Law Offices of Lawrence Mann
259 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
855-592-7664 (toll free)

Disability Insurance Best Obtained Individually

Benefits of Self Insuring in San Francisco

Obtain your own disability insurance as an individual, instead of through your employer: resulting benefits are tax free and can often work as a supplement to whatever your employer may offer — an increasingly rare perk after the economic bubble burst in 2007.

The other reason to buy your own LTD insurance? Federal laws governing employee benefits don’t apply, which can be a boon for the person insured if they get into a tiff with the insurance company over denied claims — a practice within the industry that has seen some very ugly headlines over the past few years.

Lawrence Mann, a San Francisco based lawyer specializing in disability law, advises:

These tiffs involving private LTD insurance plans often can be solved by proving you have a disability. However, under an employer-sponsored plan, which is governed by ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974), the person insured must also prove the insurance company is abusing its discretion to pay out benefits. Under this law, the opportunity to take the insurance company to a jury trial — in theory, an advantage for the insured person seeking empathy from jurors who may have their own opinion about insurance companies — disappears. And generally, the main evidence is merely the paperwork and correspondence between the insured person and the insurer. Evidence not in the claim file probably will not be considered by a Federal Judge if the case goes to trial.

“Employee insureds who lose their homes because the insurance company will not pay their benefits have no remedy (they are out of luck), unlike ordinary insureds who can sue their insurance companies for consequential damages,” Mann says. “There are some legal exceptions to these draconian and oppressive ERISA laws, but not very many.”

Mann suggests consulting with a good lawyer before taking action. “Disability Insurance claims are complex and easily can be lost with a misstep. Any insured contemplating making a disability insurance claim should, before making the claim, consult with an attorney experienced in disability insurance law.”

If you have long-term disability (LTD) insurance and become unable to work, you should hire an experienced LTD attorney as soon as possible to maximize your chances of success.