Disability Insurance Claim Advice
War stories From A Disability Claims Consultant
California Broker, April 2008
By Art Fries
I’m a 45-year veteran of the insurance business. For the past 12 years, I have provided advice on some 600 disability claims. Most of my clients are physicians, dentists, attorneys, and high-end executives and salespeople. Some of these clients’ claims could shed tears and others laughter that would bring tears. Following are just some of the war stories.
It’s Just a Fish
While big game hunting in Africa, my dentist client thought he would take a break by tossing a fish line in the water off the banks of a local river. A fish hit the hook immediately. As the dentist bent down to grab the fish at the riverbank, a nine-foot crocodile lunged for the fish. Unfortunately, my client’s left thumb/hand were in the way. The result was a half a thumb missing and hand nerve damage causing total disability.
Too Much Sex Just Ain’t Healthy
This dentist purchased Viagra while in Mexico. Having recently divorced and wanting to show his new-found girlfriend what a stud he was in bed, he proceeded with vigorous sex above and beyond the call of duty. This caused an embolism that went to his eye and resulted in blindness to that eye. As a kid, there was a joke about these things that I can’t repeat in an article such as this one.
Don’t Break a Leg
My physician client broke the record for the most hours worked in a week (107!). He didn’t smoke and he didn’t drink. He didn’t do much of anything but work. It was bad enough when he was accused of running the largest marijuana operation in his state (it was actually his office manager), and after spending large amounts of money defending himself, he stayed out of jail. To add salt to his wounds, he did a swan dive off a high ladder while cleaning the leaves from the roof gutter at his home. The ladder fell because one leg of the ladder was placed on top of a gopher hole (a smart place to put a ladder!) So, the doc winds up with a cast from his ankle to his hip with a serious leg fracture. This limits his mobility and he can’t climb the stairs of his house, so he lives downstairs for almost a year. Being that his second wife was his former nurse and a good deal younger than he, boredom set in and she had an affair with the milkman. (I kid you not!) That, of course, inflamed my client’s passions and he, in turn, shot his wife dead. He finally made it to jail! It sounds like a soap opera but, unfortunately, it isn’t!
Drugs, Alcohol and Lawyers Don’t Mix
My client, who was an attorney, had an alcohol and drug habit. He had been into rehab a number of times. He called me from his fifth halfway house and said that he was trying to go the straight and narrow path and stay sober/drug free. Because of his habits, his wife had thrown him out and there was very little money left to exist. Since I had sold him a disability policy a number of years prior, I offered my services on a semi-pro bono basis and he sent me a check. Having not heard from him after sending specific instructions, I called the wall phone at the half-way house to inquire of his status. No one knew where he was.
Several months later, I read in the legal newspaper that he had been arrested for stealing a car and was carted off to jail. By coincidence, the criminal attorney representing him was an attorney I had sold disability insurance to. Hey…it’s not every day two of your clients make the headlines!
Take Care Of Those Hands
A hand surgeon’s hands are what make a living for this claimant. Unfortunately, this one was working with an electric saw in his garage and sliced off his thumb. Being a Valium addict may have steadied his nerves but certainly not the hand holding the saw.
TWITCHING OR TEARS, WHICH IS BETTER?
This dentist had Bells Palsy. One side of his face would twitch, causing his patients to be apprehensive. He took Botox to stop the twitching and it helped. But the Botox caused his eyes to tear excessively and run down his check onto the faces of his patients.
Fun means different things to different people. This dentist’s idea of fun was to go under laughing gas with his dental assistant at the end of each day. It was a riot! Not the type that you think, but a big riot when his wife found out.
Have any war stories of your own? Call me. I’ll keep it strictly confidential.