Multinational companies typically use American insurance companies to provide employee benefits. While this makes sense, it can be difficult to address denied disability claims for foreign nationals employed by multinational companies. That is why it is important to seek legal representation from someone who knows U.S. insurance laws and is not afraid to take on big insurance companies on behalf of workers at home and abroad.
At the law office of Jonathan M. Feigenbaum, Esquire, our denied disability claims lawyer in Boston has spent most of his legal career helping people file long-term disability claims and appealing denied claims. Our experience in working with complex insurance policy language and applying the law can help you secure the benefits you are entitled to receive, regardless of your citizenship status.
Issues Impacting Long-Term Disability Claims
Successfully navigating long-term insurance issues is difficult even for those who live in the United States. Those who do not live in the United States have an added layer of difficulty when filing a claim on their employer’s insurance policy. Believe us when we tell you that the insurance company will not make it easy for you and will likely stonewall the process as much as possible. If they can get away without honoring the policy, they will.
Whether or not you can file a claim on your employer’s group benefits policy depends on several factors. First, you have the language of the policy. Then you have the law that applies to the policy. Those in the United States are protected by ERISA. However, those who are foreign nationals don’t have the same protections. This is more of a jurisdictional problem than anything else. Each state in the U.S. has specific laws related to bad faith insurance practices. The law of the state in which your policy was issued will apply to your case.
Why Are Long-Term Disability Claims Denied?
Long-term or ERISA-based disability policies are often denied based on an apparent lack of information. The insurance company holds each policyholder to a very high standard of proof before they will assign benefits.
Policyholders need to prove that they are unable to do either their own occupation or any similar occupation that makes within a certain percentage of your income. These are known as own-occupation versus any-occupation policies. Most foreign nationals are covered by group policies that have been purchased by their employers. These policies generally offer “own occupation” coverage. This means that if you can no longer do your specific job, you should receive benefits.
Before your claim is approved, however, you will need to prove several facts. The first is that you have a disability that prevents you from working. To prove this, you will need to provide medical evidence coupled with the opinion of a doctor that your condition prevents you from working.
For that reason, the most common disability claim denial response is simply that your case file lacks the required information to process your claim.
Insurance Companies Use Stalling and Stonewalling Tactics
A perfect claim would look something like this. Mr. Policyholder files a disability claim on his employer’s group policy. The insurance company says they’ve received the claim and are now processing it. The insurance company requests medical information from your doctors. The insurance company reviews the medical information and determines that you qualify under the terms of the policy. You can now receive your disability benefits.
What ends up usually happening, however, is something like this: Mr. Policyholder files a claim on his employer’s group policy. The insurance company says they’ve received the claim and are now processing it. They request your medical information. After not hearing anything for a month, you check back with the insurance company. They say that they never received it or ask for information that they already requested. Alternatively, they request that you meet with one of their own doctors. This doctor gives you a clean bill of health because they work for the insurance company. After providing them with all the information they requested, they inform you that your claim has been denied based on a lack of information.
When is an Attorney Necessary?
Filing a claim on these types of policies is difficult even for American citizens who are protected by federal law. The insurance company is hoping to simply exhaust your desire to pursue the claim. For this reason, they will manufacture reasons to stall the process, make multiple information requests without specifying what they need, or simply say that they never received information that you know you sent. The strategy would be pointless if not for the fact that several people give up without hiring an attorney.
Once you have an attorney litigating the claim on your behalf, they know that they will be held to specific legal standards. Not only could they face fines for denying coverage in bad faith, but they may also owe the individual policyholder compensation for wasting their time. A long-term disability attorney who understands how non-citizen claims work can fight the insurance companies and get you the compensation you’re owed.
Your attorney will ensure that you have an ironclad case file to present to the insurance company with all the information required by law to process your claim. This will include your medical records and, in some cases, vocational experts who can testify as to what kind of work you can or cannot do. No matter what obstacles you’re facing, our attorneys can help you recover your benefits from an unwilling insurance company.
Taking Advantage of U.S. Legal Processes in Denied Disability Claims
Multinational employers can provide U.S. insurance for employees working anywhere in the world, from Europe and Asia to South America and Australia. In most cases, Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) laws do not apply outside of the United States. However, claims may be decided under the laws of the state where the insurance policy was taken out or where the U.S. insurance company is based.
Understanding this, we can help avoid the limiting or restricted legal processes in other countries while taking advantage of the often better legal remedies available in the U.S., including:
- Contesting claim denials
- Using jury trials to pursue a favorable verdict
- Pursuing bad faith insurance damages
Whether you are an Irish citizen working in London for a multinational company using a U.S. insurer, or an American citizen working for a Brazilian multinational firm with a shell corporation in the Cayman Islands, we can help you wade through insurance contract terms and conditions to help you collect the rightful benefits you need from your U.S. insurance provider.
Contact Our Non-Citizens ERISA Attorney
We provide experienced legal assistance with long-term disability claim denials and other insurance issues.
Contact our ERISA attorney online or call us from anywhere in the world at 617-357-9700, or toll-free at 866-396-9722, to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.