Court Emphasizes Importance of Making Insurance Claims Promptly in ERISA Disability Dispute

A recent decision from our neighbors in the Portland, Oregon federal courts emphasizes that insurance policyholders should always strive to submit claims as soon as possible - especially where the insurance policy is covered by ERISA. Often, it's not practical to submit insurance claims as soon as the loss occurs.  When your house burns down, …

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Court Hands Long-Term Disability Claimant A Win Based on Insurer’s Failure to Give Proper Notice of Claim Denial

ERISA's rules for making claims for benefits and for appealing benefit denials can prejudice claimants.  The rules are complicated, not obvious, and rarely fully disclosed.  And if you don't follow the rules, you can lose your right to file suit after a claim is denied. To protect claimants' rights during this process, the U.S. Department …

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Four Common Disability Insurance Provisions and Why They Matter

As with most insurance cases, disputes over disability insurance coverage or benefits frequently turn on the specific insurance policy language at issue.  Insurance policy fine print can often be read in ways that are counterintuitive.  Below are four common policy provisions that are often key to the outcome of disability insurance disputes. 1.     The Definition …

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ERISA Plan Administrator Cannot Unilaterally Ignore Treating Physicians, Appeals Court Confirms

A recent appeals court ruling emphasizes that ERISA plan administrators cannot ignore the opinions of a claimant's treating physicians absent tangible evidence those opinions are wrong.  In Hennen v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, the appellate court ruled the plan administrator acted arbitrarily in discounting the opinions of the claimant's treating physicians and remanded the claim …

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ERISA Plan Cannot Recover Overpayments Resulting From The Plan’s Own Mistake

Most employee benefit plans (e.g., employer-sponsored health or disability insurance) allow the plan to recover excess overpayments it provides the insured.  This typically occurs where the plan provides benefits that are duplicated by another source of funding.  For instance, most long-term disability plans provide that benefit payments are offset by amounts the insured receives from …

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