Has Your Hartford Disability Benefits Claim Been Delayed, Denied, Or Terminated?
Call us today for a free case review at 888-583-4959.
IMPORTANT NEWS: If you own an Aetna Disability Insurance policy, you may have been directed to this page because Hartford Insurance purchased Aetna in October 2018, and the two companies are now being combined for operations.
What does this mean to you? Expect tougher claim decisions from both companies. More claim denials or terminations. A combined workforce of two large disability insurance companies means that some jobs are going to overlap, and some people are going to be let go. The ones who will keep their positions, from claims adjusters to nurse reviewers, will be the ones whose productivity (i.e., denial and dismissal of claims) are stronger. Your claim may be caught up in an employee’s struggle to keep their job.
If you receive a denial or any correspondence from Hartford/Aetna about your claim, we strongly urge you to call our office before your claim gets caught up in something that may have little to do with your disability claim and everything to do with corporate mergers. The years of experience and track record of Justin Frankel with both Aetna and Hartford are something that clients have come to rely on.
The lawyers at the Law Office of Justin Frankel have successfully represented many Hartford disability insurance policyholders in their fight to get or continue receiving their disability benefits. We work with clients on Hartford short-term disability claims and long-term disability insurance claims. If your Hartford disability benefits claim has been denied, or if your claim has been terminated, call the Law Office of Justin Frankel. This is one battle you don’t want to take on your own, and with Justin Frankel, you don’t have to.
Hartford Insurance is one of the leading insurance companies in the group long-term disability insurance field. In 2003, the Hartford purchased CNS’s group life and disability and medical and accident business, expanding its group benefits division even further. The company is publicly owned and trades on the New York Stock Exchange, and its earnings are measured in the millions and billions. How can an individual who is battling a disability also fight against a company of this size? It’s nearly impossible to represent yourself in appealing a denial; even an application for disability claims is spring-loaded with information that can – and will — be used against you during the claims process.
When we are fighting against a disability claim denial from Hartford, particularly when the claim concerns an ERISA policy, we are accustomed to seeing these tactics:
We are not alone in seeing these patterns of deliberately intimidating tactics. Numerous courts have noted Hartford’s close relationships with a myriad of third-party entities which pander toward the insurance companies to the detriment of insureds, as well as the flawed vocational assessments.
A victory for Chronic Fatigue (CF) sufferers came when a Federal judge held that Hartford’s claim determination must be overturned, finding that a claimant remained disabled from her ability to perform the duties of any occupation. The Court rejected Hartford’s transferable skills analysis and labor market survey, rejected the opinions of its paid medical. The Court found that Hartford failed to credit reliable reports from the claimant’s doctor, and improperly ignored the findings of disability from Social Security. Interest and attorneys’ fees were also awarded.
The application that you fill out online to submit a disability claim to Hartford seems like any other insurance form–long, a little annoying in parts, but not so bad. But look at it through the eyes of a claims agent whose focus is to look for claims that can be denied, and you’ll see it in a new light.
What information are you providing that could be taken out of context and used to show that you are not really disabled?
We help Hartford short- and long-term disability benefit claimants by helping them at every stage of the claim, including:
Many Hartford disability insurance policy owners have contacted us regarding challenges to their benefits. We represent claimants who were being paid and then were suddenly terminated, as well as those whose disability claims were denied and delayed from the start. Our long-term disability insurance lawyers know that the Hartford answers to its shareholders first – and to claimants never.
A nurse anesthetist lost use of function in his right hand due to surgery, and was paid benefits by Hartford for nearly three years. He was terminated based on surveillance video. We fought back with an aggressive appeal and proved that his claim was rooted in the loss of fine motor skills needed to perform intricate medical procedures.
An insurance agent with a host of cardiac, orthopedic, and gastrointestinal issues found his benefits abruptly terminated following a review of his medical records by a clerk who reviewed records from only two of his eight physicians. Our appeal was thorough and pointed to the failure of the clerk to conduct a complete medical review. Benefits were reinstated and he continues to be paid on the claim.
Hartford has engaged in conduct in claim handling which often is revealed when aggressively pursuing documentation during an appeal process, following a termination or denial of a claim. In one recent case, we continued to push Hartford for materials – including “roundtable’ discussions which were allegedly conducted, and following such meeting, the claim termination plan was implemented. By pushing for these materials, and making Hartford uncomfortable about what was to be discovered, we forced Hartford to reinstate our client’s claim and secure all unpaid benefits. When materials are provided by insurance companies like Hartford, often materials are withheld intentionally from production, despite ERISA requiring the production of ALL relevant documents.
Several news segments on ABC’s Good Morning America focused attention on Hartford insurance’s treatment of disabled individuals. Reporter Chris Cuomo has taken Hartford to task for wrongfully terminating claims by Jack “Rocky” Whitten. That segment led to dozens of people contacting Good Morning America to share their stories of having their own disability benefits terminated.
Some disability insurance companies rely more on surveillance tactics than others, and Hartford is fairly well known for its aggressive use of video. Advances in video technology have made this a less expensive practice, which can even be done without the presence of a person. This is another reason why the Law Office of Justin Frankel advises clients to maintain careful logs of their appointments. It is easy to have video footage that captures claimants leaving their homes. This can more effectively be defended when there is a record of doctor’s visits and other medical appointments.
Hartford surveillance is often centered on specific dates. Two in particular are the claimant’s birthday, when there is a natural tendency to get out of the house, even if is only for a small celebration, and the date set by the policy when the disability coverage shifts from “own occupation” to “any occupation.” There have been many reported cases when these two dates result in sudden termination of a claim.
Like other disability insurance company, Hartford counts on the reluctance of a claimant who is sick or disabled to be able to fight back against a large company with endless resources. Many of Justin Frankel’s clients are attorneys or insurance professionals who were certain that they had the experience and knowledge to appeal their claim based on their own experience and knowledge of the law and the insurance business.
What they experience as claimants is that the insurance company has a deep bench of lawyers, doctors, and nurses who are paid directly by the insurance company, either on staff or as independent consultants. It makes little sense for these individuals to go up against their employer. They have a vested interest in maintaining a good working relationship with Hartford. This works against the claimant’s best interest, which is to receive the disability benefits that they were promised when they signed a policy contract and paid for coverage.
Justin Frankel has many years of experience with Hartford long-term disability claims and works with many Hartford group disability policyholders who have had their claims denied, delayed, and terminated.
If you need help with a Hartford disability claim, call our office at 888-583-4959 to schedule a free consultation.