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CIGNA's Claims Manual is Not Confidential

Disability Wiki.

If CIGNA, or one of its subsidiaries, denies your long term disability claim, you should send a request to CIGNA demanding a copy of its claims manual. You should ask for it by name; CIGNA calls its claims manual "The Book of Operating Knowledge."

On November 14, 2006, we successfully defeated CIGNA's attempt to prevent disclosure of its Book of Operating Knowledge. In the case of Levy v. INA Life Ins. Co. of New York, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83060 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 14, 2006), Judge Gerard E. Lynch denied CIGNA's motion. Judge Lynch explains:

The case for non-disclosure is further undermined by Department of Labor regulations requiring disclosure of procedures employed during claims processing as mandated under section 503 of ERISA. See 29 C.F.R. § § 2560.503-1(g)(1), (h)(2), (i)(5), (j)(5), and (m)(8). Indeed, the Department of Labor "has taken the position that internal rules, guidelines, protocols, or similar criteria would constitute instruments under which a plan is established or operated within the meaning of section 104(b)(4) of ERISA and, as such, must be disclosed to participants and beneficiaries." U.S. Department of Labor, "Frequently Asked Questions about the Benefit Claims Procedure Regulation," C-17, www.dol.gov/ebsa/FAQs/faq_claims_proc_reg.html. These requirements make plain that such claims-handling manuals, whether in whole or piecemeal, are likely to be disseminated widely to plan participants and to litigants challenging benefits denials. Under these circumstances, the effort to protect such materials as confidential is quixotic.

Obtaining CIGNA's Book of Operating Knowledge is often helpful because if CIGNA did not follow its own internal procedures a strong argument could be made that it failed to provide you with a full and fair review.

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