In May of this year, a four year Targeted Market Conduct Examination of CIGNA and Life Insurance Company of America (LINA)’s Disability Income Insurance Claim Handling Practices was concluded by the Departments of Insurance in Maine, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Review the Regulatory Settlement Agreement of May 13, 2013. See CIGNA’s discussion of this in its SEC filing. As a result of this close examination, significant changes must now be made in their handling of disability claims, as set forth in the Regulatory Settlement Agreement. Cigna will pay significant fines and set aside up to 77 million dollars to pay disabled claimant’s whose claims were wrongfully denied.
Our persistent efforts to initiate proactive communications with the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI), specifically with Julie Stockman, an Investigator at DOBI, has paid off. She verified our suspicions, and made available to us through public record, confirmation that New Jersey is, in fact, a part of this settlement agreement. This essentially means that New Jersey’s consumers whose disability claims were denied by CIGNA and LINA from January 2009-December 2010 are entitled to a review of those claims. DOBI’s confirmation of New Jersey’s status regarding this agreement holds significant weight as it is DOBI’s goal to protect and educate “consumers regarding insurance, money matters, and real estate transactions.” We, like DOBI, are interested in protecting our state’s consumers.
Further, with New Jersey’s confirmed participation in this recent agreement, this will serve as a benchmark in our review of our client’s claims, not only administered by CIGNA and LINA, but all other companies, including Hartford, Reliance Standard, Prudential and Unum, to name a few.
We applaud this agreement as a step in the right direction, especially because New Jersey is a recognized participant in this action. This is of paramount importance because we have handled hundreds of CIGNA/LINA claims at our firm, and there is a clear pattern of unjust denials of claims for disabled consumers of our beloved state. We have appealed the wrongful denials, and even with significant evidence in support of the claims, CIGNA (in particular) would often uphold the denials, forcing us to file litigation in Federal Court, where, we always have been able to advocate and obtain justice for our clients. As of the date of this posting, we know that New Jersey is a part of this agreement, but wonder just how many other states are participating. The last time an agreement of this magnitude was reached, back in 2005, all 50 states joined and what emerged was the Multistate Regulatory Settlement Agreement, and the review of hundreds of thousands of claims denied across the country during a certain time period.
Contact us at Bonny G. Rafel LLC to review your claim and help you obtain the long term disability benefits you deserve. We can help you with the Reassessment of your claim if you were denied your disability claim during the abovementioned period.
By Alison L. Weitzer