In a recent interview, Ray Bourhis discusses current long-term Disability Insurance Claim issues.
Interviewer: Your practice has handled Litigation Claims Cases for some time now. Have you noticed any changes in recent years how insurance companies are approaching settlement on your cases?
Ray Bourhis: Yes. I think many companies are more constructive in their approach than they used to be. Perhaps this is partly due to the expansion of mediation and the growth of the alternative dispute resolution industry; but I think it is also due to the development by the insurers of highly skilled professional personnel who are dedicated to resolving disputed claims. Unum is a good example of this. In my opinion, the Company has become very proficient, and very credible in this regard. Unum is still a very tough adversary, but it has become a lot smarter about how it approaches legitimate claims disputes.
Interviewer: How long does it usually take to resolve most cases?
Ray Bourhis: We can resolve most cases within a matter of months. I believe that our record for our fastest settlement involved a surgeon with clinical depression and AIDS. The insurer cut him off without so much as an IME. Sad case. Very large settlement.
Interviewer: Do you run across claimants who are trying to exaggerate claims against their carriers?
Ray Bourhis: You see malingerers now and then but those folks don’t make the cut in our office. We probably reject 3-4 cases for every one we accept. And because of our reputation, and of the results we’ve achieved, we are able to pick and choose our clients carefully. As a result, we’ve earned a great deal of credibility and are often able to settle cases very quickly.
Interviewer: I know you have a lot of 7 figure settlements. Do you only accept large cases?
Ray Bourhis: No. Frankly, at this stage, I’m almost as interested in interesting factual scenarios as in just taking big dollar cases. People who are out there with no income coming in, trying to support a family, hanging onto a home and savings, trying to avoid utter disaster, need help. And so, sometimes we do take smaller cases. But that said, I have to admit that you put as much effort into a smaller case as into a large one. So other things being equal, the big cases are preferable from an economic perspective.
Interviewer: Do you represent people in particular professions more than others?
Ray Bourhis: Many of our clients are medical doctors and dental surgeons, but we also typically represent court reporters, accountants, financial consultants, building contractors, corporate CEOs, small business owners – the whole gamut. We specialize in individual long term disability claims involving policies that were sold to high income individuals in the 80s and 90s, and even before. So the clients tend to fit that stereotype.
Interviewer: What are the most common reasons for denying a disability claim?
Ray Bourhis: There are all kinds of reasons. Medical issues, questions about what the insured’s duties are, assertions of malingering . . . Some insurers just seem to have a business model that no matter how valid a claim, all it has to do is deny it, and the insurance company will wind up paying only a fraction of what it owes.
Interviewer: How do they think they will get away with that?
Ray Bourhis: They’re often right. Many states have no remedies for bad faith conduct. Or they place limitations on damages. Or you have ERISA Preemption meaning the insured has virtually no right to recover their actual losses. Plus many disabled people are weak and unable to pursue litigation. There are lots of things in issue.
If you have been denied Long Term Disability by your insurance company, please contact us by email, online form or toll-free telephone for assistance and a free case review.
Read about Attorney Ray Bourhis.