Saturday, May 25, 2013

CIGNA Regulatory Settlement

I have been blogging for years about the bad faith tactics that the CIGNA insurance companies, including Life Insurance Company of North America, CIGNA Life Insurance of New York, and Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, have used to justify denying and terminating valid disability claims. As a result of CIGNA’s improperly denying and terminating  long-term disability claims on a systematic basis, state insurance regulators forced CIGNA  into a settlement requiring it to (a) aside $77 million to pay claims that should be approved, (b) pay $1.7 million in fines and administrative fees, and (c) pay $150,000 to cover the monitoring costs of the settlement agreement during the next two years. 

The $77 million fund has two components. $29 million of the fund is earmarked for the settlement of pending claims, while the remaining $48 million is intended to cover past claims that are being re-evaluated. The settlement agreement resulted from the same type of market conduct exams that led to the Unum reassessment several years.  In other words, there is no longer any doubt - CIGNA is as bad as Unum.

I have filed numerous complaints against CIGNA with the New York Insurance Department, and its successor, the Department of Financial Services.  I would strongly encourage anyone who has recently had, or is currently experiencing, a problem with a CIGNA disability claim in New York to file a complaint, which can be done online.

If Connecticut, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania insurance regulators can succeed in prosecuting CIGNA for its improper denials and terminations of disability benefits, then New York regulators should be able to do the same.  Even better yet, contact your New York State representative to push for legislation that would outlaw “discretionary” authority clauses in disability policies, which is the source for most of CIGNA’s abuse. Other States have already done so. New York’s Insurance Department had issued a rule in the past that banned discretionary clauses, but the Insurance lobby got it repealed.

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