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Posted by tonyb on June 26, 2000 at 15:19:00:

THE RAINMAKER' RINGS TRUE: BENEFITS ATTORNEY SAYS INSURANCE COMPANIES
WRONGFULLY DENY CLAIMS

WOODBRIDGE, N.J., May 31 /PRNewswire/ -- In John Grisham's ``The Rainmaker'', a large insurance company denied all
claims filed in the hope that it would deter their insureds from pursuing cases.

Benefits attorney Steven P. Marshall, of New Jersey's Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer law firm, says that insurance companies are
acting like the fictional company toward many professionals and managers across the country under ``own occupation''
disability policies which are supposed to provide protection against the inability to perform one's regular job due to sickness or
injury.

``This scenario is right out of the movies,'' says Marshall who specializes in employee benefits law. ``Many long term disability
applicants are being denied benefits notwithstanding the medical opinions of doctors hired by their own insurance company.''

Own occ policies are no longer issued by insurers because they provide more benefits than current policies which only provide
benefits if a disability makes a person unfit for any job for which they may be suited.

``Because there are a number of own occ policies still in force, insurance companies found themselves paying out large amounts
for claims made by executives who usually have high monthly benefits based upon their level of compensation,'' says Marshall.
As such, insurance companies are taking very tough stands on paying long term disability benefits, many times denying
applications for benefits almost automatically.

Marshall tells why he believes the best way to combat insurance companies is to take legal action. ``Statistically, the majority of
applicants do not pursue their claims once they have been denied and the insurance companies know this. Insurance companies
are saving millions of dollars they should be paying out because the people they insure are not likely to go after them
aggressively,'' adds Marshall.

This situation is especially bad for people disabled by mental, nervous and spinal conditions which often do not provide easy
diagnostic information to doctors and the insurance companies are extremely reluctant to honor the claims of applicants afflicted
with these conditions. This stance by the insurance companies affects people covered by group policies maintained by
employers as well as those who have their own private policies.

``If you, a family member or friend has been turned down for long term disability benefits when the medical evidence indicates
benefits should be paid, then the denial should be discussed with a benefits attorney who can help secure benefits which may be
due,'' concludes Marshall.

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