UnumProvident is, by quite a bit, the largest disability insurer in the country. It has had more than its share of negative press over the last few years arising out of allegations that is has wrongfully denied claims. Ray Bourhis and Alice Wolfson, two excellent trial lawyers out of San Francisco, have been as aggressive as just about any attorneys in bringing Unum's misdeeds to light. Unum's sins are many but Ray and Alice have succeeded in obtaining a number of jury verdicts against UNUM for not only improperly denied benefits but for consequential and punitive damages as well.
Yesterday Ray and Alice filed a class action lawsuit against Unum alleging that consumers were victims of a bait and switch tactic. Individuals purchased insurance to cover them when they were disabled from their own occupations. Then, according to the suit, after the claim was submitted, Unum evaluated the claimant's ability to work against duties that were substantially different and easier to perform than those of the person's own occupation.
Until recently Unum offered employees it deemed worthy a "hungry vulture" award. Nothing like knowing that your financial interests are in the hands of folks who are looking after you!
Unfortunately, the circumstances under which you have the ability to recover either consequential or punitive damages against any health, life or disability insurer are very limited due to ERISA's remedial structure. That statute governs most medical, life and disability claims in the country. But that is a topic for another day.