ERISA benefits litigators are well aware that Unum (and its various permutations, e.g., Unum Provident, First Unum, etc.) is the nation’s largest disability insurer.
On November 18, 2004, New York State Attorney General Elliott Spitzer announced a landmark settlement with Unum resolving a multi-state investigation into alleged unfair claims-handling practices. The settlement requires Unum: (1) to reassess approximately 200,000 claims that previously had been denied; (2) to completely restructure its claims-handling procedures to ensure objectivity and fairness; and (3) to pay a 15-million-dollar fine.
The settlement will revive long denied claims including many that were clearly time barred. It will also give current litigants a shot at a remand to the plan. The ultimate outcome of all this “reassessment” is anyone’s guess.