When you hire the disability attorneys at Riemer Hess, we sit down with you and formulate a customized strategy for monitoring and maintaining your disability benefits. We listen to your needs and concerns and make the process as easy and stress-free as possible. Although every client and claim is different, there are certain strategies we follow in monitoring every benefit.
Control the flow of information.
When you retain our disability attorneys, the first thing we do is write the insurance company and inform them that all communications should be through us. We tell them that they should not communicate with either you or your doctor(s). We do this because if we do not the insurer might call you and want to interview you when you are not ready for the conversation and have not been prepared by us. They also might call your doctor and interview him or her. They could then write a self-serving report describing how your doctor said things that harm your claim. Our disability attorneys are well-versed in the tricks that insurance companies use, and will work to make sure that your claim is as bulletproof as possible.
Be cooperative with the insurer.
All insurance contracts require claimants to cooperate with the long term disability insurance company’s investigation of the claim. After we inform the insurer that all communication should be through us, we let them know that we intend to fully cooperate with their requests. We want them to know that you are disabled and have nothing to hide. Over the years we have developed good working relationships with the claims representatives at most of the major insurance companies. We make their job easier. If they need something, we get it for them. They just have to ask. When it comes time to terminate some benefits to increase profits, we want the claims representatives to terminate the benefits of someone else’s client, not the benefits of our clients. Simple human nature—the representative is more likely to terminate the benefits of the client of the disability attorney they do not like, than of the attorney who they like and who makes their job easier.
Automate the process.
Because long term disability insurance companies repeatedly request that the same update form be completed, we automate the process as much as possible. We create a Microsoft Word rider that can be updated each time an update is due. This saves time (and, therefore, attorney fees) from writing handwritten responses, provides sufficient space for answering the questions, and keeps answers as uniform as possible. It is our experience that changes in a description can set off an in-depth investigation by the insurer. For instance, if you write that the pain is “moderate,” but in a prior update you indicated that the pain was “severe,” this may cause an investigation. The long term disability insurance company will interpret the change in language as an improvement in your condition.
Don’t wake a sleeping dog.
As described above, we fully cooperate with the insurer’s investigation and update requests, but that doesn’t mean we wake a sleeping dog. Our disability attorneys do not voluntarily send any information to the insurer even if it is supportive. It is our experience insurance companies often pay some clients for extended periods of time without requesting any information other than the periodic update. When this is happening, any additional information could cause an increased level of scrutiny. We, therefore, hold all test results or other medical support as “aces in the hole” to be played later if the long term disability insurance company wakes itself.