You may have Colonial Life disability insurance through an employer plan, or an individual plan purchased to supplement employer-provided disability insurance. In either event, you likely rely on it to provide protection in the event that you become disabled and are unable to work. Unfortunately, many Colonial Life claims are denied or delayed in bad faith. If you’ve tried to collect benefits but have been denied, a disability appeals attorney can help.
While Colonial Life became a subsidiary of Unum in 1993, it continues to operate independently. It offers offers group disability insurance plans, which are covered by ERISA, as well as supplemental individual disability insurance policies. Employers are able to select terms for employee plans. Individual policies are portable, thus policyholders do not lose coverage when they change jobs.
Short-term disability insurance is offered to people who are unable to work for a short period of time due to disability. A short-term disability plan will cover a percentage of your income while you are unable to work. Benefits are typically provided on a weekly basis. Colonial life does not currently offer long term disability coverage; however, there are many options for benefit periods through STD plans.
Before you can start receiving STD benefits, you will likely have to go through an elimination period. This is a short period of time between when your doctor determines you can no longer work and when you begin receiving benefits. The longer the elimination period you choose, the lower your premiums will cost. However, that also means you will have to wait longer to begin receiving benefits if you become disabled.
The claims process can be overwhelming. There are many forms that require extensive detail and involve multiple parties. Once a claim is submitted, you must wait a period of time before you will receive correspondence from the insurance company. If your claim is delayed or denied, the process will be even more stressful. That’s why it’s important to work with a disability attorney who can help you with the initial claim and any subsequent issues you may face.
You may submit a disability claim to Colonial Life online, via fax, or through the mail. The initial claim form has three sections. The first requires a claimant statement, the second is a statement from your employer, and the third is an attending physician’s statement. You must also give Colonial Life consent to access your employment and medical records. You should make sure you sign the forms in all relevant places to avoid unnecessary delay in your claim.
If Colonial Life delays your claim, reach out to the company to determine why. The company should tell you what it is waiting on and whether they need any additional information. If they do not give you a straight answer, contact an attorney right away.
If your claim is denied, request a copy of your file. This will provide you with all the information the company used to make a decision about your claim. Your denial letter may outline reasons why your claim was denied (i.e, insufficient medical documentation). You can use this information to submit an appeal with more complete information. You may also need to visit specialists or other doctors, or submit additional medical exams or tests in order to get a positive response from Colonial Life.
It is not uncommon for Colonial Life to delay or deny a claim claiming that your disability is due to pre-existing conditions. They may refuse payment and claim you are ineligible for benefits even though you have made all premium payments. If this has happened to you you may be able to challenge the denial with an appeal.
Group disability plans from Colonial Life are governed by ERISA, which means you will have to file an appeal with the company before you can file a lawsuit for bad faith denial. You will have a specified amount of time after you receive their denial letter in which you should file an appeal. If you miss that deadline, you may not be able to seek an appeal.
At CJ Henry Law Firm PLLC, we have experience helping clients fight Colonial Life claims denials. We know the tactics insurance companies use to deny valid claims, and can help you with your case. Contact us today to learn more.