Over the past 15 plus years, the Law Office of Justin Frankel has represented and assisted many claimants with their Guardian Life disability insurance claims. We have worked with our clients at various stages on these Guardian Life disability insurance claims.
Often, we help people at the beginning of the claim, where we can identify issues of potential concern rather than have to address issues of concern once raised by the insurer. We represent Guardian Life disability insurance claimants when their claims have been denied or terminated. We also assist policy owners who are preparing to file a claim to assist them with the claims process, working closely with their physicians, employers, insurance agents, and/or financial advisors to ensure that their claim is properly prepared, with the necessary support and proof of loss for the claim developed.
Guardian Life Insurance Company is one of the nation’s largest mutual life insurance companies that merged with Berkshire Life Insurance Company in 2001 to increase its share of the disability income insurance market. Today, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America is a major player in the area of premium disability insurance products, which includes Group LTD policies (which are generally covered under ERISA) and private individual disability insurance.
Guardian Life offers non-cancellable guaranteed renewable disability insurance for groups, individuals, and business owners, as well as supplemental policies for people who want to add another layer of protection to their income. The disability insurance plans are fairly flexible, being customized to protect the salary income and regular bonuses or “incentive” income, also known as commissions. Guardian is known for offering a graded premium structure so that policy owners can select the level of coverage that suits their needs.
When you see this option by disability companies selling to mid-market policy owners, it is a way to minimize costs for employees who purchase disability insurance as part of their employee benefits plan. For Guardian policy owners, the graded premium structure works for ultra-high income earners who may be insuring a lifestyle that depends upon a six-figure monthly income.
In the individual disability insurance market, Guardian offers a comprehensive series of products including two well-known ones, Provider Plus and the Provider Plus Limited. Provider Plus Limited is a less expensive policy than the Provider Plus, but offers the terms and provisions of a quality policy. Both policies offer own occupation provisions, if the policy owner has limited their occupation solely to the performance of the material duties of their specific profession. Language specific to own occupation is a feature of this disability insurance policy, which is rare among disability insurance policies.
The policies are also non-cancellable and guaranteed renewable to age 65 or 67, as long as premiums are paid on time. They are portable, which means that they can be taken with the owner if they change employers.
Another feature with a difference is the Residual Benefit Rider available on certain policies (as a rider). If the policy owner suffers a loss of 15% or more of your income, Guardian will provide a benefit. Most disability insurance companies pay only at a 20% loss of income. This could be a significant feature to consider.
It should be noted that Guardian Disability Insurance is considered one of the better companies for long-term disability insurance. The company has a reputation among consumers as a well-regarded, well-run organization. That may be true, but unfortunately it does not extend to disability claims that are placed in dispute. Where Guardian gets antagonistic on a claim, you can expect them to dig their heels in and fight. Online reviews of Guardian Life insurance reflect the experiences that the Law Office of Justin Frankel clients have had with this company.
The Better Business Bureau of New York’s website has more than 60 complaints, and that’s for one metro area. Not all of the complaints are about disability insurance, but enough of them are to warrant concern.
One in particular stands out, as it is about an individual who is unable to work due to a condition that is triggered by stress. According to this review, the customer service department had repeatedly given the response that everything is fine, while callers from other areas in the company have told this person they need more information and left a message that they have four days to provide information or they will miss a deadline to file a claim.
There tends to be a higher degree of litigation with Guardian because it sells more expensive policies to higher-income earners. These are the people who are less likely to accept a denial without a fight. They are also more likely to be people who are accustomed to dealing with litigation and understand the value of retaining skilled legal counsel. Many insurance companies base their rates of denials on a statistical model that builds in a certain amount of customer passivity. If enough people don’t know how to fight back or aren’t willing to take on a mammoth corporation, the company does not have to pay out on claims.
But if every single person whose claim is denied takes their battle back to the insurance company with the representation of strong experienced disability lawyers, the company has to shift its economies to contend with the impact of more claims that must be fully paid. In a low-interest rate environment, this poses a threat to the company’s bottom line. But delayed and denied claims pose an even bigger threat to your household.
Who would you rather see win, shareholders and boards of directors, or the individual policyholders who purchased policies in good faith, with an expectation that if they ever needed to file, that their insurance company would follow through on its promise to protect them and their family?
Guardian Life Insurance Company offers the Rolls Royce of disability insurance. However, just because you drive a Rolls Royce doesn’t mean that you will never have a flat tire.
If you are about to file a claim, or if your Guardian disability claim has been delayed, denied or terminated, call our office today at 888-583-4959 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you.