Why Did Principal Financial Group Deny My Disability Claim? 

Principal Financial Group got its start in Iowa in 1879 as Banker’s Life and in 1985 became the Principal Financial Group (Principal). Based in Des Moines, Iowa, Principal employs over 9,000 people. In the 1990s, it expanded internationally and has offices all over the world. Today, it is a global financial services and insurance company with over 5,000 employees outside of the U.S. and its operating income in the U.S. is over $1.1 billion. Our Principal Financial disability claims attorney is prepared to help you navigate the process of pursuing a claim for disability insurance benefits.

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Principal Financial sells and administers both private policies of disability insurance and Group LTD (ERISA) policies for those covered through their employment with disability insurance.  For many years, clients have had significant disputes with Principal Financial over their disability insurance claims.  Those disputes often center around ongoing impairment challenges, the onset date of disability, which has implications for elimination periods, claims for calculations of residual disability when the professional continues to work, the proper consideration of the occupation the insured was engaged in  at the time they became disabled,  whether the impairment constitutes a total disability, and the coordination of the Principal policy with other ID policies or ERISA group disability policies the policyholder may own.  

Often, clients with Principal coverage have other policies with different disability insurance companies.  Coordinating the issues with submissions and keeping the insurance companies in their own silo is part of what Newfield Law Group does with its claims.  That coordination is key to ensuring the success of each claim, including Principal disability insurance claims.


  • Often unqualified In-house nurses reach medical conclusions upon a two-dimensional review of medical records.
  • Often unqualified and always biased medical paper only medical review providers prepare a report and create medical justifications for a claim denial or termination.
  • Relying upon secret surveillance to discredit the policyholder’s complaints, often on the basis of benign findings.
  • Requested in person interview or field visit by a claims manager or claims investigator from Principal.
  • Relying upon In-house vocational evaluators to misclassify your occupation and your ability to perform your occupation, or perform defective or deficient transferrable skills analysis, to locate  other occupations, it will claim you have capacity to justify the denial or termination of a claim.
  • Challenged or ignored your personal credibility based on your submissions in support of your valid claim for disability benefits.
  • Contacted your doctor without your knowledge or authorization.
  • Requested that you attend a Functional Capacity Exam (FCE) or Independent Medical Exam (IME)
  • Requested volumes of paperwork (multiple times) and then advised the sought after information was never received by Principal.
  • Failed to respond in a timely manner about your valid disability benefits claim, leading to delays in approving your disability benefits.

What Should I Do If My Claim Has Been Denied or Terminated?

The prospect of going up against a large insurance company with limitless resources can be daunting, and the disability insurance company is counting on a number of people not fighting back. 

Without a strong advocate who understands the process, and can navigate the claims and appeals process, this can quickly become a losing battle.  Developing the support to overcome a denied or terminated claim, and providing testing results where appropriate often are critical components to a successful claim for disability benefits.

Once you have received a denial or termination letter, take careful note of the date of the letter and the date the insurance company needs to hear from you. These are firm dates and if materials are not provided by those dates, under ERISA plans, you may permanently lose your ability to fight for your claim.

Next, request a copy of your claim file from Principal Financial in writing. Claims governed by ERISA (group policies through your employer or association) require the insurance company to provide documents within 30 days of your written request. Even those not governed by this law should provide the underlying claim materials supporting their position to act in good faith.  You will need to send the request in a way requiring a signature and date to provide proof the letter was received.

Document every point of contact with Principal Financial. You will want to document all of your contacts with Principal Financial: every email, hard copy document and phone call needs to be  documented to protect your rights.  If you cannot manage this, ask a spouse, trusted friend, or caregiver, to assist. 

Review the letter and your original disability policy from Principal Financial. Here is where an experienced disability insurance attorney is needed. Disability insurance policies are complicated contracts, loaded with legalese and complicated policy terms, making them difficult to understand. You will need to understand the reasons provided for your denial or termination of benefits to develop your response strategy. If the letter contains language concerning “own occupation,” you will need to find the provision in the policy that addresses whether or not the policy is an “own occupation” or “any occupation” policy to develop the issues.

If the letter says your medical records do not support your disability claim, you will need to review the medical records sent on your behalf by your treating physician or the ones your doctor gave you to submit with your claim.

Call Our Office to Learn How We Can Help with Your Principal Financial Insurance Claim 

If you purchased a policy with Principal Financial or have a group LTD (ERISA) policy with Principal Financial, your claim issues can be explored by an experienced disability insurance attorney.  Before contacting Principal Financial to learn why your disability insurance claim is being denied, we invite you to call our office. The call is free, there is no obligation, and we will be able to give you useful insights into why your claim is being denied and what you can expect from Principal Financial, and how we can help guide the process.

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