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Corporate Crimefighters Newsletters UNUM,ACC, Fraud, Corporate crime.

#1 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

  • Group: Guests

  Posted 13 October 2003 - 07:31 PM

CORPORATE CRIMEFIGHTERS NEWSLETTER by JIM MOONEY for JUDY MORRIS, ET AL

A lot of people said they didn't get the last newsletter, which is a
typical Internet mystery, so I'm repeating the final appeal for people
to subscribe. The subscriptions so far have been dismal. My apologies if
you got such a note already.

I've been extremely ill and while I was things got confused. I'm a tad
overdrawn and my debit card funds the website, which also powers the
newsletter, so it's all going down the tubes pretty soon if I don't get
more than the three or four subscriptions I got so far. Or perhaps a few
larger donations.

So, okay. One more try. Let's hope the darned email works this time.
Here is the subscription address. I was going to follow with the missing
newsletter but I'll reprise that some other time. Instead there is a
some new information below.

Quote

+++++++++++++++ Newsletter ++++++++++++++++

CORPORATE CRIMEFIGHTERS OF AMERICA - Oct 12, 2003

=====================================================

UNUM PUTS ANOTHER DOCTOR ON THE ROPES

I am a Physician, Ophthalmologist and single father with full custody
and sole supporter of a now 16 year old son. I have treated some
100,000+ patients in my time (including saving a 2 year old little girl
from a febrile seizure last year, in a Courthouse), all I would add,
with compassion and integrity. I was the CEO of my own Corporation for
17 years, and unlike the Ken Lay-Enron "Executives Demeritus" Ilk, I
actually am well versed in most corporate governance...

0

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 12:00 AM

**********************************

TO HELP SUPPORT THIS CAUSE FOR JUSTICE, PLEASE SEND YOUR
DONATIONS IN ANY AMOUNT OR A FIFTEEN DOLLAR A YEAR SUBSCRIPTION FEE TO:

James Mooney
PMB # 106
4495-304 Roosevelt Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32210-3381

OR Via Paypal at:
https://www.paypal.com/affil/[email protected]

*********************************

I think I've done my part in the last eight years, so I'll base my
decision to continue on the subscription response.

A couple of people were good enough to include extra to cover a few
subscriptions for others. You always get that. A tiny minority always
does more than asked and my heartfelt thanks to them even if this ship
sinks ;'). One person even helped me with my medical expenses, but
that's another story. However, a subscriber base of ten people or so out
of thirteen hundred recipients isn't going to hack it.

I wish Judy and I could carry this effort by ourselves, since I know
most people who collide with their insurers are shell shocked enough,
but it's not much to ask if you can afford the Net at all.

OTHER NEWS

Judy is back in the hospital. Allstate is still at war with its agents
but has been so adjudged by the courts. TN has completed a financial
review of UNUM. The criminal review is yet to come although I send them
all the info we get on a regular basis, so they sure can't say they
don't know what's going on.

An interesting case has come up indicating that UNUM does "block"
denials" - of all state police or all 9-11 victims at the same time, for
instance. Since they can treat all cases largely the same it saves them
money. Of course, it's totally fraudulent but a lot of insurers do this.
The problem is getting the proof since "friendly" state DOIs tend to
hide all the data they get on insurers. I'm trying to stir something up
about that and will keep you posted if this endeavor continues at all.

PLEASE DON'T REPLY TO THIS NEWSLETTER. It mucks things up.
Send any mail to [email protected]

This isn't the whole newsletter, just a few interesting articles.

Jim and Judy

+++++++++++++++ Newsletter ++++++++++++++++

CORPORATE CRIMEFIGHTERS OF AMERICA - Oct 12, 2003

=====================================================

UNUM PUTS ANOTHER DOCTOR ON THE ROPES

I am a Physician, Ophthalmologist and single father with full custody
and sole supporter of a now 16 year old son. I have treated some
100,000+ patients in my time (including saving a 2 year old little girl
from a febrile seizure last year, in a Courthouse), all I would add,
with compassion and integrity. I was the CEO of my own Corporation for
17 years, and unlike the Ken Lay-Enron "Executives Demeritus" Ilk, I
actually am well versed in most corporate governance, structure, law,
fiduciary duty, accounting, etc. (very similar for my PC as for most
Fortune 500 concerns). The past 3-4 years, I have been involved with
Wall St, have been offered Sr. VP & Directorships at major corps, am
preparing for my Series 7/etc. Broker's License, writing several books,
and may resume my lawschool plans in my spare time. I also am very
Layman knowledgeable about many legal matters, and have a wealth of
legal, criminal and medical evidence against the "Evil Axis" (Paul
Revere-Provident-Unum).

As they have ruined not only my, but my son's life as well, and settled
with too little, too late even then failing to fulfill the settlement
agreement), I plan to go after them once again (this time "pro se" as no
lawyer knows medicine, psychiatry, or my case as I do). I expect to
contact the professional misconduct boards of each of the MD's, Phd's
and Attorneys (even though we all know about state bar's) on their
payroll and systematically one-by-one, pursue legally all employees who
were witting, unwitting, and dimwitting co-conspirators, involved in a
conspiracy to commit and the commission of Deceit and Fraud, practicing
medicine without a license, perjury, etc., until I get to the true
villians.

Speaking of the Devil, that brings me to former CEO J. Harold Chandler,
whose "Severance Package" alone was $8.5 Million, and whose salary I'm
sure increased as Unum's stock plummeted, and as he sought to deny
others their legitimate claims. I'll wager I have at least three times
the education and background of "Good Ole Boy JH" (not to mention I
actually help people)! I'm sure I can prove he violated his "Fiduciary
Duty" and is also guilty of deceit and fraud (this I've done before with
an ex-partner), which thereby eliminates his corporate immunity status,
and neither of which is dischargeable under Federal bankruptcy laws.

Please sign me up for a subscription, and feel free to contact me about
any of the above.

Thank You,

Douglas Seretan, MD
Email: [email protected]

======================================================

GOOD SITE DESCRIBING YOUR HOSPITAL BILLING RIGHTS

http://www.hospitalbillauditing.com/Your_B...ing_Rights.html

======================================================

BUSH BLOCKS CANADIAN DRUGS

The Bush Administration is working hard to block Canadian pharmacies
from shipping to increasingly strapped Americans. It's excusable to have
voted Bush the first time since he promised to work for the people and
govern from the center, but the only thing he appears to do is fatten
corrupt corporations, from Squibb to Halliburton.

Many Americans are headed toward bankruptcy or even death without
Candian drugs, which are Not more dangerous than ours, despite what our
corrupt, manufacturer-bribed Administration says. These drugs are the
Same drugs, made by the Same companies, just re-imported because
manufacturers charge Americans More than other nationalities, figuring
we are both richer and stupider. However, with our rotten health system
and declining economy, many Americans are actually less able to afford
drugs than in other nations.

======================================================

WHY THE WORSE DRIVES OUT THE BETTER

http://www.dreamsongs.com/NewFiles/WorseIs...sitionPaper.pdf

Technology, art, popular media including network TV, and just about
every aspect of our lives and probably life itself follows a
disappointing pattern: worse is better, the good drives out the
excellent, and the most popular is least good.

You can look at it like this, perhaps: To appeal to the majority of
people, an artifact must appeal to something that those people have in
common; as we increase the set of people we consider, the less those
people have in common, and that which they do have in common becomes
more base. For example, network TV is flooded with adolescent humor,
sex, and violence because these are the most basic drives people have in
common, while an interest in Vietnamese poetry-which is a very refined
poetry-is quite rare. I call this the intersection effect .

Webmaster's note: The rest of this essay is at the URL above.

======================================================

BLOWING IN THE WIND

Confidentiality Problems At UnumProvident
Milwaukee woman sees story on-line, contacts News 12

URL: http://www.wdef.com/MGBPK0YH8LD.html

WDEF-TV News 12
Sep 30, 2003

Earlier this month, UnumProvident launched an investigation after a News
12 exclusive report. We found sheets of paper with the names and social
security numbers of 9-11 victims.. blowing down Broad Street. Watjen now
tells us, it appears that information did not come from within
UnumProvident. But, there's new evidence someone within the company may
be careless with your information.

(Webmaster's note: This is a bigger story than this TV station realizes,
since UNUM purposely targets 9-11 victims for denial. Naturally I
contacted the reporter involved and will try to work up a contact. This
is the sort of background work I'm always doing and why we are worth the
small $15 subscription fee I have asked everyone to send in. This isn't
just a website. This isn't just a newsletter. This is Ground Zero in
making trouble for the bad guys.

A police chief from a Western state has also written me that UNUM has
denied disabled state policemen there en masse. Put two and two
together. This is the sort of puzzle-figuring that will be lost if a
national website isn't there to put it together.)

http://www.wdef.com/MGBPK0YH8LD.html

------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------

Milwaukee resident Fran Halas tells News 12 UnumProvident sent her a
sheet of paper just like this one- not once but twice. She blacked out
most of it because of the sensitive information it includes.

"The file contained approximately 25 names, social security numbers and
earnings of other person's."

Her husband's name is on that list. She says it came his insurance file-
the same file the couple requested to appeal a denied disability claim.

"I thought it was an error. The second time I thought maybe this might
be some widespread practice, and I really wanted to know what happened
with our data?"

She says Unum admits giving it out to other people. We showed that paper
and others to newly appointed Unum President and CEO Tom Watjen.

"Frankly this is a new one. I haven't seen this one. Let's look into
it."

The company will now launch a new investigation.

"We treat customer information, privacy as a very, very serious
objective of our company. We've got a lot of trust of our customers and
our policyholders."

But at least one person in Unum has admitted to releasing the
confidential list. In a letter dated November 1, 2002, a senior
consultant in the Portland office admits the information got out and
then apologized to the family because the couple was "not entitled to
receive" it.

Halas, however, wants a personal apology for not protecting her
husband's information.

"I do not believe that Unum is concerned about privacy of its
customers..."

UnumProvident is still looking into how the 52 names and social security
numbers of 9-11 victims ended up on Broad Street in Chattanooga. News 12
first told you about that earlier this month. At the time, UnumProvident
said the sheets were not authentic because of the old, six striped logo.
They now use four stripes, but Fran Halas sent us a letter dated
September 2nd of this year. Notice the six stripe logo up top. We asked
CEO Tom Watjen to explain.

"That letterhead is out there. I mean people can easily get that. I
mean, that's on web-pages and things. So people can get that
information."

We also found a six-striped logo in the company's lobby earlier this
month. The company has promised to give us an update as to how their
investigations are going. We will of course bring you the very latest
information as soon as it becomes available.

======================================================

ROSE'S BLOG IS UPDATED

Rose Lear has an update at www.roselear.blogspot.com
Please send this out to everyone in your address book.

======================================================

ONE ROTTEN OLD CROOK REPLACES ANOTHER - NOW THAT'S PROGRESS
New chief pledges to rebuild trust in insurer


By EDWARD D. MURPHY, Portland Press Herald
Writer

Copyright 2003 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.


UnumProvident has disappointed its shareholders, customers and
employees over the past few years, the company's new president and chief
executive officer admitted in Portland on Tuesday.

Making the rounds of the disability insurer's major facilities around
the country, Thomas R. Watjen said the company has "lost some of that
luster" and insisted that he will focus on recapturing the shine.

Watjen, who was named president and CEO on Monday after holding the
job on an interim basis for nearly six months, will have his work cut
out for him. The company's stock is barely a quarter of what it was four
years ago when Unum Corp. and the Provident Companies merged; customers
are worried by allegations that the insurer doesn't pay legitimate
claims; and workers are sensitive over attacks on their employer's
integrity.

Watjen didn't deny that he and UnumProvident will have to struggle to
regain the lost trust of investors, policyholders and employees.

"That's where in the past we have failed," he said at a news
conference in Portland. "We haven't served their expectations."

For Portland, Watjen said the former headquarters of the Unum Corp.
remains a key asset, despite the shift in corporate power to
Chattanooga, Tenn., where the Provident Companies were founded. He noted
that Portland provides service to the group-insurance market that is the
"growth engine of our organization."

Watjen said the company plans to put more effort into signing small-
and mid-sized businesses to group disability policies, which had been
Unum's specialty prior to the merger and remains a focus of work in
Portland. He declined to speculate about any changes in employment
levels that might come from growth in the segment or changes in
corporate strategy.

Lawrence Pugh, the board's co-chairman and a resident of Yarmouth,
accompanied Watjen at the news conference Tuesday and said he will
insist that the Portland office - where UnumProvident has about 3,500
employees - remain a key player in the organization.

"As a board member living in Maine, let me assure you it's an
important part," he said.

In conceding that the company has made errors in the past couple of
years, Watjen said they have been in execution, not policy.

He has to walk a fine line in his new role. He is trying to correct
the company's problems. But as the company's second-in-command to J.
Harold Chandler, who was ousted as president, CEO and chairman in March,
Watjen is part of the executive group that developed and implemented
those policies.

"I own the past. I am not by any means distancing myself from that,"
he said.

He said that by creating a culture of inclusiveness for employees,
recommitting to customer service and developing a sound business plan,
the company's direction will be vindicated.

The early returns on that approach are mixed. Most stock analysts
indicated that they believed the UnumProvident board made the right
decision in picking Watjen because of his experience with the company,
which goes back to 1994. But the market had little reaction to the news
as the company's stock fell 27 cents to $24.77 Tuesday, a day when the
broader indices were off substantially.

Pugh reiterated that Watjen would not be named chairman of the
company, as were his two predecessors. The company wants to maintain
some separation between the board and senior management, he said.

Pugh said Watjen is developing a three-year business plan that the
board will use to set goals for top executives. They will tie annual
bonuses to meeting those goals, making compensation more closely related
to corporate performance.

Chandler, for instance, was paid $950,000 in base salary in 2001 and,
even as the company's stock price continued to slide, was awarded a
bonus of $1.5 million. Last year, Chandler's base salary rose to $1
million, but he earned no bonus amid criticism of the previous year's
award.

Watjen's contract calls for a base salary of $900,000, up from the
$650,000 base he received as vice chairman and chief operating officer
last year. His contract allows for a bonus of as much as 100 percent of
his salary, although the company's annual proxy statement didn't specify
the standards for bonus awards.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:
[email protected]

*******************************************


Tuesday, September 30, 2003

UnumProvident directors stick with Watjen


By EDWARD D. MURPHY, Portland Press Herald Writer
Copyright 2003 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.


(Minibio omitted for brevity)

UnumProvident's board of directors opted for the familiar Monday,
selecting Thomas R. Watjen as the insurance company's president and
chief executive officer.

Lawrence Pugh, the company's co-chair and a resident of Yarmouth,
cited Watjen's character, his performance since taking over as interim
president and CEO six months ago, his ability to raise $1 billion to
shore up corporate capital reserves and a new corporate atmosphere of
openness as the chief reasons for the selection.

Pugh said the board thought about whether it needed to make a change
at the top just to satisfy critics of the company's policies and poor
stock performance, and ultimately decided that "the question was not
change for change's sake, but change to make this the company we all
want it to be."

"We certainly talked to some very important and good CEOs in the
financial services area," in searching for a new top executive, Pugh
said in a telephone interview, but the board concluded " in Tom Watjen,
we had our man."

UnumProvident is headquartered in Chattanooga, Tenn., and has about
3,500 employees in Portland. It is the nation's largest disability
insurer.

Watjen has said that he does not expect any significant changes in
employment at its Maine locations, and Monday said that the most
significant impact on employees is likely to be a more open and
inclusive atmosphere.

Watjen replaces Harold Chandler, who was fired by the board in March
after waves of bad publicity over the company's claims-paying process
and Chandler's inability to turn around a stock price that slid below $6
a share at one point.

Watjen was second in command to Chandler for most of the time since
the former Unum Corp. and The Provident Companies merged in June 1999.
The merged company's first president, CEO and chairman was James F. Orr
III, who had led Unum. He resigned just four months after the merger
following the announcement of a $217 million quarterly loss.

Both Orr and Chandler were handsomely rewarded: Orr left with a $20
million severance package and Chandler with a $17 million deal, although
he is challenging the figure as too low.

Pugh took on a high-profile role in the shake-up, ascending to board
co-chair along with C. William Pollard. Pugh is the former chairman of
VF Corp., a clothing company, and was originally a Unum board member.

Pugh said Monday that he will remain as co-chair at least through the
next annual meeting because the board wants to maintain a separation
between the directors and the top executive. Both Orr and Chandler had
carried the title of chairman, but Watjen will not.

It's unclear if Watjen's selection will do much to move the company's
stock price, which tumbled sharply from a pre-merger high of nearly $60
a share to a low of $5.91 in March before Chandler's departure. The
stock closed Monday at $15.04, up 30 cents for the day on a brighter
outlook for the insurance industry.

Watjen's selection was announced after the market had closed for the
day.

One local stock analyst was not happy with the decision.

"Oh, no," was the first response of Bradley McCurtain, the president
of Maine Securities in Portland.

"It's more of the same old stuff," he said. "People make good
decisions and they make bad decisions and I think this is a bad
decision."

McCurtain said the board had the opportunity to create a clean slate
for UnumProvident if they had gone outside the company for a new
president and CEO. It would have sent the message that the company
intended to change and may have allowed it to move beyond bad publicity
- including stories on "Dateline" and "60 Minutes" - about claims-paying
practices.

Critics of the company have alleged that UnumProvident turns down
valid disability claims in order to improve its profits. Maine,
Massachusetts and Tennessee insurance officials have launched inquiries
into UnumProvident's practices and more than 40 states have signed onto
the investigation, said Eric Cioppa, the deputy superintendent of the
Maine Bureau of Insurance.

Cioppa said the inquiry is expected to be completed by early next
year.

McCurtain said UnumProvident, under Chandler and Watjen, often missed
earnings targets and are responsible for the stock's poor performance -
which, at one point, got Chandler named the third-worst CEO in the
country by Forbes magazine.

"Watjen and Chandler really designed and implemented the policies
that have guided the company for the past four-plus years now," he said.
"There's very little you can say that the senior management team has
accomplished."

But Pugh said there's nothing wrong with UnumProvident's policies.

"Tom has been with the company for a number of years and he was,
along with the previous CEO, responsible for developing the strategy of
the company. The board has been and continues to be comfortable with the
strategy, however the execution of the strategy has been way below par,"
he said.

That changed after Watjen was named interim president and CEO, Pugh
said.

Watjen said that he felt that he has had the confidence of the board
since March to lead the company and cited a positive change in
communication within the company as one of his top accomplishments so
far.

He said he sends a letter to employees every Friday and gets a lot of
questions and comments in response.

"We've created a more open and inclusive environment," he said in a
telephone interview. "We've initiated some things that have made people
at every level of the company feel more involved."

Beth Murphy, staff researcher, contributed to this story.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]

Webmaster's comments: That sure inspires confidence. Watjen was
responsible for some of UNUM's worst abuses. Replace one crook with
another.

Isn't it amazing that a corporation on the skids Refuses to get rid of
the very people who destroyed it? It's unfathomable. Well actually, it's
corruption, cross-directorships, and mutual favors. They pay twenty
million and seventeen million to two failing CEOs (I sure wish I'd get a
bonus for screwing up.) Then they promote Watjen, the man who was
actually responsible for designing most of the wrongdoing. It shows they
are still intent on raping their customers.

======================================================

SOME KIND WORDS FROM ANOTHER FIGHTER

Jim,

You have no idea how close you are at succeeding in taking the insurance
companies down. I have spoken with Senate President Jim King and asked
him to take testimony under oath for workers compensation insurance. He
expressed interest in insurance reform. I asked him to also take
testimony under oath for auto insurers and to audit State Farm and
Allstate. He has agreed to do both. The legislature is so mad at the
lies they have been told by insurers and their lobbyists. They will be
taking a close look at insurance reform for all areas of insurance.
This is between you and I. Next session which will start in March you
will begin to see the fruits of your works. I have several media
contacts coast to coast and I mean it when I tell you insurance is the
hottest topic going for now. I can put you into contact with members of
the media if you would like. Once you finally break through and
establish a connection with them if you stay in touch some of them will
become interested and do several stories for you.

As far as the monetary thing as well as group participation I experience
much the same as you. It is exhausting at times but worth the time.
Most of VOICES money comes out of the boards pockets. Many people will
not participate just because they are lazy. Others will not participate
out of fear. Then there are those who complain the loudest and wait for
everyone else to do everything for them. Still because of the injustice
the insurers dish out I will never give up the fight. That is exactly
what they would love for me to do. They would just love for you to go
away too. We are so close to exposing all the corruption. I know you
must be worn out. I know I am often. I will hang in there just the
same and fight this battle by myself if I must. I will never give up.

You have devoted 8 years of your life to this to my 3. At 3 years I am
exhausted so I can't even begin to imagine how you must feel. Whatever
you decide may God be with you. Please though if you go away, go away
knowing that you have made a difference not just in the insurance
systems but also in many peoples lives. For that I will always respect
you and to you I say thank you because I doubt you hear that often
enough. God's speed.

Mary
[email protected]

*************

MY REPLY

Thanks for the kind thoughts. Yes, insurance may be about to crack and I
might come back at some point ;') I don't know. I'm tired right now. It
might also be personal stuff. I took care of my dying stepfather for
half a year, then my mother got just as physically sick and mentally ill
to boot, so I have to watch her 24 hrs, which means things are pretty
slim. Plus, I got really, really sick and let my finances slide. I
suddenly realized I'm in worse shape than half the people I worry about
;')

Not that I'm whining. I can work out of this. It may just mean I can't
put in the extra effort for other folks for awhile. That's unfortunate
and I will probably miss doing it.

Jim

======================================================

UNUM CHEATS THEIR EMPLOYEES TOO

Webmaster's note: This is nothing new. Allstate also virtually declared
war on its agents, and large portion of my old site, which I was hoping
to revive, detailed that. In fact, I guess I'll end this shortened
newsletter with an article on that. By the way, bad guys suing their
victims is also nothing new in the legal world:

Monday, September 8, 2003

UnumProvident sues ex-workers in pay dispute

By GREGORY D. KESICH, Portland Press Herald Writer

Copyright 2003 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

Two former employees of UnumProvident, who threatened to sue the company
for unpaid vacation time, have been sued by the disability insurer
instead.

UnumProvident filed a complaint against Barbara Russell of Windham and
Joan Davis of Scarborough, former employees who resigned voluntarily in
2002.

The suit doesn't seek damages from them, but asks a judge to decide if
they are really owed payment for vacation time they earned but did not
use when they worked for the company.

The legal move appears designed to prevent a class action lawsuit on
behalf of Russell, Davis and an unknown number of other former employees
who were denied vacation pay when they left work.

Lawyers for the employees have asked that UnumProvident's suit be
dismissed and their motion appears to be headed for a court hearing in
October.

Both sides agree that the case involves more than the two women's
claims.

Company records show that as many as 1,400 Maine people who had worked
for Unum left the company after it merged with Provident Companies Inc.
in 1999 and the new company changed its vacation policy. It is unclear
if all of them were denied compensation for unused vacation, however,
because some may have been compensated with severance pay.

According to the company, the former employees' average claim is $1,000,
and if they won a class action suit, their award could be three times
their actual damages, plus court costs. That could expose the company to
damages of more than $4 million.

UnumProvident's decision to sue comes as the company is on the defensive
in as many as nine class action cases across the country, filed on
behalf of customers. Those suits allege that the company used a
deliberate strategy of denying disability claims, regardless of their
merit, forcing customers to take them to court.

Those cases have been the subject of national news reports, including
segments on "60 Minutes" and NBC's "Dateline."

An attorney for the former employees says the latest suit shows the same
hard-line approach alleged in the claims processing cases.

"This adds to the impression that this is a very litigious company that
would rather litigate than discuss," Adam Taylor said. "It sends a
message to former employees that is rather unsettling."

A company lawyer says that comparison is not fair. Glenn Israel says
that unlike the claims cases, in which UnumProvident is the defendant,
the company is suing the employees to resolve a complicated legal issue.


"It's not a case of being litigious, it's a question of getting a speedy
answer," Israel said.

The dispute centers around a provision of Maine law that says vacation
pay "has the same status as wages earned," and "must be paid in full" at
the end of employment. The former employees argue that failure to pay
for their unused vacation violates state law.

UnumProvident argues that in 2000 it exchanged its employee vacation
time policy for "paid time off," which is a general pool of days off
that include sick leave, bereavement leave and personal time.

Since the law specifically mentions vacation time, the company argues,
the paid time off policy is not covered.

"It wasn't designed to be a savings plan," Israel said. "It was supposed
to be a benefit for people to use when they worked here, but not
something you get paid for when you go."

Companies have some flexibility in designing their benefit programs,
says Tom Brown, an inspector for the Maine Department of Labor's wage
and hour division.

Companies are not required to offer paid vacation at all, Brown says,
and they can structure it in ways that would not require payment when an
employee leaves. The company's written policy or past practice would
determine if the time off is considered vacation time under the law, he
says.

Taylor says that even though it has a different name, Unum's old
vacation time and current paid time off are the same thing. Since the
time is earned gradually throughout the year, he says, it should belong
to the employee when he or she leaves. The former employees feel
mistreated by the company's position, which has motivated the suit, he
says.

"When you feel you are being nickeled and dimed on the way out, that is
a difficult pill to swallow," he said.

Staff Writer Gregory D. Kesich can be contacted at 791-6336 or at:
[email protected]

======================================================

ALLSTATE, STILL CHEATING AGENTS

http://www.bayarea.com/mld/cctimes/busines...ess/6628673.htm
Posted on Wed, Aug. 27, 2003
Allstate broke bias laws, agency finds
By Joseph B. Treaster
NEW YORK TIMES

Allstate has lost on another front in a long-running dispute over its
efforts to convert its career agents into independent contractors to
streamline its business and cut costs.
The insurer is already facing separate federal lawsuits by the agents
and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The latest development involves some of the 6,200 agents who were told
that they had to choose between becoming independent contractors,
without traditional benefits but with increased sales commissions, and
leaving the company.

About 2,200 left, and some of them -- lawyers estimate the number at
about 40 -- applied for lower-paying jobs at Allstate in hopes of saving
their benefits.
But Allstate, according to the agents and company documents, refused to
take the agents on for at least a year, until their chance to extend the
old benefits had expired. More than 90 percent of the agents were older
than 40.

Now, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has determined that
Allstate violated federal laws prohibiting age discrimination by
blocking the agents from preserving their benefits and giving jobs they
sought to younger recruits. The decision was disclosed to Allstate and
the agents in a letter from the commission over the weekend.

A spokesman for Allstate, Michael J. Trevino, said the company disagreed
with the commission's finding. "We know that age had absolutely nothing
to do with Allstate's rehire policy," he said.

Now that the one-year waiting period has passed, he said, "those
terminated agents, regardless of age, are today eligible for rehire,
even though they are older now."
Speaking for the agents, Michael J. Wilson, a lawyer with the law firm
of Zevnik Horton in Washington, said the latest decision showed that the
federal agency was "looking at every aspect of this program and saying,
'Allstate, what you did is illegal in multiple respects.'"

Allstate, the second-largest insurer of homes and autos behind State
Farm, has been sued in federal court in Philadelphia over other
accusations of age discrimination by the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission and, separately, by the agents.

In May, a federal judge tentatively agreed to certify the agents'
lawsuit as a class action, sharply raising the pressure on Allstate to
consider settling.

The dispute began when Allstate gave the agents until the end of June
2000 to accept an offer to become independent contractors or leave.

To stay on, however, the agents were required to sign a pledge not to
sue the company for any kind of employment discrimination. A few months
later, acting on complaints from agents, the equal opportunity agency
declared that requiring an employee to sign away rights to keep a job
amounted to "unlawful retaliation." The agency filed its lawsuit in late
2001.

In a letter dated last Thursday, Lynn Bruner, a district director for
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who has been overseeing the
dispute, said that Allstate's policy of refusing to rehire the agents in
lesser jobs while signing up younger workers "discriminated against
persons age 40 and over."

Evidence in the case, Bruner wrote, showed that the company's action
"was not justified by a legitimate business purpose." She did not
elaborate.

In her letter, Bruner said the agency would now try to negotiate a
settlement covering this part of the dispute. Efforts toward settling
other aspects of the case have so far failed.

One of the agents who tried to take a lower-paying job to save his
benefits, Thomas Kearney of Chicago, said he worried that, as an
independent contractor, routine business expenses would overwhelm him.
So he decided to sell his book of clients and try for a job at one of
the company's telephone centers that he estimated would have paid him
about $26,000 a year. He said he had been making $65,000 as an agent and
could not find a job with similar pay.

When he gave up his job as an agent, Kearney was approaching 50 and was
the father of two daughters, one 12, the other 15. If he could stretch
his relationship with the company until his next birthday, he would
qualify for subsidized insurance indefinitely. Returning to work within
the year would also mean continued contributions by Allstate to his
pension. But Kearney's application was turned down.

"It's abusive to take somebody in their prime years and then say they
don't need you any more," he said in an interview. "There's a moral
contract, and they shattered that. This is a step toward justice."

======================================================

THAT'S ALL FOLKS

Say a prayer for Judy, who is in the hospital. I like to be optimistic.
Maybe it only Looks like this enterprise is on its last legs. It's
always darkest before the dawn and all that crap. Then again, the
majority may give me an excuse to take a vacation from all this - talk
about being a Pollyanna, eh ;')

Jim

======================================================

TO HELP SUPPORT THIS CAUSE FOR JUSTICE, PLEASE SEND YOUR
DONATIONS IN ANY AMOUNT OR A FIFTEEN DOLLAR A YEAR SUBSCRIPTION FEE TO:

James Mooney
PMB # 106
4495-304 Roosevelt Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32210-3381

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#3 User is offline   Kiwee 

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 11:30 PM

CORPORATE CRIMEFIGHTERS OF AMERICA -- Tuesday, December 09, 2003

PLEASE PAY FOR THIS SUBSCRIPTION TO SUPPORT OUR CAUSE. ADDRESS AT BOTTOM.
Network with Others at our BBS:
<http://www.quicktopic.com/24/H/xCbDfhUX5Jyfy>

======================================================

HOW RESERVE CHEATING IS DONE

Webmaster's note: There was a large addendum to this article, so I am reposting the first part in full, in addition to the new part:
***********************************

Money is set aside to cover claim liabilities. This money is referred to as "reserves" which for the disability insurer is equal to 100% of the potential future value of claims. (In theory) When a claim comes into UNUMP, it is "marked up" on BAS, the UMUMP payment system. At that time the system pulls a reserve into the payment system. UNUMP underwriting incorporates historical actuarial informtion into the actual $ amount, however, the figure is generally close to 100% of the future value of the monthly indemnity. When the claim is actually approved, there is an "uptake" of the insurance reserves (A Reserve Loss--or, money which is now unavailable for cashflow, salaries, operating expenses etc.)

When a claim is denied we have a "reserve gain" or, immediate contribution to profit. UNUMP sets LAR's (Liability acceptance rate) at 70% or below. So it knows when setting financial targets it will pay only 70% of claims, and the processess surrounding the targets are put in place to "make it happen." This is UNUMP's profit area--70% of LAR. Above this target, you have decreasing profits, of course, so when the LAR's begin to creep up, we saw increasing harassment on the floor to deny more claims.

After 9/11, UNUMP publicized and LAR rate of 98%. You CANNOT make a profit approving claims at the 98% rate for long. Remember, the breakeven profit margin is 70% or below. In addition, UNUMP has claims processes in place which deliberately manipulate the insurance reserves. i.e. not paying additional contract riders such as COLA, Income Protection Riders, Disability Plus Riders, Indexing etc. If you don't code additional benefits, then the reserve is artifically kept lower than it should be. UNUMP also uses "Reservation of Rights" in their payment of benefits to keep reserves low when they have the liability of the full benefit for a claim. The ERD's (Expected Dates of Recovery) were at one time incorporated into the reserve figures which again distorted the true future liability of the claim.
The company may not spend money placed in reserves. UNUM's "recovery plan" as publicized here in the Portland Press Herald was to ADD money to the reserves since the company was found to be severely "under reserved as required by law."

If UNUM's reserves decreased by 152 M it was as a result of keeping the LAR's low by denying more claims, and cutting costs. UNUM has consistently cut costs by reduction of benefits and operating expenses since the merger. manipulation of reserves is indeed illegal, but it is done mostly through the claims process and the manner in which claims are handled.

1. UNUMProvident never responds to discovery or interrogatory questions regarding insurance reserve issues. I am free to discuss any issues I observed or performed while employed with UNUMProvident, therefore, there are no proprietary issues regarding this information. UNUM is very covert about communicating information about reserves.UNUM manipulates reserves largely through the claims process and the BAS payment system.

2. A claim enters an administrative intake area where it is marked up on the BAS payment system and referred to as a MUUP. When the claim is marked up, the Consultants and Directors have access to reserve information, and manage "the business" accordingly. The reserve information is opened up at the time of the potential liability of the future value of benefits.

3. The claim is then reviewed by the claims handlers for acceptance or denial of benefits. Once the decision is validated by the Consultant, the claims handler will code the BAS Payment system to either pay or deny the claim. When a claim is coded as denied, the reserve is shut down and a reserve gain is realized. (Contribution to profit.) The reverse is also true. When a claim is approved, the open reserve is "validated" and remains on the books.

4. UNUM plays games with the claims process to manipulate the coding of claims decisions. For example, if I were to turn in denial decisions in the same month the mark up took place, there would be a "breakeven" in the reserve and no profit or loss would be recognized. (Marked up...the reserve goes up......denied....the reserve goes down.....no gain or loss) However, IF the Consultants held my decisions over to another accounting period (after the 1st of the next month) my denial would count as a reserve gain and a contribution to profit. Therefore, any reserve activity taking place in the same month may have no effect on the accounting of reserves. If you are trying to draw an Aesops fable of the financial picture, you can withhold validation of payments and create the financial picture you
need. This "holding" of claims decisions to manipulate the reserve figures creates customer service issues and hardships for customers who continue to call to find out the status of their claim. The claims handlers cannot possibly deliver customer service goals and standards when the claims decisions are with held for "business reasons." Insidentially, if a claim is closed and then reopened, it has an adverse affect on the reserves. Therefore, Directors routinely hold up any claim reopens and stagger them in periods when they have a larger volume of denials, so as to balance the reserve affect.

5. UNUM is notorious for not coding additional rider benefits on the BAS payment system. Each additional payment for COLA, Revenue Income Protection, Life Waiver, Disability Plus etc increases the reserves.(A reserve loss) At one point I discovered so many instances of additional payments not recorded, I suggested a project to "correct" the benefits not being paid. I was informed by my manager that such a project would be "costly" to fix and would adversely affect reserves. The result? Many claimants did not receive their additional benefits. These errors have been consistently reported to UNUM management, but have also consistently not been corrected.

6. The payment status of "Reservation of Rights" is also manipulated by UNUM. When faced with a large volume of Approvals at the end of an accounting period, the Consultant and/or Manager will tell you to approve the claim under ROR. When coded on the BAS payment system, there is NOT a FULL UPTAKE or increase in the reserve amount. Therefore, in an effort to minimize the adverse affect of large volumes of approvals, it is possible to "say" the claim is only approved under Reservation of Rights, and not realize the full liability for the claim until later. From an accounting point of view, one might say the full value of the liability was not recognized in the period in which it was incurred.

7. Finally, the pay status of Advance Pay and Close manipulates the reserve information. Under certain conditions, I can pay a claimant up to 6 months of benefits and close their claim. In this instance, the reserve on the claim is shut down when the claim is paid out and not accrued over the 6 months in which UNUM had the liability. Therefore, you have reserve gain recognized in the month paid and not accrued over the 6 months of paid liability.

Shortly after the merger it was suspected that the ERD's were associated with the insurance reserves. (Expected Dates of Recovery) Changes in the ERD required Director sign off which historically has been a clear indication reserves were affected. Over time the milestone sign off has been relaxed, therefore, it is assumed UNUM has at least disassociated the ERD with reserves. The accounting effect of connecting the ERD's with accounting reserves would have been to severely underreserve.

Please forward this to the person who has been asking questions. Thanks. You may of course publish this also.

There is no financial advantage to UNUM claiming excessive expenses or losses on the financial statements. Quite the opposite. As long as I worked for UNUM Life and then UNUM Provident there has always been harassment to deny more claims than not. Through the payment system the denial of claims "frees up" cash flow to pay operating expenses. After the 9/11 incident, UNUM did in fact pay more claims, but not for long. The 9/11 claims paid were expensive and cost UNUM greatly. While the company was actively advertising the payment of 98% of claims, they were severely cutting operating expenses on the other end to keep the company running financially. As I said, approval of claims means less cash flow. So, the company cut health benefits removing any opportunity of participating in HMO's. STD
plan was outsourced and integrated with vacation time, and it became almost impossible to buy or order "red file tabs" and "white out." UNUM Life and subsequently UNUM Provident has always been dedicated to showing profits. At one time (UNUM Life) associated the annual incentive bonus with Net EPS. If Stockholder's Equity produced a net Earning Per Share of say 4-6%, we would receive the bonus. If not, forget it.

You have to keep in mind that Provident, especially, is a covert operation. Everything there is secret. They would never put "unrealized gains or losses" on the financial statements and have to disclose and foot note where they came from. The company manipulates the reserves through the payment system, which directly depends on the claims handlers and consultants staying "inside the box" and performing the exact agenda instructed to them by management. Ralph Mohoney and Tim Arnold supervise this agenda and monitor the results. The claims process is "so managed" by protocols and Consultant oversight that "bringing in" the expected target profitability is usually not a problem. UNUM Life connected performance with claims handling, so there was a vested interest on the part of the claims handlers
to deny claims abundantly. Provident took the process "underground" and keeps the method secret.

UNUMProvident has consistently terminated the employment of all those employees formerly employed by UNUM Life Insurance because they know how the manipulation of the payment system works, and, since the company needs their claims handlers "in the box", the risk of having this knowledge communicated to "new hires" is simply too great. Since the merger, UNUMProvident has re-hired 3/4 of its claims paying staff which makes them extremely inexperienced and ill trained. Yet, they remain "in the box" and the protocols work to produce the desired outcome.

======================================================

INSURANCE AS A DEFECTIVE PRODUCT

Although I often inveigh against corporations I am not against them in their place. It's just that they have acquired far too much political power. why should a nonliving entity have a power that should be reserved only to living, breathing and voting citizens?

There are corporations that produce useful and reliable products and services at a fair price, from food to computers, and I am glad to see them prosper. In fact, I find it inspiring when true quality gets ahead. Of course, we also have examples of bad quality dominating through monopoly power, such as Microsoft's crappy and overpriced software.

Still, most companies that produce a Measurable and understandable product or service get about what they deserve. The insurance industry is unique in that it can produce a defective and fraudulent product for years yet remain in business. This is because insurance is not measurable. You buy it once and pay for twenty years but can never really test it until you make a claim, by which time it is too late. Couple this with the ability of the industry to hide their wrongs through gag orders, vacatur, bribes to legislators, the worthlessness of our sleeping media, complaisant regulatory agencies, and massive advertising, and you have a malicious situation where the public can never find out the truth. If you could see an insurer was bad as easily as you could find that a hamburger tasted rotten
or your computer kept crashing, they couldn't get away with what they do. So far there is no way to do that since the weak or corrupt regulatory agencies gather only a tiny percentage of true wrongdoing, then refuse to release even that information to the public that pays their bills.

Next time you talk to your state Senator, ask why your insurance commission is so secretive. You'll get a lot of baloney, excuses and sidestepping since he's probably taking industry bribes, too.

======================================================

SOME TRUE INSPIRATIONAL STORIES

These are recent events that happened to a friend:

My sister works with a woman in her early fifties who was suddenly widowed last year. A quarter century ago she married a man who was about 10 years her senior, and for all these years she had almost a perfect marriage. They had no children, but traveled extensively and had many common interests and were rich in friends. One night last year they were watching a TV program, sitting next to each other. They were both silent for about 10 minutes as the program ended, and she turned to him to make a comment and realized with a shock that he was dead in his chair. He had suffered a sudden, massive heart attack in silence. The wife was so devastated by grief that she only returned to work in September. She has really struggled with it, and my sister Jane talked with her about it for the first
time last week.

The woman tells an interesting story about something that happened in the last few weeks. Jane said she felt bad because the woman was so clearly afraid Jane would think she was crazy as she was telling her. For all the years of the marriage, the husband showered first in the mornings. During the winter, when steam formed on the windows, he would draw a heart on the window with an arrow through it for his wife to find as she came in to take her shower. Several weeks ago, as the weather turned cold, the woman got out of the shower one morning, and in the steam on the window was drawn a heart with an arrow through it. She teaches science, and is not the superstitious type. She first theorized that the oil from his hands had somehow left a trace on the window through the many months, and
the steam from her shower had just recreated the pattern he had long ago drawn. She has spent enormous amounts of time since then playing with the shower in the morning, trying to recreate the conditions that would make it happen again. But she can't. She lives alone, and she can find no trace of any pattern on the window. She is gradually coming to believe that against all odds, her husband is still near and just left a little message of encouragement for her. She was relieved and maybe a little comforted to learn that Jane also believes such a thing is possible.

Jane told her about the sprinkler incident that occurred just after Dad's funeral, when everyone came to the house for lunch. It was about the only bright spot in the saga of our father's death. We have an ancient automated sprinkler system in the big back yard that has been utterly impossible for anyone to figure out. We should replace that God-forsaken control box, but it's really expensive, so we haven't done it. Dad was the only one who could ever make it work at will or program it, and it ceased operation while he was in the hospital. We all just figured it had finally quit, but no. For weeks, we were watering things by hand in between trips to the hospital, trying to keep his beloved garden alive just as we were trying to save him.

After lunch the day of the funeral, Dad's least favorite relatives were standing apart out in the middle of the lawn, trading gossip, probably at Dad's expense. Unfortunately for them, they chose to stand exactly where four big rainbird sprinklers converge their streams of water. Suddenly all the sprinklers, unbidden and uncontrolled, burst on at once, drenching the miscreant relatives. I was standing next to Jane as the torrent commenced and the soaked and squealing relatives scampered to get out of the shower of water. I remember Jane looking stunned, and then starting to laugh, saying "Go, Dad!" The sprinklers have never before or since come on at that time of day, let alone all together, and we have never been able to replicate that stunt, although Jane has spent a lot of time trying.
It would be just like Dad, too, and everybody there knew it. After the funeral incident, the sprinklers resumed coming on at the appointed times that Dad programmed so long ago. But never again all at once in the middle of the day. You could call it a little miracle of technology, I guess.

Some things are inexplicable, but there are just enough of them to convince me that the ones we love are still around occasionally, checking on us. All that love doesn't just suddenly cease, it just moves to another level. It all goes on, just in a way we don't understand well. "For now we see, as though a glass, darkly, but then, face to face. For now we know in part, but then we shall know, even as we are known." In spite of everything, I believe it. So do many, many millions of others, and not just Christians, either.

My best Bosnian Muslim friend is a lawyer, a sophisticated and well-traveled European who is still young. He and his wife were imprisoned in a concentration camp, and then driven out of the country into exile first in Switzerland and then the US. As the Bosnian war ground on, his mother (to whom he was very close) essentially starved to death in her big old house, attended by only some other old people, with all of her children in exile. Only neighbors were able to attend her funeral. My friend, the woman's only son, was horrified by her death and his inability to go home for the funeral or in the immediate aftermath. Muslims believe that the dead know and can see who attends their funerals and visits their graves, and it is therefore very important in their belief systems, even (curiously)
when they are not particularly religious.

My friend, who is nonreligious, nonetheless kept the 30 days of Muslim fasting for a death in the family, and started working feverishly to get travel documents, which took over a year even after he got to the US. As soon as he finally received travel documents and was able to scrape together the money, he and his wife went home to Bosnia to the house where his mother died and that he still owns. The Dayton Accords had come, and a UN army made it possible for him to go home. They met his sisters and their families there, who had with great hardship traveled from exile in Sweden and Serbia to greet him and honor their mother.

All together at last, they dressed in their finest clothes and took armloads of flowers to the Muslim cemetery and said the prayers they would have said at the funeral had they been able to be there. I loaned them my video camera, and they recorded the visit, essentially a recreated funeral, and sent copies of the tape to all the other relatives in exile who were unable to get home to Bosnia. Only after all that was done did they finally start to relax and plan for the future. Although he is theoretically an atheist, he did not sense the inconsistency when he told me that until he was able to go to her grave, show his respect, and say the right prayers, he wasn't sure that his mother would know how much he loved and grieved for her, and that now he felt she could forgive him for not being
there. It was at that point that he stopped being so distraught about the events and began to get his life back together. He still talks about her constantly, but now he remembers the strong, confident woman of his youth, not the elderly victim of a vicious and pointless war. The rituals we keep about such things make a difference in how we are able to go forward.

We have two employees in a small community in northern NM. Both are young women in their mid-thirties who have children. We've been having a lot of business problems lately, so everybody's been pretty stressed. On Thursday, one of them returned from a 2400 mile road trip to Illinois for Thanksgiving. Upon arriving home, she loaded her two children, eight and five, into the backseat of her Toyota 4-Runner and seat-belted them in, then headed to the store to get fresh milk. She was stopped on a highway with her signal on, waiting for oncoming traffic to clear so she could turn left into the grocery store. Another woman driving a Jeep Cherokee rear-ended her at about 50 mph, totaling both vehicles. Facing the setting sun, she never saw the 4-Runner.

The impact was so great that it collapsed the 4-Runner right up to the back seat but stopped just short of the children. The back doors were jammed shut, so their mother unbuckled them and dragged them over the gearshift and out the driver's door, fearful that the truck would burn. She took them to safety and then turned to help the other driver escape her truck. The 4-Runner's fuel line was bent in half, and the gas tank damaged, but it didn't rupture. Miraculously, aside from bruises and strains, none of the three in that 4-Runner were hurt, and the cars did not burn.

The woman in the Cherokee was injured slightly by the deployment of the airbag and apparently has some injuries to her legs, but given the high speed of that impact, it is purely a miracle that they all survived it. So we've been dealing with the fall-out from that one, hospital visits and insurance forms and much nail-biting about replacing vehicles, so necessary in that relatively remote area.

Yesterday, Sunday, the other young woman, a single mom, took her 3 kids and went with another couple into the nearby mountain range to cut Christmas trees. If you've never done it, that is arduous work, hiking through snow to find a tree, getting it cut, and then transporting it out. They were getting two trees. They were done and ready to transport the trees about noon, when they suddenly realized that our gal's oldest child, a boy of eight, was missing and nobody had seen him in over an hour. After several hours of frantic searching, they saw that the weather was turning bad and they called in search and rescue.

The searchers are highly experienced and brought tracking dogs with them. The area is very rugged wilderness, and populated with bear and cougar. The one break is that it is remote, and there are very few humans who go up into that area, so they didn't have to much worry about human predators. By 5pm, it was dark, and a cold, driving rain had begun with wind. The search dogs, wet and exhausted, became confused about the scent, and could not track. Human searchers continued until about 10pm, using infrared scopes, but found no trace of the boy as the weather got worse and worse. The rain eventually turned to a steady snow, and they called off the search for the night. The temperature had dropped to the 20's. The boy's mother spent the night on the mountain with searchers, waiting for daylight,
and anxiety was very high.

Today dawned clear and cold, with a blanket of fresh snow. Dozens of people suited up and volunteered to search for the boy, but the rescue team turned them back, fearful that they would confuse the tracking dogs and disturb tracks in the fresh snow. Finally late in the morning, the dogs did their thing, and trackers found the child cold, hungry, and exhausted, but otherwise unscathed. Apparently he had found himself a little spot under a bank or something to get through the long night. We are all so relieved, but his mother is a basket case with all the stress.

The younger people in our group are rattled, and think I'm weird because I'm so calm. I just tell them it's the difference in age. Back when I was their ages, I'd have been hysterical that all this has happened to us, that contracts have been suspended, that trucks were wrecked and the child lost, and my mother injured. At this age, I know that contracts can be renegotiated, trucks can be replaced, and I am just grateful that there were no fires and few injuries in the accident, that the child was found alive and well, and that my mom just has some cracked ribs.

It's inconvenient, but I am old enough now to know it's been a week of miracles, all things considered. An army of angels must have labored to get us through all this without the probably outcomes of any of those events, and I am counting our many blessings. I spent the afternoon arguing against taking my mother into the hospital, because I also know at this age that she is better off to be resting quietly in her own feather bed, surrounded by devoted caretakers and family who love her. The medical types find it insulting that I have so little faith in their greater wisdom. That's a result of age and experience, too.

======================================================

SEARCHING TIP

<http://www.completeplanet.com/>

Although google.com is the best overall search engine, Complete Planet is a "deep" search engine, that searches resources not usually available on the web, such as databases and library indexes. This resource is estimated to contain 500 times more information than is available on google, the web's best overall engine. It may be good for comprehensive searches for legal discoveries, for instance.

You have to use simple Booleans, such as this AND that. This is a Resource finder so you don't go for particulars, which you look for once you find the resource. You would search for insurance AND litigation, not for "UNUM Provident" for instance.

As an example, using this I found the Findlaw Law Crawler at <http://lawcrawler.findlaw.com/> which is a very useful resource. If you then put UNUM Provident in the law crawler you get Lots of stuff, but narrowed to legal, whereas with a regular search engine you would get too much on other subjects.

Using that I got this interesting article:

UnumProvident Memo Shows Intent to Use Law to Save Money
Wall Street Journal - Christopher Oster

01/16/03 - As state regulators scrutinize the claims practices of disability-income insurer UnumProvident Corp., a document obtained by policyholders' attorneys shows the insurer's intent to use a law meant to protect workers' retirement savings to help it save money on claims, Thursday's Wall Street Journal reported.

The memo, written in 1995, says Provident Corp., which merged with Unum Corp. in 1999, had formed a "task force" to identify policies covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. "The advantages of ERISA coverage in litigious situations are enormous," reads the memo, written by Jeff McCall, at the time an assistant vice president in the claims department at Provident. " There are no jury trials. There are no compensatory or punitive damages."

UnumProvident said the memo was merely an attempt by the company to better comply with Erisa, which governs many of its claims practices. But the memo, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, adds fuel to critics' complaints UnumProvident in some instances has been overzealous in denying claims.

The insurer says it pays all legitimate claims and that critics, including some former employees who recently have given sworn statements to plaintiffs' lawyers, have distorted its approach, which is geared toward getting employees back to work. The Chattanooga, Tenn., company's claims-handling procedures are being scrutinized by state insurance regulators in Georgia and California.

Erisa long has been a frustration for plaintiffs' lawyers. Under the law, a policyholder who sues an insurer alleging a claim was mishandled can't collect any court award other than restoration of policy benefits and in some cases attorneys' fees. Erisa doesn't allow awards for punitive damages.

Webmaster's note: Incidentally, our website shows up on the first search page, just like it does with google. You really can't look for UNUM Provident on the web without finding gus ;')

Also, here's the direct link to the findlaw pages on UNUM (15 of them) <http://lawcrawler.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/lc.pl?entry=unum+provident&sites=wlegal>

And another really excellent page with a Lot of UNUM info:
<http://www.1800lawinfo.com/practice/news.htm?topic=Unum%20Provident%20Fraud>

Here's a shorter link for that if it broke up:
<http://makeashorterlink.com/?F210513C6>

======================================================

ANOTHER BETRAYAL FOR BIG PHARMA

The Government buys cheaper Canadian drugs - disproving the corrupt FDA's claims they aren't safe even though they have the same manufacturer - but we can't. The new prescription drug bill, virtually written by pharmaceutical lobbyists for the Bush Adminnistration, forbids citizens from doing what the government does. The fix was in as Bush and his bandits bent over and whored themselves for millions in big bribes from the pharmaceutical industry. Is there no end to the Naked corporate corruption of "our" government?

Still, I think of the inspirational stories up above and hope there is some higher power some day that will expose the evil bastards in the government and corporate worlds and send them where they belong. Sorry for the strong language but whenever I think of corruption I can't avoid it. As long as I've been alive I've felt that betrayal and breaking your word is the worst of sins, and our so-called representatives sell us out to the corporations every day of the week. There is a special place in hell for them. Similarly, an insurer sells Nothing but trust, so theirs is also an ultimate betrayal when they cheat.

Well, the Christmas season is upon us. The years are still coming quickly, yet nothing basic seems to have changed. We still have an absurd economic system that heaps massive rewards on crooks and loafers, but leaves little for the people who actually do the work of the world, and who have to work harder and harder despite all these computers that were supposed to be doing the work for us. The twenty-first century was supposed to be better, according to all the futurists. What went wrong?

What went wrong, of course, was a series of betrayals of the middle class, which started to prosper and steadily improved their lot after the Second World War, largely due to the GI Bill and better education. But around about the eighties our rulers, enticed by corporate bribes, decided we were doing too well and slowly cut the slats out from under us, one by one. It was a purposeful grab by the elite to get back all the power they had over us, that was largely the cause of war in the first place. If you stand back, you can pretty much see the pattern of steady disenfranchisement and malicious decisions.

But I still have hope they will be exposed as the source of many more disasters than you might think, and that some day their power will be broken by the common people - you and me.

Below are a couple of articles describing how our economy is slowly being wrecked as jobs are shipped overseas ( Eventually leading to wages of about 50% of what we now expect, according to one article in Business Week.) If you think this is all just an accident, don't wait up too long for Santa Claus.

======================================================

LOOTING THE FUTURE

<http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/05/opinion/05KRUG.html> Date: Fri, 05 Dec 2003 18:17:09 GMT

By PAUL KRUGMAN

One thing you have to say about George W. Bush: he's got a great sense of humor. At a recent fund-raiser, according to The Associated Press, he described eliminating weapons of mass destruction from Iraq and ensuring the solvency of Medicare as some of his administration's accomplishments.

Then came the punch line: "I came to this office to solve problems and not pass them on to future presidents and future generations." He must have had them rolling in the aisles.

In the early months of the Bush administration, one often heard that "the grown-ups are back in charge." But if being a grown-up means planning for the future in fact, if it means anything beyond marital fidelity then this is the least grown-up administration in American history. It governs like there's no tomorrow.

Nothing in our national experience prepared us for the spectacle of a government launching a war, increasing farm subsidies and establishing an expensive new Medicare entitlement and not only failing to come up with a plan to pay for all this spending in the face of budget deficits, but cutting taxes at the same time.

Recent good economic news doesn't change the verdict. These aren't temporary measures aimed at getting the economy back on its feet; they're permanent drains on the budget. Serious estimates show a long-term budget gap, even with a recovery, of at least 25 percent of federal spending. That is, the federal government including Medicare, which Mr. Bush has given new responsibilities without new resources is nowhere near solvent.

Then there's international trade policy. Here's how the steel story looks from Europe: the administration imposed an illegal tariff for domestic political reasons, then changed its mind when threatened with retaliatory tariffs focused on likely swing states. So the U.S. has squandered its credibility: it is now seen as a nation that honors promises only when it's politically convenient.

What really makes me wonder whether this republic can be saved, however, is the downward spiral in governance, the hijacking of public policy by private interests.

The new Medicare bill is a huge subsidy for drug and insurance companies, coupled with a small benefit for retirees. In comparison, the energy bill which stalled last month, but will come back has a sort of purity: it barely even pretends to be anything other than corporate welfare. Did you hear about the subsidy that will help Shreveport get its first Hooters restaurant?

And it's not just legislation: hardly a day goes by without an administrative decision that just happens to confer huge benefits on favored corporations, at the public's expense. For example, last month the Internal Revenue Service dropped its efforts to crack down on the synfuel tax break a famously abused measure that was supposed to encourage the production of alternative fuels, but has ended up giving companies billions in tax credits for spraying coal with a bit of diesel oil. The I.R.S. denies charges by Bill Henck, one of its own lawyers, that it buckled under political pressure. Coincidentally, according to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Henck has suddenly found himself among the tiny minority of taxpayers facing an I.R.S. audit.

Awhile back, George Akerlof, the Nobel laureate in economics, described what's happening to public policy as "a form of looting." Some scoffed at the time, but now even publications like The Economist, which has consistently made excuses for the administration, are sounding the alarm.

To be fair, the looting is a partly bipartisan affair. More than a few Democrats threw their support behind the Medicare bill, the energy bill or both. But the Bush administration and the Republican leadership in Congress are leading the looting party. What are they thinking?

The prevailing theory among grown-up Republicans yes, they still exist seems to be that Mr. Bush is simply doing whatever it takes to win the next election. After that, he'll put the political operatives in their place, bring in the policy experts and finally get down to the business of running the country.

But I think they're in denial. Everything we know suggests that Mr. Bush's people have given as little thought to running America after the election as they gave to running Iraq after the fall of Baghdad. And they will have no idea what to do when things fall apart.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

======================================================

BUT, BUT, IT'S ALL JUST A SERIES OF ACCIDENTS. SURE IT IS.

Remember that Paul Krugman said that an economic collapse is exactly what the Bush Administration wants. It's the only way to get the public to accept the dismantling of programs like Medicare and Social Security.

The Great Depression the reason for creating Social Security because old people were experiencing the greatest hardship. Their families were unable to take care of them with breadwinners out of work. Of course, this was under FDR, called a "traitor to his class" by his contemporaries.

<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A37123-2003Dec4.html>
Fiddling While the Dollar Drops

By David Ignatius
Friday, December 5, 2003; Page A31

Something ominous is happening when the United States reports its biggest surge in productivity in 20 years, as it did Wednesday, and yet the dollar plunges to an all-time low against the euro.

The dollar is sinking these days on good news and bad, and the explanation is pretty simple: Investors around the world are worried that the Bush administration's policies are eroding the value of the U.S. currency. So they're rushing to unload greenbacks, in what could soon become a full-blown financial crisis.

"The dollar crisis is the story," warns James Harmon, an investment banker who headed the Export-Import Bank during the Clinton administration. "A lot of smart money has moved out of the dollar in the last six months," he explains. "Now the latecomers are rushing to sell, and that's adding to the momentum."

The "smart money" includes financial guru Warren Buffett. He disclosed last month in Fortune that since the spring of 2002, he has been making "significant investments" in foreign currencies for the first time in his career. What worries Buffett is that the U.S. trade deficit has "greatly worsened," and is now running at more than 4 percent of GDP. That puts the U.S. economy at the mercy of foreigners, and their willingness to hold surplus dollars.

So long as global investors believed that U.S. authorities were ready to protect the dollar as a reserve currency, they kept adding to their stashes of greenbacks, despite the trade deficit. But that confidence may finally be disappearing.

The dollar's decline during the Bush presidency has been remarkable. It has tumbled about 44 percent from its October 2000 high of about 83 cents to the euro. Over the past year alone, the decline has been more than 15 percent. Investors who trusted in the dollar as a store of value have been clobbered, so it's not surprising that they want to sell, even at current depressed prices. They fear that worse is coming.

"I'm appalled at what's happening to the dollar," says investment banker Felix Rohatyn, a former U.S. ambassador to France. "A basic responsibility of a government is to maintain the value of its currency."

Rohatyn argues that the Federal Reserve should signal that it "will not allow a dollar crisis to happen" by raising the Fed funds rate at which banks can borrow money overnight, from its current low level of 1 percent. Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan insisted recently that there isn't any dollar crisis, which only made some investors more nervous.

If you haven't already gagged on your raisin bran, consider this nightmare scenario -- outlined by an investment banker who for many years headed his firm's currency-trading operations. This veteran trader contends that the markets have entered a cycle in which "overshooting" -- meaning a further sharp fall in the dollar's value -- "is a distinct possibility."

The core problem, he argues, is that China and Japan have been determined to keep their currencies cheap -- China by fixing the yuan at an artificially low level and Japan by intervening in exchange markets to keep the yen from rising. With their undervalued currencies, the Asians can export massively to the United States and accumulate ever-larger surpluses of dollars.

Hence the nightmare scenario: Between them, China and Japan now hold more than $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds, the trader estimates. But with the declining dollar, the Asian giants have suffered severe losses on these portfolios. If they decided to hedge just 20 percent of their dollar exposure, they could drive the dollar down from this week's low of about $1.21 against the euro to $1.35, contends the trader, and other sellers would trigger a further weakening to $1.45 or so. Facing that sort of decline, the Fed would have to boost interest rates to protect the currency. And higher rates, in turn, would drive down the U.S. stock market.

The Bush administration seems comfortable with a cheaper dollar because it's a way of stimulating demand for American products abroad and sustaining the U.S. economic recovery. In other words, it's good politics. But paradoxically, the U.S. recovery will only worsen pressure on the dollar by sucking in more imports.

To prevent a full-blown crisis, the administration must take prompt action. It should pledge to cut the deficit; it should stop playing politics with free trade; and it should signal that it will intervene in currency markets when necessary to protect the dollar's value. Those steps might convince global investors that somebody at the White House is at least minding the store.

[email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>

Webmaster's comments: Before someone writes accusing me of being a conspiracy theorist, it is Not natural for me to think this way. In fact, I avoid it and am pretty much non-paranoid. (You have to be when you go after big insurance companies year after year.)

But I've been around a long time and keep watching the pieces fall into place as the middle class sinks into peon-hood. It's getting harder and harder not to be smacked upside the head by a rather grim vision. It's all too close to what the corporations and people in power want: a massive concentration of wealth in a small bunch of oligarchs and billions of peons to do their bidding - what I call the Mexicanization of America. Fewer billions, though - the world population has to be rid of the "superfluous" and "unimportant" through diseases, disasters and wars.

The folks in charge are supposed to be the best and the brightest, after all, so either they are Much more stupid than we thought or they are doing exactly what they planned to do. The whole point of America is that it's supposed to be a meritocracy, with the best people rising to the top. Well, if this is the best that the best can do, we need to just give the planet back to the insects and see if something sane evolves next time.

Of course, maybe this is the best they can do -- for themselves.

But don't get too far down. We have the inspirational stories above versus the evil and rapacious men mentioned just now. They are not all-powerful and there are a lot of good people, too. I am throwing my lot in with the good guys and we will see who wins in the end. Personally, I have no doubt of the outcome - it's just going to be a long fight to get the truth out.

======================================================

OR MAYBE WE'RE JUST OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD

"I'm the Supreme Dictator of all, and I'm elected once a year. This is a Democracy, you know, where the people are allowed to vote for their rulers. A good many others would like to be Supreme Dictator, but as I made a law that I am always to count the votes myself, I am always elected."

L. Frank Baum, in "Glinda of Oz" (1920, Posthumously) (Quote from "The Second American Revolution" (1983) p.65 - Vintage edition)

======================================================

I HOPE TO HAVE ONE MORE EDITION BEFORE XMAS

With really bad news about the most evil disability insurer in America - but I have to wait like everyone else. It don't happen until the fat lady sings and I never count on the media until I see it in print. So many people doubted me that the Dateline and Sixty Minutes exposes were going to happen that I've decided to wait until the key is in the door this time ;')

======================================================

PLEASE PAY FOR THE SUBSCRIPTION TO SUPPORT OUR CAUSE - $15/YR MINIMUM, MORE IF YOU FEEL THIS IS IMPORTANT WORK.

James Mooney
PMB # 106
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Jacksonville, FL 32210-3381

OR Via Paypal at: <https://www.paypal.com/affil/[email protected]>

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#4 User is offline   Kiwee 

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 12:11 AM

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/busines...tickercode=>
Geoff Hunt: Better targets than the employers

09.12.2003
COMMENT
We've heard claims that employers are responsible for 500 workplace deaths each year. How accurate is this charge?

In May, the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Act came into force.

The implication of changes it made is that the previous penalties available to Occupational Safety and Health were insufficient to get employers to take employee health and safety seriously.

New Zealand has a lower workplace accident rate than Australia or the United States. For the year to June, OSH reported 73 work related fatalities, exactly the same number as the year before.

But by including bystanders and motor vehicle accidents in the definition of a "workplace", the OSH statistics have reduced the focus on identifying industries and companies that need to improve safety.

Last year, the Accident Compensation Corporation worked with the 20 worst-performing companies in Auckland and reduced their accident rate by almost half. This was an enlightened, focused, low cost and effective way to achieve quick results.

Data from ACC indicates that the worst-performing industries are farming, construction and road freight. ACC should continue with its targeted programmes to help these industries reduce their accident rates.

But if there is genuine interest in reducing the number of preventable deaths and accidents, are employers the best group for the Government to target?

In the same year that 73 people died in workplace accidents, more than 400 people were killed on the roads.


The health sector is a significant area of accidents and fatalities. Last December, the Herald reported that of 700,000 hospital admissions a year, 42,000 patients suffered avoidable mistakes.

Most employers take workplace safety very seriously. A quarter of employees work for employers self-insured under the ACC Partnership Programme.

For these employers, the cost of treatment and time lost when staff are injured comes straight out of the company's profit. What better incentive for improving health and safety than this?

The new legislation muddies the water around work-related accidents and fatalities.

If the Government is genuine about reducing preventable accidents and deaths, then the OSH focus is too narrow.

It should include hospitals, roading and other areas to ensure the best results from spending on accident prevention.

Failure to properly define the problem has delivered ideologically-driven legislation that has squandered the opportunity for a sharp improvement in overall safety.

That is a real loss for workers, employers and families.

* Geoff Hunt is managing director of Alstom NZ.
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Posted 19 January 2004 - 01:21 PM

Some more sites on ALLSTATE :D

http://www.google.co.nz/search?q=Allstate+...le+Search&meta=


http://www.allstateinsurancesucks.com/

Plus this one:

http://www.google.co.nz/search?hl=en&ie=UT...le+Search&meta=
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#6 User is offline   jocko 

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Posted 07 February 2004 - 06:37 PM

Visitors reading these posts should be aware the Accident Compensation Corporation of New Zealand has imported the operating procedures, policies and practices of the American Insurance Corporation. UNUM. These same covert practises are used by ACC.
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Posted 07 February 2004 - 06:50 PM

ACC'S DEFINITON OF Fraud

I WONDER WHO THE JUDGE WAS THAT MADE THIS COMMENT FOR ACC

Quote

ACC takes fraud very seriously. As one judge said, "ACC fraud is theft from the community".


AS ACC SEE'S IT

What is fraud?

Fraud is defined as the intentional misrepresentation of facts for the purpose of obtaining unauthorised payments. Fraud against ACC happens when:

• people work but don’t tell ACC, so they continue to get weekly compensation payments

• people say they can’t do something when they can

• people pretend to be worse off than they really are

• treatment providers claim for work that hasn’t been done or patients who haven’t been seen

• treatment providers and claimants claim for health problems that are not related to an injury

• people claim for home help assistance but the work is not actually done.
You can help

You can help prevent fraud. If you think someone is not being honest with ACC, call the Fraud Unit on 0800 372-830 or e-mail ACC. Your call will be completely confidential.

How do we stop it?
ACC has a Fraud Unit that specialises in preventing, detecting and prosecuting fraud. The unit works with ACC’s case managers to find people who are committing fraud and follows up tip-offs from the public. ACC also uses ‘data matching’ tools to compare the information we hold with information held by agencies such as Inland Revenue.

What are the penalties?

Anyone caught committing fraud is taken to court and can face up to seven years in jail and/or a fine of up to three times any overpayment resulting from their fraud. ACC will seek reparation from the court, which means that anyone found guilty of fraud will have to pay back the money fraudulently obtained.

Courts today are handing out some tough sentences. Nearly all those convicted end up paying back the money as well as receiving some other punishment.


IN MY OPINION .... WHY SHOULD ACC BE ABLE TO CONTINUE TO KNOWINGLY CARRY OUT FRAUD AGAINST CLAIMANTS ...


http://www.acc.org.nz/for-providers/find-o...ut-about-fraud/
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#8 User is offline   doppelganger 

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Posted 07 February 2004 - 07:28 PM

those that the ACC get a fraud conviction have no insurance, including motorcar and ACC. It is a way the ACC uses to stop the paying of compensation. the fraud done by the ACC employees is nearly inpossible to be brought to the courts but it is comming sooner. the employees are all alone when it comes to a fraud charge against them. there has just been a case in the Hamiliton court in which the ACC claimed that the claimant could earn more than his intitlement and that he comminted fraud.
Where a claimant does not receive compensation and does not earn over the entitlement the corporation is also committing fraud. it is just time that the casemanagers are standing before the courts as they are doing to there victims now

Keep the fight going and the win will be bigger than just our entitlements

Doppelganger
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#9 User is offline   BillyBob 

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Posted 07 February 2004 - 09:36 PM

That sounds very much like someone with sticky fingers
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Posted 07 February 2004 - 10:02 PM

The Service Detail Report makes for interesting reading ...all the details about the money ACC has spent on your claim and to whom it was paid to ... amazing what you find in there that does not add up either :huh:
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#11 User is offline   Kiwee 

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 11:34 AM

CORPORATE CRIMEFIGHTERS OF AMERICA -- February 09, 2004
======================================================
Please Pay For The Subscription To Keep Our Work Going - $15/Yr Minimum, More If You Feel This Is Important Work And Can Afford It. P.O. Box And Paypal Link At Bottom:
======================================================

This newsletter follows on the heels of the last one rather closely, but a lot of interesting and inspiring stuff came in - and we all need inspiration - so here it is. I'm also announcing a new Starting Over section for the website.

DON'T LET THE FIGHT CONSUME YOU

From: Dugan Barr <[email protected]>

Jim,

There is a really important message that you need to get out to your people. It is this: DO NOT LET THIS LAWSUIT/FIGHT/IAM GETTING SCREWED become your life. I have been a trial lawyer for over 35 years. I started out as a defense lawyer (when insurance companies were fairly honest) and became a plaintiff's lawyer when it became clear that they no longer were. During that process, I have learned some things:

1. They can only take so much from you. The rest of what they get, you have to give them. No matter how much they have beaten you down, try to find something you can enjoy to forget it and do that. And I do not mean drugs or alcohol. I mean a nice walk or a nice time on a bench if you can't walk on a nice day. Go to your kid's/grand kid's soccer game, even if it is a pain to get there. Volunteer to help someone who is worse off than you. Be a foster grandparent. Do something. Get out of the house. Have a life.

2. Try to find something you can do to support yourself, even if it screws up your benefits. If you can do it, do it. I know that it will piss you off to a fair-thee-well to do something that makes you hurt so that these jerks do not have to pay you, but you will sleep better at night and feel better during the day. Do not do this if there is a significant difference between what you earn and what they owe you (if you are sure that you can prove that they owe you). But over all, you will feel better if you are productive.

3. Get as much exercise as you can. Try Pilatus or Egosque. I have probably misspelled them both, but they are both low impact exercises designed for people in pain. Do they work? I do not know. But I have some clients who swear by them. You can get them both on the net through Google.

I have seen so many people who have given up their lives to some lawsuit. It is a tragedy of the first order. I urge your people to pursue the jerks at UNUM especially with all their hearts, but do not make cripples out of themselves at the same time. If you have a choice of being with your kid and hating UNUM, forget UNUM.

SOMETIMES THE PEOPLE YOU HATE ARE RIGHT. DO NOT LET THE FACT THAT YOU HATE THEM INTERFERE WITH THEIR ABILITY TO HELP YOU.

Unum has this whole separate company that has as its stated objective to return people to work. I regard it with great suspicion because I am sure that it is just another of their hoax's. In general, it probably is. But even a blind pig is bound to root up a peanut once in a while, and this outfit is bound to come up with a reasonable rehabilitation program just because a certain number of its insureds are bound to qualify for a reasonable program. If it does, do not reject it unless your lawyer tells you to. Then ask him why and listen very carefully.

JIm, I have never been in the situation that your people are in. But I have represented many who have been in that shape, and I believe that the worst mistake that they can make is to let this fight with cruel, uncaring people who have taken their money consume them.

Webmaster's comments: Here is one victim, for instance, whose twenty year fight has collapsed. It's hard to give up and start fresh after a twenty year fight:

From: Donna Bird [[email protected]]

Jim -

Your timing couldn't have been any better.......things have completely fallen apart (more than what we talked about). I will read this till it stops hurting. I've fought for twenty years, let's see if I can make it through this.

Thank you for your thoughts. You'll never know just what it has done for me.

Donna

-------------------------

Webmaster's further comments: As for the "rehab" bulls**t, I'm working with a claimant who Only wants to be rehabbed, is Very professional, and is not suing, yet Unum has delayed her for years. So the "rehab" claim is also false. If rehab involves more expense than fixing a sprained ankle, Unum ain't gonna do it.

======================================================

LOOKING FOR A DOGWORKER

Got a fast Internet connection and some time on your hands? I need to go through legal sites and insurance complaint sites to try to generate more links, publicity and business for this work I do, in order to support it. But it's really time consuming clerical work and nearly impossible on my slow internet connection. Anyone want to help out? It may take from two days to two weeks of tedious effort. And the pay is about what I get - nuthin ;')

However, I'll send you the CD and put your name in the newsletter and site as an assistant if you do a bangup job.

======================================================


STARTING OVER

From Dr. Joan:

Nancy - I know your situation all too well. I have been there and done that, and thrown myself on the mercy of welfare just to survive. I have tried working in piddly jobs as well, all of which aggravated my shoulders and arms.However, survival is imperative or else, they win.Theirs is a war on many battlegrounds, including your emotional stability and mental health.

I have decided that I must stop dwelling in my past, and recreate a new future, no matter how challenging and hopeless that seems. Pretend you had no past, and redesign a future, because, you will have to live with yourself no matter what. I feel as if I lost many years of my life, because of my battle not only with Unum, but with the resulting poverty, depression and loss of dignity I endured. I only survived because I knew that I had to go forward.

So, my advice is to create your future. In the end, although the situation is immoral and horrendous, you will have to build a new life as a result. Spend some time plotting a new course so that the next decade is not in misery.

I wrote about this in my book, Make Your LIfe A Miracle, which describes the steps I took to pull myself out of my devastating poverty and misery. You can find more info on what I did at www.miraclemakersclub.com on the books and products page. Email me directly at [email protected] and I will brainstorm with you if necessary and give you pep talks. Thanks.....please do not lose heart. Joan

Webmaster's comments: I mentioned I was doing a Starting Over page to Joan and she replied:
----------------

From Dr. Joan

to tell you the truth, I must sell books in order to survive and continue my fight.
tell that to your readers. Just because I won a landmark decision, doesn't mean
my battle is over. We are still in appeals process, and they don't have to pay me
until forever....and there is no guarantee we will win.

That is what is iinspired me to continue to live, overcome, and triumph.
And that is why I want to inspire and help any one else in my situation. If we
join forces we can win, Every day we don't kill ourselves and have a good day,
is a major miracle!

Anyway, tell them to buy my book. It will nurture their soul and inspire them
to take another step forward.

love you. I can't fight alone anymore. I need to know there are others out there
I can inspire and help.

Tell them to contact me.

Joan Hangarter
[email protected]

Webmaster's comments: Those "big" judgments you read about in the paper are a total crock. After they are "won" there are years of appeals during which time the claimant is broke. Then, the judgment is often reduced or thrown out by a corrupt appellate judge who has been getting big vacations and "speaking fees" from the insurance industry. Add rotten judges to the rotten media and politicians and regulatory agencies I decry.

For some odd reason the corporate media never mentions this part when they blather about "runaway juries". Gee, I wonder why.

======================================================

STARTING OVER

As noted by the above articles, Unum victims often have to start over emotionally. In fact, I've decided to headline a Starting Over section on the site. If anyone has some words of inspiration or encouragement on how to Not let the bast***s get you down, or how you beat the blues Unum was trying to smother you with, send it in and I'll include it. BTW, I'm not getting soft in me old age by not spelling out the swear words Unum so richly deserves. It's just that those stupid spam filters the major ISPs are enabling for their users are blocking all sorts of valid emails for various asinine or idiotic reasons, so it's best not to provoke them ;')

Here's the blurb and URL for the new page:

http://www.corporatecrimefighters.com/html...rting_over.html

UNUM WILL TRY TO DESTROY YOU MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY
It's called "gaslighting" and there is more about it in that section of our site. Yes, you must fight but sometimes they get you so down you have to recoup your spirit and start over. I get lots of advice on this and am going to post it here. I'll start with a letter from Dr. Joan, but there will be more to come. I'll try to add to this regularly, so if Unum has beat you down so far you can't see up, come back here now and then.

This is one reason I'm doing the Starting Over section, and will add to it. Yes, the nice foiks at Unum will drive you to suicide if they can, and be glad you're dead, so know whom you're dealing with and don't let them win. Frankly, I'd contemplate taking a few executives out before I'd think of killing myself. (That's a literary trope and is Not meant as advice or incitement - damn, I've been dealing with lawyers so long I'm starting to think like one - God forbid I start writing like one ;')

======================================================

I'VE ALWAYS NOTICED THE IMPORTANCE OF SEMANTICS

How reporters usually give their wording the corporate slant. Take this wording from last newsletter, where I reprised a reporter's story on tort reform attempts:

"There's even a lawyer for McDonald's Corp., involved in one of the most notorious personal-injury cases, when a New Mexico woman spilled hot coffee on herself. She was awarded $2.9 million in 1994, which was reduced on appeal to $480,000. The sides later settled out of court."

You see, industry PR men blasted this story all over the nation, since it seemed perfect for tort reform advocacy. The problem is, the coffee wasn't "hot," it was "scalding," at an incredibly high temperature they had previously been warned about. The damage was extremely painful and scarring. Almost like you'd poured out some nitric acid.

But you know, whenever I read this "story," it's always just "hot," never "scalding." Is that a coincidence? I don't think so. Very few reporters go to read the actual trial transcript. They just repeat the flak-alert that PR Sally sent them from corporate HQ.

Of course, I also noted that the reporter didn't warn his readers the tort reform group he was quoting was a thin industry front and not a citizen's group at all. (I wrote him about it - I'm sure he'll do more careful digging from now on - hahahahahahahahahahahaha ;')

======================================================

UNUM ALSO CHEATS ON NO-OFFSET POLICIES

I wanted to respond to the UNUM insider who wrote about the SSDI offsets. He states that "all group disability policies provide for the reduction of disability income." His statement is true to the extent that the total of benefits should not exceed what the claimant was earning before disability.

However, UNUM also has no-offset group policies. They have to exist, because claimants working for a government agency (like a state school) cannot pay into Social Security. They are prohibited by law (in many states--perhaps all) from doing so. Thus their claims cannot be offset by a deduction of Social Security that they haven't contributed to.

UNUM will try to cheat a claimant of this provision by asserting that she or he was actually engaging in other work, even when a claim is filed under a no-offset group policy covering a full-time job. Be sure to check your policy and have documentation to refute their lying.

NAME WITHHELD

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REPLY TO LAST ISSUE'S MENTION OF UNUM FORCING PEOPLE ONTO PIDDLY JOBS TO SURVIVE.

To: [email protected]

Nancy - I know your situation all too well. I have been there and done that, and thrown myself on the mercy of welfare just to survive. I have tried working in piddly jobs as well, all of which aggravated my shoulders and arms. However, survival is imperative or else, they win. Theirs is a war on many battlegrounds, including your emotional stability and mental health.

I have decided that I must stop dwelling in my past, and recreate a new future, no matter how challenging and hopeless that seems. Pretend you had no past, and redesign a future, because, you will have to live with yourself no matter what. I feel as if I lost many years of my life, because of my battle not only with Unum, but with the resulting poverty, depression and loss of dignity I endured. I only survived because I knew that I had to go forward. So, my advice is to create your future. In the end, although the situation is immoral and horrendous, you will have to build a new life as a result. Spend some time plotting a new course so that the next decade is not in misery.

I wrote about this in my book, Make Your LIfe A Miracle, which describes the steps I took to pull myself out of my devastating poverty and misery. You can find more info on what I did at www.miraclemakersclub.com on the books and products page. Email me directly at [email protected] and I will brainstorm with you if necessary and give you pep talks. Thanks.....please do not lose heart. Joan

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GOOD PAGE ON TESLA

Who invented AC polyphase current, AC motors and viable radio, which revolutionized civilization, in addition to hundreds of other marvelous inventions, many now forgotten or suppressed. He died poor while lesser men stole the credit and the wealth. He is still largely unrecognized. I guess the media and corporations have always been the same:

http://www.ntesla.org/

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COMMON CRUD AND COMMON SENSE

Last issue I mentioned the tort reform group Common Good, which I call Common Crud, since they're another deceptive industry front group. Still, I agreed to some small extent that a few contingency fees are out of line - Cases where a lawyer may only send a few letters on an open-and-shut case and garner 40% do seem excessive.

On reflection, though, that 40% fee often goes toward funding the many cases for clients who have no money, who eventually lose, costing the law firm money. We can't forget that insurers have such a stranglehold on the legal system that it takes five to seven years to complete a case, during which time nobody is paid, and at the end, thanks to corrupt appellate judges, the award is reduced or even ruled out at the end. That is a big gamble on the part of the law firm and gambling is a high stakes business.

Still, I think a lot of unnecessary litigation could be obviated by more sensible laws - and I don't mean laws made by the %$# insurance industry and their prostitute politicians.

For instance, I was watching a lawsuit commercial for PPA, once a common ingredient in over the counter drugs. In this case, I feel there is proper liability because PPA was rushed to market without proper long-term testing, even though it is not a really necessary drug. It's a "comfort" drug. You see there is a double bind here. You want long term testing, but you Don't want to delay drugs that can save lives. But PPA was not a lifesaver.

So you want FDA delays for frivolous drugs, like diet aids, since it's crazy to endanger lives for frivolous reasons, but you want a fast-track, for instance, for anti-cancer drugs that might save people who may be likely to die next month.

The sensible thing to do, which we will never see from legislators or FDA officials, would be to make a law that life saving drugs be immediately and widely available to physicians as long as it was a case where standard protocol did not work, the patient's life was in danger, and he signed an ironclad legal release absolving the doctor of any possible suit (excepting malicious use, of course).

This way the dying would be allowed to take a chance, but the general public would be protected from avaricious drug companies eager to market the latest diet craze no matter how toxic it might be.

Alas, legislators, who no longer believe in compromise or studying issues or common sense, but only bloat with partisanship or bribes, are not going to do such a sensible thing.

Below is another observation on contingency fees.

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NOT ALL CASES ARE BIG ONES

Your analysis of the SS offset is right on point.

But when it comes to sending the lump sum SS award to Unum I have found that despite reaping the benefit Unum (and others) will ignore the finding of disability and find a new reason to terminate. So pay the credit card bills and let them reduce future benefits.

On contingency fees. I have practiced grass roots personal injury law for 50 years. Only a handfull of mega lawyers have struck the big time of asbestos, malpractice, air crash and tobacco litigation. They get the media play. Most car crash and slip and fall cases that go to trial against the well paid hourly defense firms are unprofitable but are balanced by the profitable early settlement cases. Its a delicate balance. Capping fees at unrealistic low amounts will give the insurance companies a tremendous advantage because plaintiff attys will only take sure thing cases.

Clients and the public don't realize the time and costs and expenses lawyers incur in handling a case. 750 people were burned by MacDonald's super hot coffee until Mrs. Stella Liebeck hired dragon killer lawyers who spent the money to prove the use of flimsy styrofoam cups holding boiling water was a recipe for disaster. They gambled thousands of dollars to hire experts and conduct investigations after MacD refused to pay the bills for her extensive plastic surgery. The jury, incensed by MacDonalds lies, awarded millions in punitive damages but agreed Mrs. L was also negligent in trying to put sugar and cream in her coffee while holding the cup between her legs. The Judge cut the award to the bone and she settled for an even smaller amount.

Spurred by sensational publicity of half the story the case has become the poster child of a runaway jury. MacDonalds continues use of cheap flimsy plastic cups but claims it reduced the temperature of the brew nationwide. (The hotter the water the more cups they get from a pound. You figure out the pennies they make per cup versus the risk to Stella Liebeck and you).

I thought the lawyer that sued for making people fat was nuts. He couldn't possibly win. In retrospect, he did win by focusing public attention on the "fat game" of luring children to unhealthy food with advertising, clowns and toys and playgrounds. We have already seen an upsurge of public indignation and publicity of the fat content of the Happy Meals.

Our courts are not out of control. Lawyers are doing their job.

Michael M. Tobin
[email protected]

Webmaster's comments: Most people simply don't understand how the legal system, media or the political system Really works. Or how horribly delayed and unfair the appellate system is. They are under a lot of illusions that are hard to dispel. Usually they have to just go through the Experience - of being shooed away by their insurance commission, for instance, when they were under the delusion that "all I have to do is contact the insurance commissioner and he'll straighten this out" That's how it Should be but it sure ain't how it is. Then they get ignored by their trusted legislator and find out just how much insurer money he takes.

I think I mentioned that guy who got a "multimillion dollar" settlement and ended up with enough to buy a motorcycle. Not to mention waiting years to get nothing. I really, really hate all these "multimillion dollar jury award" headlines since they totally bogus. Look at the Campbell case: a huge and justified award that the right wing USSC threw out after the claimant had died many years previously.

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ALAS, I'M AFRAID THEY DON'T CARE

Jim,

,,,lets see if anyone really cares about the poor screwed out individual. Lets see who really cares about the little guy against the big corporations! yes, when i do get permission from my attorney to speak up, you will hear me very loud, thank you

I read all of your articles and am presently fighting a big corporation for my LTD that was discontinued right after I got my lump sum payment from SSD. I cannot disclose any other information at this time,,,,,but the reason I am writing to you, why don't we send copies of your emails to those running for office,,,

,,,lets see if anyone really cares about the poor screwed out individual. Lets see who really cares about the little guy against the big corporations! yes, when i do get permission from my attorney to speak up, you will hear me very loud, thank you

Name Withheld


Webmaster's reply: I and other webmasters have been doing that for years. They don't care. We've been hitting the deaf, corrupt and inane media for years. They don't care. Trust, me, we squeal a lot but if you don't have the money or the big publicity, they don't care. Now and then we source an article but it's cut down, minimized, distorted to be more pro-corporate and back paged. I just gave a ton of info to Business Week including contacts they used, but they couldn't be bothered to give this site credit so maybe others might visit and be warned. It was "thank you for the help and f**k you, go away, we got what we wanted." That's been my experience with journalists for eight years and that's the Good experience. It's one reason I think reporters are scum and editors are worse. I'll smile
at them to get a story out while wishing they'd drop into a hole, but there is no such thing as journalism left in America. There are a few great investigative journalists, like Greg Palast, but he has to go get published in British newspapers since the American ones don't dare tell the truth about anything. The media is worthless. They distort everything or trivialize it. A silly sex scandal is worth a week of front pages. Massive corpagovernment corruption gets the back page.

For instance, Allstate was once raided in three states by the FBI but it was kept secret. This was Big financial news. I sent it to the NY Times and they couldn't be bothered to print it even though they are Supposed to be a financial paper and this was of great importance to Allstate shareholders. I finally got a Sunday front pager in the Chicago Tribune, much to Allstate's dismay, since it's their home town, but why did the Times bury it? Too many Allstate ads in their pages, perhaps? The only thing the Times ever did for me was attack me when I dared to reprint one of their feeble articles.

I was hoping for John Edwards to take the dem nomination since he was a trial lawyer who fought insurers, but the media purposely destroyed Dean and anointed Kerry since he is known to play ball with corporations. He Also doesn't answer his email, as Judy mentioned.

So I don't plan on writing the White House if he wins. As for Bush, forget it - he's a pro-insurer guy from way back. You get your choice between people who like corporations and people who like corporations. And yes, I've become cynical in my old age ;')

Jim

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AH, BETRAYAL

From: [email protected]

Hi Jim,

I am writing back in response to the person who used Name withheld... you can give her/he my email address if you want. I had the same thing happen with my incompetent attorney who lost my case by not keeping in touch with me. By him not communicating I had no idea what was going on. He never returned my one hundred phone calls. I was screaming.. Little did I know he had no intention of communicating with me and lost everything after I even sent a demand letter..

And the Bar...omg...they are in this conspiracy too.. They work for attorneys you know who write the laws on malpractice.

When Any Attorney fails to respond.....or call you back, This is a big Flag...you can tell her. I was also given a summary judgment...and omg...the things they come up with and ..all lies on paper. You had better watch you case now if you're ready for their summary judgment. IF your attorney doesn't want to do any work he can screw it up..the least work for the less done. He can lose the case since UNUM is rich and won't back down. Then there will be filing fees that most people including me and my attorney couldn't afford. And then you don't know if the bribe word is there. Flags should be going off on your head and also to the lady with the name withheld. Just when everything looks wonderful...your rug could and will like mine be pulled out in front of you. If you need more information I
will be more than glad to help..

Jim I am still homeless and living in my rv... be careful with these summary judgments. Remember attorneys are not your friend, they do want to do the least and get paid and get out. Well that has been my experience. I just panic when I hear they are throwing a summary judgment...how they can create lies and get away with it. I have no idea except the contributions to the bush campaign gives them provides to make things in court go there way as you and your lawyer unless he is RICH.. can afford the aftermath of a jury trial...and paper work that can run into thousands.. my attorney couldn't and unless he took a bribe which would be easy, he turned on me!

Larry Vitanza
[email protected]

Webmaster's comments: Larry got screwed. When you get your life ruined by an attorney you tend to think they are All bad. This is not true since a number of them have been helpful to this website. But you really, really have to look out for the bad ones.

It does bring up another point. Not every small law firm can afford to wait five to seven years for a payday that a corrupt appellate judge might then deny entirely. And five to seven years is a standard insurer-delay in our "speedy" justice system. You have to either have a big firm or know you have a bulldog working for you.

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MAKING THE LAW

Webmaster's comments: Corporations are constantly trying to change the law instead of simply Doing The Right Thing. With Ahnold in office I'm sure the Governator will sign this bill Employers are always seeking relief on lawsuits for hurting people. Why not just stop cheating people? If you don't want a big penalty for making workers work off the clock, a la Wal-Mart, then DON'T DO IT! I guess industry will get what they want eventually of course, with the prostitute politicians - they usually do. As for the Chicken Little routine, how many times have I seen that? When Texas HMOs cried the blues about a new law that allowed them to be sued, there were Very few additional suits filed.

This article is also right that you have to go the private legal route for the simple reason that state agencies are usually worthless, corrupt and dilate forever.

http://www.sacbee.com/content/politics/sto...p-9170949c.html

Employers seek relief on lawsuits

Groups aim to repeal a law extending penalties for workplace violations.
By Loretta Kalb -- Bee Staff Writer

It's been dubbed the "sue your boss" law, and employer groups say they're already moving to change the statute that's barely 40 days old. Senate Bill 796, signed into law by Gov. Gray Davis in the waning days of his administration, makes it easier - and potentially more lucrative - for workers to sue employers over labor code violations.
"It hands them a much bigger club," in fighting employers over alleged workplace violations, said James Cahalan, a Sacramento labor law attorney who represents employers.

However, Sacramento lawyer Wendy York, who represents workers in wage-and-hour cases, figures the club is not as big as Cahalan suggests. Employees already can sue and receive civil court penalties in many wage-and-hour cases, York said, and the new law merely extends that ability to all violations.

The new law also allows all plaintiffs who succeed in court to keep 25 percent of whatever is recovered - something York believes is reasonable for aggrieved workers.
But the California Chamber of Commerce doesn't see things that way. It has submitted draft language to its staff attorneys for a bill to "provide some relief" from the measure, said chamber lobbyist Julianne Broyles.

While she declined to detail the legislation, which is expected to be introduced later this month, Broyles added, "It's fair to portray that ... (the proposed bill) would put some equity in the process." Matt Tennis, legislative director in Sacramento for the 1,400-member Associated Builders and Contractors, said it is "imperative for the state's business community and for jobs that SB 796 be repealed as soon as humanly possible."
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration has told the Legislature that the governor would like the law repealed.

Even with a concerted effort, that's unlikely to happen quickly with the governor and lawmakers focused on problems such as the budget deficit, workers' compensation and unemployment insurance funding. Labor leaders remain staunchly supportive of the measure introduced last year by Sen. Joseph Dunn, D-Garden Grove. So do many workers' attorneys. "This law basically privatizes what the state agencies are unable to do because they lack funding," said attorney York. She said the law is one more way "to ensure employers pay workers for all the hours that they work."

The labor commissioner's office counters that it does respond to complaints quickly, but some cases can take months. "I think there are situations where we are struggling to get supporting documents," explained Dean Fryer, a spokesman for the state labor commissioner. Testimony last year before the Senate Judiciary Committee showed that the Department of Industrial Relations, which oversees the labor commissioner, has failed to effectively enforce violations.

The new law, which took effect Jan. 1, provides a new source of funding for the state's enforcement efforts. Plaintiffs who win cases keep one-fourth of the civil penalties. Another fourth goes to the labor commissioner's office, and one-half goes to the state general fund.

Previously, employees could collect civil penalties in only some cases.
If a worker files a complaint with the labor commissioner instead of filing a civil lawsuit, the entire amount of any civil penalty would go into the state general fund.
In Merced County, California Rural Legal Assistance has already used the new law in a suit filed last month against a dairy owner. The group asked for civil penalties both for the plaintiff and for co-workers who suffered alleged labor law violations. If successful, the plaintiff could win civil penalties but co-workers would be limited to actual damages, Cahalan said.

"We see a lot of violations in the labor code where traditionally we haven't been able to do anything but file an administrative complaint," said California Rural Legal Assistance attorney Saul Garcia in Modesto. "And a lot of times, because of budget limitations or lack of resources, the department can't act."

York plans to amend a suit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco to take advantage of the penalties allowed under the new law. The suit, filed on behalf of some 10,000 UPS drivers in California, alleges the company has failed to pay for all hours worked, to provide meals for which workers are charged and to provide required rest periods.
Those new penalties are, in part, why employers don't plan to give up the fight to change the law.

"This is a horrible, horrible law," said Tennis of the Associated Builders and Contractors. "It's sadly characteristic of the last legislative season."

But York said the law is just another tool enabling workers to collect what's due.
"This is not plaintiff-lawyer heaven," York said. "California is not going to hell in a handbasket. And Gray Davis did not sell out the state."

Webmaster's comments: Gee it certainly is terrible if employers are punished for slavery. Which is what it is, effectively, if you force someone to work for free and don't pay them for the hours they worked. If they are worth their pay they should be paid; if they are not they should be fired. But there is no excuse for not paying for hours worked. It's plain old robbery.

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NEXT ISSUE

I will mention an incredibly comprehensive book that details just about every dirty trick insurers pull and ways to counter them. It's pricey, but if you're going Pro Se or a newbie insurance lawyer it may be useful.

Now, before you skip over the usual appeal for funds I'd just like to remind everyone that is your newsletter. Most of the articles, stories and opinions, expert or otherwise, come from you readers. I cull, correct and add commentary. Sometimes I add too much commentary and people unsubscribe ;') Oh, well, the careful wording of politicians, that pleases all and means nothing, was never my strong suit.

Happy Valentines day, especially to Dr. Judy, although she'll probably read this about two weeks late since she is laggard in her email ;') Nothing is more carefully worded than an insurance policy and you know how worthless those are.

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0

#12 Guest_NoRehab_*

  • Group: Guests

Posted 29 February 2004 - 02:01 AM

CORPORATE CRIMEFIGHTERS OF AMERICA -- February 22, 2004
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After you have read a few issues, please consider paying for the Subscription To Keep Our Work Going - $15/Yr Minimum, More If You Feel This Is Important Work And Can Afford It. P.O. Box And Paypal Link At Bottom:
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POETIC JUSTICE?

I've had many articles over the years about Allstate cheating its agents. Farmers has been cheating its adjusters. The insurance industry eats its own. Still, Farmers is one of the most evil companies in America with the nastiest, most lying adjusters, so I must say that a certain percentage of them probably deserve to be cheated as they have been cheating others. If I ever get enough support to do this full time I will definitely resurrect the Allstate site and start a Farmers site, but insurers are so corrupt and do so many wrongs that it's impossible to cover than one on a part time basis. I guess Farmers will have to join Wal-Mart in making people work off the clock or without overtime ;')

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California Appeals Court Rules Farmers Owes Adjusters Overtime A California appeals court has affirmed a lower court's $90 million decision against Farmers Insurance Exchange in a lawsuit that alleged the insurer routinely cheated its claims adjusters out of years of overtime pay.

http://www3.ambest.com/BestDayNews/LoadSto...y.asp?BSN=63688

Webmaster's comments: Farmer's whine was that the adjusters were supervisory personnel not subject to overtime. Sure they were. Allstate pulled the same trick, suddenly declaring all their agents as managers yet bossing them around as hourly employees. You can't have it both ways.

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HIGH PRAISE FOR CLINTON MILLER'S BOOK ON FIGHTING INSURERS

I purchased this book back in 1996 about a month before I retained a lawyer. It helped me so much so that when my lawyer and I were interviewing each other he asked me in a meeting with two other lawyers (there was a possibility of a lawsuit against the place where I had worked) if I was a lawyer. I told him I wasn't. He asked if I had any legal training. I told him two law classes in college. I asked him why he was asking me that. He responded that he wanted to be sure he wasn't inadvertently working for a lawyer and that my grasp of the situation of my case far exceeded what he has ever seen walk into his office. In a nutshell, I was informed. Without the book I would not have been.

The book is worth every penny because if you screw up in one area they will hang you on it. And by being on target the insurer knows right away that you will continue to be. They are going to pick a "mark" out of their claim files, it is sad to say. Let them pass you over as not being worth the effort. As my lawyer has always told me - "Less is better". When I fill out my yearly forms they say exactly what the year before form stated and no answer is longer than 5 words. I do not take phone calls and my doctors don't either. Yes, they tried their games early on. But I was instructed to never speak to them without counsel present and my doctors were informed to comply fully to any written request. My doctors have been great at that and they know the insurer is not your buddy.

Granted, some people are not up to this physically or intellectually as it can be a daunting task. But a family member in better shape likely is. So ask for help.

So yes, $99 might be a lot of money to some. But I would go on to say that even if you had to sell pencils on the corner to raise the $99 for the book it will pay off in spades.

**** You may quote the message if you like, but please omit my name. You aren't paranoid if they really are out to get you...HA!****

Name Withheld at Request ;')

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DO WOMEN GET ROLLED AT UNUM?

It suddenly occurred to me that nearly all the letters I get from Unum victims are from women. Do you think the company is targeting women more than men? I know Allstate used to do this, figuring women were easier to roll. They were also more likely to screw people who had English as a second language, or who were low-income or low-education people, or widows - basically, anyone they figured wouldn't be weak or not as likely to fight back or who might be more easily fooled.

I was pondering the other day whether Unum should be reformed or destroyed. Not that I have the choice, but it's an interesting mental exercise. It's my feeling that at a certain point a corporate culture becomes so totally rotten, from top to bottom, or from CEO to adjuster in Unum's case, that reform is impossible. There have been too many years and too many people who have fallen down the slippery slope to moral scumminess. They have compromised with the Devil for so long they can't even remember the difference between good and evil.

I was out working in the garden yesterday and realized that nature, as always, had the answer. You don't ask a weed to become a flower; you dig it out, root and branch, then burn it so the seeds don't spread.

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UNUM'S GOOD OLD BOYS - A NOTE FROM OUR INSIDERS

UNUM Provident is a "good ol'boys network." Prior to the merger, the employee population of UNUM Life was middle aged women particularly in management. After the merger, the "good ol'boys" fired all women management, offered voluntary retirement packages to all employees (mostly women), fired and terminated over 3/4 of the existing women managers and put men in their place. Internally, Provident is about as sexist as you can get. Men claims examiners have greater credibility than women. Men are promoted to the position of Consultant faster when they have a male manager. Tim Arnold was well aware of the sex discrimination issues and addressed them openly at meetings. Female managers are routinely and consistently being replaced with their male counterparts.

In addition, older employees are removed from their positions and are offered lower jobs in the claims area. As you get older, you are.......put out to pasture so to speak. Or, fired, for some reason or other.

UNUM Provident has no diversity policy, and removed all benefits to "domestic partners." UNUM Life Insurance prided itself on its enforced diversity policies, but the "boy" from Chattanooga couldn't handle all that and they removed it. In my opinion, the all male executive management of UNUM Provident is one taco short of a combination plate, and almost everyone thinks so!

So, do you think UNUM discriminates on the basis of claimant age, education, culture etc? The most predominant form of claim discrimination is by financial reserve. If a particular unit is not doing well with their financial projections, well, lets move a block of claims from the south from another unit, and let's see if that doesn't help you out. Or, why not assign all of the LTIP and LTOC claims (higher monthly benefits in general) to an experienced claims examiner who knows how to close the loopholes and can deny them? If your monthly benefit is $3,000-$4,000+ per month you stand a much LESS chance of keeping benefits than someone with a benefit of $800.

Once you understand clearly that everything UNUM does is motivated by insurance reserves, then, its just a matter of sitting back and watching how they manipulate the system and "make the profits happen."

Webmaster's comments: It looks like Unum is ripe for an age discrimination suit and Federal intervention on that account, as happened with Allstate when they tried to put all their old agents out to pasture and steal their books of business.

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SHORT WARNING

There now appears to be a consistent trend wherein UNUM is attempting to settle on a lot of cases but coming in way low on the settlement offers. Claimants should beware.

I'm not sure why they are suddenly moving to settle, although still as a cheat. There is the task force that will be reporting, other bad news, and possible bankruptcy.

Another possibility is they've found another sucker - er - suitor to save them from bankruptcy. They could be trying to clear their huge backlog of liabilities as cheaply as possible so they don't look too bad for a buyout After all, in a buyout the management always makes a multimillion dollar killing, so it would be one last robbery for these bums to make since they know the company is on the skids. Anyone else heard anything about a buyout or merger?

As for lowball settlements, they normally come as lump sums, since Unum is trying to clear their books. The problem with that is taxes. And After you pay your taxes you have to pay your lawyers on the gross not on the after tax. I know one guy who got a "million dollar" lump sum who ended up with enough to buy a motorcycle after it was all over. It's best to consult a tax attorney or accountant first if you are offered a lump sum, and make sure the legal fees and costs are added into the mix, so you know what's the actual payoff.

One way to avoid being herded on a lowball is to apply for SSDI as soon as possible That usually comes through sooner than Unum. But you should get a dedicated Social Security lawyer for any appeal. They've normally worked for social security and know the drill. Since it's government, as long as they follow the drill, results are more predictable than with Unum.

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THE BEST PLACE TO GET SICK IS THE HOSPITAL

According to the Consumers Union Advocacy Group, "hospital-acquired infections are the sixth leading cause of deaths in the U.S.claim approximately 90,000 lives each year in the U.S., and one in 20 hospital stays leads to a hospital-acquired infection."

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ANOTHER TOP SPOT

We are right under the Unum official site on Google, so anyone who looks them up gets to see "UNUM Provident insurance company cheats the disabled, leaving them destitute and suicidal" along with a likely link to our site ;')

I was just perusing Alexa, which is actually larger than Google and preferred by many professionals. The first Two links after the company site are ours. Poor Unum - everyone is finding out the truth about them.

Incidentally, visitors to our site are most likely to visit Dow Jones, so it looks like a lot of stockholders are hitting it.

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INSIDE UNUM PROVIDENT - OUR SPIES SPEAK

Rules of Engagement

As a former customer care specialist with Unum Provident, I've seen thousands of communications from claimants; had just as many phone conversations; and have been called quite a few names-some good, some bad. Kidding aside, here are the general "rules of engagement" when communicating with any disability claims examiner, in particular Unum Provident.

Be brief. Anytime a claim is filed with a disability insurer, a phone interview will take place. Unum is required, for example, to contact you for such an interview within 3-5 days of assigning your claim to a claims examiner. There is a list of questions approved by management, and all claims handlers are trained to plan the communication in such a way to encourage you to provide information about yourself and your family. You will be asked "What happened?" "Name your treating physicians." "What are your prescribed medications?" "What other income do you have?" "Have you applied for SSDI, Worker's Comp etc.?" And so on. Answer all questions honestly, but do not elaborate.

Don't offer any explanations beyond what is being asked. Answer only what is asked and stop. I know that's extremely hard, since your first instinct is to want the claims examiner to believe you. Remember, the claims examiner's agenda is to close your claim if they can. Toward that end, everything you say can be used against you. Answer the questions asked, then stop talking. Resist the temptation to tell the story of your life. I am reminded of one scenario in particular that happened so often at Unum.
The claims handler calls the insured for the initial interview and the claimant begins to speak in what seems like an endless story of his/her life. In that conversation, he says "It's going to be hard for me because my wife was just diagnosed with leukemia." Well, its likely Unum might say you just want to be on disability because you want to take care of your wife. Anything not directly related to your impairment should not be discussed. Here's another example, " My wife is working, so I'm taking care of my kids." Or " I'm taking care of my grandchildren." I cannot stress this enough.

In addition, DO NOT WRITE LONG LETTERS TO Unum or any other disability insurer. The assumption is, if you can type or write long 10-15 page letters, you can work. Resist the temptation to send any communication more than 1 page to Unum. You are not obligated to tell the insurance company anything that is not directly related to your insurance policy and your impairment. Save the name calling and anger for your closet. As I mentioned in the intro to this article, I have been called everything-my favorite was Attila the Hun, can you believe that? I've listened to profanity, anger, tears, frustration, threats, desperation, phone slams, you name it, and I've probably been called it. The truth is, though, the claims handler knows something you don't. When you do this, Unum's in control and you aren't.


Please don't ever let an insurance company control you or your claim. Since everything is documented, anything you say, and the manner in which you say it, will be held against you. I know there has been a lot of name calling and judgment making since the 60 Minutes and NBC Dateline programs, but Unum is not concerned with what you say, or, call them. As a company they are only concerned in using what you say as a reason to peg you as a "nut" and support your claim for denial. Whenever you feel like calling the claims examiner names, or telling Unum to "stuff it," go into a closet let it all out, then write a short, polite letter discussing only the facts of your claim, limited to one page, making sure to keep a copy.

You are talking to an insurance company who does not care what you call them, so don't bother. Never download medical information from the Internet and send it in. Why not? Unum doesn't care. They won't read it. It may get pitched. It will be used against you. If Unum has made a decision to disregard the opinions of your primary care physician, why would they care about medical information YOU downloaded about your impairment? Technically, if you send it in, it is supposed to be a part of the Administrative Record (your claim file). I had an attorney from Unum's legal department tell me once " All that means is that the claimant's attorney knows how to use the Internet."

Unum is scanning and imaging all paper now in Chattanooga, so it would be interesting to see just how much of downloaded "stuff" from the Internet is actually scanned on the permanent record. (Image) When it was an "all paper claim" most of this information "hit the can." If your occupation was as a Secretary, for example, sitting at a computer, downloading, and printing a lot of paperwork to send to Unum could be interpreted as work capacity. Don't bother, Unum just doesn't care. Keep your cool, and maintain a journal. Getting angry will not serve you well when dealing with any disability insurer. Make sure you start a journal or diary and keep records of all conversations you have with Unum or any other company. Ask for names of Consultants, Managers, Directors, Vocational and Medical reviewers
and document the substance of every conversation and call you have and receive from your disability insurer. Sometimes the claims examiners are not very professional with you, so make sure you document those conversations as well.

I know it is difficult enough trying to get a disability claim paid these days. It's a frustrating process. But, name calling, accusations, anger and profanity just come back to haunt you in the end. Engaging in such conversation gives the insurance company control over you and your claim. Don't give them that kind of power.

Webmaster's comment: Mainly, other than a brief and definite appeal for review, don't bother writing to many missives to the bastards at Unum - they'll either ignore you or try to use what you write against you. If you want to write spend your time writing state and Federal agencies, and the media, if you think you can get them some bad publicity. Better yet, spend your time working your case if you are Pro Se, since they'll try to bury you in filings to exhaust you. It would be hard for them to claim your answering their filings indicates ability since answering them is Mandated by the court and you have to do that whether you're sick or not.

Of course, some of this is moot if you are doing something Entirely different from clerical / legal work - most "own occupation" policies stipulate you are rehabbed or retrained for the same or a comparable job, and paid at your rate if this is not possible. Judy files legal papers when she has the energy but she was an ER physician, and it's hard for them to claim that someone with MS could do that or comparable medical work. Not that that stops them. There was the expose on Dateline where they were claiming a guy with the shakes could be an eye surgeon. Actually, I think that's a great idea as long as he operates on all of Unum's top management ;')

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WATJEN SAYS "DIFFERENCES OF OPINION; WE SAY "CHEATING SCUM!"

"Many of the policies being contested were sold by the Provident part of UnumProvident in the late 1980s and early '90s." These "own occupation" policies were aggressively peddled to doctors, lawyers and other self-employed professionals, especially in California and Florida. Hangarter, for example, was a chiropractor.

At first the policies were lucrative. But Watjen acknowledged that
Provident miscalculated how many claims it eventually would face on that business, priced the coverage too low and wrote the noncancelable policies with ambiguous language. That, Watjen said, made them "more susceptible to differences of opinion" on whether claims should be paid."

Webmaster's comments: The problem is that instead of being honest and eating the results of their miscalculation, they decided to visit cheating and misery on the trusting policyholders who had paid top dollar for their worthless policies.

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ONCE AGAIN I HAVE HAD TO WARN SOMEONE ABOUT TAX

Recently, Unum has been offering lowball settlements on some claims, possibly to clear the books for a merger or buyout. The advice below applies to All insurance awards, though. You really have to be careful and check. Sometimes insurance is taxable and sometimes it isn't - if you get a large lump sum, don't assume anything.

If Unum makes a sudden lowball offer of a Lump Sum that your attorney approves, you may be taxed on the Gross, but have to pay the lawyer's percentage out of the net, leaving, well, NOT MUCH! Please consult a tax attorney with a good record if you're not sure. Forget the local tax accountant. They're not expert enough and the settlement itself has to be worded correctly. Your lawyer for the insurance suit is Not a tax lawyer and is not concentrating on that angle, however good he may be with insurance.

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MORE RATS DESERT ANOTHER SINKING SHIP

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/col...homepagebiz-utl

Published February 17, 2004

Allstate shakeup: Jill Weaver, Allstate Corp.'s vice president of brand strategy, marketing and communication, is leaving the Northbrook-based company following a shake-up in the marketing department. The changes follow last October's hiring of Joseph Tripodi as chief marketing officer.

----------

E-mail [email protected]

Webmaster's comments: Allstate's ads have always been miserable and I'm glad to see them losing money on them. I thought that campaign where they show that Allstate is a Big Steak compared to other companies who are a Tiny Hamburger was particularly stupd. Who would care? I don't know of Anybody who bought their insurance due to the size of the company. The only good ads were where they stressed the agent force, but since they cheat the agents all the time and are at war with them and keep trying to cut the agent force to replace them with machines, neophytes and the Internet, this becomes more and more difficult ;')

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ALMOST TIME TO WATCH SUNDAY MORNING

CBS's Sunday Morning is about the only show I watch religiously since I loathe the media. I've had too much contact with lazy reporters and lying editors. Most of the real news is suppressed or never printed while they push sleaze, sex and celebrity scandal. That's why the biggest crimewave in America, the insurance industry, is unknown to the general public.

The media has also decided it will determine who we elect. Most of them now admit, privately, that they destroyed the candidacy of Howard Dean. Whether you agreed with him or not, he was outside of the Washington Establishment and their slavish Media Establishment - and criticized Both parties with new ideas, so of course he had to be destroyed by the rotten old deadheads who only have old ideas. It's completely wrong for the media, which is only supposed to report, to determine who we shall vote for.

The result is that we may end up with two candidates who are Both very friendly to insurance company interests. Once again the Establishment of both political parties and the media has stolen our choice so they can remain in their corrupt power.

Although this time the Establishment slapped down a Democratic challenger to their hegemony, that's also true on the Republican side, where many traditional conservatives are very alarmed about deficits and foreign adventurism. A few years ago they all worked hard to slap down Pat Buchanan. Again, not everyone will agree with his ideas, but again, the people were robbed of any meaningful choice.

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SINCE I WAS COVERING TOXIC MOLD

Five years before our alert and untiring mass media "discovered" it, here is a comprehensive book on the subject:

http://www.toxicmoldsolutions.tv/

If our worthless corporate media ever catches up to me I'm going into another line of business ;')

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NOT SURPRISED

In the previous issue I mentioned a CBS special about Caliber Collision cheating on auto repairs at the behest of its owners. Turns out the owners are two old "friends." Farmers and 21st Century. These are two of the most evil insurers in America - Farmers is right up there with Allstate and Unum and is literally murderous. 21st Century did some Horrible cheating after the Northridge quake. Why am I not surprised? Evil never changes. Evil never changes. Some insurers need the Old Testament solution. Leave not stone standing upon stone and sow the earth with salt.

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OOPS, GAVE YA A BUM LINK

www.bullybusters.com does not seem to exist any longer. This is now a search page.
Try URL: http://bullyinginsti...twd/bb/res.html

This site has some great information and will help to validate victims that they were indeed targeted. Hopefully this will help the true victim to not feel so all alone and may even convince them to fight back.

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PEOPLE OFTEN WRITE ME WITH ADVICE FOR THE WEBSITE

Good advice. Someday I will take it, although it always involves more work on my part. However, what I really need right now is financing for my work and a volunteer to do clerical dog work I don't have time for, or I won't have enough time to do the networking, newslettering, inforgathering and webmastering I already do. Not enough folks have stepped up to the plate on helping out.

I have relatives who come over and give me a lot of advice about my invalid mother. None of them has offered to take care of her for a day to give me a break, though. Or offered to buy some food or medicine, since she likes delicacies and her drug bill is high.

I appreciate advice but it's not where the rubber meets the road.

Update: Someone has volunteered for the dog work. I'll name them in next issue after I check and see that's okay ;')

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DOING IT WITHOUT CLIPMATE

Jim

To get rid of unwanted formatting I used to put things into note pad and then past it into Microsoft works. I had problems with the files I was working with being to big to put it all in note pad at once. I now have Microsoft word on my computer and have found that I accomplish the same thing by going to edit and selecting past special from there you select unformatted text. Doing that remove any special formatting that interferes with working with the document.

Dave

Webmaster's comments: I used to do this before clipmate. I've found that these techniques don't always get rid of weird or ugly stuff, like odd spacing that is left over from linebreaks and tabs , or all those >> from forwarded email. Clipmate does these unpleasant tasks automatically, so I still recommend it. It also does neat things like Power Paste. You copy a bunch of items one after another, then you just keep pressing ctrl-V to paste them in forward or back order into one document. You can also split things. If you have a list of email addys separated by commas, for instance, you can autosplit them into separate addresses, so you can easily power paste them into one letter after another.

Clipmate is just a very handy utility that saves me hours every day. If you do any big volume of email, clerical or Internet work you need it. It's the most useful utility I've ever had. It's so good I even paid for it, old software pirate that I am ;') Excellence deserves to be rewarded.

You can get it cheap at www.clipmate.com Microsoft charges hundreds of dollars for buggy programs, but this is only about thirty for the best computer utility I have ever seen.

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THIS IS TOTALLY DISGRACEFUL

It's not insurance but it p**ses me off.

In a Heritage Foundation report responding to media inquiries about Bush's military record, there has been an ugly smear of Silver Star winner and triple amputee Max Cleland, by media twit Ann Coulter, ridiculing and lying about his actual Vietnam heroism and terrible injuries. This is disgusting and an insult to all Vietnam-era veterans, me among them. Too bad Ann Coulter didn't lose a few limbs to a grenade to see how it feels, so she'd shut her ugly mouth. The nasty little b***ch says Cleland is not a war hero, but according to the Congressional Record:

"Captain Cleland, disregarding his own safety, exposed himself to the rocket barrage as he left his covered position to administer first aid to his wounded comrades. He then assisted in moving the injured personnel to covered positions." The citation concluded, "Cleland's gallant action is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army."

Ann Coulter reflects credit upon Satan and Hitler.

Hmm, I think I promised to lighten up the newsletters and not swear as much at insurers, but I'll make a one-time exception for the despicable harridan Ms. Coulter ;')

http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.as...RJ8OVF&b=6228#1

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I'm replying to the following in your newsletter:

ANOTHER THING THAT LOOKS GOOD BUT IS BAD

http://nwitimes.com/articles/2004/01/20/ne...e20007c7825.txt

NCSA to mine Social Security data

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- The National Center for Supercomputing Applications will spend a year analyzing Social Security Administration data to create a computer model aimed at helping disabled people return to the work force. (read the rest of the article from the link above)

Webmaster's comments: Yeah, right - more like the government will once again aid insurer in cheating the disabled and claiming they can work when they can barely walk. Maybe I've just become a cynic in my old age but I trust a "collaboration" between government and insurers about as much as Samwise trusted Gollum.
___________________________________

Isn't this information supposed to be private. Who are these people who are going to be looking through the data. It sounds like they are going to do some kind of data mining project over the existing database. They say that they are going to look for patterns in the data to see who applies for what and then try to assimilate who else could benefit from the programs that SS is offering. At first, it looks harmless, but I wonder how they are protecting our rights to privacy....or did we lose that by becoming disabled? Another thing that I wonder about.

We have our doctor (and in most cases, MANY doctors) stating that we can not go back to work for medical reasons. How are these techies going to be able to determine who is able to go back to work from their terminals? What kind of medical background do they have? Personally, I have an MS in Computer Science/Information Systems and don't know much about medicine (other than a limited amount of information concerning my own disability.). It is kind of like the clerks in the HMO's who have enough medical training to fill a thimble telling you that you don't need certain treatments, so the HMO isn't paying for them. I think there is much too much faith put in computers. I love them and know they can do wonders, but, while they have logic, they don't have the ability to feel. They don't
understand pain, and they don't have compassion or common sense. This is what we are leaving our medical decisions up to!!!

Michelle

Webmaster's comments: Collusion between insurers and government or academia is as old as the nation itself - older, in fact. I recall that another consumerist in PA was helping people fight Allstate and State Farm regarding collision repairs, and telling them how to avoid getting cheated, so of course they put the entirely corrupt PA Attorney General up to suing him for practicing law without a license. It was totally bogus since he was just offering information and advice the same as I do, but corrupt politicians will bend over for wealthy insurers every day of the week, so they can get those "contributions." The suit didn't hold but the idea is to just put whore politicians up to harassing people who fight for the public. It's an ancient scam and it's still being done wherever there is a
fighter or a whistleblower.

Every time I try to report a corrupt insurer to a government agency I have to stop and try to figure out if they're working for the citizens who pay them or the insurers who bribe them.

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A WISE REMINDER

From: [email protected]

HI Jim,

I don't know if you will remember me or not. It's been ages since I have written. I was the guy fighting the US government (OWCP) for workers' comp and back wages for so long. I ran into some severe health problems exasperated by stress and damn near died three times during my nine years of fighting. I survived heart attacks, strokes, rhabdomyolysis, a quadruple bypass, and a few other things. But, I'm still standing. After nine years of persistence, I finally won. Most of my back pay went to pay old debts and clean up my credit. Some went to just straightening my family's' life out. But I lived to see my daughter get married, then I saw my first grandchild, and now I intend to stick around and see her get married.

My message is: control stress and stay alive. Exercise if possible, meditation works, talk things out. Get out of the house if you can. Do something you enjoy, no matter how simple. YOU MUST FIND SOME KIND OF DIVERSION even if for a little while. If I can survive, so can you. It's a matter of will.

Regards,
Steve

My Reply: Thanks, I'll include that in the newsletter. I'm ALWAYS reminding people they can't let the insurer drive them nuts or fret about it all the time. That way lies death and insanity, which is just what the insurers want.

I encourage people to fight, but sometimes you just have to pretend you never had insurance and start from that point. After all, there are lots of poor folks who aren't insured and hit bumps in the road. In a way, those who are insured are at a disadvantage since the uninsured know they have to start over right away, while the insured waste time waiting for help that may never come.

Jim

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A GOOD QUESTION ON BEING "STARVED" INTO PIDDLING WORK

From: Cricketsarge [[email protected]]

Hello!

I was just reading your newsletter. In it there is a reply you made to someone that is having insurance problems. I am glad I read it and I have a question that I have had for a long time. :

When they terminate benefits, which they have given me a specific date -- If I don 't have the SSD benefits yet, I am going to have to try to do some type of piddly work -- hopefully a self-employed thing that I can only do 1 day a month -- to get some type of income. It will be extremly rough, and will make me worse sick -- but I have to have money to buy groceries and medications! What is your take on this situation and how if will effect any outcome? I am intending to fight these jerks (mine is Hartford) , but I can't get welfare (too many joint assets) and I do need some type of income, because my husband does not make enough to cover everything (he is on a military disability pension - war injuries). What do you think????

Thanks--Nancy

Webmaster's comments: Unum often puts people in this position. They starve them out so they are forced to work at some piddling job even if it make them sicker, so Unum can then claim they can work. Of course, Unum policies usually stipulate you must be able to return to your own or a Comparable job, or be retrained. They don't retrain, of course, unless it's for crappy jobs where the retraining would be cheap. I don't think you need fear them using this if the piddling job obviously isn't comparable to the professional work that you still can't do.

Still, I'd like an opinion on this from the community. Write Nancy at [email protected] and CC me if you have an idea.

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INSIDE UNUM PROVIDENT - OUR INSIDERS SPEAK OUT

The Case of the Musical Claims Handlers-Why Do They Change?

Most of the people who file claims with UNUM Provident eventually notice they are asked to deal with many different claims handlers and customer care specialists. Why? Although it's easy to imagine all of the possible premeditated reasons why UNUM Provident cannot provide you with ONE claims handler, the truth is much simpler.

UNUM Life Insurance and more significantly, UNUM Provident have a retention problem After the June 1999 merger with Provident, all eligible tenured employees were offered retirement packages. That took out most of the older experienced claims handlers. Then, UNUM Provident terminated, those who opposed the "new" claims practices. More experienced employees-gone. From June 1999 to when I left UNUM Provident in Portland, 70% of the remaining qualified claims handlers in Short Term Disability, well, booked, and approximately 60% of the group Long -Term Disability specialist quit camp as well. As soon as other claims payers raised questions about the claims process, they were fired too. In short, everyone wants to work for UNUM Provident, but once they get there, they quickly change their minds.



In order to understand the significance of this one has to have an inside look at how claims flow through the process. In the psyche/cardiac impairment unit in Portland there are, let's say 100 claims payers each assigned to a "block" of business of about 185 claims. When the claims specialists leave (and they don't all leave at once), their block of claims must be distributed to other claims handlers. This causes two problems. One, each of the remaining claims handlers have increasing number of claims to manage, and the claimant has a long line of different people managing the claim. If you have had several claims handlers managing your claim, then you are seeing the frequency or the number of times employees have either quit, or moved out of the claims area.

In addition to managing a block of 185 claims, claims handlers receive 5-8 new claims per week. The idea is to manage the "block" at 0 growth. This means "the number of new claims on your desk each week must equal the number of claims you deny each week." If this were not so, the claim blocks would continue to grow out of control for each claims handler. Worse than this, if a decision hasn't been made on your claim before the claim specialist quits, your claim is reassigned to a new person who starts the process all over again. It could take a lot longer to make a decision.

So, what's really going on here? UNUM PROVIDENT CANNOT RETAIN EMPLOYEES. This is also the reason why claims are poorly managed. Since so many employees left the company, UNUM Provident has had to continue to hire, and quickly train new people to handle the high volumes of new disability claims that come in every day. Very few employees have a great amount of experience anymore. Very few are contract specialists, and no one really knows what's going on with managing the claims. It is really a claims frenzy, but the steam roller goes on and on.

What really surprised all of us remaining during this exodus was that UNUM never seemed to care about the exodus of large number of employees. Management's attitude seemed to be "go ahead and leave, we can hire cheaper bodies anyway." There were never any incentive actions taken to retain employees, nor were there any changes made in the claims process to relieve the overwhelming stress and pressure to deny claims. Management is well aware of the chaos and frenzy caused by the mass exodus of employees, but they just keep re-distributing the claims to those who remain and continue business as usual. One has to ask the question "Are employees, then, qualified to manage claims?" The answer is a clear and solid, "NO."

Those claims specialists who threaten to leave are quickly promoted even though they have limited experience. They aren't qualified either.

So, there really is no deception, and no criminal intrigue involved in the mystery of the musical claims handlers. UNUM Provident has created a claims process which does not provide for the retention of good, experienced employees. Claims handlers quit camp as soon as they are trained and guess what? Your claim is handed over to another person.

Webmaster's comments: My caveat is that many insurers, including Unum, will also pull dozens of switches, demands and delays to drive claimants up a wall and "gaslight" them into insanity. This, of course, in addition to the attrition mentioned above. Whether you're getting reamed as part of a strategy or because this awful company can't keep employees (even in this horrible job market) may be something you'll never know.

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INSIDE UNUM PROVIDENT - ANOTHER ARTICLE FROM OUR SPIES

Social Security Disability Income-The Truth

Before I begin this discussion I want to remind the readers that my purpose in writing these articles is to provide claimants with information. I've seen quite a few posts and answers about SSDI here and there, so I thought it might be time to write an article giving you the information you need to understand disability benefits and its relationship to all offsets (reductions) not just social security. In other words, don't throw your box of popcorn at me until you've read my entire article.

First of all, there is an industry standard of acceptance which applies to basically all types of insurance called "coordination of benefits." (Applies particularly in the disability and health insurance industries.) This means that those who pay premiums to obtain coverage for, let's say disability, cannot profit from being disabled. While society recognizes the "good" in allowing some level of income replacement, society does NOT recognize or support the idea that individuals should actually make a profit (get more combined insurance income than they had earnings when they were working). We can probably agree on that since if it were profitable to "go out on disability" everyone would do that rather than making a decision to work.

Therefore, all group disability polices provide for the reduction of disability income such as SSDI, SSI, Worker's Compensation, State Disability Payments, Pension income (except 401(k) and 403(B), third party liability payments, etc. Most additional income related to your disability will be an offset except unemployment compensation (I'll talk about this later) and certain Veteran's benefits.

Consider a person who goes out on disability with a $1,000 a month benefit who is collecting $479 a week from State Disability, $1,579 from SSDI. The claimant made $2000 a month working as a Secretary. Now that she's on disability she's making $3,595 per month. Pretty good, huh? Well, you can't do that. No one should be allowed to profit from being disabled, otherwise, no one would EVER want to go back to work. Isn't the purpose of group LTD insurance to replace your income until you can go back to work? Or, if you cannot go back to work to provide you with let's say 60% of your pre-disability income? Certainly, not $150%? Or 200%?

Having said all this, UNUM's group LTD policies (and all other disability insurers group LTD) have contractual provisions which provide for the reduction of your monthly disability benefit for all of the abovementioned sources of additional income SSDI is a source of confusion because of 1) the 5 month waiting period and 2) the fact that UNUM will be paying you unreduced benefits until social security gets around to awarding the benefits.

Here is the underlying principle: " You may not receive unreduced disability benefits AND social security income for the same period of time."

Let's say your date of disability is 1/1/2004 and you are eligible to receive SSDI 6/1/2004. (5 months later) Your LTD has a 90 Elimination period. So your first UNUM benefit is payable on 4/1/2004. UNUM pays you your full monthly benefit of $1,000, even though your policy says UNUM is entitled to reduce your benefit if you were paid SSDI. Social Security makes a decision on your SSDI claim on 10/1/2004 and awards you monthly benefits of $789 retroactive to 6/1/2004, and they send you a check for $3,156.

Since UNUM has been paying you a full benefit of $1,000 per month, UNUM is entitled to recover $789 per month since 6/1/2004 because YOU CANNOT RECEIVE A FULL BENFIT AND SOCIAL SECURITY FOR THE SAME TIME PERIOD. UNUM is not entitled to recover the retro active amount from 4/1/2004-5/31/2004 since no money was received from SSDI for that period of time.

I understand very clearly that no one wants to turn over a retroactive SSDI award to UNUM. Usually by the time Social Security gets around to making a decision, medications are needed, bills need to be paid etc. I also understand that in group LTD policies the insured has no option or decision making rights as to what the provisions of the policy are, so in a sense they are not agreed to by the insured. But, the insured in not the policyholder, the employer is. And, the employer HAS agreed to the provisions allowing for the reduction of your benefits.

So, do you want to throw tomatoes at me yet? Hold on.

UNUM Provident sends the insured a form called a "Payment Option" form. You, the insured are asked to choose whether you want UNUM to make an estimate of a potential SSDI award and begin reducing your benefit right away, or pay you unreduced benefits with the understanding that you will pay UNUM back if you are subsequently awarded benefits. Most people want their full benefit and check Option 2 without realizing what is going to happen down the pike when they ARE awarded benefits. If you don't want to turn over your SSDI retro check, then choose Option 1 on the form.

Even if UNUM has denied your claim and you later settle and receive back benefits from UNUM, UNUM is entitled by contractual provision to reduce your settlement award by the amount of benefits you received from social security for the same time period.

YOU MAY NOT RECEIVE FULL DISABILITY BENEFITS AND SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS (or any other additional income as described above) FOR THE SAME TIME PERIOD.

Now, I'm not an attorney, I don't know if there is some lawful way of skirting around the contractual offset or not, you would have to seek other legal advice. But, remember the "coordination of benefits" principle. No one should be able to profit from disability, and I happen to agree with that. It is my hope that this discussion has helped you to understand more about the relationship between your disability benefit and SSDI. If you have questions, I'm sure we can answer them. Just ask.

Webmaster's comments: This is the law, and it is hard to controvert on legal terms. I know it's Annoying to have the evil $#@! Demand money back after putting you through years of misery, but it's also not good to butt your head against a legal wall.

Of course, in terms of true Justice, if such a thing actually existed it's a crock, because Unum is positively raping Social Security. They collect hundreds of millions in premiums but then throw their responsibility off on SSDI for the taxpayers to pay the benefits they should be paying. How in hell can someone admitted as disabled by SSID be Not disabled according to Unum? If anything, they owe the taxpayers billions. Then they have the gall to take back part of what they have robbed from the government.
If a robber entered your house and stole all that there was but dropped his cell phone, then sued you for its return, that's about like Unum's Social Security takeback. But the law doesn't recognize common sense and actual justice, alas.

There's something odd about the government. If you're a private individual and rob a bank, the FBI will be after you for life. But if you're a corporation and rob the government they give you a seal of approval.

And, as the author points out, you may go through years of poverty and misery caused by Unum before you get SSDI. That should be worth something, but unfortunately, many states - paid off by the insurance industry - don't allow bad faith awards or cap them, so although you are entitled to something for all the suffering the evil SOBs put you through, and in a moral sense should get to keep SSDI for their purposeful torture, it will not hold up in court.

In a larger sense, though, one of oldest and most basic legal rules is that a criminal should not be allowed to profit from a crime. Unum does this every day, so I can see how claimants feel that they shouldn't be allowed to grab SSDI. Unfortunately, we live in a society of Law, not of Justice, and some things just won't stick to the wall.

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MORE ON THIS SUBJECT

Hi Jim, I just read the most recent newsletter and Judy needed cases where Unum demanded the SSDI lump sum once we are awarded SSDI. Well I dont have Judy's email address but you can forward this to her. I was one of those people , I got awarded SSDI and Unum demanded that we "repay" them that money, got a pro bono lawyer who has fought Unum MANY times(our attorney loves your newsletter), we KEPT my lump sum payment, and Unum just sends us a statement monthly saying "$***.00 deducted from this months benefits for SSDI back payment.

Name withheld

Webmaster's comments: Glad to hear somebody likes the newsletter after all the unsubs. Actually, I noticed a big group of 80 subs about a week ago. Maybe all those folks who left were watching the news and realized I had simply been telling the truth somewhat earlier than our retarded media. If the worthless media Ever catches on to something of importance economically or politically or about insurance and I don't know it a month to a year or two earlier, I'll give this ?job? up ;')

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PRO SE TIPS

From: [email protected] <[email protected]>

If you ever get the opportunity to get to a law library look up Applemans on ins law. There are also other books that will open your eyes to insurance law. These volumes will let you enter the lawyers' world and begin to empower you with the ability to fight back.

You can find a law library at your local court house.

There are also volumes such as "Cause Of Action" that will help you make a case against the party you are suing. There are also books called rules of procedure that will help you to maneuver around your opponent.

Jay ALLMERICAFRAUD.COM

Webmasters' comments: I'm sure that, at some point, if Judy's health improves and she winds her case (hope, hope) she will take time to write a book of Pro Se tips, since so many folks going against Unum seem to be doing it this way. Either because it's impossible to get a lawyer, they can't afford one and can't get one on commission, or it's impossible to get a Good lawyer ;')

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KEEPING THE POOR OUT OF COURT

Jim,

The other day I wrote to you about the rights of the poor to middle classes taking cases to court and how a mandate to lower punitive damages against doctors and other entities would cause lawyers to not take their cases (because their payout would be limited) thus effectively removing their right to go to court and be heard. In that e-mail I referenced an article from the Miami Herald dated 1/4/04. The author of the article forwarded an electronic copy of it to me, which I am forwarding to you below.

Take care of yourself (and mom) and you both, and Judy, are in my thoughts and prayers.

Michelle

LAWYERS' FEES COME UNDER FIRE

BY PATRICK DANNER, [email protected]

In Massachusetts, lawyers want a $2.1 billion paycheck for winning an $8.3 billion tobacco settlement. They argue that the $775 million they received was too little

In a similar tobacco settlement in Florida, lawyers won a massive $3.4 billion payment for a $13.6 billion payout to the state. Gov. Jeb Bush called the fee amount ``obscene.'' (Webmaster's note: Except the state did Nothing about tobacco up until then and has also illegally withheld some of that award, and pocketed money meant to go to anti-tobacco advertising, which has instead gone into the slush fund - Jeb is another corporate whore. More to the point, our bribed legislators are doing Nothing about corporate corruption. The current legal system, with all its admitted flaws, is the only one that seems to be taking corporations to task. So of course they are trying to kill it.)

Guidelines prescribe that such payments, called contingency fees, should be reasonable. But how much is reasonable?

Opponents of the current system are attempting to rein in attorneys' contingency fees in Florida and at least 13 other states. The critics contend that contingency fees lead to overpaid lawyers, who can get thousands of dollars per hour in some cases.

``Law is supposed to serve people, not lawyers,'' says Nancy Udell, general counsel of Common Good, a Washington group that wants to limit contingency fees in cases that haven't progressed far in the legal process. ``The rules about reasonable fees based on time expended and risk undertaken have almost universally been disregarded.''

Trial lawyers counter that contingency fees - called contingent fees by the legal profession - are the ``poor man's key to the courthouse.'' Without the fees, most people wouldn't have the assets to take on deep-pocket corporations, they say.

``It levels the playing field,'' says Neal Roth, a Miami lawyer and a past president of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers.

Under a contingency-fee agreement, a lawyer is only compensated if the client succeeds in recovering money damages. Lawyers run the risk of not being paid if they lose. Therefore, the attorneys working on a contingency-fee basis generally receive a larger percentage of the settlement or verdict. That can range anywhere from 25 percent to as much as 50 percent, depending on whether the case is settled, goes to trial or is appealed. Contingency fees are common in class-action suits and personal-injury cases.

The American Bar Association says charging a contingency fee ``does not violate ethical standards as long as the fee is appropriate in the circumstances and reasonable in amount.''

Just what is reasonable depends on the time and labor required, the difficulty of the case, the risk involved and the results obtained, among other factors.

Recent proposals to cap contingency fees led the ABA's Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section to create a task force to review and evaluate the fees. The 11-member task force is chaired by Steven B. Lesser of Hollywood's Becker & Poliakoff.

``We're all looking to get the facts out in the open, to find out if contingent fees are really out of control and whether there is a need for some regulation and why,'' Lesser explains.

The task force includes well-versed lawyers on both sides of the subject of contingency fees. Besides trial lawyers and academics, there are attorneys representing insurance and tobacco companies. There's even a lawyer for McDonald's Corp., involved in one of the most notorious personal-injury cases, when a New Mexico woman spilled hot coffee on herself. She was awarded $2.9 million in 1994, which was reduced on appeal to $480,000. The sides later settled out of court.

A SCHOLARLY GOAL

The task force will study data compiled from court cases, state supreme court rulings, media reports and public hearings. It will prepare a report by the end of this year, Lesser says.

``The goal is to have a scholarly, well-reasoned piece of work that can be used by legislators, decision makers and the public,'' says Edward Blumberg, the other member of the task force from South Florida and a partner with Miami's Deutsch & Blumberg.

Lesser says Common Good's steps to cap contingency fees in 13 states prompted the task force's formation. Common Good's legal petitions seek to limit the amount lawyers can charge in personal-injury cases where the victim accepts an ``early offer'' settlement.

Common Good's Udell says the group generally believes contingency fees are warranted. However, it doesn't believe lawyers deserve a contingency fee of 25 to 40 percent when a case is settled early on. (Webmaster's note: I tend to agree with this with a caveat - a simple case that only requires a filing isn't worth that. More to the point, I've seen too many cases where a lawyer settled too fast to get the commission, undercutting a good case that would have netted much more for the client. On the other hand, a lot of this depends on whether the client can afford to wait out the five years or more it takes to beat a big insurer. It's six of one and half a dozen of the other.)

The bipartisan group argues that its proposal would lead to more settlement proceeds going to the victims, create more incentive to settle and reduce court congestion.

As an example, Udell says someone she knows slipped on a patch of ice on the property of a business and sought to have the company pay for unpaid medical bills. Unable to reach a settlement, he hired a lawyer.

``The lawyer literally wrote two letters and took a third'' of the settlement, she says. ``We think taking a third, where there's no question of liability and very little work done, is unethical.''

Under Common Good's plan, a lawyer would collect a fee not to exceed 10 percent of a settlement reached within the first 60 days of the dispute. Already, state supreme courts in Alabama and Arizona have rejected Common Good's proposals, says Robert Peck, a Washington lawyer opposed to the petitions.

``I think these are a naked attempt to try to prevent people from bringing cases,'' Peck says.

He adds that Common Good's proposal was rejected by the ABA when it reworked its ethical rules in 1999.

Common Good didn't float its proposal in Florida, but Udell believes it would be received favorably here. Others aren't so sure. (Webmaster's note: I haven't researched "common good." However, one must be very careful of advocacy groups with high-sounding names, since they often pose as citizen's groups but are actually fronts for insurance companies.)

``No bipartisan group would advance such drastic limitations on contingency fees that would make it impossible for the average person to retain good lawyers to do battle with the healthcare industry and corporate America,'' says Roth, the Miami trial lawyer.

Leonard Light says he's also opposed to limiting contingency fees. Light's wife, Joan, was among the plaintiffs who reached a $100 million settlement with a funeral-home operator over the mishandling or desecration of graves at two South Florida cemeteries.

``I think there would be a whole lot of people who would not go to lawyers if there were not contingency fees,'' Light says.

NO QUALMS

Light adds that he has no qualms about the $25 million that the lawyers reportedly stand to make in the case. The court has to approve the fees.

``I feel they put in the time and they [took] the risk,'' he says. ``We really didn't have a risk monetarily. So they should be paid.'' Florida may soon be a battleground for contingency fees. The Florida Medical Association is backing a constitutional amendment addressing contingency fees solely in medical-liability cases. And Citizens for a Fair Share, a political-action committee, is collecting signatures to get the measure on the November ballot.

Under the doctors' proposed amendment, lawyers would receive 30 percent, or $75,000, of the first $250,000 awarded and 10 percent of anything above that amount plus lawsuit costs.

``We just want to make sure the patient gets the money,'' says Dr. Rick Lentz, the association's president. ``I think the public realizes $75,000 is a lot of money.''

Roth doesn't buy that argument.

``It's all done in subterfuge,'' Roth says. ``They don't give a damn about the people they kill and maim. It has everything to do with stopping the filing of lawsuits. It has nothing to do with the victims' receiving more money.''

NEW LIMITS

The measure follows a new state law that limits doctors' liability for noneconomic damages in most medical-malpractice cases to $500,000. A medical facility's liability will be limited to $750,000 in most cases.

A supporter of tort reform, Associated Industries of Florida, which calls itself the voice of business in the state, isn't backing the constitutional amendment, however.

``First and foremost, we don't think the Constitution is the appropriate place to have any provision that fixes attorneys' fees or doctors' fees or anybody else's fees,'' says Art Simon, Associated Industries' senior vice president for governmental affairs.

Simon adds that guidelines on contingency fees adopted by the Florida Supreme Court already are among the most restrictive in the country. The fee schedule is on a sliding scale, with percentages varying by the size of the award. For example, in cases where a lawsuit is settled early on, the lawyer receives a third of the recovery up to $1 million.

That drops to 30 percent between $1 million and $2 million. Above $2 million, the fee drops to 20 percent.

``Florida is way advanced,'' Blumberg says.

Regards, Patrick Danner Business reporter Miami Herald 954-527-8436

Webmaster's final comments: I have to agree that for very quickly-settled cases that are cut and dried, the higher contingencies might be egregious. However, this being Florida, I have a suspicion that those supporting this legislation are thin corporate fronts who sure don't care about the "common good."

More to the point, it's not just about the poor. Nobody can afford a seven year campaign against a giant insurer unless they're so rich they probably don't need the award money. So this stuff has to be done on contingency. Getting rid of contingency or weakening it too much would kill the majority of cases against insurers, which of course is what they want. So although a limit on egregious contingencies might make Logical sense, I am afraid it is supported by the same evil forces who want to destroy all our legal rights,
0

#13 Guest_NoRehab_*

  • Group: Guests

Posted 12 March 2004 - 10:08 AM

EXPERT VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Everybody complains about the crooked insurers but nobody does anything. We want to start doing things - things that are not limited by an underfunded website and newsletter. So we need some expert help. Serious professionals who have done this work. If you have the skills below or know someone who does and wants to pitch in to MAKE A DIFFERENCE, write me at [email protected]

1) GRANT WRITER AND SEARCHER - We need someone to search out possible grantors for our work and write grant proposals. This should be a professional who has actually written successful grant proposals.

2) NON-PROFIT INCORPORATOR - We need to incorporate as a non-profit or grantors won't even take us seriously. You can incorporate in any state but some are more desirable than others. Delaware has more lenient rules, Florida is cheaper, and California is where a lot of anti-Unum action is taking place. We need to find the best place at a low price. Incorporation is pretty easy in most states, but getting non-profit status is harder, especially with the Federal Government. Again, we need someone who knows the ropes.

3) INTERNET MARKETER - We need to find Unum victims and reach out to them since Unum, the corrupt courts and the worthless DOIs hide them. This is basically a marketing effort. We need to find them or they need to find us on the Internet. One possible avenue is that there is software which will cull newsgroups and websites for keywords such as "Unum" and "complaint" and store any associated email addresses, then compile a list and send a mass mailing direct from your computer, avoiding "spam" problems with your ISP. I've seen such software but it is expensive. If you have such software to donate, it would be helpful. If you know how to use it and want to put in the time, that would also be helpful.

There are also other methods of marketing. If you know how to get into e-zines, multipost to newsgroups, increase web ranking, get attention to a site, etc - or have a whiz kid who does, that would help. (I will probably end up doing this one myself, but any assistance would be appreciated.)

I would also like to start a Blog, with regular high-level contributors - but it will also be more open than this newsletter so you can all join in. The Dean campaign used blogs to great effect to knit supporters together and post great ideas. That he was defeated by a combination of the Democratic Establishment which didn't want an outsider, and the corporate media, since he made a lot of anti-corporate remarks, still does not detract from the effectiveness of his Internet organizing. We need to study some of his methods.

4) CLASS ACTION DISCOVERY EXPERT

Unum gets to hide the incredible size of their victim pool thanks to conspiring DOIs, secrecy, vacatur, gag orders and other tactics. It is my feeling that a class action could be initiated on a broad basis to demand identity of all victims "similarly situated" as a part of Discovery. If the size of the victim pool was known and we could contact them, all hell would break loose. Not just those in court but those who have been cheated by a lowball that they were forced to accept because they couldn't find a lawyer thanks to ERISA. Believe it or not, DOIs list cases where a rotten lowball was shoved down someone's throat as satisfactorily completed and not a complaint. That's how insurers get those absurdly low complaint rates at the idiotic DOIs.

My Lowest estimate of current Unum victims is 60,000. And that's Very conservative. If you are not a Unum claimant you should still join this effort. All disabled are being cheated, but we have to start somewhere and as the largest disability insurer with the most bad press, Unum is the place to start. You plant a seed in a small hole but then a large tree grows. Once we get through Unum the pool of all disabled who are being cheated by insurers or worker's comp is in the millions.

We Need to Find These People. Many sit home alone like Joey Hibbs, contemplating suicide. We can help them and some of them can help us.

It is time to graduate from complainers to professionals. From loners to a powerful group that becomes a weapon aimed at crooked insurers. And as usual, any donations will also help. There is always more software and hardware needed to get anything serious done on the Internet. And there are more and more Services you can buy to avoid inventing the wheel, from mass mailing to webradio. But it all costs.

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ANY HELP OR ADVICE IN MASS. FOR BILL SHERIDAN?

From: Bill Sheridan [email protected]

Hey Jim, Thanks for the Quick reply. I live In Auburn, MA. I have two conditions: I have a degenerative back condition with three failed surgeries. The last being a failed multiple level fusion. I have broken hardware in my back and continued leg and foot pain. I have been taking prescription pain medication for this condition. I am scheduled for another CAT scan tomorrow. I also have severe rheumatoid arthritis. There is history of the disease in my family. It is believed that the long time prednisone use that was taken to relieve arthritis pain, caused my back problems. I have not responded well to any medications over the last 10 years, and currently take ENBREL injections twice per week. Because I have not responded to medications, and can no longer take prednisone, they say I am not
being treated aggressively enough. I have letters from two of my doctors saying that I cannot work because of the severity and unpredictable nature of my symptoms. They also indicate the fact that I have reached a end point as far as new treatments to be offered. UNUM has used doctors clinical notes that were incomplete, they have disagreed with my diagnosis, they say that a missed a doctors appointment indicates I am well enough to work, and a host of other bogus reasons to deny the claim. I had been getting the benefit for about 1 year. It was denied shortly after I was approved for SSDI. You have my permission to post this. How do I find out if the plan is ERISA?

Bill Sheridan
[email protected]

Webmaster's note: As usual, respond to Bill at his email above if you have advice or legal contacts that might be helpful, and CC me at [email protected] if your advice would be useful for all to see.

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ONE OF OUR READERS RECOMMENDS BINDER AND BINDER FOR SSDI WORK

There is a National Law Firm called Binder and Binder, they are huge but get the job done and fast. They know the SS system and most SS Lawyers will not take a case until you are denied. Binder and Binder likes to get it from the start. From application to acceptance was 9 months for me. We had been trudging through their muck of paperwork for 3 years. I just happened to catch an ad on TBS one morning, never saw it again but got their number. Now I am seeing the ad more and more. I highly recommended them, you never really deal with the lawyers, you get a case worker, send her the appropriate forms and that's it. Now with my case we had to a lot of other information to send them but they got it through. So anyone asks for help with SS these are the guys, the only guys.For pay they get the standard
1/3 of what you get at your settlement, as most cases go back a year or 2. I believe 2 is the longest you can go back. Same or less then other firms.

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AND ANOTHER WORTHLESS INSURER-FRIENDLY DOI

Ann Womer Benjamin, the head of the Ohio Dept of Insurance, still hasn't replied to email I sent her directly prior to Joey's death, requesting help with his case. And of course Reverend Exoo also spoke to them on the phone, but they wrung their hands. If the media does the story I sure hope I don't hear the obligatory remark reporters always make that you should contact your Dept of Insurance with a complaint. That's a TOTAL waste of time. So many people are under the misconception that depts. of insurance will help the consumer that they need to be warned. DOIs are either corrupt or worthless; most are Very biased in favor of the insurer, not the taxpayers who support them and packed with industry retreads. They are no help at all and usually a hindrance. They go after claimants all the time
but protect insurers most of the time.

I sure hope Ann doesn't run for higher office some day. I have a long memory and will do everything I can to help her opponent.

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KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON

Note From a Unum Victim: "I feel like I keep hitting a wall."

My Reply: They design it that way. The point is to discourage the average person so they give up.

But none of us is average.

I recall an activist who closed down a huge psychiatric hospital that was abusing and robbing patients. She was tiny and poor and the hospital owner was a billionaire with politicians in his pocket. He thought he would never be touched.

But her motto was "flow like water." If one hole is blocked, find another.

She and her friends closed the hospital down.

Jim

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NOTE FROM JUDYDOC

New cases of some interest. I haven't read them but figured I'd pass it on anyway.

Gregory DeLeon v. Bristol-Myers, C.v. 01-350-AS opinion and order can be found on the Oregon District Court website under link to Univ. of Oregon http://www.law.uoreg...urces/court.php

I put the name DeLeon in the google search on the bottom of this page.

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OTHER INFORMATION SITES OF INTEREST

Jim,

Found these too. Maybe these websites can help.

Donna


http://insurancefrau...ackgrounder.pdf http://www.fldfs.com/companies/lh/Exams/Un...Amer_051502.doc http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/Deli...p?citeID=438079 http://insurancefrau...White_paper.pdf

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UNUMPROVIDENT CORP: May Be Added In MA Suits V. Provident, Says Berman ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in 45 state court suits pending in the Worcester Superior Court against Provident Companies, Inc. and the Paul Revere Corporation have served legal papers requesting that the Court add UNUMProvident Corporation as a defendant after Provident changed its name to UNUMProvident in connection with the recent merger of Chattanooga- based Provident and UNUM Corporation, based in Portland, Maine. In addition, three more former Paul Revere General Managers are preparing to file suit, which will bring the total number of Paul Revere General Manager wrongful termination suits to 46. The new suits will name UNUMProvident as a defendant.

On June 30, 1999, Provident and UNUM merged, with Provident as only surviving corporation. In accordance with the merger agreement between the companies, Provident was renamed UNUMProvident Corporation. "Plaintiffs contend that the newly renamed corporation remains responsible for the liabilities of its predecessor in the Worcester litigation," said Michael G. Lange, of Boston's Berman, DeValerio & Pease, LLP, one of the firms representing the plaintiffs.

Two of the 45 suits currently pending against Provident and Paul Revere are class actions. The first was filed on behalf of some 400 former Paul Revere Life "career agents" whose employment was terminated by Provident and Paul Revere as a result of the 1997 merger of the two disability insurers. The second suit seeks class treatment for some 10,000 former Paul Revere brokers in the United States. According to James Hubbard, another of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, "the class actions seek compensatory and treble damages, and allege that in 1995, out of financial desperation, Paul Revere cut agent and broker commissions by 80% on automatic benefit increases included in polices in force before the cuts were announced, despite contracts with the plaintiffs that restricted commission
reductions to newly issued policies."

Provident's motions to dismiss the class action suits, and the pending General Manager suits, have been denied by the state court. Both the state and federal courts in Worcester have denied petitions by Provident to compel a number of the General Manager plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims. In federal court, fifteen of Provident's petitions to compel arbitration have already been denied or dismissed; the General Manager's motions to dismiss the petitions in four other cases remain under consideration by the court. Plaintiffs' motions to certify the agent and broker classes for class action treatment and trial are scheduled to be heard by the state court in Worcester on December 20, 1999.

Plaintiffs in all of these suits are represented by James R. Hubbard and Duncan J. Farmer of Ricci, Hubbard, Leopold, Frankel & Farmer, West Palm Beach, FL (561-684-6500); Glen DeValerio and Michael G. Lange of Berman, DeValerio & Pease, LLP, Boston, MA (617-542-8300); and Francis A. Ford, Worcester, MA (508-791-7776). Source: Berman, DeValerio & Pease LLP. Contact: James R. Hubbard and Duncan J. Farmer of Ricci of Hubbard, Leopold, Frankel & Farmer, West Palm Beach, FL, 561-684-6500; or Glen DeValerio and Michael G. Lange of Berman, DeValerio & Pease, LLP, Boston, MA 617-542-8300; or Francis A. Ford, Worcester, MA, 508-791-7776

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THE MONSTER EATS ITS OWN

" UnumProvident ERISA Case Will Be Heard (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required) Excerpt: "A Manhattan federal judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit by workers who claim UnumProvident committed ERISA violations by giving bonuses and promotions to its employees based upon the numbers of claims they denied. This scheme, the plaintiffs contend, allows UnumProvident to save money and increases profits, according to a Dow Jones report."

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JUDGMENT

In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. -- Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (1934-1996)

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A CONTRIBUTION FOR JOEY

Webmaster's note: as we all now know, Joey is dead and it happened so fast I barely had time to stop the contribution drive I started to keep him from the streets. Here is a letter from one contributor which I thought I would post anyway.

Joey's death is insignificant to Unum. They cause scores of suicides and thousands of deaths every year. But it is not insignificant to us.

And someday, perhaps sooner than they think, it will not be insignificant to the inhuman monsters who run Unum Provident on the blood and pain of the disabled.

***********************************************

Hi Jim,

It's 4 am and 20 degrees here and I have 10 inches of snow in my long driveway. I pulled my 4x4 to the end of the driveway yesterday and placed a cardboard sign under the windshield wiper that read "Plowing needed....$40...please ring bell."

I saw your note about Joey and since we spoke about this I decided I wasn't waiting and missing tomorrow's mail pickup. Nor was I going to try to get a money order. I'll have to trust the US Post Office with my cash.

I had a priority mail stamp at home and I just walked to the mailbox and put the $40 I was trying to get someone to plow my driveway with and sent it to Joey. I'll have my girls do the driveway tomorrow and I'll help as best I can. I'll tell them the story and they'll understand and help out for free. Usually I would pay them for a chore like this. Tomorrow will be a freebee.

Oh, and I'd rather read more stories like mine than of people unsubscribing. I'm ticked off that there could be even one person who would read about another's problems and drop off the list. Yeah, we all have problems. It's called life. It's one big test. If it was supposed to be easy the world would be perfect. And that wasn't God's plan.

Steve - who despite collecting without a significant problem for the last 4 years still opens letters from insurers and says a prayer first.

Webmaster's further note: I think I stopped the donation drive quickly enough. I'm not sure what happens to anything that was sent. The local sheriff spoke to me but I forgot to ask that. Joey leaves a small son so I would hope that any donations go to the estate or are returned. We did all this awfully quick, it ended badly, and my head is still spinning. I'm still trying to get publicity for Joey's heartless treatment as the second order of importance. The first is providing advice and assistance to his survivors.

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THE MONSTER THAT IS GREENSPAN

According to Alan Greenspan's latest, people who have spent years paying into Social Security are parasites and it should be cut to pay for the recent tax breaks to the super-rich. Our retired oldsters are useless folks who should be allowed to "perish" in Greenspan's own earlier words, when he penned a fisco-erotic paean to Ayn Rand and her concept that only the "superior" should live and all else die. Too bad she never read Jesus' words that "they also serve who only stand and wait." Or understood ecological diversity - the "weak" of one generation keep life going as the aged and powerful dinosaurs die, unable to adjust to new conditions. That's why you can never judge who is worth saving. Stephen Hawking, the greatest physicist on earth, shakes and gibbers and would have been gassed in Hitler's
time as "unfit."

Greenspan's plans for Social Security and Medicare sound like a plan Adolf Hitler once had for the "useless", the "old", the "retarded" etc. Basically, anyone without a ton of money, or the slaves of those who own the money should be disposed of. They will die of poverty and lack of medical care, so they won't even need death camps. That will cut down the population since the coming global shortage of oil will soon make that necessary. Actually, it wouldn't be necessary if we would change our insane topheavy economic system, but our rulers will never do that. Years ago the polymathic Buckminster Fuller and the authors of the "Triple Revolution Document" noted that prosperity should be in the grasp of all by the millennium. They were right - the problem is they got the economics and the science
right but they got the politics wrong.

Population "decrease" was all worked out by the Malthusian "Club of Rome" years ago. Of course, we will have to harden the hearts of Americans to put up with that, but the constant fear-drumbeat of "terrorism" will help to do that. As Mussolini remarked, Fascism is an alliance of State and Corporate power and boy, are we seeing that lately.

What really stinks is Social Security is not an "entitlement," which its robbers call it to make it sound like welfare. It is a Trust Fund paid for by hard working Americans. It is also financially sound, except the government keeps robbing it to cover their deficits. I guess all those conservative Great Generation oldsters who beat Hitler, then worked so hard and disdained the slackers of following generations are going to be put in the poorhouse by the Genocidal Mr. Greenspan and the Gods of Capital he so reveres.

"Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should." --Alan Greenspan, Letter to The New York Times (Nov 1957)

Ugly little man - he and his banker pals are the parasites, fattening on the work of others while all they do is shuffle money - the world will be better when He perishes.

How terrible that so many Presidents have heeded the advice of such a hollow and soulless man.

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ALLSTATE, CROOKED AS ALWAYS

Historically does it not seem that Allstate, more often than not, denies breaking any laws when investigations have ruled against them?

http://www.magicvalley.com/news/business/i...sp?StoryID=4605 Allstate settles over use of credit scores

Los Angeles Times

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Allstate Corp. has agreed to pay $3 million to settle state charges that the giant property and casualty insurer used negative credit information as a reason to deny coverage to at least a thousand California car owners.

In a case filed in response to complaints from consumers, the state Department of Insurance alleged that Allstate violated the state's Proposition 103 by effectively "redlining" poor and minority motorists. Among other restrictions, the 1988 ballot initiative prohibits the use of credit histories as a factor in setting auto insurance rates.

Although it agreed to the settlement, Allstate denied it broke any laws.

The use of so-called credit scores -- the three-digit number that lenders use to evaluate a consumer's creditworthiness -- has become a controversial insurance underwriting tool in several states. Insurers claim there is a connection between a person's credit history and the likelihood that he or she will file a claim.

California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi contends that using credit scores to make decisions on insurance coverage is discriminatory. He has promised to fight efforts by California insurers to use credit scores when selling auto and homeowners' policies.

"My view, and I've said it very clearly to the insurance companies, is you cannot use credit scoring in California until you prove it is not discriminatory," Garamendi said. "We know of no one who has come to us and shown it is not discriminatory."

Regulators in Texas this year put tight limits on using credit information to set rates on auto and homeowners' policies. Maryland, Utah, Hawaii and Washington also have curbed some credit-related rate-making practices, according to A.M. Best, an international insurance rating and information agency.

California's complaint named two Allstate subsidiaries, Allstate Indemnity Co. and Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Co. The state alleged that Allstate violated state law between December 2001 and July 2003 by turning away prospective customers eligible to receive "good driver" discounts under Proposition 103. The company used a variety of methods, including checking credit scores and requiring up to 100 percent down payments on premiums, to discourage the new business, the complaint said.

Allstate said it used credit scores only to determine down payment amounts and payment plans, not rates or types of coverage.

The $3 million fine is "a significant warning shot" because "it's important for the insurance industry to realize that it will be punished if it crosses the line on credit scoring," said Doug Heller, executive director of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based advocacy group that spearheaded the campaign for Proposition 103.

Heller said that using credit scores when selling insurance was "a particularly insidious practice" that made it hard for lower-income motorists to obtain legally required auto insurance -- even if they had no history of being risky drivers. He likened using credit scores to insurers' now discredited practice of drawing a redline on a map around a poor community and refusing to sell insurance to anyone living within the area.

While Garamendi's action against Allstate may have quashed incipient efforts to use credit scores when selling auto liability insurance, it hasn't resolved an ongoing debate about using them when rating risk for homeowners' policies.

Currently, the issue remains unresolved in California.

For its part, Allstate said it would continue to press nationally for use of credit scoring for both auto and homeowners' insurance.

Using credit scores "increases the accuracy of our risk evaluation, controls the cost of insurance and helps us make insurance more widely available," Allstate spokeswoman Lisa Wanamaker said.

Webmaster's note: Credit scoring stinks. It is unfair, wrong and should be illegal and punished everywhere. "The poor pay more" If you have less money and lower credit you end up having to pay more for car insurance mandated by the state. There is something very wrong about that. For that matter, how in hell do insurers have the right to your credit info? That should only go to lenders. But there is no privacy since the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which allowed banks, insurers, and financial houses to combine. That "combining" also led to Enron and the massive wave of corporate corruption. Thank the bribed crooks in the US Congress for repealing an act that protected us from such chicanery since the Depression. I spoke against it for years and every person in Congress who pushed the repeal, knowing
that they were helping the same chicanery that caused the Great Depression, is a dirty crook who should be put in jail. You can read the roll from From Trent Lott® to Chris Dodd(D), so there is a lot of blame to lay on both parties.

======================================================

WHAT IN HELL DOES?

A Unum victim recently received their opinion that "Diagnosis not in and of itself make you disabled".

I would have to wonder what does, since Unum's position is to not rely on how someone feels or on opinion, perhaps rightfully so, but on scientific diagnosis. Now that's no good either. A letter from God, perhaps?

Maybe other people might want to know the appropriate response to this statement, though - from one of our resident experts:
***********************************************************

In response to UNUM's statement I would say, "However, restrictions and limitations provided to you from my primary care physician who is qualified to determine such restrictions and limiations does constitute 'a disability.'" Therefore, according to the provisions requiring "proof of loss" as defined in my policy, I have met all of the critieria as defined in the definition of disability, and cannot perform the material and substantial duties of my own (or any) occupation."

An aside: UNUM's medical doctors do not determine disability either. So another comment might be: "Since UNUM's Physician Consultant's do not determine contractual disability, the role of the Physician Consultant is to determine the "reasonableness of my restrictions and limitations" provided by my primary care physician."

This is the appropriate response to the statement, ""diagnosis does not in and of itself make you disabled". This response is definitely "insurance speak", but it is the correct response.

======================================================

SUICIDE UPDATE - THE DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE - WORTHLESS AS ALWAYS

Joan, Jim, and others: I do have this man's email address, but I would want to get his permission before releasing that and his phone number. I think he has very little time (just Wednesday and Thursday) because his meds run out on Thursday or Friday, and he tells me (I believe him) he goes into excruciating pain without them. What a mess! Nothing like this has ever crossed my path before, and, to think, this man yet might have many good months or years in which he could still make valuable contributions to society, if only to people who are in the same mess as he. I can tell he's very bright. He was until two years ago president of a company in Louisville.

I spoke to the Ohio Department of Insurance. The woman did not track what I had to say very well. She seemed distracted. She finally said, "Well, have him pay for his meds and things himself and then appeal...." I replied the well is dry, and the hour glass all but empty. "I'm sorry there is nothing we can do about his [insurance] company. Have him file a complaint with us via the Web." I thanked her and hung up.

George Exoo

Webmaster's comments: Many people are about to go homeless, like Joey, who was once a company President. Most state welfare agencies are broke due to fiscal downturn and hardheartedness in a Washington that can't wait to throw trillions at crooked corporations. Three Administrations in a row made political hay stepping on the backs of the poor with welfare "reform," which is a drop in the bucket compared to government waste. But now a Lot of hard working people are edging towards welfare and may regret cheering its demise.

This is at a time when all those "cheap" mortgages people thought they could pay during the boom are coming due. And Greenspan thinks it's just peachy that people are refinancing their massive credit card debt with yet more mortgages. Going to be lots of homeless. Of course, the banks and people with money will end up owning everything as they did after the Depression, and everyone seems to forget that Greenspan is an evil banker, not your kindly uncle.

Jim

======================================================


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UNUM'S SECRET "DESTROYED" CLAIMS MANUALS NOW AVAILABLE - Email [email protected] for details.

THE UNFINISHED TASK

"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day." Theodore Roosevelt, April 19, 1906
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#14 User is offline   jocko 

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Posted 13 April 2004 - 06:31 AM

ARTICLE EXCERPTS FROM THE DEC 22, ‘03 BUSINESS WEEK
[Two CDs of information about this criminal corporation, in addition to many personal contacts were provided to Business Week by this website. Information was also sent at request to the multi-state task force. Further inquiries regarding UNUM’s group denials of such groups as disabled state policemen and 9-11 victims are ongoing and will be reported as they are completed.]
...Unum Provident, the product of a flurry of mergers in the late 1990s, is being forced to revisit many of its cases. A growing chorus of policyholders, plaintiffs' lawyers, former employees, and regulators charges that the company systematically rejects as many claims -- legitimate or not -- as it feels it can get away with. If true, that's especially troubling because the $9.9 billion outfit is the nation's largest disability insurer. It writes more than 40% of individual disability policies and more than 25% of group ones, and it covers more than 17 million Americans...
Now, 45 states are jointly investigating how Unum Provident handles claims, the largest such probe ever undertaken in the U.S., says Christopher Goetcheus, spokesman for the Massachusetts Division of Insurance. He says the investigation is expected to be completed by June...
In a separate action last March, the state of Georgia fined the company $1 million and set up a system to scrutinize its handling of every rejected claim involving Georgia residents for two years. In an interview, Georgia Insurance Commissioner John W. Oxendine describes a "corporate culture built on finding every technical reason to deny claims."
What has caught the eye of regulators from coast to coast is the avalanche of thousands of lawsuits and tens of millions in jury awards against Unum Provident over the past few years.
Last year, a California judge upheld a $7.67 million jury award to a former Berkeley chiropractor, Joan Hangarter, and sternly warned Unum against future violations, including "employing biased medical examiners, destroying medical records, and withholding from claimants information about their benefits."
The [unum] culture was symbolized by the company's "Hungry Vulture" award for top performers, say former employees. The prize even carried the motto "Patience my foot...I'm gonna kill something."
Linda Nee, a veteran claims handler at Unum's head office in Portland, Me., and other employees there say they started seeing a more ruthless approach to claims. The pressure peaked, they say, in the last month of each quarter -- the "scrub months," when managers looked for claims to terminate to get under budget.
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#15 User is offline   jocko 

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 07:09 PM

not a warning sign, that’s a clear siren out in the streets saying ‘What is going on here'.



Did Insurer Cheat Disabled Clients?

Nov. 17, 2002


(CBS) If you’re one of the 50 million Americans who has money deducted from his or her paycheck to pay for disability insurance, or if you’ve purchased a disability policy on your own, you may think you’re covered if you’re injured or too sick to work. But don’t be too sure. Ed Bradley reports.

A number of people who worked at UnumProvident, the giant of the disability insurance business, whose clients include CBS, told us that the cmpany’s management puts tremendous pressure on claims handlers to deny new claims and shut down existing ones. And that many UnumProvident policy holders- who are obviously disabled – are left out in the cold.

UnumProvident is the largest disability insurance company by far, providing disability insurance to 17 million Americans. One of them was Dr. John Tedesco. Today, Dr. Tedesco does part-time diagnostic work, but he used to be a successful eye surgeon. Then, four years ago, he developed a tremor in his right hand:

“I knew that if I tried to operate on somebody, I might hurt them. I might blind them,” Tedesco says. So he stopped operating.

For six years, Dr. Tedesco had paid for an insurance policy that guaranteed him a decent income if he could no longer do surgery. He filed a claim with UnumProvident, and the company paid his claim for four months. Then a claims handler sent Dr. Tedesco a letter.

“Basically, the letter said ‘We’re cutting off your benefits. We don’t think you’re disabled. And you’re not entitled to any benefits,’” says Tedesco. As far as he knows, the company did not talk to his doctors. Nor did they come to see him.

UnumProvident had a cameraman secretly follow Dr. Tedesco for six days and shoot videotape. The company said it showed Dr. Tedesco playing football in his backyard looking anything but disabled. However, there was just one problem. It actually showed his 23-year-old son.

Three years ago, Dr. Tedesco was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. He found he couldn’t keep his hands steady enough to do routine eye exams, let alone surgery. Three physicians said he was too disabled to operate. The company still didn’t start paying him.

“It almost sounds ridiculous an insurance company refusing a disability from an eye surgeon who has a hand tremor and Parkinson’s Disease. How do you explain that?” Bradley asks Tedesco.

“I can’t explain that. There’s not a person on this earth who would say that a person with Parkinson’s Disease could do eye surgery,” Tedesco says.

What happened to Dr. Tedesco came as no surprise to the UnumProvident employees we spoke to. Diane McGinnis started working at UnumProvident three years ago. When Bradley interviewed her she was working as a claims handler at the company’s headquarters in Chattanooga. She says that the company told its workers they had to shut down enough claims to meet monthly targets in the millions of dollars.

“At the beginning of each month the projections would come down from the directors or above, who would give a number as to the amount of money we would have to come up with at the end of the month in closures,” she says.

Bradley: These were like targets you had to meet?
McGinnis: Right
Bradley: And did the people who set the targets know that there were a certain number of claims that deserved to be terminated before they set the target?
McGinnis: I don’t think it was about whether they deserved to be closed. They had to be closed. They needed to make those projections.
Bradley: So you would go into these meetings once a month with a target, a dollar figure, which you had to save the company and that dollar figure had nothing to do with the validity of the claims that were out there. It had nothing to do with the legitimacy of the claims that were out there?
McGinnis: Right. The claim reps would go looking for claims that they could shut down and the consultants would be right behind them helping them go through files to look for those numbers that they needed.
Bradley: And did the claims handlers ever shut down claims that they knew were legitimate in order to meet a monthly target?
McGinnis: Yes, many times that’s happened, many times.
Bradley: You say that without any hesitation.
McGinnis: Because I’ve seen it for three years.

UnumProvident declined to talk to 60 Minutes on camera, but top executives repeatedly denied that the company sets any targets whatsoever for saving money by closing claims. The executives also told us the company processes 400,000 claims a year and occasionally makes a mistake, which, they say, UnumProvident is quick to remedy once the company is aware of it.

As for Diane McGinnis, she resigned eight weeks ago. UnumProvident questions her integrity, citing several instances of dishonesty in her personal life. But more than a dozen current and former UnumProvident employees, including former vice presidents of the company, confirmed some or all of McGinnis’ allegations.

Angelique Brackett was a claims handler in the company’s headquarters in Chattanooga.

“About the middle of the month, they’d let us know if we were on track to meet our dollar amount for the month, and if we wouldn’t, they’d really start pushing us to find more or to get the ones we thought we could get closed,” she said.

Gina Hartley worked for five years as a claims handler in the company’s headquarters. She resigned a month ago.

Bradley: And if they would say to us that there were no targets, no money targets that we were aiming for each month, you would say…
Hartley: It was well known to each individual, each one of us and to every department. It was standard, I mean day in day out there were targets. There were goals.
Bradley: So you’re saying the company is lying?
Hartley: That’s what I’m saying.
Bradley: and were these targets just suggestions or guidelines?
Hartley: oh no it was set. I mean this is the amount. We were given the exact dollar amount that we were targeting, and toward the end of the month, if we were far behind, we would what’s called a blitz in the orthopedic area where everybody would come in on Saturday and we’d go through our claim files. If they’d been gone through 20 times and reviewed 20 times by managers, consultants, we would still go through our claims, our co-workers claims, other department’s claims, trying to find something that might just – even if was a technicality – something we could close that claim on. And the pressure on the claims representatives was so intense that we felt we had to go in to close that claim.
Bradley: You knew of people who were really disabled and their claims were terminated because in terminating those claims UnumProvident would save money.
Hartley: Oh yes, oh yes
Bradley: No doubt about it?
Hartley: No doubt about it.
Bradley: And did your supervisors know that you were terminating legitimate claims?
Hartley: They had to give the approval to, before we could. As a claims handler, we did not have the power or the authority to close the claim ourselves. It had to be signed off on by our consultant and our manager.
Bradley: And how much money are we talking about. What were they looking to shut down every month?
Hartley: Anywhere from 7 to 14 million. If another department needed help, they would bump it up to 14 million a month.

UnumProvident told us the claims handlers had no financial incentive to terminate the claims of disabled policyholders. Michelle Payne, a former administrative assistant, says that’s not true:

Michelle: The ones that knew how to do what was asked of them, they’re the ones that got the bonuses.
Bradley: And what was asked of them?
Michelle: Close the claims.
Bradley: You say that without any hesitation.
Michelle: I saw it on a daily basis.
Hartley: there were staff meetings that we sat in and the manager would say so and so just closed 2 million claim today and everybody would give them a hand and 2 or 3 weeks later, low and behold, that person would end up being presented with a bonus, a check, money.

It wasn’t just claims handlers who were under pressure to deny claims:

“I saw the same thing,” says Dr. Fergal McSharry worked for UnumProvident for nearly two years as an in-house physician reviewing disability claims. Dr. McSharry says the company pressured him and other doctors to go along with the claims’ handlers decisions to terminate claims:

McSharry: The decision was nearly always made and we were to not upset the apple cart and give this opinion which was contrary to everybody else’s.
Bradley Didn’t the company give you the option to request more tests, more medical information about the claimant?
McSharry: Yes, the option was there, but whenever I did it I got into trouble.
Bradley: why would that get you in trouble?
McSharry: It would blow the target way back, and the team were very dependent on me as the physician to support their achieving the goal.
Bradley Of meeting that target, the dollar figure?
McSharry: Yeah, so I was getting a lot of upset people coming into my office saying: “You’re not helping us, doc!”

At first, Dr. McSharry says he did change his medical opinion once or twice to please his supervisor. Then, he decided he could no longer do that. Six months ago, UnumProvident fired Dr. McSharry. He is now suing the company for ‘wrongful termination.”

Bradley: Unum Provident says that the issue with you was productivity; that you were slow to sign off on your claims.
McSharry: I wouldn’t sign off, yes. I wouldn’t. I refused.
Bradley: Were other doctors in the claims department pressured to sign off on terminations?
McSharry: We all were. And some doctors did and some doctors didn’t.
Hartley: We knew what doctors to send it to and what not to. If we wanted that claims closed, we’d send it such and such doctor.

Closing those existing claims – or denying new ones - has led to nearly 3,000 lawsuits against UnumProvident in the past five years. Gina Hartley says the company’s lawyers warned claims handlers to be extra careful about denying claims in certain states:

Hartley: We would get guidance as far as what state you might be able to close this claim in. That may not give us trouble in the courts. What state would be, okay this is a tougher state, they’ve strong insurance commissioners, they’ve got strong courts, they’ve got courts that favor the insured. Better not mess with this one too much.
Bradley: Tell me what you think the philosophy of this company is:
Hartley: Their philosophy was close it if you can close it. If there was any way possible to close it. That was the bottom line.
Garamendi: Every insurance department in this nation ought to be taking a hard look at this situation

Last week, John Garamendi was re-elected to head the California Department of Insurance.

Bradley: How can an insurance company decide in advance the percentage of claims that should be terminated?
Garamendi: How can they? Well, they can if they want to break the law, if they want to go against the normal practice, and if they want to get big lawsuits. It is not the thing to do.
Bradley: Provident’s adjusters appear to be under pressure to increase terminations.
Garamendi: Exactly.
Bradley: On the face of it, what’s wrong with that.
Garamendi: This kind of thing will lead to problems. It’ll lead to fraud by the insurance company against the consumer, against the policy-holder.
Bradley: Do you see a pattern here? What does it say about this company?
Garamendi: There’s been successful lawsuits against this company in which federal courts by unanimous verdicts have issued punitive damages for this kind of activity. That’s another, not a warning sign, that’s a clear siren out in the streets saying ‘What is going on here.

Tedesco, the eye surgeon with Parkinson’s Disease, sued the company, and a jury awarded him 36 million dollars. To avoid a lengthy appeal, Dr. Tedesco settled with UnumProvident for an undisclosed sum.

Bradley: If this company knows that they’re going to be hit with these lawsuits and they’re going to lose some of them, that there’s going to be bad publicity, why would they do this?

Garamendi: It’s an equation, an economic equation. How many will we lose? How much business will we lose? Versus how much will we gain by denying these claims. So they’re doing that economic equation and they’re saying, “We’ll run the risk of the lawsuits. We’ll run the risk of the bad publicity, and probably the departments of insurance are asleep anyway. So let’s go!”

While the great majority of lawsuits against UnumProvident are settled out of court, and the company says it wins most of those that do go to trial - this week it lost a big one. A federal court in San Francisco upheld a $7.5 million judgment against UnumProvident saying it showed bad faith in targeting a claim for closure, and that it employed biased medical examiners and improperly destroyed medical and other reports. The court issued an injunction ordering the company to stop those practices.
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#16 User is offline   jocko 

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 07:16 PM

Garamendi: It’s an equation, an economic equation. How many will we lose? How much business will we lose? Versus how much will we gain by denying these claims. So they’re doing that economic equation and they’re saying, “We’ll run the risk of the lawsuits. We’ll run the risk of the bad publicity, and probably the departments of insurance are asleep anyway. So let’s go!”
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#17 User is offline   jocko 

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 07:20 PM

the company says it wins most of those that do go to trial - this week it lost a big one. A federal court in San Francisco upheld a $7.5 million judgment against UnumProvident saying it showed bad faith in targeting a claim for closure, and that it employed biased medical examiners and improperly destroyed medical and other reports. The court issued an injunction ordering the company to stop those practices.
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#18 User is offline   jocko 

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Posted 15 April 2004 - 07:45 AM

Claimant Management System Expression of Interest Accident Compensation Corporation Extra documentation See below General information 1. Deloitte Consulting is currently working with the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) of New Zealand to identify potential vendors for a Claimant Management System (CMS). You can find background information on ACC on www.acc.co.nz.

2. ACC prides itself on being a world leader in case management and seeks a sophisticated system which will support innovative approaches going forward. ACC has a mixture of functional requirements that include traditional Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) functionality for the payment of medical costs and case management, but also Workers Compensation requirements for the payment of earnings-related compensation. Current claims volumes are 1.4 million per annum, totaling payments of approximately $NZD 1.3 billion per annum.

3. ACC has previously been to the market for CMS solutions. During that process, all solutions bar one were eliminated as unsuitable for ACC’s requirements. ACC wishes to ensure that it has identified and reviewed all available options and is therefore going back to the market.

4. ACC has decided to engage Deloitte Consulting to conduct a broader market scan, including a public call via the Government Electronic Tender Services (GETS) for expressions of interest, to identify any additional potentially suitable solutions.

5. Once a restricted vendor list has been established, ACC intends to follow this up with an RFI process in respect of such solutions.

6. If you have an application which you consider may meet ACC’s requirements we invite you to assess your application and company against the criteria provided in the Expression of Interest (EOI) attachment. If your solution matches or exceeds the outlined criteria, then we invite you to submit this for our consideration.

7. All responses will be processed by Deloitte and no attempt should be made to engage directly with ACC around matters pertaining to this Expression of Interest.

Further information on this EOI is obtainable through downloading the EOI document below

Respond by date Monday, 7th July 2003 at 9:00 am Address enquiries to If you would like to register your interests in providing a potential CMS solution to ACC, then please respond to the attached questionnaire and return your response to:

Deloitte Consulting by 7th July 2003, 9:00 AM (New Zealand Time, GMT +12.00) as detailed below:

CMS Expression of Interest
Deloitte Consulting
Attention Aamir Hayat
PO Box 1990
Deloitte House
61 Molesworth Street
WELLINGTON
NEW ZEALAND

Responses should be E-mailed in electronic format to [email protected]
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#19 User is offline   jocko 

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Posted 15 April 2004 - 07:59 AM

There is no doubt in my mind that ACC purchased its exit CMS (Claims Management System) from UNUM Provident or whatever name it was going under at the time. If they purchased it from another company then rest assured that company will have a direct link with UNUM or obtained the CMS from UNUM through a front company. This link with UNUM should be confirmed or denied by the minister. This matter is of tremendous importance to all New Zealanders obviously. Even the slightest rumour of ACC being involved in anyway with this corrupt corporation should be thoroughly investigated.
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#20 User is offline   roamy 

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Posted 16 April 2004 - 04:28 AM

"""Bradley: How can an insurance company decide in advance the percentage of claims that should be terminated?
Garamendi: How can they? Well, they can if they want to break the law, if they want to go against the normal practice, and if they want to get big lawsuits. It is not the thing to do.
Bradley: Provident’s adjusters appear to be under pressure to increase terminations.
Garamendi: Exactly. """

This setting of targets for termination is sure enough exactly what acc do.I mean they even publish those figures for each region, a break down of how many each area is expected to exit.Whoever put those up on our sites, where did they get them from, were they easy to get , you would think acc would try to hide them hu.It doesn't seem credible these figures can be published without some type of scrutiny as to the motive that they suggest.I.D.B do you know where we got them from.

I mean how can they for example say, waikato has a target of 77 long term claimants to be exited this year, without knowing individual details of types of injuries etc..Isn't it all so obvious to us, yet the ones that should be looking into this sort of thing, just aren't.Where is our insurance regulator, why isn't he saying ""hang on you cannot predetermine how many get axed in a formulistic manner"".Asking the question of why this target is being set like this, sheds light on the motivation and m.o of acc.
For my christmas present this year i want 3 ex case managers and an ex specialist to come clean and admit the pressure acc have placed onto them for exit at any cost.roamy
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