review of long term disability claims were unreasonable and may have resulted in the wrongful denial of thousands of disability benefits claims.

The agreement*, which was led by the states of California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania is a major development for Cigna Disability Policy Holders. The Cigna Agreement requires Cigna to implement enhanced claim handling procedures, undergo monthly monitoring and reporting to the Department of Insurance for a 24 month period, and reassess Cigna long term disability denials for the residents of the five states which occurred anytime in 2009 and 2010. Cigna must also consider the claim denials of any California residents that took place in 2008 through 2010. Upon receipt of a letter from Cigna discussing a reassessment, claimants must notify Cigna of their right to have their claim reevaluated within 60 days of the date of the letter. After notifying Cigna, claimants should seek legal representation from a disability insurance attorney in order to work through the challenges of the reassessment process. Cigna is not going to automatically pay denied claims and it is anticipated that the level of scrutiny will be increased so that Cigna can attempt to prove that they committed no wrongdoing.

Attorney Gregory Dell Calls For Cigna To Conduct A Nationwide Re-Evaluation of Denied Disability Insurance Claims

Dell added, "The Cigna Settlement is a big step in the right direction for disability insurance claimants and it is wonderful that hundreds of claimants may receive benefits that were wrongfully denied, but there is a systemic claims handling problem in the entire disability insurance industry as long term disability companies continue to be protected by ERISA regulations which do not allow for either bad faith or punitive damages. I am hopeful that the 45 other states will step up to the plate and participate in the results of this 30 month Cigna investigation; thereby requiring Cigna to re-evaluate claims nationwide. Our law firm not only helps claimants get paid benefits, but we welcome the opportunity to help the US Department of Labor or any state which does not have the resources to take such action or needs assistance investigating Cigna."

Cigna Insurance Settlement May Cost Cigna More Than $78 Million Dollars*

According to the 33-page Cigna Agreement* that was recently released, the investigation into Cigna's unreasonable claim handling practices was initiated on September 15, 2009 by the Departments of Insurance in Maine and Massachusetts. The investigation began shortly after Cigna had signed an August 18, 2009 Agreement with the California Department of Insurance which revealed unreasonable long term disability claim handling practices and resulted in a $600,000 fine. The California Department of Insurance conducted a re-examination of Cigna in 2010, which once again revealed that Cigna had unreasonably denied long term disability claims and resulted in the May 13, 2013 Regulatory Settlement Agreement. The Department of Insurance has been investigating and monitoring Cigna since 2002, but that does not seem to deter or change Cigna's conduct. The 2013 Cigna Agreement requires Cigna to pay fines and administrative cost to five different states totaling in excess of $1.6 million dollars. In addition, a May 24, 2013 press release from the California Department of Insurance indicates that Cigna has "set aside $77 million for projected payments to policyholders potentially nationwide whose claims were not handled properly." Cigna will also be required to form a Management Advisory Group that must meet with State Insurance Investigators on a quarterly basis in order to report how many previously denied claims have been overturned and the progress of implementing the new long term disability claim procedures.

Attorneys Dell & Schaefer Release Video and Webpage Discussing Cigna Disability Settlement

Attorneys Dell & Schaefer have prepared an informative online video and webpage at http://www.diattorney.com/CignaSettlement which goes into detail regarding the specifics of the Cigna Settlement. The law firm is offering a free phone consultation and claim eligibility review for Cigna disability claimants that believe their long term disability benefits were wrongfully denied anytime between 2008 and 2010. The law firm can be reached by calling 888-245-8089.

*Cigna Settlement, California Department of Insurance Press Release, May 24, 2003 (click here)

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Brant Long, Communications Director
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