Unum Cites Online Portal Use as Evidence of an Insured’s Ability to Function.
Recently, I worked on a two LTD administrative appeals involving Unum. In both instances, Unum concluded our clients could perform sedentary work that mandated frequent computer use, in part, because our clients signed up for the online portal and used it to submit materials.
Unum’s online portal is touted as a “tool” that provides “employees with an easier and more secure way to manage their claims and leaves.” https://www.unum.com/news/yourunumnews-1q2014/onlinetools. Indeed, Unum boldly claims that the online “tool” provides “value to employees.” Specifically, the online portal allows employees to easily access forms and provide information to support an open claim.
Unum, however, fails to disclose that, on multiple occasions, a claimant’s apparent use of the portal may be cited as support for Unum’s adverse claim decision. Worse yet, in both cases, Unum failed to inquire whether it was in fact the insured who used the online portal. In most cases, a relative or friend of the insured greatly assists the insured in shepherding the overwhelming load of paperwork required by Unum.
The next time you contemplate using an insurer’s “claimant friendly tool” think twice. While slow, the exchanging of information via US postal service or facsimile will not generally be used against you, whereas use of the online portal may be.
By Andrew S. Davis