Hartford Disability Insurance Claim Denial Attorneys

Why Did Hartford Deny a Disability Insurance Claim? 

If your long-term disability benefits were denied, The Hartford may have based the denial decision on your not disclosing a pre-existing health condition, failing to provide medical examinations, or a problem with your paperwork. Our firm has extensive experience filing and litigating Hartford disability claims. We know how Hartford operates and what it takes to file a successful claim. Our attorneys also know what it takes to fight back when Hartford denies or wrongfully terminates a disability claim. 

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Here are some common questions we receive from Hartford policyowners:

How do I start to file a claim with Hartford for disability? 

Find your original disability insurance policy. Your disability policy is a legal contract between you and the insurance company. It defines exactly what the insurance company is supposed to do for you in the event you become disabled. It also defines what disabled means in a legal sense, and what you are required to do in order to become eligible for benefits.

The contracts are difficult to understand without a thorough knowledge of how contracts, and disability insurance contracts specifically, work. The contract is not designed to make the claimant’s life easy. The burden of proof in the contract is on the claimant. A medical diagnosis from your treating physician is not enough. A diagnosis and treatment from a general doctor will likely not withstand the scrutiny of claims reviewers, who may be clerks, nonpracticing doctors or nonpracticing nurses. 

The disability insurance company’s position is that its thorough review process is intended to protect legitimate claimants by making sure fraudulent claims are not draining the company’s resources. Unfortunately, the efforts to deny cases, which we believe are more about protecting the company’s bottom line than attempting to halt fraud, are like a massive net that brings in many legitimate and deserving claimants. 

Someone who is so disabled they cannot work is not in a good place to do battle against Hartford, with its limitless resources including law firms, physicians, claims adjusters and layers upon layers of bureaucracy. This is where a skilled long term disability insurance law firm can help. Call us today for a free case review.

Has Your Hartford Disability Benefits Claim Been Delayed, Denied, Or Terminated?

In 2018, The Hartford purchased Aetna, so people who own Aetna long term disability insurance policies may find themselves dealing with the result of being a legacy account. This puts your policy in a category that may face more scrutiny than if you purchased it from Hartford originally. Even though it has been several years since this corporate purchase took place, companies of this magnitude move at slow speeds. 

Underwriters likely did some review of policies before the purchase, but after the companies merged, further examination take place of disability policies now in claim (benefits are being paid) and under review. Does the former Aetna policy meet the underwriter’s standard for The Hartford? 

If you receive a denial or correspondence from Hartford/Aetna about your disability claim, we invite you to call our office to discuss your situation and what can be done to protect your benefits.

The Hartford Disability Insurance Uses Aggressive Denial Tactics

Our experience with all of the major national disability insurance companies has led us to become familiar with their tactics. For The Hartford, these are some commonly used strategies to delay and eventually deny disability claims:

The Hartford is known for scheduling field visit interviews with claimants. This means sending a representative to their home with the intention of gaining any information that may be used to deny a claim. The first point of defense for us is to determine whether or not the disability policy requires allowing an insurance company representative into the claimant’s home. Next, we advise clients to have a trusted person, family member or friend, to be present. Third, the visit should either be recorded or notes should be taken. Fourth, we speak with our client to review the meeting and prepare for any possible challenges that may result.

Surveillance is also used to record the claimant’s activities outside of the home to demonstrate inconsistencies with the limitations of the disability. You may be going to a doctor’s visit, but the insurance company video shows you getting in and out of the car and draws an incorrect conclusion. We advise anyone on claim for disability to keep a detailed record of their activities to counter this overly-aggressive surveillance.

Like many disability insurance companies, Hartford has medical records reviewed by physicians who are not regular practicing physicians but doctors whose income comes from reviewing medical records for insurance companies. We have seen, time and time again, medical record reviews with significant flaws, including the following:

  • A general practitioner reviewing medical records of a claimant with a complex disability who is being seen by one of the nation’s top specialists in the field.
  • Partial medical records being given to doctors whose reviews are based on incomplete reports.
  • Doctors who are known throughout the disability insurance legal field for their one-sided views on medical records, always supporting the insurance company’s interests even when it is clear from all documents that the claimant is disabled.

There have been many published legal decisions noting The Hartford’s relationship with biased third-party claims administrators and medical reviewing companies. 

Successful Case History: Court Overturns Hartford Denial for Chronic Fatigue Patient 

A victory for Chronic Fatigue (CF) sufferers came when a Federal judge held that Hartford’s claim determination must be overturned, finding that a claimant remained disabled from her ability to perform the duties of any occupation. The Court rejected Hartford’s transferable skills analysis and labor market survey and rejected the opinions of its paid medical reviewer. The Court found that Hartford failed to credit reliable reports from the claimant’s doctor, and improperly ignored the findings of disability from Social Security. Interest and attorneys’ fees were also awarded.

 Vocational Assessments and Disability Insurance Claims

Most of us don’t even think about a vocational assessment when we consider a claim for disability insurance. However, the vocational assessment is almost as important as your medical records, especially if your claim is on an “own occupation” policy. The vocational assessment describes in great detail the material tasks and duties of your occupation. 

For a dentist, for instance, the vocational duties include being able to stand for extended periods of time, to lean over patients at a specific angle and apply pressure using dental implements, while watching the procedure through headgear that includes eyepieces and a strong light. The dentist must be able to apply, adjust and withdraw pressure at the appropriate time, making vision part of their vocational skill set.  The physical duties are as important as the years of training and school needed to become a dentist.

We encounter flawed vocational assessments from insurance companies, including The Hartford, on a regular basis. One tactic is to use a government issued occupational assessment tool that hasn’t been updated in several decades. 

You probably didn’t expect these kinds of obstacles when you purchased your Hartford disability insurance policy, or when you started to file a claim. But this is unfortunately how the disability insurance companies operate. You’ll need to be careful every step of the way to protect yourself.

Newfield Law Group Helps Claimants At All Stages Of The Disability Process

Our law firm has helped thousands of people just like you, overwhelmed by your physical or mental disability and needing help to ensure your disability claim is protected. We can step in at any stage of the process:

  • Claim preparation and claim management.
  • Defending you from overly aggressive claim tactics (requests for financial information, FCS, IMEs, field visits, and the like)
  • Preparing group policy (ERISA) claims
  • Appealing ERISA claims
  • Litigating Claims – ERISA and Private or Individual policies

We also represent Hartford disability policy owners whose benefits were being paid and then are suddenly terminated, even when there’s been no change to their condition. 

Overturn Denial from The Hartford of a Nurse Anesthetist

A nurse anesthetist lost use of function in his right hand following surgery. For nearly three years, Hartford paid disability benefits, when suddenly this claim was terminated. Hartford had paid an investigator to collect surveillance video of him and said the video proved he was still able to work in a highly complex job where mistakes can lead to death for patients. We mounted an aggressive appeal, proving his job required fine motor skills, and won. He was awarded all back benefits from Hartford and continues to be on claim.

Contact Newfield Law Group to Protect Your Hartford Long-Term Disability Claim

Hartford, like so many other disability insurance companies, counts on claimants to be either unable or unwilling to fight back when their claims are denied. It’s part of the statistical analysis done by underwriters to determine how many policies can be sold before the loss exposure becomes a negative value for the company. Our firm represents people who recognize they don’t have the knowledge or experience to go toe-to-toe with an insurance giant. They place their trust in us, and we take this responsibility very seriously. 

Jason Newfield to Represent Your Hartford Disability Benefits Claim

Newfield Law Group has many years of experience with Hartford long-term disability claims and works with many Hartford group disability policyholders who have had their claims denied, delayed, and terminated.

If you need help with a Hartford disability claim, call our office to schedule a free consultation.

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