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Liberty Life Assurance of Boston is a member of the Lincoln Financial Group. Both Liberty Life and its parent company have dubious track records when doing right by people who trust them to fulfill the terms of their policy when they can no longer work.
Liberty Life Assurance will do anything to avoid paying you, even when you have a severe medical condition. They will use whatever reason they can to deny your claim. The law gives you recourse, but you must often fight a challenging battle against companies like Lincoln or Liberty to get the benefits you critically need.
One of the benefits that your employer often provides you is a long-term disability insurance plan. This insurance is supposed to cover you when you cannot work for an extended time or at all. When you learn you have this policy, you may feel peace of mind because you know you can still provide for your family if you cannot work. These policies cover a portion of your earnings, so long they grant you your benefits, and you continue to receive them.
Getting the benefits you deserve when you develop a disability is a different story. To ensure you receive the disability benefits you need from Lincoln and Liberty Life Assurance, you need the right long-term disability insurance attorney on your side. Contact J. Price McNamara ERISA Insurance Claim Attorney today to learn about how we successfully represent clients with injuries and disabilities.
Note that we put a qualifier on whether the insurance company grants your claim and whether your eligibility continues.
Companies like Liberty Life Assurances often do not assure anything because they do the following to people who are counting on them to honor the terms of their long-term disability policy:
A long-term disability insurance claim is unlike many other claims for many reasons. The stakes in these cases are very high. If you are injured early in your career, you can have well over $1 million at stake with your claim. These policies cover roughly 60 to 70 percent of your earnings up to a certain cap, so a lot of money is on the line.
Just as you have a lot at stake financially, so does the insurance company. They know that if they grant you benefits, they must pay them to you for a long time. This obligation will result in a significant hit to their balance sheet. Insurance companies know that if they approve every application that comes to them, they may make less money. Their business model and profitability depend on rejecting a fair percentage of the claims they see.
Insurance companies may deny your long-term disability insurance claim for several reasons:
You can expect the insurance company to nitpick your claim in every way they can because they do not want to pay it. They will force you to go to litigation if they have any reason to deny your claim. They know that litigation is a long and challenging process, and that might discourage people from going through with it. They think that both the system and time are on their side. Your equalizing force is a strong ERISA long-term disability insurance lawyer.
The fact that your employer provides you the benefits through your job means that a different body of law applies. If you bought the long-term disability insurance policy on your own, different laws and procedures will apply to any appeal of a benefits denial.
If your long-term disability policy comes from work, a federal law called ERISA applies. This law preempts any state law claim and will provide a strict set of requirements that you must follow to appeal any denial or termination of your benefits.
Although ERISA is presumably a federal law meant to protect employees, the statute’s effects often do the opposite. Although there is a predictable and uniform way to appeal the benefits decision, the process favors the insurance company. Although the rules favor the insurance company, you must play the game to win your appeal.
The first step you must take quickly after the insurance company denies your claim is to file an administrative appeal. Unfortunately, at this point, you must file this appeal directly with the insurance company.
The road to federal court must go through the insurance company first. Even though you have little chance of winning an insurance company appeal, you must go through the process because you cannot go directly to federal court. If you try to file an appeal with the federal court without going through the insurance company first, a court will dismiss your claim.
Not only must you go through the insurance company appeals process first, but you must also take your best shot there, even if it seems that it may be futile. The insurance company will consider the appeal record that you build for them.
The file may include:
You may put together a case file that you think is exceptionally compelling and persuasive to show that you cannot work. The insurance company may promise to give an objective review to your appeal by different people than those who denied it in the first place. However, do not get too optimistic about winning your appeal to the insurance company. It rarely happens. The appeal is just another step in the process, and it is one of the advantages of the insurance company.
Nonetheless, you must do the work now in building a convincing appeal file. Assuming that you will need to go to federal court afterward, you will not get any further chance to develop the record. The judge will review the same record the insurance company had in front of them. Depending on the language of your policy, the judge may review the record on their own, or they will review the insurance company’s decision to see if it was wrong.
You can very seldom add anything to the insurance company’s appeal record. Judges are not allowed to expand the administrative record except under minimal circumstances. If they allow you to add information, the insurance company may appeal if they lose the case.
Nonetheless, even if the process favors the insurance company, you can take comfort in getting an objective review at some stage in the process, even if it takes you some time to reach federal court.
There have been cases where federal judges have overturned an insurance company’s claim denial in stinging rebukes that highlight precisely how arbitrary and unfair the insurance company’s decision was. To reach that point, you need evidence and facts that we will help you gather.
In other cases, you may have successfully applied for initial benefits. However, several years later, you may get a letter that the insurance company wants to send you for more medical testing. If you get that letter, you should be worried and contact an attorney. It is always better to prepare yourself for what may be an extensive legal fight.
Some long-term disability policies will change in the middle of the game. Initially, you may be required to show that you cannot perform your current job duties. That can change at a certain point to you being unable to perform any job duties. In other words, the insurance company expects you to do some work, even if it is not in the field for which you have received training.
Insurance company benefit terminations often seem incredibly unfair. Many judicial decisions in these cases detail facts where the claimant is obviously sick or disabled. However, to the insurance company, you are nothing but an expense. They do not look at your situation to see your difficulty and health challenges. They are merely trying to be opportunistic about booting you from the roster of people that they must pay. You also have the same legal right to appeal benefit terminations.
ERISA lawsuits can require lengthy and bitter fights. However, if you shy away because you know you are in a long battle, the insurance company will win, and you and your family will lose.
To take on the insurance company, you need an experienced and determined ERISA long-term benefits attorney. These cases are complex, requiring someone familiar with the system to give you the best chance of winning.
Your attorney can help you by:
You cannot make it through the appeals process on your own because it favors the insurance company by design. They have attorneys of their own, who are grizzled veterans of these cases and have likely saved their company tens of millions of dollars by fighting people like you. To effectively fight back against arbitrary and unfair insurance company tactics, you need to fight them with an experienced attorney of your own.
Price McNamara is an experienced ERISA attorney who has helped countless people in your shoes who have had to fight for the benefits their long-term insurance promised them that the company refuses to pay. Remember, the insurance company has a legion of lawyers and adjusters whose interests don’t align with yours. They will do everything in their power not to pay you if they can. Never take them on yourself.
We do not hesitate to fight for you against these large companies that can care less about you and your family. If the insurance company has denied your claim, you do not have any time to waste – you must immediately get to work on your appeal. Call us today at (504) 420-6962 or contact us online for your free initial consultation.
Following graduation from Loyola Law School in New Orleans in 1990, Price McNamara served as a Federal Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable John M Shaw, Chief Judge, United States District Court Western District of Louisiana.
Mr. McNamara founded J. Price McNamara ERISA Insurance Claim Attorney, and began putting his past experience to work for the injured and disabled clients he now represents against the insurance companies in personal injury and long term disability and other insurance disputes in both federal and state courts