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Long-term disability insurer writing you off as a bad bargain?

If you're an attorney, a CPA, a medical professional, a professional athlete or a business owner, you may find it surprisingly difficult to get your long-term disability insurance claim paid. It's not because your occupation is especially dangerous, and it's probably not because you've made a mistake filing your claim.

The truth is, many insurance companies deny long-term disability (LTD) claims in bad faith. What does that mean? Often enough, it means they simply refuse to adhere to the terms of the policy, ignore or delay your claim, or fail to reasonably consider the merits of your claim.

It may not be personal. Some companies actively deny claims because their company's underlying financial position is weak and they want to use your money to shore it up. With interest rates down and an aging workforce, their investments aren't making money but their insurance pool is making claims.

One common tactic they use to save money is to short-change you on your claim, rather than trying to get away with not paying it at all. Sure, they'll concede you have a serious injury or illness. Instead of considering the real parameters of your disability, however, they will look at an actuarial table and refuse to pay you any more than the average person in your situation would get.

You aren't some theoretical "average person." You're a person who is suffering a serious and disabling condition that is keeping you from working. Your LTD claim shouldn't be based on an average claim but on your specific treatment needs and expenses.

What if I have an own occupation policy?

Your LTD insurer may tell you that your claim is different because you're in an occupation-based plan -- an own occupation or any occupation plan -- rather than a traditional group plan. They may try to claim you're not disabled because you might be able to perform some work, somewhere.

Again, the insurance company may well concede your disabling condition, but then do the math and claim you are only entitled to benefits for the average recovery time, which they specify. Or, they may try to get you to prove you can't do any work -- but that's not required by own occupation policies.

At Steve German, A Law Firm, we want your insurance company to do right by you. If they're unwilling to do that and delay or deny your claim in bad faith, we are ready to take them to court. We know all about insurance company practices, and we are not easily intimidated.

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